5 Olympic athletes I’ll be waking up to watch

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July 27, 2012 by dixwah

1. James Magnussen

I must, like everyone else, qualify my statement. Without wanting to put any more pressure on the young bloke, ‘the Missile’ will win gold in the 100 freestyle next Thursday morning.

Without wanting to put any more pressure on the guy, I’ll be joining every other resident of Port Macquarie in my speedos and googles at 4.30am to watch our local hero prove he’s the best in the world. Put our town on the map, make our lives meaningful etc..

Without wanting to put any more pressure on the guy, I’ve already taken annual leave to celebrate his world-record breaking performance.

2. John Steffenson

As an Australian watching the Olympics, is it bad form to wake up to watch the 4×400 metre relay hoping an athlete representing our great country drops the baton? 

It’s not often (ever) I agree with Caroline Wilson, but Steffenson has outshone Russell Mark and even Natalie Cook in his criticism of pretty much everything to do with the Games.


If Steffenson wanted to compete in the individual event, he should have run an A qualifier. He didn’t. He’s talked the talk – here’s his chance to walk the walk (or run, decidedly).

Captain toolbag – John Steffenson

3. Oscar Pistorius

As Steffenson didn’t run an A qualifier, I now have to do a double shift to take in both the individual and relays of the men’s 400.

Pistorius is the South African double amputee nicknamed ‘Blade Runner’ who qualified for the Games running with two prosthetic legs.

Blade Runner

It’s a brilliant story, with the potential to warm hearts and bridge gaps between able and disabled. Unless Pistorius wins a medal, in which case the cries of ‘unfair advantage’ will well and truly ring out.

And while I’m at it I may as well dine out on the South African unfair advantage bandwagon. Pistorius’ compatriot Caster Semenya is the overwhelming favourite for the women’s 800 metres. I might not wake up to watch her win, but I expect my twitter feed to be bombarded as uncomfortable debate reigns about her gender. It’s a disgrace. Let the woman run.

4. Victoria Pendleton

Pendleton is to London as Susie O’Neill was to Sydney. A glamorous athlete expected to beat the world and showcase Britain’s prowess, just as O’Neill signified the transfer of swimming power from the USA. What’s that? Ok, point taken.

With this column becoming dominated by Australians, Pendleton was preferred to ‘our own golden girl’, the inspirational Anna Meares, who has recovered from a broken back to take on Britain’s best and hopefully rip those Scousers hearts out.

If it takes prison rules for Anna Meares to bring down the evil Pendleton, I’m all for it. Oi! Oi! Oi!

 5. Behdad Salimikordasiabi

I’m throwing it out there, weightlifting is the most exciting spectator sport at the Olympics. Athlete gets final motivational talk from much smaller person (coach), general stretch of neck and upper body, ritual hand chalking, brief moment to gather thoughts, up, and either up or down with one pure, absolute roar of emotion and strength. I love it.

Salimikordasiabi, a 23 year-old Iranian, has the runs on the board in the men’s heavyweight competition, winning the last two world champs. He’s also unlikely to be flustered by too much. He won the Asian Games last year with a case of swine flu. Seriously.


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