RAISED ON OLYMPIC PASSION
The Games helped put a television in every home, writes Ross Brundrett
TELEVISION in Australia has grown up with the Olympics. It jumped out of the blocks for the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and has never looked back.
Television might have gone to colour in 1975, but it wasn’t until the following year that we all had to have one, for the Olympics in Montreal, of course.
And so it has continued. Some of our strongest memories are of huddling in front of a television— in the office, at the pub, at home in the middle of the night — watching the great Olympic moments and even shedding a tear when things went awry.
The ABC and Nine have been involved during shared transmissions and Ten had the rights to Los Angeles and Seoul.
But Seven is the undisputed gold medallist when it comes to Olympic coverage. Beijing will be its 12th commitment as the keeper of the nation’s heart and mind for a tick over two weeks.
Every Olympics it’s the same. We share the pain and the glory of our athletes on the box.
When world champion cyclist Shane Kelly lost his chance at gold in the 1000m time trial at Atlanta because his foot slipped off the pedal at take-off, the entire nation held its breath in disbelief, just as we groaned when Sally Robbins lay down and sank the women’s rowing eight’s gold-medal hopes in Athens.
But it’s the famous victories we tune in for. We rejoiced at Dawn Fraser’s third consecutive win in the 100m at Tokyo, yelled loudly when Duncan Armstrong swam the race of his life in the 200m at Seoul, and whooped it up when Debbie Flintoff-King lunged past Russian Tatyana Ledovskaya, also at Seoul, to grab a photo-finish gold in the 400m hurdles.