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Should South Africa get the Olympics as a tribute to Mandela?

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Nelson Mandela: Call to give South Africa the Olympics as tribute

By Joel Hammer BBC Sport World Service

South Africa should be chosen as host for the Olympics as a tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela, according to their first athlete to win an Olympic medal in the post-apartheid era.

Elana Meyer, now 47, won a silver in the 10,000m at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, becoming the first South African athlete to claim a medal since their re-admission to the Olympic movement.

She was denied the chance to compete at Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988 by South Africa's exclusion from competition after the 1960 Games, but believes the influence of Mandela, who died last week, aged 95, was crucial from the moment he emerged from 27 years of imprisonment in 1990.

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Elana Meyer: The moment that Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 I knew things would change.

South Africa's 10,000m silver medallist at 1992 Olympics

Mandela's coffin arrived in his ancestral home in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa, on Saturday ahead of his state funeral on Sunday.

"If the Olympic Games can come to Africa and South Africa it will be in honour of Madiba [Mandela's tribal name]. I think it's time. It's Africa's time. It would be a fitting way to honour a great leader," said Meyer, talking on Sportshour on the BBC World Service.

"Nelson Mandela played such a significant part in my life. The moment that he was released from prison in 1990 I knew things would change. That really gave me the hope and inspiration that I might have the chance to compete internationally. Barcelona came at just the right time. I was 25 then and certainly I could not have waited a moment later."

Meyer regards the moment she met Mandela during the 1992 Games as one of her career highlights, and says it lifted the whole South African Olympic team.

"It was very special when I met Madiba in the Olympic village in 1992," she said. "He came to wish the team well and the whole team were inspired by his presence and his words. It was a magical moment.

"You could feel the pressure. We only came out of isolation three months before the Games, it's not like I had a wealth of experience racing at that level, and people's expectations were high.

"There was a lot of focus and not just on your athletic performance, but it was still an amazing privilege to be [one of] those first athletes in 30 years to walk onto the track and inspired by his presence."

Despite the high expectations, Meyer fought through a strong field, which included Britain's Liz McColgan, then the world champion, and eventual winner Derartu Tulu, from Ethiopia, to finish second and win South Africa's first Olympic medal since 1960.

"I didn't get a gold medal, but it was certainly a victory for many many South Africans," she recalled. "That's what I was celebrating. It was the end of years of isolation."

After the race, she embarked on a lap of honour with Tulu, walking hand in hand around the track. It was one of the most enduring images from that Olympics - a black Ethiopian carrying her national flag and a white South African clutching the Olympic flag.

She said: "It was a spontaneous celebration and I probably didn't realise at that moment, but it turned out to be really significant. Even today people keep telling me where they were at that moment."

That medal, and the iconic image of her with Tulu, convinced the Western Cape runner that Mandela's vision for South Africa could be achieved.

"Coming back to South Africa, I was blown away by the reception from South Africans across the board," she added.

"'Soweto loves Elana'... I mean it was still two years before we got a democratic government. It was an incredible and unexpected period for me. It gave me hope that we did have great potential as the rainbow nation."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/25380550

Edited by Mainad

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No

Should it get the Olympics irrespective of Mandela?

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So, this reporter is saying that if Mandela was still alive, South Africa shouldn't get the Olympics?

South Africa will get their Olympics at some point. When they do, there will probably be a lot to be said about Mandela's influence on the country. But considering we're talking about an event more than a decade away (and that's if they even bid for 2024), seems a long ways off to make it a tribute.

In a word.. no. South Africa should get the Olympics, but not as a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

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If Nelson Mandela had an Olympic history, then maybe. But his larger standing as a world statesman and oacifist doesn't really tie in with the more complex Olympics reality. The RSA will have to show that they are ready to stage the Games--and everyone in the RSA, including the Old Man himself I'm sure, were fully aware of this when they hosted the IOC in 2011; and by recusing themselves from the 2020 race, only shows what a cautious and mature approach they are taking in wanting the Olympic Games which will come their way sometime.

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No No No.

An amazing man without a shadow of a doubt, but do we really want to send this message out, which seems to be getting louder and louder each day.

If your country is an absolute basket case at some stage in your history, where you treat a huge portion of your citizens like arse, but then manage to actually function as a halfway decent society decades later...... we'll give you the Olympics.

Bugger those great nations who have plodded away giving equal rights to all for decades and decades, where the real benefit is, is if you fudge up your nation and manage to come back from it.

Again, Nelson Mandela is one of the great of this planets history.

South Africa, at some stage in the near future, will get to host the world.

