24 Jul: The Aussies Who Outswam The Soviets

The ‘Quietly Confident Quartet’ of Mark Tonelli (backstroke), Peter Evans (breaststroke), Mark Kerry (butterfly), and Neil Brooks (freestyle) won Gold in the 4 × 100 metres medley relay at the Summer Olympics in Moscow on 24th July, 1980: the only time the United States had not won the event.

It was Australia’s first Gold medal for eight years, but reaction back home to the swimmers’ astonishing victory was mixed, because some of their countrymen – including the Australian government – believed the team, like the USA, should have boycotted the games due to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly debate whether their triumph was one of determination or youthful confidence; explain why the Seamen’s Union Of Australia played a pivotal role in getting them to Moscow; and investigate the Soviets’ claims to have run ‘the cleanest Games on record’…

Further Reading:

• Mark Tonelli Relives Legendary Commentator Norman May’s famous Moscow call: “Gold…Gold to Australia…Gold.!!” (Swimming World, 2020): https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/mark-tonelli-relives-legendary-commentator-norman-mays-famous-moscow-call-goldgold-to-australiagold/

• ‘The 1980 Olympics Are The ‘Cleanest’ In History. Athletes Recall How Moscow Cheated The System’ (Radio Free Europe, 2020): https://www.rferl.org/a/the-1980-moscow-olympics-rank-as-the-cleanest-in-history-athletes-recall-how-the-u-s-s-r-cheated-the-system-/30741567.html

• ‘Norman May – GOLD, GOLD, GOLD!’ (Olympics, 1980):

#Australia #Sport #Russia #80s