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Monday, August 13, 2012

London 2012, Thank You and Goodbye

The 2012 London Olympics have just come to an end, I had hoped they would go on and on forever, but sadly we have to wait for 2016 for another round of sports activity. What I would like to do is share what I felt (as always), what I deduced etc.  

 One thing that basically stuck out from the games is the dominance enforced in these games by developed countries. America, Russia, Great Britain, China etc. topped medal tables all through the London Olympics. They had representatives in almost every discipline on offer whilst most third world countries had as little as three or four representatives at the games. It is to be expected really, truthfully speaking looking at the type of resources most of these countries command, the level of training their athletes are subjected to, the incentives behind choosing a career path as a professional athlete.  I came to the conclusion that it is not that most of the athletes that walk away with medals from developed countries are the very best, it is just that they are better prepared than an athlete from Swaziland or Lesotho. They have honed their skills in the best of facilities and have had the correct type of motivation to make an athlete from lesser developed country to look like he/she is horribly poor. It is just pretty much impossible for athletes from very small and limited countries to realistically compete with guys from these super-powers. The time governments from our small nations really take it upon themselves to really support the development and growth of athletes is the time we will also stand as a people and really compete rather than participate.
Medal Count

A friend of mine remarked over the weekend about how at this Olympic Games more records were broken more than any other. I am not sure he was telling the truth but one thing that stood out was greatness, Legends were made. I watched as a man ran faster than all other men for the second time, Usain Bolt ran into Athletics folklore by retaining his 100m and 200m titles with what seemed like relative ease, simply amazing. From now when I tell my kids decades from now that I lived during a time of giants and Gods I know I would mean it. I marveled at the beauty with which man tamed the water and caressed and made love to it more than the fish. Ryan Lochte, Chad Le Clos, Van Der Burgh deserve a mention for making me feel its time I make friends with the pool, my mortal enemy. I was watching as fifteen year olds won medals and broke world records. I watched as Michael Phleps wrote his name into Olympic history forever, claiming a total of 22 medal as he bowed out. I lived in a time of Mo Farrah, Allyson Felix, Rudisha, Wiggins, Campbell Brown, Richard-Ross, Jeter, Serena Williams… truly heroic feats we saw.
Ye Shiwen, 16, World Record Holder.

One other thing that trended at these Olympic Games was simply the inspiration that reverberated from those stadiums. I saw a man with no legs run with able bodied human beings, if Oscar Pistorious can beat the odds and do what he did why should I let life bring me down? Why? I saw Caster Semenya run, after all the scrutiny she endured as the world accused her of being a man, very much inspiring stuff. A man who has on most occasions been ridiculed by his own countrymen; Andy Murray claiming gold in-front of the same crowd. Allyson Felix claiming a 200m Gold medal in devastating fashion after coming second in Athens and Beijing respectfully made me warm up on the inside. Justin Gatlin coming back from a lengthy time on the sidelines after a doping scandal to claim a silver and bronze medal.
The Blade Runner

Ever since I can remember Jamaica  and USA have basically battled to show who is the king of the track, especially in the sprints. I mean this year it was just so intense, the competition from these two countries was massive, culminating in the Final of the 100m sprint which had 3 Jamaicans and 3 Americans, The female 100m also had basically an identical situation, so too the relays. Why are they so good? Well I think if you look at it closely you realize it goes back to the slave trade times. When Africans were taken in boats to America and other parts of the world and made to work like animals the slave-masters involuntarily built a super-strong human being that is today’s Athlete in Basketball courts, football fields and the track. True story. Also another baffling feat is the dominance of my fellow African brothers in the Long Distance running category, The Kenyans and Ethiopians still have this field in the palm of their hands. They just run so good, it is like somewhere out there a factory produces and produces these runners.
Usain Bolt taking home the 100m title 2nd time in a row.

A bitter taste was left in our mouths when our strongest hope for a gold medal slumped to a fourth place finish in the 400m final. What was even more disappointing was that no arrangements were made to take her personal trainer to London. A man Amantle Montsho had previously referred to as a ‘father figure’, surely during hers and the nation’s biggest race he should have been there! Why he was not there is up for debate, as is who is to blame or whether his presence would have made a difference. I speak for the whole nation when I say a head needs to roll, so one of the bigwigs should sacrifice himself and become the scape-goat for this debacle. I nominate Shaw Kgathi. He should resign.
Amantle Montsho

Alas our hope was restored when 18 year old 800m junior champion Nijel Amos put together a series of impressive run of form to qualify for what turned out to be the greatest 800m race we have ever seen. The person who finished last in that race recorded a personal best, time which would have won him Gold in Beijing or Athens. Our boy finished second to a Kenyan man, Rudisha, who broke a world record he had set previously. 18 year old Amos became the very first Motswana to claim an Olympic medal of any kind, the third fastest man ever to run the 800m. IMAGINE!!!!!! A NATIONAL HERO, at only 18. Our pride with regards to Nijel Amos can fill a zillion oceans. We are so proud of him. He puts me to shame, next to him I am such a bum.
Botswana's first Olympic medal came courtesy of 18 year old Nijel Amos 

The USA basketball team claimed Gold, as was expected from a team with King James, Durant, Kobe, Melo etc. it is just magic, truly awesome. Brazil football team entered the Olympics with the hope of claiming their very first gold medal. With the talent the carried along they were more than justified to feel they could win it. The likes of Oscar, Ganso, Diamao, Neymar, Romelu, Silva and company looked set to win it this time; they had no real opponent. They went to the final to face Mexico which humiliated them and took the gold. What is left now is to only point fingers, Brazil has failed yet again. And truth be told I feel this was their most talented squad to date. Their hope now lies at home in 2016. The only positive Brazil can take from this should be the fact that for the 2014 world cup they are the team to beat. Imagine these young stars with a mix of experience and the whole nation behind them.  
USA Men's Basketball team
Brazil Men's Under-23 

Lastly I would very much like to marvel at the organization of the Olympic Games! The security, the fluidity and the venues looked super awesome. The British spent time promoting these games and when the day came they delivered with no major problem. Hopefully Rio would also pull off the perfect Olympics like the English did. Rio has a nasty reputation of violence and crime that should be mended come the 2016 Olympics, my hope is that they also host a spectacular event.
Thank You London for the memories, Goodbye London!!