But Im sick of people using this disgusting era of history as justification for hosting an Olympics.

[/vent]

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I can't be bothered reading it - but if the writer is suggesting the IOC casts aside its process and gives SA the Olympics on a silver platter - they're clearly just creating meaningless rhetoric for feel good clicks.

While I support the Olympics heading to South Africa before 2032, they still need to prove themselves against other options the IOC can choose from - potential cities within that time like New York, Paris, Rome or Istanbul all have a powerful charisma that could be an equal threat right back at a South African bid.

I think post-Mandela SA has a huge weight behind it that would help its next bid, but its ridiculous and silly to suggest it should be 'given' the Games. The IOC would be reluctant to set about such a precedence for such a situation. The only time that this MIGHT have been appropriate is if they had given Greece a decades worth of warning to prepare for the 1996 Centennial Games - but even then they didn't do this and proved just how non-sentimental they can be.

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No... South Africa should get the games on its own merit, not because Mandela has passed away.

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That reporter has neglected to mention Cape Town's 2004 bid. South Africa should bid for the games, not as a tribute to Mandela, but when it sees it's capable of hosting.

The ceremonies will always have a segment which tributes the great Mandela and any bid should not use Mandela as the main focus.

Edited by Lord David

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As everyone (except you-know-who :lol:) says, of course SA should get it, but, like every country before, they should go through the process. Now I'm sure that when they do bid, they will win it first time, but even losing can help them come back better, just ask Pyeongchang or Tokyo. It would also give SA a confidence boost if they could see that they've beaten other major cities around the world. It's better for all if they go through the process.

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04 was different anyway, Mandela had only been out, what, 7 years at the time of voting? And SA had never hosted anything. So I mean South Africa, Durban, Cape Town, Joburg (why hasn't Joburg been mentioned?), wherever, South Africa will win on their next try.

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It's well past time India got the games as a tribute to Gandhi!

Well, Gandhi spent 21 years (1893 - 1914) in Durban. So, yes, Durban could claim him too in a future quest.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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I'm so glad IOC picked Atlanta as a tribute to Martin Luther King.

I sense that this is a joke on the idea that they didn't (pick Atlanta because of MLK), but Atlanta certainly wasn't shy about mentioning MLK and civil rights during its bid - even as far as veering close to referring to itself as the first 'African'* Olympics.

*(American)

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Cape Town is where Nelson Mandela strongest legacy it is where he spent 18 years in prison to get out and where he made his famous speech the greatest battle for freedom he fight was in Cape Town, Cape Town should be the city that host the 1st African Olympics and Paralympics Games it is an world class city it is Africa tourist and sporting capital, 70% of stuff needed or the Olympics is in place now.

I see after Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 and Tokyo Japan 2020 the Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games will go back to North America after 28 years in Toronto Canada 2024 then after that I think it will be going to Cape Town South Africa for the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games for the 1st games in Africa with Durban South Africa hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Singapore 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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Toronto 2024 is wishful thinking & 4 games outside Europe just won't happen. Toronto 2028 & Cape Town 2032 with a Euro city in 2024 (Paris) sounds good, and plausible.

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Cape Town is where Nelson Mandela strongest legacy it is where he spent 18 years in prison to get out and where he made his famous speech the greatest battle for freedom he fight was in Cape Town, Cape Town should be the city that host the 1st African Olympics and Paralympics Games it is an world class city it is Africa tourist and sporting capital, 70% of stuff needed or the Olympics is in place now.

I see after Rio de Janeiro Brazil 2016 and Tokyo Japan 2020 the Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games will go back to North America after 28 years in Toronto Canada 2024 then after that I think it will be going to Cape Town South Africa for the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games for the 1st games in Africa with Durban South Africa hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Singapore 2022 Commonwealth Games.

My London should host 2022 Commonwealth Games. All Facilities in place.

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I can't be bothered reading it - but if the writer is suggesting the IOC casts aside its process and gives SA the Olympics on a silver platter - they're clearly just creating meaningless rhetoric for feel good clicks.

"I can't be bothered reading it"

Clearly not! The writer isn't suggesting anything, it's an interview not an article..and the headline is a quote from the interview...

South Africa should be chosen as host for the Olympics as a tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela, according to their first athlete to win an Olympic medal in the post-apartheid era.

"If the Olympic Games can come to Africa and South Africa it will be in honour of Madiba [Mandela's tribal name]. I think it's time. It's Africa's time. It would be a fitting way to honour a great leader," said Meyer, talking on Sportshour on the BBC World Service.

;)

Edited by Rob.

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