29 November, 2020

Vroom! Streaks Of Gold

That season is upon us again. Beginning this week, we celebrate the men and women who will exemplify this spirit at the games. First off the mark-who else, but the speed merchants.

Vroom! Streaks Of Gold

There are many ways of looking at speed. It’s a form of behaviour required of people in their professional lives as electronic workplaces become faster and faster. It’s an experience that many people crave as a form of release from their slow and dull lives. In sport, speed is a necessity, a desperation and a desire to fulfil. No wonder, in the Olympics, the greatest sporting show on Earth, speed conjures up giddy memories. Of Jesse Owens sprinting and jumping to four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Games, a one-man refutation of mumbo-jumbo Nazi race theories. Or Carl Lewis emulating Owens’ feats 48 years later at the Los Angeles games. Or of Betty Cuthbert sprinting head-turned, open-mouthed to three gold medals in Melbourne in 1956-a treasured memory for Australians with another home Olympics upon them.

In the pool, the meaning of speed has changed radically since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with the inclusion of the 50-metre events. Speed merchants like Alexander Popov dominate now, thrashing their way from one end of the pool to the...



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