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Moments of the Games


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Simple - what was your stand-out moment of these Olympics and why?

For me, it was seeing the Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze break his own world records in winning gold by the proverbial country mile. Not because it was necessarily the best performance of the Games or because I was ignoring broader issues in that sport, but because it reminded me of what the Olympics actually mean to me. As I've said elsewhere, I had real doubts about whether the Games should have gone ahead at all, but watching Talakhadze took me back to being the fascinated nine-year-old who saw weightlifting for the first time late at night during the Barcelona Games of 1992. When it's easy, as a not so young person now, to get grumpy about sports being in the Olympics that I'm not sure should be, that was a timely reminder that you never know what will have inspired people of all ages over these past two weeks.

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As an Australian, for all our great moments in the pool this time, I think I’d go for Jessica Fox winning the canoe slalom. She’s pretty, has a bubbly personality, and we all followed her journey and disappointment in missing out on her longed-for win in the kayak slalom the days before. It was thus really emotional seeing her try again and holding our collective breaths as, after all the other competitors, she passed gate by gruelling gate through the course and finally got through fastest. Her dad was commentating in our coverage and he was so calm (though later they showed us footage of the emotion he was really going through). It was such a huge burst of relief and joy. A real jump up in front of the TV moment.

As for general moments, I’ll go for not one in partioular but the general esprit amongst all the competitors in the skateboarding events. Whatever their nationalities, they all just encouraged each other, cheered each other on, hugged and seemed genuinely happy when any of them did a good run or scored a medal. They just seemed like very close, very great pals instead of competitors. I’ve never seen such close camaraderie like that, it was a real great touching and inspirational example of true sportsmanship and competing in the spirit of just the joy of doing what they love.  

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