Only a few become legends

Dear Oscar

You may not have realised being from a country with little snow but the Olympic Games have recently just finished in Sochi. The Olympic Games have been inspiring me since the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. I was only 6 yes old & my Grandad woke me up at 6am with the words “Come & see history made”. The event was the 400m hurdles final & David Hemery was taking part for Team GB. He not only won Gold that day but he smashed the world record & became a legend that day. I never forgot that day & I have watched every Olympics since. David Hemery began my love affair with the Olympics & the ideals of Pierre Decoubatin are  still as relevant today.

At every Olympics stars are born heroes are made but only a handful become legends. Apart from David Hemery there was the Russian Gymnast Olga Korbut in 1972 who brought elegance and grace to Gymnastics & inspired a whole generation of us to take up Gymnastics in the UK hoping to participate in the Olympics. Of course Team GB had to wait until 2012 to make its mark in the Gymnastics world but I believe the seeds were sown with Olga. Derek Redmond was remembered from the 1992 Olympics not for winning a medal but for presence of his dad on the track to help his son to the finishing line after his pulled hamstring meant he couldn’t complete the race. What a beautiful story of courage & selflessness. The standing ovation they received was as if the Gold Medal had been won. That is the Olympic Ideal .
DR Olympics - Women's Gymnastic Final - Germany

Fast forward to London 2012 & there was you Oscar. Can you remember those games. I bet you do as you were one of the shining stars. There were many exceptional moments from the Paralympic Games but it was a moment in the Olympic Games which will remain with me for ever. The moment when after your 400m semi you swapped numbers with Kirani James the eventual winner. That moment will be remembered years from now very much like the hand shake between Bobby Moore & Pele after the 1970 world cup quarter final.

Only a few become legends after an Olympics.
Just before the London Games I met up with David Hemery at Loughborough University & I told him that he was the first Olympian I remembered watching & he inspired me to get involved with sport & have a love of the Olympic Games. His eyes lit up he was moved that I had never forgot that day.
Many years from now Oscar you may have a similar experience perhaps your participation will have given someone a life long love of sport . Never forget Oscar that you became part of Seb Coe’s legacy that day . You helped to inspire a generation & I thank you for that. Nobody forgets a legend remember that.


A Landmark Ruling

Dear Oscar

This week, Judge Dunstan Mlambo made a landmark ruling. Today, for the first time in the history of the S. African justice system, it was ruled that parts of a trial can be broadcast live on TV and in full on radio. And today, I wept. I wept, anxious that the fairness of your trial might be compromised. I wept at the thought of the media circus that will inevitably ensue. I wept at the thought of you being treated like a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder and I wept at the indignity of you being treated like a character in a TV drama, a storyline unfolding in living rooms across the nation that you have loved so passionately and scrutinised by the countrymen whose lives you have fought to improve. And most of all, I wept because this is you, because you deserve better and because it filled me with despair at the hopelessness of relying on human compassion, decency and the motivations of others to do the right thing.

I have considered the motivations of those involved. I was never naive enough to believe that the media would behave with integrity. For them, you have always been a commodity; long labouring under the warped impression that because you are famous, they own a piece of you, cynically justified under the joint banners of ‘public interest’ and ‘freedom of speech’. For the public, there are those who really do care for you, who will watch, perhaps with guilt and discomfort, in the hope of seeing a story of truth and justice unfold on their screens. And others will watch and consume eagerly to feed their voracious appetite for scandal and ghoulish voyeurism. As for the State, the hopeful me wants to believe there is a genuine desire for transparency, whilst the cynical me fears that for some it’s a trophy trial, with notoriety and wealth the desired rewards. As for the judge’s reasoning, ‘to help dispel the perception that rich and poor were treated differently by the justice system’, I fail to see how replacing one form of discrimination with another can ever be justified. And why this trial? Why not Zuma’s corruption trial, infinitely more in the public interest that this one. And above all, it strikes me as a cruel irony that a man who has spent his life breaking down barriers of discrimination now finds himself actively discriminated against for being rich and famous.

Oscar, I genuinely hope and pray that the judge will manage this situation with great caution and integrity, to ensure that the fairness of the trial is not compromised and that the dignity of you, your loved ones and those who will bravely stand up for you, will be protected. And whilst I personally abhor the decision that was taken today, I sincerely believe that you and your family will continue to carry yourselves with the dignity and grace that you have always shown and that your honesty and integrity will shine forth and illuminate even the darkest recesses of doubt and suspicion.

John Lennon once said ‘everyone wants a piece of me’, a sentiment no doubt echoed by troubled celebrities the world over. Sadly, this is the cost of fame, the price you are now paying for the enormity of your achievements that captivated the world, crossed international barriers and stirred the interests and imaginings of the world. Everyone feels entitled to a piece of you. Well dear boy, let them have a piece of you; not your dignity, your grief or your soul, those you are entitled to hold on to for yourself and those you love and trust. But instead, let them look into your heart, let them see you for who you really are: responsible, remorseful, dignified, compassionate, courageous, vulnerable and true. And those who are open to the truth will recognise its beauty and embrace it. Its flame may even light the embers of belief of those whose hearts are dark with hatred and suspicion. And perhaps this decision might bring about some good, not only for you, but for those who follow after you, the poor and the defenceless that would truly benefit from a transparent and incorrupt justice system. Of course this remains to be seen, but I hope and pray this might be so. In the meantime, dear boy, remember you are a good man, put yourself in God’s hands, know that He is in control and believe that He loves you and will never let you go.

May God bless you and keep you.


“Truth and Good are one, and Beauty dwells in them, and they in her”
~ Mark Akenside

The next few weeks will be difficult

Dear Oscar

I know these next few weeks will be difficult but you are not alone, your fans know you are innocent & will be there with you through the pain & once you have proved your innocence you can begin your recovery from the heart breaking trauma you’ve suffered over the last year.

Your fans love you & believe in you. We will be beside you every step of the way through out the trial & beyond.
If you remember that you are loved you are never truly alone as you have so many hearts there right by your side.
I promise we will help you in these next few months.

Good night & sleep tight, love you
Lana xxx