Who’s going to win “Gold, gold to Australia, gold!”
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Norman May, born in 1928 and educated at Sydney Boys High School, coined the memorable call, “Gold, gold to Australia, gold!” when he described Australia’s win in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay at the Moscow Games in 1980s.
With a voice that could be described (as with the great Winston McCarthy) of “the mating call of two pieces of sandpaper”, and a prodigious knowledge and passion of all the Olympic events, May is, in my opinion, the Don Bradman of Olympic commentators.
So which Australian athletes of teams are going to be immortalised with the famous Norman May cry of “Gold, gold to Australia, gold!?”
The likelihood is that some of the names that we don’t know about right now will become famous overnight, and some champions will disappoint.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s call is as good a place to start with the favourites and the not so favourites.
Football: Coach Graham Arnold is confident of a medal but the bookmakers have ranked the Socceroos 13th out of 16 teams.
Athletics: Medal hopes in the walkers, Jane Saville (desperately unlucky at Sydney in 2000), Luke Adams and Jared Tallent. Distance runner Craig Mottram and Steve Hooker, pole vaulter, are “our strongest winning hopes,” with the men’s 4x400m a medal chance.
Cycling: At Athens the cyclists won 49 medals, including 17 gold. Medal hopes in 2008 include Cadel Evans (if he competes) in the men’s road team, and also in the time trial. Sara Carrigan, an Olympic gold medalist, is a medal chance in the women’s road race. Gold medallist Anna Meares and Katie Mactier (recovering from a broken neck) are medal chances in the sprint and individual pursuit.
Shooting: Husband and wife Daniel Repacholi and Sue McCready are gold medal chances in the men’s pistol and women’s rifle.
Basketball: With the best female basketballer in the world in the team, the Opals are hoping to improve on their silver medal in Sydney. Even with Andrew Bogut (the $76 million man), the Boomers aren’t expected to win a medal.
Kayaking: Look to Clint Robinson in his fifth Olympics to add to his three medals.
Rowing: The men’s coxless pairs (where do they get these descriptions from?) and the women’s light-weight double sculls are picked to win gold. Australia will be represented in all fourteen rowing events. There is no Sally Robbins in the women’s eights, which increases their medal chances. And our own James Chapman is in the men’s eights to give us his fascinating insights into the Olympic experience.
Swimming: Eight world records were broken at the Australian Olympic trials, so there should be a hatful of medals in this side from Libby Trickett, Grant Hackett, Eamon Sullivan, Stephanie Rice, Jess Schipper, Leisel Jones, Cate Campbell, Emily Seebohm, and the relay teams.
Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.