Friday, 20 July 2012

Road to Olympics - Athens , Greece - The Olympics Finally Come Home

After missing out on hosting the 100th year anniversary of modern Olympic Games, Athens was determined to show the world it still was the spiritual home of the Olympics. Seeking redemption from a failed bid for the 1996 Games, the Greek authorities decided to put on a masterpiece laced with ancient Greek traditions and modernity.

2004 had a couple of firsts for an Olympic Games;

  • The Olympic Torch traversed the world for the first time. The focus was mainly on former host cities and major sporting cities too. This was meant to create more awareness of the Games. 
  • The Games were streamed live on the Internet - though this was restricted within certain geographical parameters.
The Games were not the best outing for Kenya but before we focus on the country's failings. Let's look at some of the other highlights from Athens;

  • For the first time in an Olympics, all possible participating nations through the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) sent their athletes. 
  • Hisham el Guerrouj and Kelly Holmes each won 2 Gold Medals in 1500m & 5000m (men) while the latter won in 800m & 1500m (women).
  • Michael Phelps won 6 Gold and 2 Bronze medals - missing Mark Spitz's haul of 7 Gold by one in swimming.
  • Felix Sanchez won gold in the 400m hurdles becoming the first Dominican to win gold in an Olympics.
  • Gal Fridman won gold in windsurfing to score Israel's first gold medal too.
  • The USA Basketball team lost a game for the first time since featuring NBA pro stars and was beaten in the semis by Argentina to settle for Bronze.
  • Greece athletes Konstantinos Kenteris and Ekaterini Thanou staged a motorcycle accident to avoid being tested for use of banned substances. Consequently they withdrew from the Games opting out to save face.
  • US topped the medals table but Asia's China was slowly breathing down its neck falling short of 3 Gold medals of US' 35. 

Kenya's Facts:

  • Kenya sent participants in 4 disciplines participating in athletics, rowing, swimming and volleyball.
  • 22 men and 24 women was the final tally of the Kenyan contingent - one of the lowest in recent times.
  • Athletics was the only discipline to bring us medals, keeping to its previous successes. 
  • Kenya's volleyball team represented Africa in the Games but didn't win a single game or set. They would miss the next 2 Games. 
  • 1 Gold in Kenya's traditional sport - 3000m steeplechase won by Ezekiel Kemboi who led a clean sweep in the same race leading Brimin Kipruto and Paul Kipsiele Koech. 
  • Bernard Lagat won silver in 1500m (men) and he took a bow in representing the country going on to his adopted country of US of A.
  • Other medal winners include Catherine 'The Great' Ndereba Silver (women's marathon), Isabella Ochichi- Silver ( women's 5000m); Eliud Kipchoge- Bronze ( men's 5000m)


1 comment:

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