The passing away of boxing legend Muhammad Ali a few days ago brought back a flood of memories. I remember him winning the light heavyweight boxing championship at the Rome Olympics in 1960, only though at that time he was still known as Cassius Clay. Later I came to know that he threw away that precious Gold medal in the Ohio River following an incident of racial discrimination. Some years after the Rome Olympics, Clay became what was then called a “Black Muslim” assuming the name of Muhammad Ali. I remember reading about some of his famous fights over the years when he defeated Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and many others. This article in the Indian Express details ten of his best fights. Reliving those moments brought back memories of the different Olympic Games I read about or saw on television. Continue reading
Is “age” only in your mind? Do people think that “age” is a bar to achievement? Do they allow themselves to let the world go by citing age as an excuse. There are achievers in different fields who have achieved much at relatively older ages. In this context, I was delighted to read Tara Parker-Pope write in the New York Times about the Oldies in the recent 2008 Olympics at Beijing.
Never in the history of the Olympic Games has India won 3 medals in a single Olympics. We have many good things to take away from the Beijing Olympics of 2008:
- For the first time ever, an Indian won a Gold medal in an individual event. The honour went to 25 year old Abhinav Bindra in the 10 metres air rifle shooting.
- For the first time ever, an Indian won a medal in boxing. That honour went to 22 year old Vijender Kumar who won the bronze medal.
- After a long gap of 52 years, India won a medal in wrestling. This was through Sushil Kumar who won the bronze medal. Continue reading
While an individual athletic event like the 100 metres sprint or the 110 metres hurdles has its own charm, there is nothing quite so exciting as a relay- the 4x 100 is an example. Watching a relay squad combining as a team, retrieving lost ground in future legs and having sychronised exchange of batons from one leg to the next makes for thrilling moments for the spectators. Yet there has to be a great deal of co-ordination between the team members. As kids we were taught that the cardinal sin in running a relay race is to drop the baton. The team gets automatically disqualified and all your efforts go in vain. Continue reading
In the Olympic Games, the men’s 100 metres is perhaps considered the most important of the track and field events. The 200 metres is not far behind. In the history of the Olympics only 8 men have won both the 100 metres and the 200 metres in the same Olympics. The list includes the legendary Jesse Owens (USA) in 1936. the Russian, Valery Borzov in 1972 and Carl Lewis (USA) in 1984. This great feat was emulated by Usain Bolt of Jamaica who is just 22 years old recently in the 2008 Olympics at Beijing.
The Olympics motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius which in Latin means Faster, Higher, Stronger. This motto was given by Pierre de Coubertin, the Founder of the International Olympic Committee way back in 1894. It was introuced in the Paris Olympics of 1924. The motto summarises the objective of the Olympics- certainly of the track and field events. In recent days we saw two feats which epitomise the Olympics motto.
Recently Michael Phelps created history. When people would give an arm and a leg to be capable of winning even one Olympics medal, here’s one who won as many as 8 Olympic Gold Medals – that too in a single Olympics- the one going on -the 2008 Olympic Games at Beijing.
Here’s a description of how he won those 8 Golds in a single Olympics. With this he beat the record set by fellow American swimmer, Mark Spitz way back in 1972 when Spitz won 7 Golds in the Munich Olympics.
I start with a confession. Like, I presume, millions of my countrymen, I did not really know too much about Abhinav Bindra till yesterday. The 24 year old shooter brought immense pride to us Indians by winning the 10m air rifle shooting Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics in a thrilling final.
The feat must be seen in context:
The 29 th Olympics got off to a spectacular start yesterday in Beijing. 08-08-08 was the magical date when the grand opening ceremony took place. The figures associated with the Games are mind boggling. An estimated $ 43 billion has been spent for the Games in which over 10,000 sports persons will compete from over 200 countries.