Ashton Eaton doubted himself in a restroom before the final event of the decathlon, the grueling 1500m. The gold medal was already assured, but a shot at the world record gnawed.
Eaton needed to clock 4:18.25 inside Beijing’s Bird’s Nest on Saturday night to break his world record set in 2012, when he ran 4:14.48 at the Olympic trials at home in Eugene, Ore.
Inside the restroom, Eaton knew what was required.
“Man, I haven’t done a [decathlon] in a while [more than two years], and I’m obviously, like, pretty tired,” Eaton thought to himself in the restroom, recounting it to media in Beijing. “It’s just little things in my mind. I don’t think I can run that fast. This, that and the other thing.”
Eaton needed to average about 69-second laps in the 1500m. The crowd, full and waiting for Usain Bolt to race an hour later, did the…
Cole Wagner smashed a grand slam in an 8-run third inning to get his team up by 18 runs, which if you know baseball, is a lot! What’s even better – the reaction of the pitcher who surrendered the massive hit by Wagner. Watch the video below from the 45 second mark and see the absolute amazement of the pitcher, Mekhi Gerrard, who forgot he was a competitor, enjoying the moment.
Even at the Olympic level, athletes can find themselves in awe.
Bob Hayes was the man in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Everybody seems to have a story about him, and how awesome he was.
The 1992 US Men’s basketball team, aka The Dream Team, had ten of the 50 greatest players in NBA history at the Barcelona Games. According to Olympic.org, “So overwhelmed and star-struck were America’s basketball opponents they even requested photograph and autograph-signing sessions before playing them.”
Kanako Watanabe is one of the up-and-coming swimmers from Japan, who won gold in the 200-meter breaststroke at the world championships in Kazan, Russia in early August.
More interestingly, in that same competition, the bronze medal went to three swimmers as they all finished with the identical time of 2 minutes and 22.76 seconds.
In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the regulations set by the international swimming body FINA dictated that times were measured in tenths of seconds, and the first arbiter of times were human judges. In fact, judges would line up at the end of the pool where the race would finish. Not only did they time the swimmers with hand-held stopwatches, they also used their eyes to determine when the swimmer in their lane touched the wall, presumably seeing finishers with their peripheral vision to determine whether they finished ahead or behind swimmers in neighboring lanes.
In the men’s 100 meter freestyle competition, Don Schollander took gold in an Olympic record time of 53.4 seconds. Brit Robert McGregor took silver with a time of 53.5 seconds. However, two men ended up with identical third-place times. Both Hans-Joachim Klein of Germany and Gary Illman of the USA were determined by the judges to have touched the wall at 54 seconds flat. But using the unofficial electronic time available at the Tokyo Games, Klein finished one one-thousandth of a second faster, and was awarded bronze.
So remember, even today, every one one-thousandth of a second counts.
It’s not just Japan where taxi drivers are challenged by English. Brazil, which will be hosting the international sporting lovefest known as the Olympics in the summer of 2016, will also have to figure out how to communicate with the non-Portuguese speaking hordes who will descend on Rio de Janeiro next August.
The project is run by a company called Meritus Partners, and as one of the company partners explains, the Brazilian taxi driver needs help. “Since May, when I started conducting research with the cab drivers in Rio, I have learned that they have very limited understanding and awareness of their role in the hospitality sector yet they are the host of the city, the first impression of a foreign tourist.”
Fortunately, not all taxi drivers in Brazil need help. This fellow not only gets the passenger to his destination in time, he does a fantastic rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.