Some of the more astute among you may have noticed that I have been absent from these pages for a while. As ever, I have excuses aplenty – I’ve been busy at work, I’ve been busy in the pub, it’s cold outside – and as usual, they are all rubbish so I’ll spare you. The long and the short of it is that I’m back.
Looking for some inspiration, I discovered a sporting comeback that may be hard to top. At the start of the 1972 Munich Olympics, Lasse Virén, a 23-year-old Finnish policeman from the small village of Myrskyla, was not widely known. The heats of the 10,000 metres constituted his Olympic debut.
He qualified, but when he stumbled and fell just before the halfway mark in the final his chance of victory seemed to have gone.
The Tunisian Mohamed Gammoudi (who had won the 5,000 metres at the 1968 Olympics) tripped over Virén and gave up two laps later. But the Finnish runner calmly got to his feet and chased his way back into contention, overtaking Britain's David Bedford, the long-time leader, to not only win the gold medal, but set a world record of 27min 38.4sec.
Ten days later, he also won the 5,000m (in an Olympic record time) - a double that he repeated in Montreal in 1976.
You can watch the whole race in three parts [1, 2, 3] courtesy of YouTube, but if all you want to see is how badly he fell over, skip to three and a half minutes into Part 2.
I can't promise a comeback on quite such a spectacular scale, but I can promise a quickening of the pace around here. I'm going to need something to keep me occupied now that I've stopped smoking again.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Posted by John McClure at 2:51 pm