By: Rikki Swannell | Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Just when you think it’s over, the Olympics throw up one more surprise. But are we really surprised? Of course not. The suspicion was there, the aspersions had been cast and in the end the only real surprise is how quickly Nadzeya Ostapchuk was found out as a drugs cheat.
In the immediate aftermath of the shot put the mostly telling statement came in a non-statement from Jean-Pierre Egger, the Swiss coach of Valerie Adams. Asked about the performance and rapid improvement of Ostapchuck, Egger said “I prefer to keep quiet on this. If you understand what I am saying.” We all understood, and now the world knows too. The gold belongs to Valerie just like we always thought it would and this tumultuous Olympics for one of New Zealand sport’s most famous faces ends with happy tears.
So what an ending it is. Six gold medals for New Zealand, two silvers and five bronze. In my opinion our most successful games ever including LA. In 1984 we won eight golds in a total of 11, but there were no eastern bloc nations. The world has moved on and a little tiny nation has kept pace with the billions that get pumped into sport. New Zealand had a group of athletes here who were the embodiment of our country – friendly and hard-working.
London as a host venue will be hard to top. From the spectacular venues to the ever-smiling volunteers, this city and its people should be very proud of what it has shown to the world – even though I’m sure they’ll be back to complaining about tube delays in a few weeks!
I’ve been asked many times for my Games highlights and truth be told, being here was it. The fulfilment of a career goal and the ambition of a seven-year-old who watched Mark Todd, Flo-Jo and Anthony Nesty in 1988. It has been all I expected and more.
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