Anorak News | Paula’s Heartache

Paula’s Heartache

by | 23rd, August 2004

‘THOSE of you looking for signs that not all was well with Paula Radcliffe when she began her Olympic marathon needed only to have cast a glance towards her socks.

‘I knew I should have said no to that last ouzo’

Famed for wearing them white and pulled up to the knee, Britain’s most famous drug-free athlete embarked on her mission to win Olympic gold in two pairs.

The Times’ picture shows the distraught athlete with one white short pair of socks worn over a pair of longer flesh-coloured pair.

And this is a little odd, since, as the Times says, the temperature on the baking road was 100 degrees and higher.

Perhaps the intention was for the footwear to act as a kind of sponge.

But the plan went out of the window when just four miles from the end, Radlciffe could go on no further.

That such a terrific athlete was unable to stand the pace makes the performance of Japan’s Mizuki Nogishi, the race’s eventual winner, all the more admirable.

But this story is all about Radcliffe, who was the country’s best hope of winning athletics gold.

The other news from the track is that the winner of the men’s 100m final has not failed a post-race drugs test.

American Justin Gatlin, who hurtled across the line in 9.85 seconds, is apparently as clean as a whistle.

And don’t let anyone tell you different. Sure, as the Times says, the New Yorker tested positive for a banned stimulant back in 2002 and was given a two-year ban by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

But the ban was lifted when medics said the offending substance was imbedded in medication Gatlin had been taking to ease his ADHD, a condition he had suffered from since childhood.

No hint of any wrongdoing either with the British rowing team, who caused hearts to skip a beat when they took gold in the coxless fours by a margin of just 43.596cm.

And that meant a fourth gold medal in four consecutive Olympic Games for Matthew Pinsent.

Were it not for the five-in-a-row milestone set by Steve Redgrave, Pinsent would be the country’s most famous ever Olympian.

But then, Pinsent shouldn’t care about his reduced status. It could be argued that if it weren’t for Redgrave – Pinsent and Redgrave have shared three golds – Pinsent would not have achieved so much.

And we’d still not have the first idea rowing existed beyond the annual Boat Race and nursery rhymes.’

Posted: 23rd, August 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink