The world’s finest Gladiators are assembled, and the games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio are well underway. I salute each and every one of them for their dedication and commitment to excellence in their chosen discipline.
The stories from 2016 are starting to unfold, and these games will have their own ‘signature’, but they’ll need to go some to beat London 2012 when Team GB excelled. Whatever happens in these games, my admiration and respect for the competitors from all countries is boundless.
The run up was marred by health concerns about the Zika virus as well as a doping scandal, both of which cast a cloud. Yet, despite this negative backdrop, the true gladiators are already proving themselves to be undeterred and are getting on with business. No matter which event is your favourite, it’s impossible not to be dazzled by all of their talents.
Although I try to watch as many events as possible, my favourite has always been, and always will be, track and field. I loved the 100, 200 and 1500metre running distances at school, and found them challenging enough at school level, let alone having to master 7 events at world class level, and so I marvel at the super human efforts of a young woman who competes in the Heptathlon, and is able to execute each of its components with a calm confidence. Jess Ennis is an inspiration to all of us in so many ways, and her strength of mind, character and sheer determination to keep driving towards her goal are breath-taking!
My allegiance to Team GB is unswerving, no matter what the sport, but I also love to watch the Jamaican running team on the track. Thanks to advertising contracts, Usain Bolt has been ubiquitous since the 2012 London Games, but that doesn’t detract from his prodigious power, speed and undisputed natural talent as a sprinter. I first spotted this particular Gladiator at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and went on to use his famous victory celebration pose as the logo for my business to represent aspiration and inspiration in sport.
To all of the Olympic Gladiators competing in Rio 2016, this is your amphitheatre and your time to shine…….. I salute you!