“Like déjà vu, Olympics superlatives and gold all over again!”
Colin E. H. Croft
Credited with magnificently golden soliloquies including “I really did not say anything that I said” and “it ain’t over until it’s over”, Lawrence ‘Yogi’ Berra, former New York Yankees baseball player and manager extraordinaire, also suggested, germane to this situation, reference London 2012 Olympics, especially for Trinidad & Tobago and Uganda; “It is déjà vu all over again!” Believe it!
Also, my experience in taking drugs, other than Aspirins, Amoxil 250’s or Senna, for general
cleanouts or toothaches, especially when I played for West Indies, is nil. I do not know how it feels to miss them, but, like many, I feel completely depleted, debilitated, now that London 2012 Olympics is actually over.
I am sure that I am experiencing, from legal and illegal drug circles, “Severe Withdrawal Syndrome!” London 2012 Olympics was the best sporting extravaganza I have had in my 59 years. ‘Yogi’ is correct. As was the case after Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008, this feeling is déjà vu, all over again!
Confirming that feeling, Trinidad & Tobago’s first Gold medal came in 1976 – Montreal, Canada – when Haseley Crawford, rankest outsider of all, won the 100 metres dash – 10.06 seconds. Had he run at London 2012, he would not have qualified for the final, where seven of eight finalists ran sub 10:00s!
Crawford’s compatriot Richard Thompson was slowest qualifier for XXX’s final; 10:02s. Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, 19 years old, whom we must see again in Rio 2016, who won 2012’s World Junior Championships 100 metres, clocked “Crawfie’s” Montreal time – 10:06s, and was only 3rd in his heat!
Crawford was in Lane 1, probably the worst lane for sprinting – very little vision out to Lane 8, if you have any time to look. Jamaica’s Donald Quarrie, who was 2nd, Russia’s Valeriy Borzov, placing 3rd, and even USA’s Harvey Glance, who finished 4th, were all highly favoured on the books, ahead of Haseley!
Noteworthy here, too, the only time that Olympics javelin title had been won by anyone outside of Europe, was by American Cyrus Young, 60 years ago, Helsinki 1952; Games of the XV (Fifteen) Olympiad.
Ironically, in Olympiad XXX (Thirtieth), 36 years after Crawford, between Mo Farah creating history by winning 5,000 metres to go with 10,000 metres Gold, and, later that evening, Usain Bolt getting a 3rd Gold, confirming legendary status, world record too; sprint 4 x 100m relay; 19 year old Trinidadian Kershorn Walcott showed why, per ‘Yogi’, “anything that is impossible is possible! You have to believe!”
‘Yogi’ would also say; “what is really for you, is for you!”
In the preliminaries, T&T’s Walcott qualified 10th of 12; 81.75 metres. Czech Republic’s Vitezslav Vesely threw 2012’s leading distance; 88.34m; heading qualifying, but could only get 83.34m when it mattered most, in the finals.
Even Ukraine’s rated Oleksandr Pyatnytsya and Finland’s Antti Ruuskanen could not beat Kershorn’s best final effort; 84.58m!
Walcott’s unlikely but believable triumph summed up how brilliant but utterly unpredictable athletics competitions in especially Olympics could be. No-one, except perhaps Crawford, gave the young man from Toco, 200-1 outsider, any chance. London 2012 made more folklore than could not be scripted!
USA’s “Fierce Five” – women’s gymnastics team – delivered Gold, its first time since Atlanta 1996. McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Weiber and Kyla Ross were very good, but, pertinently, it was precocious, better-than-great 16 year old Gabrielle Christina Victoria “Gabby” Douglas, first black young woman (“woman of color” and “African American” be damned), who led the way with individual Gold!
Bela Karolyi, Rumanian coach that produced country-woman Nadia Comaneci’s magnificence at Crawford’s 1976 Olympics, and USA’s Mary Lou Retton’s Los Angeles 1984 all-around Gold, simply beamed: “I have always wanted to get African Americans into this sport- so much potential!” Too true!
True too was that Uganda’s John Akii-Bua, the ill-fated long-legged 400 metres hurdler, who was only 47 when he died in 1997, had won his country only Gold medal, before London 2012, in Munich 1972. He won that one-lap sprint cum jump with then world record; 47.82 seconds, another great achievement.
Trinidad & Tobago and Uganda have so much in common when it comes to London 2012 Olympics, for it was at the really spectacular XXX that both countries managed to get only their 2nd Gold medals overall.
Strangely, had he been running at London 2012, with that same time, Akii-Bua would have won Silver, to Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez’s Gold, whose 47.63s was the world-leading time for 2012; season’s best; to edge out USA’s Michael Tinsley; Silver, 47.91s; and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson’s Bronze; 48.10s.
Like Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda got its 2nd Olympics Gold from a source not altogether expected at all.
Stephen Kiprotich, clocking 2:08:01 for 26 miles 385 yards, won London 2012’ marathon by a mammoth 26 seconds, beating highly favoured Kenyans Abel Kirui; 2:08:27; and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich; 2:09:37, into 2nd and 3rd places. Not only named like Kenyans, Stephen Kiprotich also trained with them too!
Yogi, 87, will smile if he hears it. Yes, London 2012 was déjà vu all over again, for a 2nd Gold! Enjoy!