Feelin’ the Olympic Hype!
The 2012 London Summer Olympics are just around the corner (T-minus 1 day until Opening Ceremony!), and we are pumped over here at Pubslush! In the interest of sharing the hype, here are some amazing athlete’s stories to give you some midweek inspiration!
At the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Wilma Rudolph blew minds of everyone watching. This woman is a legend today after beating all the odds. Having overcome polio (along with several other illnesses) as a child, no one expected a girl who used to wear a leg brace to be one of the fastest runners in the world. At the Games she competed with a sprained ankle and went on to raise the bar for women’s track and field by winning three gold medals, and being the first to do so!
Talk about rolling with the punches! Back to Rome in 1960: Abebe Bikila, a poor villager, was added on at the very last minute to the Ethiopian Olympic marathon team. So last minute, in fact, that he did not even have a pair of running shoes when he arrived at the race. Barefoot atop Rome’s cobblestones, Bikila soon (in a record setting time of 2 hours and 15 minutes) hushed his snickering competitors’ and took the gold. Not only is this the ultimate underdog story, but also the political implications riding on his win makes it even more remarkable. The Ethiopian Barefoot Runner triumphed right in the faces of his country’s former military occupier, making the victory all the more satisfying.
At 14 years old, Romanian Nadia Comaneci dropped jaws and captured hearts everywhere at the 1976 Games in Montreal. Unprecedented and unexpected, Comaneci scored seven perfect 10s. A perfect 10 was so unforeseen that the scoreboards physically weren’t prepared to display double digits, so her 10s had to be displayed as 1.00!
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
With the Civil Rights Movement in full swing in 1968, there was much turmoil and tension throughout the nation. In the Mexico City Games, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stole first and third place, respectively. With all eyes on them, not only America’s but the world’s as well, on the podium as they received their medals, the two transformed the moment into a political statement for the ages. Initially encouraged to boycott the games and not participate, they instead took advantage of the moment by protesting human rights. Shoeless, the two wore black socks instead to represent black poverty. Smith wore a black scarf to represent black pride, and Carlos displayed solidarity with U.S. blue collar workers by unzipping his tracksuit and wore beads in the memory of all those who had been tortured, killed, forgotten, and discriminated against in the middle passage. The bravery behind their protest was commemorated in 2005 at San Jose University with the creation of a statue of the scene.
Guts wrenched as millions of viewers rewatched the moment over and over: 1988, Seoul, in the preliminary rounds diver Greg Louganis springs off the board only to hit the back of his head on the board. Concussed, he flops into the water. He wowed everyone when he preserved to finish the preliminaries and go on to repeat the exact dive in the finals, but this time receiving a near-perfect score and the gold medal. Years later he left all in disbelief when he revealed he was HIV-positive at the time of the Games as well.