If you’ll excuse the pun, I’ve got some skin in the game of what I’m about to write about.
Earlier this month, we announced a new partnership with a sporting team. Nothing unusual in that. Brands like SKINS do it all the time.
I rarely, if ever, use my Watercooler blog to exhort you to buy SKINS gear.
I don’t know about you but I’m fairly certain UK Athletics Chairman, Ed Warner, wouldn’t have made-up what he, as a minimum, thought he heard about Qatar paying bribes to land the 2017 IAAF world championships. Having said that, I am not saying that Seb Coe is not telling the truth; or, indeed, the other four witnesses the IAAF’s ethics board spoke with about the issue.
I caught the end of a documentary on Tuesday evening on television in Australia. It’s called Man Up, put together by Gus Worland, a radio personality.
As some readers are aware, earlier this year an athlete supported by SKINS, Rob Young of the UK, attempted a record Trans-America run attempt. He didn’t make it, pulling out of the attempt after 36 days citing an injury.
There have been a few issues swirling around in recent weeks.
I promised I wouldn’t write for a while since my most recent stint of the ‘Olympic Series’ but it would be remiss of me not to mention the Paralympics. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to watch it as much as the Olympics Games. I was on holiday during the Olympics so I had the time and opportunity to watch; now I’m back at work with the usual busy schedule so it’s mainly highlights that I catch.
The IOC does many things I do not approve of; I wrote about one yesterday. It also does things which are worthy of praise; I wrote about one last week. For my final Olympic blog, I want to talk about another positive initiative from the IOC – the Refugee Olympic Team.
I care so deeply about the issue of LGBTI rights, especially amongst sportsmen and women, that earlier this year SKINS conducted a #RainbowLaces campaign in my home turf of Australia to raise awareness about homophobia in sport.
Today I highlight three Olympians, across 36 years, who demonstrate humility and dignity and have made me go “wow”.
I had tended to think of Dutch athlete, Fanny Blankers-Koen, simply in terms of considerable athleticism and her four Gold Medals at the London 1948 Olympic Games. But she was much more. She was a game-change in world athletics and, more importantly, for all women athletes.
Many say that ‘sport and politics shouldn’t mix’, but they are more often than not inextricably tied. Sometimes the co-mingling of the two is actively sought. The Olympic Games is set against a backdrop of the social, cultural and political environment in the host country, the competing nations and the relationships between nations.
Michael Phelps of the USA was on my list to include in this series of Olympic blog before these Olympic Games ….
Not everyone’s a winner. The three stories I share today are evidence of that. They all came gloriously and spectacularly last. But they have one much more important factor in common. They each embody the spirit of the Olympics: an athlete wanting to compete at the highest level possible, to the best of their ability, with participation being more important than winning.
Today, I’m highlighting two of my favourite all-time athletes who make the list for that reason alone. They were both the best in their distances. Their careers also largely coincided at the Olympic Games.
The Opening Ceremony is one of the most-watched events of the Olympic Games. It gives the host nation a great opportunity to set its narrative. The Atlanta Olympics in 1996 came only 12 years after the previous US-based games but I count its Opening Ceremony as the most memorable, not because of the ceremony itself but because of one man.
As some of my blogs already in this series has shown, it’s challenging enough to be a favourite for a race, or for an athlete to be so finally tuned to peaking at the right time to achieve a personal best. What must it be like for those favourite to win before their home crowd?
In my first five blogs, I’ve written mostly about great sporting achievements. Now I’d like to turn to one of the Olympic Games’ darkest moments and one that had many consequences; not just for future Olympic Games and major sporting events, but also the world.
Today, I want to share two examples of the very best of the human spirit. Two people from Olympic Games eight years apart who showed what perseverance is, and who were determined never to give up. For me, both these moments give goose bumps even after all these years.