Australia’s best sportsmen and woman will compete at the 2012 London Olympics with universal support from everyone here at home.
But that wasn’t the case for those who travelled to Moscow in 1980. The Games were boycotted by the United States and others in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan – action that split Australia down the middle.
Ultimately, however, 120 of our athletes decided to compete. With them went sports commentator Norman May, and his presence resulted in probably the most memorable piece of Olympics broadcasting in Australia’s history.
Ironically, it’s also one of the most misquoted!
His call of 4 x 100m men’s medley relay final was a ripper. In the final lap, Western Australian Neil Brooks gave his all to hold off Soviet swimmer Sergey Kopliakov. Fuelling the drama unfolding in front of May was the knowledge that Australia hadn’t won Olympic gold in eight long years.
Excitement and tension poured from May: “…Ten metres now. Brooks in front. It could be Australia’s gold. Five metres. Four, three, two, one. Gold! Gold to Australia! Gold!”
The victory helped turn public opinion at home. Perhaps the relief of so much tension also explained why so many of those listening thought he said: “Gold, gold, gold.”
May’s famous words have been inscribed on our incredibly rare 2012 Australian Olympic Team 2oz gold proof coin, to inspire a new generation of Australians to aim for gold in London. Upon lifting the lip of the special presentation packaging, an original recording of May’s ecstatic voice can be heard celebrating the famous moment in Australian Olympic history.