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Offline Socapro

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Crawford, the Golden Hero ...Olympic Medal Men—an 8-part series
« Reply #60 on: August 09, 2012, 02:17:22 AM »
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/sports/Crawford__the_Golden_Hero-165537106.html

Crawford, the Golden Hero
Olympic Medal Men—an 8-part series

By Dr Basil Ince
Story Created: Aug 9, 2012 at 12:44 AM ECT


OLYMPIAN, written by Dr Basil Ince, was published in 2011. The book examines, in detail, the history of Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic participation. Included in OLYMPIAN are profiles of the country's eight individual Olympic medallists, between 1948 and 2008. Between July 17 and August 9, excerpts from those eight profiles are being featured in the pages of the Trinidad Express.

The profiles, in their entirety, are being published on the Express website (http://www.trinidadexpress.com/olympics).

Today, the series concludes with the spotlight on sprinter Hasely Crawford, the country's first Olympic champion. Crawford struck gold in the 100 metres dash at the 1976 Montreal Games.

In 1976 this writer was elected president of the NAAA, and was selected to accompany the track team to Montreal as manager. My interest in track had never wavered and I had followed the progress of all the athletes on the team, but paid closer attention to their performances as the Games drew nearer.
 
I collected as much information as I could on Hasely from those who had been close to him over the years. Wilton Jackson and Ray Davis, who both competed during my athletic years, were most helpful.
 
Nausea, weakness, and vomiting are all indicators of the tension that appear just before the big event. At the same time the athlete is psyching himself up. His adrenaline is flowing.
 
As Hasely and I began to descend a flight of stairs to enter the stadium, he suddenly held both rails and bent over in agony. He blurted out: "Tell me something, tell me something quickly." I hit him a sharp blow in the back vigorously and more soothingly as time went on. I said to him, "Everything's going to be all right…you're in top shape, nobody's going to beat you," while continuing to rub his back.
 
When we reached the level of the Control Centre, Hasely went ahead and left me behind. He was doing some last vigorous warm-ups before reaching the Control Centre. He did some short rapid bursts on the concrete surface. After that activity he began lifting his knees high and as rapidly as possible (knee lifts). In another instance he was moving his hands, waist high, backward and forward as quickly as possible in running motion.
 
I had known since Europe that Crawford would win, but after he recovered from his accumulated bout of tension and had told me: "Don't worry. I'm going to beat them all," my confidence knew no bounds.
 
When we finally reached the Control Centre, I handed him his bag with his equipment and gave him last minute instructions. He shook his head in acquiescence and made his way into the Control Centre.
 
Hasely describes what transpired after I left him:

"There were two attendants in the room to check your shoes. Two at the door and one inside to check your spikes and make sure your numbers are on properly. I was the last one to come into the room. I started singing. It was a calypso.
 
"Quarrie said, 'Don't worry with him he is crazy.' And then I said to him, 'if you think I am crazy wait till we go out there, we go see who is crazy.'
 
"But Borzov kept circling me not saying anything with a kind of sneaky look on his face. I was carrying on at a rate, I was cussing, I was scared, I was nervous, but at the same time I was working off my nervousness.
 
"Then I saw the two Americans and I went to them and blurted out: 'You two lose.' The only person I couldn't move was Borzov. He just kept one way.
 
"Then they walked us out. It's amazing when you go out there. You don't see anybody. You are scared before you enter the arena. You kind of timid but once you hit that arena you feel nothing. You turn beast. You are a different person. You are not yourself."
 
Hasely may have "turned beast" but he was very much in control of himself. He knew what he had to do. He had to follow Jackson's instructions, namely, run a full 60m flat out before the race started.
 
Jackson explains: "I didn't want him to leave anything to chance, of not warming up and being not ready for the first few yards of the race. You just don't leave that kind of thing to chance in an Olympic final."
 
Jackson noted that Hasely carried out his instructions to the hilt.

Hasely explains what went through his mind when the starter says 'strip.'

"Now between 'strip' and 'get to your marks' is a couple of seconds. I don't think people understand what it is to run a 100m, you know. But in that couple of seconds everything came back to you. Your four years, everything. 'Oh God, ah tell so-and-so ah go beat them. Ah tell Trinidad and Tobago ah go win de race. If ah lose now mih mother go laugh at me.' Everything.
 
"And then the last thing I remember, I will never forget it. I said: 'I went back to Trinidad and ask for assistance and my own people turn me down. Ah go show them.' I will never forget that. That's the last thing I said."
 
Hasely then describes the race that millions saw on television, thereby giving an insight into what is going on inside a 100m gold medallist's head during the race. Even when the starter barked 'set' thoughts were still racing through Hasely's mind.
 
"When I was down there all kinda thing happen to me. When the man say 'set' I remember the white hope and Michigan…Between 1 3/4 and 2 seconds I was rocking; he (the starter) waited till I stopped rocking and the gun went off. I was in Lane 1, Lane 2 was Petrov, Lane 3 was Glance, Lane 4 was Borzov, Lane 5 was Quarrie. To me that's a disadvantage because I'm competitive. I like the middle (lane). I running you. That's why Jackson said he wished I'd come from behind. But me, I always believe that once I'm in trouble…because I didn't move Borzov (in the waiting room), so I knew I was in trouble…and once I in trouble I going in front. Me ain't chancing nutten! Once I have some fear for you, you have to come and get me! I ent giving you no yard; I taking a yard. You come and get me."
 
So the gun went off.

"I come out nice, but the first man out, I think was Glance. Borzov came out second! And the first thing come to me. I say, 'Jesus Christ, not that blasted white man again.' And I pick myself up and start to run. I ran so hard that at 50 (metres) I couldn't see nobody.
 
"At 80 metres I was saying to myself—and this is no joke, it might sound strange— 'You mean is so easy to win an Olympic gold medal?' That is what I was saying going down the road. And I think unintentionally I cut my stride. That was when Quarrie came alongside. Quarrie was coming like a shot.
 
"The time was 10.06. If I'd had help I would have broken the world record that day because I could have gone faster."

For the full Hasely Crawford profile and other articles, log on to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/olympics.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 02:21:26 AM by Socapro »
De higher a monkey climbs is de less his ass is on de line, if he works for FIFA that is! ;-)