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.
Today I look at another great running rivalry.
In today’s Olympic blog I’m turning to two great Olympians who have won six Olympic Golds, one Silver and one Bronze between them, as well as numerous world titles, but whose most significant work may be away from their respective ‘fields of play’.
Each day of the Games I thought I’d share with you my list of what has made the quadrennial sports carnival so anticipated and so memorable for me over the years. It includes a lot of the good as well as some of the bad and the ugly. Here is the offering for Day 2.
The Olympic Games is here!
Since my previous blog, both the IAAF and the IOC have given their decisions arising from WADA’s McLaren Report. So much has since been said and written about these decisions and the implications arising from them, that I do not intend regurgitating the issues.