With the Rio #Olympics opening ceremony just over a month away, there are still calls for the venue to be changed, as reported by Arizona 12 News. They wrote that the Olympics in Rio are a mess that is compounded by the Zika virus, high crime, and political tensions. Other mainstream media carry the big drug stories. Russia and Kenya faced the possibility of being banned altogether for drug use among athletes. The Meldonium drug that kick-started the suspension from international tennis of famous tennis player Sharapova, may result in her being unable to play at Rio, despite the fact that Russia has submitted her name for the game. Re-testing for drug use of the 2012 London Olympic athletes, means that at least 23 athletes face the possibility of being banned from participating this year.
Games tarnished already.
The Olympics will go ahead as planned, despite the crime, drugs, disgrace and other concerns. In the entire melee of accusations, counter accusations and bad media, the sheen on the Rio Games is already tarnished and it has not even happened yet. The Olympic Games has become associated with world sporting heroes who let down entire nations, toppled role models and ruined relationships. The good old days when athletes were lauded for performing on their own ability, without the aid of drugs are long gone, but the true spirit of the Olympics does endure.
June 23 is the day that honors one outstanding athlete who demonstrated such courage in the face of adversity that streets have been named in her honor, statues erected as a tribute to her magnificent determination, and school children can now watch a documentary that illustrates the true spirit of human endeavor.
Tennessee, in the USA keeps that spirit burning bright by celebrating the Wilma Rudolph Day every year. The day was proclaimed back in 1997 by Governor Don Sundquist. The greatest achievement of Wilma Rudolph was not the fact that she was hailed across the world as the fastest woman in #history after she won three gold medals in the Rome summer Olympics in 1960. Her greatest achievement took place years before, when, at the age of nine, she took her first unaided steps following a severe bout of polio. She had a twisted leg that required special shoes and she wore a brace until she was twelve.
When she was diagnosed with polio at the age of four, doctors told her family that she might never walk properly. In those days it was acceptable to call a polio victim a cripple, but Rudolph never took the label on board. By the time she was at high school she started playing basketball, and it was not long before she was talent scouted by Tennessee State track and field coach Ed Temple when she was a 10th grade pupil.
When Wilma was 16 years-old, she was able to show her school friends the Bronze medal she brought home from the1956 Melbourne games with the U.S. Olympic track and field team. Despite being described as the Black Gazelle, and receiving multiple awards, this young professional who retired from the track at 22 and personally met with President John F. Kennedy, took up a modest career as a school teacher.
Her final challenge.
Always humble, she became loved in her home town and in Nashville, Tennessee where she lived. When she lost her final challenge to brain and throat cancer in 1994 and was buried at the Edgefield Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, the State flag flew at half-mast above the thousands of mourners at both her memorial service and funeral.
Is there a super-hero?
It is right that she should be remembered in these times of disrepute that dirty athletes have brought to the world sporting arena. The world needs more clean athletes that we can admire and look up to. Is there anybody out there to save the Rio Olympics and bestow pride on the games again? Rio 2016; the world awaits the coming of a clean, drug-free and courageous super-hero. #Sports Highlights