I watched a television programme about 1972 last week. The BBC or ‘auntie’ as it is affectionately known, is also suffering in the recession it seems. It’s cheaper to make programmes powered by the public (think talent shows like the Voice UK or ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent) or to dig out footage from the archives, thereby cutting out expensive actors, sets and film crews. It’s a shame to have to rely on the USA for high quality dramas like Mad Men and Homeland, but there you go.
Anyway, I digress. So I spent the evening in question reading up about Mark Spitz’s achievements at the Munich Olympic Games. He is considered to be one of the most successful athletes of all time, winning seven Olympic gold medals in the pool in 1972. This was surpassed at Beijing 2008 when fellow US athlete Michael Phelps won eight golds in the pool, bringing his personal haul to 16 Olympic medals .
It got me wondering if there will be one stand out athlete at London 2012. Sure, Michael Phelps is back for his last Olympics, but he won’t be competing in as many events as he did in Beijing. Sadly, Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe didn’t qualify in his comeback attempt and won’t be appearing. But this isn’t just the swimming Olympics, right?
There are so many outstanding athletes hoping to build on past successes – it's enough to make your head spin. I think the most recognised name will be Usain Bolt, who is hoping to smash his Beijing performance having run the fastest 100m time this year last weekend. Apparently, the only thing that can stop him this summer is the UK weather. I know the feeling Usain!