Friday, December 2, 2011

1972 Olympic 800m

They are flying along the backstretch, 150m into the race.

American Dave Wottle is behind. Way behind. There is a shot of him running alone, with no one else in the picture.

Announcer: "We don't know if Dave is seriously injured or sliding back to stay out of trouble." Cracks me up; of course, I know what happens next.

The field comes through in under 51; Dave is back at 53 or so. He starts pushing at the 300m mark, slowly gaining. Off the last turn, he's still 7-8 yards back, but the Russian is slowly coming back. Dave's strides are long and quick, while Arzhanov's are choppy and short. Wottle cuts down two Kenyans and keeps going, nailing the Russian with 5 yards to go.

Wottle came from way behind, but he ran back to back 53s laps. Dead even splits. No wonder he had a big kick when he needed it. But can you call it a kick if everyone else is dying?

Sure, why not?

Then he commits a minor indescretion by forgetting to remove his golf cap on the victory stand. Not intentional, he just forgot. Which, of course, gives birth to maybe the best nickname ever:

The Cat in the Hat.

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