Let the Games begin!By Mark W. Law (Jul 27th, 2012)
Do you remember your first Olympics?
Mine were the Games of the 18th Olympiad, October 10 – 24, 1964 in Tokyo, Japan.
Originally Tokyo was awarded the games in 1940, but Tojo had other plans and after Japan invaded China the games were hastily shifted to Helsinki then cancelled entirely when Hitler marched into Poland. By 1964, though, Japan had redeemed itself to host the first games in Asia.
Tokyo 1964 was also unique for a few other reasons:
- This was the last Summer Olympics to use a cinder running track for athletic events, and the first to use fiberglass poles for pole vaulting.
- In 1964 little known American distance runner Billy Mills shocked the world when he won the gold in the men’s 10,000 m. No American had won it before and no American has won it since.
- The nation of Malaysia, which had formed the previous year by a union of Malaya, British North Borneo and Singapore, competed for the first time in the Games.
- And most amazing of all, Yoshinori Sakai, who lit the Olympic Flame, was born in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on that city!
The Olympics have come a long way since 1964, with the terrorist attack in 1972 in Munich, the huge cost overruns in Montreal 1976, Ben Johnson’s ‘spiked water bottle’ in Seoul 1988 and all the other tawdry bits. But at the end of the day the Olympics are still about the athletes.
For the past four years they have trained for the one chance to stand on the podium or set a personal best in the highest level competition on the planet! Many have done so with the minimum amount of support, financially or otherwise. Some will be attending the games knowing that their own country will be in the middle of a war when they return home. Others may have escaped just to compete.
Today while I was looking for Olympic newsfeeds to add to the site I became rather frustrated with the lack of a medal count RSS. For at least an hour I harrumphed and grumbled through Google following blind alleys without any luck. What I did find along the way, though, were a lot of images of smiling athletes.
Like Yoshinori Sakai the athletes are about to live their dream! Let’s dream along with them, whether they finish 1st or 17th. Medal counts are great, and if you are looking for them ctvolympics.ca will certainly have them for you in all their flashy brilliance. Me, I am going to be keeping my eye out for athletes like Kaina Martinez in the 100 metre sprints, one of only three athletes from tiny Belize.
And cheering like crazy even if I have never set foot in South America!
Let the Games begin!…