After years of planning and preparation, the greatest sporting event this year is finally with us and, to celebrate, we are holding a competition. All you have to do is send an e-mail telling us about your greatest Olympic moment and what makes it so memorable. Quite simple really!
Entries should be e-mailed to Brendan@MantleFP.com and headed “London 2012 – Olympic Competition”. The best answer received by 3 August will receive a bottle of Champagne!
To get you thinking, and to give your memories a bit of a kick start, here are a few of the greatest moments from recent years.
You may remember this highlight of the Rome Olympics in 1960. On a blisteringly hot late afternoon, the marathon runners lined up at the start of the race. One man stood out. A nobody with no shoes – because he couldn’t borrow a pair that felt comfortable. The other athletes laughed. What was Ethiopia doing sending any athlete to compete in the Olympics? In just over 2 hours 15 minutes, they had their answer as Abebe Bikila took the gold medal having run through Rome’s cobbled streets barefoot. In 1964, he retained his title in Tokyo and Ethiopia is now the global powerhouse of long distance running.
In Montreal in 1976, a very young Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10.0 in gymnastics. But did you know that the electronic scoreboard was not designed to record perfection so the score was initially shown as 1.00?
The Japanese built a dynasty in men’s gymnastics in the 1960s and 70s. By 1976, Japan had won the team gold in the last four Olympics. In the team finals in Montreal, however, Japanese team member Shun Fujimoto injured himself on floor. Fearing that the team would not win if he withdrew from the meet, Fujimoto hid the extent of his injury and competed his final two events of the day, pommel horse and rings. On rings, Fujimoto scored a 9.7, after landing his full-twisting double back dismount onto a broken kneecap. His score helped the Japanese earn their fifth consecutive team gold, and he is still revered in Japan for his selfless commitment to his team.
The American diver Greg Louganis made a name for himself when he hit the diving board with the back of his head. Having suffered concussion and with a cut needing 5 stitches, the world held its breath as he repeated the dive in the final and took the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
But for real determination, let’s not forget 400m runner Derek Redmond at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Injury caused him to fall with 175m left to the finish line. With the eyes of the world focussed on him, he got up, found his Dad in the crowd and with his support he limped over the finish line to a huge cheer from a packed stadium.
There have been other great moments and great athletes like Daley Thompson, Mark Spitz, Steve Redgrave, Chris Hoy, Cassius Clay and Jesse Owens, but now it’s time for you to tell us what was your most memorable Olympic moment. Good luck to you and good luck to all our athletes competing over the next few weeks.