Comment from Peter Saxon
All the hype and manufactured enthusiasm in the world seemed futile going into these Olympics.
These Olympics, forced to postpone to an odd year, by a once-in-a-hundred-year pandemic, appeared destined to fail. Even the normally ‘can-do’ citizens of Japan, who politely whooped and hollered when Tokyo was first named as the host city for the 2020 Olympiad, have been shown in polls to prefer the whole thing be called off.
In a normal year, the Opening Ceremony might have been lauded for its ingenuity and uniting message, but without crowds to cheer as the athletes entered the arena, the whole thing seemed soulless and, at times, eerie.
Yet… yet… perhaps because many of us were in lockdown with little to do but watch – or listen on SEN, the only radio network that cared to secure broadcast rights – that we gave these “Limpics” a go.
If our attention was starting to flag into Sunday, the swimming re-energised us. It began with that spectacular performance from the women’s 4 x 100 relay in which the Australian team blew the competition out of the water. Suddenly, we realised how much we needed heroes right now.
That was just the appetiser. The main course came with the much hyped showdown in the women’s individual 400 metre race between America’s seasoned world beater Katie Ledecky and our own Ariarne Titmus. As the Washington Post reported, “the race lived up to the hype.”
Almost from the start, it was a two horse race. The rest of the field was left in the wake of Titmus who trailed the world champion. By lap six, most thought Titmus was gone. There was no way she was going to reel in her powerful opponent. At the beginning of lap seven, we felt that Titmus at least wasn’t conceding any more ground… maybe even gaining some, but not enough to win. And then, miracle of miracles! As Titmus surfaces from the last turn, the graphic appears with the Australian flag and the number one displayed next to it. Ledecky sticks with her, neck and neck. It’s not till the last 15 metres that Titmus draws away to win by a nano-moment.
It was a race for the ages, the sheer emotion of which was felt at both ends of the Pacific. Ledecky was gracious in defeat as was the Washington post in its post-race summaries, praising both contestants for their tenacity. These two women are true heroes without a hint of the kind of scandals that plague other sports.
Long after the race was over we became absorbed in the raw emotions from Ariarne, mum, dad, grans, and sisters as they followed the race from Noosa. In the meantime, swim coach Brad Boxall’s celebration from the stands in Tokyo went viral as we felt his elation of being a part of the family team that worked five long years to make a dream come true.
It was a big miracle.
All this made me think of a small miracle that occurred just a few days prior.
I got an email from Dell Yates at All Size Miracles. You probably know them as a regular advertiser on radioinfo. Most radio and TV stations purchase branded mic flags and wind shields from them. And, no this is not a paid article.
Dell, as she does most months, had sent through a change of banners. These are new and feature a custom-made foam wind shield they had made for the 7 Network’s Olympic coverage.
Dell, who’d years ago worked at 4BH and 2CH in sales and copy, is not normally prone to hyperbole. Yet, on this occasion she couldn’t help but sign off with, “Quite thrilling seeing them on 7!”
Call me sentimental, I couldn’t help but think that in a way, Dell and the small business she’d founded in 1996 and called All Size Miracles, “as no one gave me time or money to do what they wanted – but we did,” had made it to the Olympics.
She deserves a medal.