Sunday, 12 August 2012

true sport

The 4x100m relay was not a good event for British-Canadians.  Or Canadian-Brits.  Of which I am one.  Or the other.  

Firstly, the British men were disqualified in the heats.  In all likelihood, the foursome would have won a bronze medal.  Instead, Canada went on to finish third in the final.  But as they began their lap of honor - draped in the Maple Leaf - it was announced that they too had been disqualified.   

For a sprinter, there is probably nothing worse than getting DQ’d.  The UK, especially, has a had a tough time of things the last few years.  This year alone, the men’s team was DQ’d at both the European Championships and the Olympic Games.  The women’s team was DQ’d at the European Championships and did not qualify for the Olympic Games because of that DQ.  Both the men’s and women’s teams at the World Junior Championships were DQ’d.  Tough year, for sure.  Upside is it can only get better!  Former (and hopefully future) relay team member, Craig Pickering breaks down the difficulty of relay running on his recent blog-post for the UKA website.

This Olympic DQ was especially frustrating.  I work with two of the relay runners.  Both guys have had outstanding international careers, that have only lacked an Olympic medal.  The excellent chance they had for it on Saturday night may never come again.  

But if you think they feel bad, please spare a thought for the Canadian quartet.  They had actually began their celebratory lap - Canadian flags and all - when they heard the bad news.  From ecstasy to agony doesn’t even begin to describe it.  

To the non-athlete, it is difficult to explain the amount of work that goes into this competition.  Every training session.  Every competition.  For four years.  Leads to this one moment.  Where you have only one chance.  And because of an exchange 2 meters outside the zone - or two steps on the line.  It is all in vain.  And instead of you taking that lap, it’s the Trinidadians - who underperformed...big time.  Totally undeserving.  But who ever said sport was fair?

Extremely commendable was the manner in which all 8 of these athletes acted after the fact.  All handled themselves with dignity, humility, and class.  They took responsibility.  Promised they would learn from this, and move forward with renewed commitment.  True sportsmen.  True champions.  

I, for one, am a proud British-Canadian.  Or Canadian-Brit.  Whatever...