RAISED ON OLYMPIC PAS­SION

The Games helped put a television in ev­ery home, writes Ross Brun­drett

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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.

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