All Olympic Games leave behind, in their wake, triumphs and heartbreaks, heroes and villains, and a legacy that — for better or worse — follows the participants back home, sometimes until their dying day.
|Rudisha and Pamela. [Picture: STAFFORD ONDEGO]|
Even as we expect much from the likes of Vivian Cheruiyot by way of Olympic glory in 2012, here is a quartet of Olympiad style champions whom the last Olympics at the Birds’ Nest in Beijing, China, four years ago, irreversibly shaped: -
The Good: Janeth Jepkosgei.
After overthrowing the four-time Olympic champion, Maria Mutola aka ‘Maputo Express’ at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, and then in the athletes’ meeting the following year, Olympic glory was expected of Janeth Jepkosgei in the Birds’ Nest Olympics of 2008.
After all, Olympic dreams had formed Janeth’s personality from the time she was a good, obedient and lightning fast little girl in the small village of Kabirirsang village, five kilometres from Kapsabet — and it is a long road from Eldoret to global capitals like Peking.
Long and lithe, with flowing hair and a100 watt smile, the ‘Eldoret Express’ as the press dabbed the much-feted Janeth, was the perfect face for Safaricom Sports-Woman of the year in 2007.
Although she got a mere Sh125, 000 for that, itself a quarter of the half million the Government gave her for her Melbourne exploits, and one eighth of the million Tusker gave her for its Permit Meet, the Beijing Olympics were to be her global launch pad.
Martin Keino of Keino Sports Marketing told this writer that he really believed in Janeth’s ‘ Face-of-Big-Brand Value’ due to those comely features and confident posture.
And who can disagree, when too many of our world beaters seem to specialise in running at blistering pace, only to ‘un-wow’ us with big gobs of spit, muttering ineloquently into the microphone “nashukuru Mungu” then looking dazed on the podium as the national anthem plays, and ‘flaggy’ wave?
At Birds’ Nest in 2008, though, it was a new phenomenon of nature that took the 800m gold (we’ll see who in a bit) as JJ settled for silver. But for Kenya’s beauty queen of the track, London 2012 represents another bite at the beautiful, elusive, Olympic apple.
The Brand: David Rudisha.
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