Those three weeks I have recently passed in watching --- obsessively, I must admit --- the Olympics, appear to have taken some kind of toll of me. Having just awakened from a three and a half hour after-lunch nap --- imagine that, three and a half hours instead of the usual half hour! --- I realize that must tell some sort of tale, must mean I have been drained of energy, as a result of watching all those dives, those tiny Chinese figures with their perfect accomplishments from the 10 metre board; with being bewildered by the astonishing speed of eye and reflex of the table tennis players, again, mostly Chinese; marvelling in the incredible speed of the badminton games, that I had always thought of as being a kind of gentle patting back and forth, but that seem to have developed a speed of movement of players and shuttle almost so fast as to betray the eye.
And then, of course the big one, the athletics or track and field as it is known in this part of the world. Well, it is hardly surprising, as readers of my previous blog will understand, recording my victory as the first 88-year-old to have won the Olympic 800 metres race, hardly surprising that I have been sightly exhausted since that event. Not to mention the strain put upon me by various other events, with their titanic struggles and towering achievements, such as immense power of tiny little Almaz Ayana, of Ethiopia, as she spreadeagled the 10,000 metre field, beating them all by 150 metres, or the thrilling victory in the marathon by the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, or the wonderful race-strategies of Mo Farah, the Somalia-born Englishman who won the 5000 and 10,000 metres races running away.
Added to all of this comes my dream of two nights ago about the
semi-finals of the men’s 100 metres. These races seem to have been won respectively by Andre de Grasse and Usain Bolt, in equal times, but with other factors clouding the likely outcome of the final. For one thing, I seem to have qualified myself in Bolt’s semi-final, and was going on to contest the final, the prospect for which was clouded by all the Canadian hype about the unlikely possibility of the race being won by de Grasse.
Yet the cause for my anxiety about the final was this other factor: namely that during the race some stitching was mandatory, that probably Bolt would have to handle not only his opponents but to do so while being required to stitch some garment of other en route. This was demanding a hell of a lot even of such an ineffable champion as Bolt, and since my dream was interrupted at this point, I have been carrying anxiety about its outcome with me ever since.
Of course, we all know that Bolt won it in a canter in the real event, which, for some unexplained reason, took place without my participation. Had I pulled up with a torn hamstring? Had I simply been overcome by the prospect of facing the great Bolt? Had I decided to retire in an an act of supreme sportsmanship, so as not to interfere in any way with the accolades that must descend on Bolt after his victory? (Of these choices, I like the last-named best.)
Any of these things is possible but I am still anxious about the outcome of the final. I cannot claim to have won it, I realize that, but I am still living in a state of anxiety as to the possibility of Bolt’s losing, while pausing long enough to stitch this garment of my dreams.
I hope I am not going to be dreaming any more: especially about those Russian rhythmic gymnastics women, Margarita Mamun, who scored 19 out of 20 possible points in all four rotations, and somehow slipped under the radar of international attention, and her equally beautiful fellow Yana Kudryavtseva, both of whom had --- and as an old man with long experience I have the credentials to judge this kind of thing --- the most glorious legs ever seen on earth.
I already have enough problems from the Olympics without piling on any more.