First The Flame, Then The Gold

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First The Flame, Then The Gold
First The Flame, Then The Gold

Video: First The Flame, Then The Gold

Video: First The Flame, Then The Gold
Video: Boney M. - Rasputin (BBC Top Of The Pops 25.12.1978) (VOD) 2023, June

The German women defeat the Greeks in beach volleyball. Okay, that's what you expected. When the images flicker across one of the screens that are set up everywhere in the street cafes, it hardly attracts the locals from their reserves. When the German water polo players beat the Greeks almost 5: 4, it caused more emotions. But they are really annoyed when the spokesman announced that the first race of the surf men had been canceled. Her starter had won that.

What do Greeks have to do with surfing? If they worshiped a javelin thrower, a discus thrower or a marathon runner, one could understand that. In keeping with history. But a sailor?

Nikos Kaklamanakis was allowed to fly the Greek flag at the Sydney Games and lit the Olympic flame in Athens on Friday. The black-haired, always top-styled Sunnyboy has been the sports idol of the Greeks since he won gold in Savannah in 1996. * Back then we were more successful than ever at the Olympics *, recalls a local. * But the gold medal from Nikos was absolutely the coolest. *

The name Kaklamanakis stands for the success eight years ago. Since then he has been the darling of the advertising industry. A large poster with his likeness greets the visitor at the new international airport, and his face smiles on banners from the tallest buildings in the city. The surfer from Crete earns millions from advertising.

And his value as the god of sports has increased even further since the worst rival for the favor of the Greeks, the sprinter Kostas Kenteris, threatened to be excluded from the games for refusing a doping control. The surprising gold medal winner in the prestigious 200-meter sprint in Sydney was originally traded as the hottest candidate for the flame ignition.

But the sprinter was suspect not only since the scandal in Athens. He only showed up at major sporting events, cleaned up and went back into hiding. That sparked rumors. In the stadiums of the world he was given a whistle again and again.

In other words, those responsible agreed before the opening to present a clean surfer to the world public. Stories are often told about the Greeks, which show him as a deserving athlete.

Just like the one from the PreOlympics, when he led with a huge margin and ran onto the Frauenfeld that had started earlier. The Swiss AnjKaeser did not see him coming, collided with the star 50 meters from the finish and injured her shoulder. Instead of claiming victory, Kaklamanakis jumped into the water and helped her until a lifeboat arrived. His race was considered abandoned. Even so, he later won the series.

A story that doesn't quite fit in with his reputation among athletes. They describe him as a loner and outsider who does not always take the rules and fairness so carefully. The three-time world champion likes to be quoted with the sentence: * For me, victory comes before everything else. * He doesn't have many friends in the scene.

So he doesn't attach much importance to training with his colleagues. He prepared himself mostly alone in Athens, stayed away from the big sailing weeks, and when he showed up, like at the last World Cup, he finished 15th. For him, almost as a disaster as the sixth place in Sydney. Now he seems in better shape as the first two races show.

But Nikos Kaklamanakis may feel like the Australian Cathy Freeman four years ago. The athlete was also allowed to light the fire and carried the weight of the expectation of an entire nation on her shoulders. She lived up to her and won gold.

If Kaklamanakis succeeds in this feat, he will finally become immortal as a surf god for his compatriots

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