Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Watching Them Get Gold

They say that boys don’t cry, but I can be a bit of a sobber. Show me Apocalypse Now, Forest Gump or an athlete crying on a podium and the waterworks come forth. The latter occurred yesterday when the South African swimmer, Chad Le Clos won gold last night and beat his hero and the greatest Olympian ever, Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly. I was a mess.

I used to compete as a swimmer. I was never going to make it to the big leagues, but I knew exactly how Le Clos felt as he touched, turned around, and saw that he was the best. From his last 25m where you see his body seizing up from the lactate, his face contorting as he wills his body to keep going, stop hurting and push further. It brought all those memories back from the time I used to compete. Hence, tears poured when he started choking up with a shiney piece of metal around his neck.

Kudos also has to be given to Michael Phelps. He was so gracious in defeat and was so courteous to Le Clos, showing him where to go after the ceremony and handing him the limelight. You saw a slight grin on Phelps’ face as he saw the young South African choke up on stage. To Phelps it would have been another ‘topping on his sundae’, for the young man who beat him it was a shock and it clearly meant the world.

This is why I love sport and love The Games. You get to see people achieve their dream for two weeks solid. This is also a dream that I once had. Anyone who competed in any kind of sport relatively seriously at some point wants to get an Olympic gold. It is just a pleasure to see these deserving, hard-working athletes reach where I never could. I guess that’s also why it’s a bit of a tear jerker.