“The charmed men and women gracing the podiums of modern Olympia are there for no other reason than that they are the finest in their fields. What greater contrast can there be between the Olympian (like swimmers Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Matt Grevers) who powers himself to the pinnacle, and the politician, who drapes himself in the noble toga of idealism, in the famous words of Aldous Huxley, so as to conceal his will to power.” (“COMPETE, DON’T KILL”)
The story of the underdog is often more inspiring. Once superb sportsmen, South Africans were ousted from international competitions until they agreed to hand over the country to the African National Congress. (Nowadays, on winning, each young winner prays publicly to “Madiba,” Nelson Mandela’s African honorific, and an adopted affectation among liberals.)
Notwithstanding lack of sponsorship—South African Olympian Cameron Van der Burgh trains in “a 25 meter pool in his local gym“—great South African talent is emerging again.
Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps in the 200 meters butterfly. A gold medal went to le Clos’s compatriot, Van der Burgh, “who broke the breaststroke world record on Sunday.”
The 24-year-old Van der Burgh “became the first South African man to win Olympic gold in an individual swimming event, after he powered through a race that left champion Kosuke Kitajima and previous record holder Brenton Rickard trailing in his wake.” (NewsDay)
He set a world record of 58.46 seconds on Sunday, beating the 58.58 set by Brenton Rickard in 2009. It also eclipsed the Olympic record of 58.83 he set in his semi-final on Saturday.
“Tonight, as I came in, I said to myself, ‘a man can change his stars, you can write your own destiny tonight’. I had my chance and I took it,” he said, after a victory that saw him lie back in the pool in sheer exhilaration at the finish.
Unrelated (and not to be rude), but has anyone noticed the frightful hags NBC has unleashed among the athletes, to gather news and interviews? OMG. I’m all for merit over pulchritude, so I hope this is what this is all about, but the stridency of Mary Carillo is quite something.