The 2016 Rio Olympics are just a heartbeat away. The Olympic Games capture our imagination. They have revealed sporting legends whose legacies remain for generations. Rio, also, will bring forth champs that will inspire. In this article I reflect on two of the greats that have inspired me.
Winning an Olympic Gold is a simple equation. Being the very best in your sport for one day every four years. It is simple, but not easy. So champions, such as Seb Coe from the United Kingdom, shine in Olympic history for finding this formula.
Coe was favourite in the 800m event at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. But poor tactics and a brilliant run by countryman Steve Ovett pushed him out of Gold. Filled with determination he refocused to win the "Blue Ribbon" track event, the 1500m. Four years later, and suffering serious illness, Coe again ran a determined race to win the 1500m.
What makes Coe a true champion was the legacy he left after running: elected to British Parliament, President of the Organising Committee for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, President of the International Amateur Athletics Committee and numerous state honours. Lord Coe is a true champion.
The other champion of the Olympics is Carl Lewis whose career totalled nine Gold medals starting at the 1984 Los Angeles up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It was at the 1984 Olympics that he did the almost impossible: emulate Jessie Owen's record of four Golds in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4*100m relay. He became one of the world's most famous and controversial sporting figures from this moment.
In 1988 he was awarded the Gold for the 100m after Ben Johnson was disqualified after a positive drug test. The controversy and rivalry is still talked about today and has become a defining moment in Olympic history.
Lewis became one of only three Olympians to win the same individual event (long jump) four times. His record stands above all others and as a result in 1999 Lewis was voted "Sportsman of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport. To rise to the top of this tree for one day every four years demonstrates commitment and planning. Both Coe and Lewis are amongst the best.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html