Barcelona ’92 is my favourite games for many reasons, from the theme music – Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé singing Barcelona – to the paralympian archer firing a burning arrow to light the Olympic torch, it was the most theatrical event.
Then there was the drama of the city itself and the architecture of Gaudí and Domènech as the backdrop, particularly the high diving.
But the main reason I remember it is for a quote that everyone else seems to have forgotten. Either that or it is something that I’ve made it up.
It happened in the coxless pairs. Even then, Steve Redgrave was the great British Olympian having won gold in ’84 and ’88 in one the most physically demanding events.
Everyone was willing him on to make it three in consecutive games. But could he do it at the age of 30 and teamed up with the fresh faced unknown Matthew Pinsent?
Of course they did and after the event I swear I heard Redgrave say: ‘Not bad for an old man and a never has been.’
What a great quote, a clip that you’d assume the BBC would dust off from the archives in ’96 and ’98 when Redgrave won gold again, or on the run up to London 2012, but no, I haven’t heard it since.
I began to think that I must have dreamt it and have searched for the phrase online to prove that I hadn’t, but without success. Well almost.
Last night I came across this article at The Free Library in which Matthew Pinsent says that these were the words he used to Steve Redgrave at the completion of their Olympic heroics.
So perhaps it was Pinsent I heard, not Redgrave. Maybe it was something I read rather than heard on tv or radio. But at least I didn’t make it up!
Anyway, to honour of them both, here is Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé with Barcelona: