Quote Unquote

Pinsent and RedgraveAs the London 2012 draw nearer, I suppose it is inevitable that you start to dredge through your own Olympic memories, although in my case I have to question whether they actually happened or not.

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:

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

9 comments… Add yours
  • Baron Kubla Khan de Pudding 23rd July 2012

    For me both LA 1984 and Seoul 88 are very memorable because the two Pudding sprogs were born during those Olympics. Perhaps that could be another Olympic event – child bearing. Just like shelling peas in my estimation.

  • Mr Parrot 23rd July 2012

    Parrot sprog the elder was also born in the summer of ’88 which was great for Mrs P as she could watch the Olympic coverage during the night feed.

  • Roger Green 23rd July 2012

    There hasn’t been a single Olympics that stands out for me. There have been elements of lots of Olympics that have had an impact on me.

  • Jennyta 23rd July 2012

    No, actually, SP, I am doing my level best to ignore them all, past and present – with little success unless I decide to turn the TV and radio off for the next few weeks. 😉

  • rhymeswithplague 23rd July 2012

    I remember the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City for the “black power” fists raised by U.S. athletes, the 1972 Olympics in Munich for the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta for the Centennial Park bombing (we were in Charlotte, NC, at the time, having purposely left these environs to the tourists and the media) and the resulting brouhaha surrounding Security Guard Richard Jewell (who was innocent), and various other summer Olympic games for Mary Lou Retton’s perfect 10 in women’s gymnastics, and who could forget Flo-Jo and Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps and Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci and on and on and on.

  • rhymeswithplague 23rd July 2012

    Oh, yes, and Lionel Richie at the closing ceremonies in Los Angeles in 1984.

  • Trevor Rowley 23rd July 2012

    A slight digression for me, if I may be permitted, Mr P. Great Britain has produced many fine Olympians over the years but how many of them have put as much effort into representing their country as Jim Peters? Before the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, he had already broken the world record for the marathon four times. He entered those game as favourite but didn’t manage to finish due to cramp. In 1952, he won the Enschede Marathon in the Netherlands, competing against the world’s finest. He is best remembered for his participation in the marathon at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. He entered the stadium in first place fifteen/twenty minutes ahead of his nearest rival and about THREE miles ahead. Sadly, he was suffering the effects of sunstroke and dehydration and wavered about the track like a drunken man before collapsing in a heap, unable to continue.

    In hospital, he was so ill with the damage caused by the dehydration that the doctors advised him not to continue with a competitive running career. This seems to be advice that he accepted and, for years after, he suffered from what he described as, “Vancouver headaches.”

    After the event, the actual distance of the course was measured and found to be considerably shorter than the officially recognised marathon distance. It was also calculated that, technically, Peters would have crossed the true finish line at about the time he entered the stadium.

    This near fatality caused the organisers of world athletics to be more aware of the dangers of dehydration and now, as we know, marathon runners are plied with liquid whilst they are actually running.

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 23rd July 2012

    Lovely to see the vid and hear Freddie and Montserrat Caballé singing together. Glad you found the source of your quote!!

    @ Trevor Rowley: I have long been amazed that organisers of sporting events don’t take better care of their athletes. Since watching American Football (the first year was 1985) I’ve heard of several deaths through heatstroke and exhaustion at training camps for goodness’ sake. NO sporting event is worth losing a life over.

  • Mr Parrot 24th July 2012

    Trevor: The images of Jim Peters wobbling down the track can be brought vividly to mind and are painful to watch even now. On a par really with Derek Redmond in 1992 when he tore a hamstring in the 400m semi-final, but still insisted on finishing the race, helped by his dad.

    And I suppose that this answers Jay’s point about sports organisers. It is often the misplaced determination of the athletes themselves that does the damage.


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