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 .
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.