Letter: Olympics - Maintain the original concept

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With the Rio Olympics imminent, I sit and reminisce on this changing world in sport. I cannot believe it is 48 years since I hitch-hiked to the Mexico 1968 games along with my brother. It was fiesta all the way. With amateurs from Great Britain and many other countries, working, and many depending on sponsorships to achieve their life’s ambitions. As a result of this 17,000 miles round trip, we were also given a sponsorship – and we rode to the Munich 1972 games – on a tandem (as recorded over some weeks in the Harrogate Advertiser) until we crashed in Saarrucken, Germany. At the same time these games were marred by the massacre of Israeli athletes by the Palestinian terrorist group – Black September. A sad situation of extremist bringing politics into the worlds greatest sporting event, bringing countries together in harmony.

It meant a cessation of the games for twenty-four hours, and you had to be there to endure the sudden change of everyone’s, happy go lucky attitude, to a silent solemn attitude. So the games changed that day.

As the years rolled by so have the games. Now with the introduction of professional (millionaires), to me, the meaning of the true sportsmanship has gone. Drugs have won medals, for cheats, who have taken them, at the expense of genuine competitors. In 1960, the Paralympics were introduced, most of these competitors have limbs missing, some from their war service. To see these men and women, it puts the cheats to shame, who should be banned for life to ensure the Olympic motto – citius altius fortius (faster higher stronger) are honestly maintained.

Alan Barker

West Lea Avenue,

Harrogate