She is so nervous, her fingers are shaking as she presses them into the track.
Set . . .
“I’m as good as they are,” she keeps telling herself, “until they prove otherwise.”
GO LIKE THE CLAPPERS!
Just 11.5 seconds later, she breasts the tape – as the new Olympic gold medallist!
“I don’t think I’ve been more emotional than when they put up the Australian flag and played the national anthem,” she told me when I interviewed her in her Adelaide home 25 years ago. “It was a moment in time that was mine and it can never be taken away from me. Whatever happens, I hope I don’t ever get Alzheimer’s disease, because I don’t ever want to forget it. Ever.”
And nor did she want to forget winning the gold in the 200m the next day, or her triumphant return to Australia, with the plane carrying the Olympic team coming in low over Lithgow to waggle its wings and people lining the route from Sydney airport and cheering her on, all the way home.
“Good girl!” the school children cried! “Go Marj!” “There she is, the Lithgow Flash!”
And of course at the Lithgow reception, the press shouted questions, including one to her father.
“Are you proud of your girl, Mr Jackson?”
“I’ve always been proud of her,” he replied beaming, squeezing her tight.
And all these years on, she has forgotten none of it. No Alzheimers, no hesitation in her voice, she is as strong as ever.
The Lithgow Flash turns 90 on Monday. Bravo, Marjorie Jackson AC, CVO MBE.
And all these years on, the nation is still as proud of you as ever!
Respect? Sock it to him, sock it him, sock it to him, sock it to him
Not so fast, Bryce Cartwright, you the Parramatta Eels’ lock. It’s about your comment to the Tele on what you will do about getting vaxxed before next season.
“I don’t want to get into what is a personal decision for myself and my family,” you told Nick Walshaw. “I’ll respect the decision everyone else makes and ask only that the same is done for me.”
Bring it in tight, Bryce.
If you and your family were living atop a mountain with no contact with anyone it would indeed be a personal decision for you and your fine family, and indeed no-one else’s damn business.
But you ain’t. You are playing in a heavy contact sport where it is the duty of everyone to take all reasonable precautions against being COVID positive. Why should the rest of the players worry about you if they are double vaxxed? Because while being double vaxxed will almost certainly keep them out of the ICU, it still doesn’t prevent them getting sick, nor – most importantly – passing COVID on to their own family and community members.
As to the line, “I’ll respect the decision everyone else makes and ask only that the same is done for me,” it is a seductive one, but let’s break it down.
How could you not respect the decision of everyone else to get vaxxed? We do so to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.
But how could we respect your decision not to get vaxxed, bar some compelling medical reason we are not aware of? Your failing to do so risks yourself, your family, your community and the health of the very competition you play in.
You don’t get it, any more than Broncos forward Payne Haas gets it, with his endorsement last week on Instagram of the meme: “Paedophiles in NSW aren’t required to carry a card or ‘passport’ that identifies them or segregates them – because it violates their privacy. Let that sink in. #novaccinepassports.”
“Think about it,” Haas gravely intoned.
Just like your lines, it is a seductive angle to take to suck in those with weak minds. But when you actually do think about it for longer than five seconds, you come up with the answer. As I pointed out on Thursday, paedophiles have no such right to keep their convictions private and we already have a system whereby such a conviction ensures they are not allowed within a bull’s roar of young people in the key environment we can control which is education.
If you want to work in the NSW education system as either a volunteer or professional, from pre-school on up through primary and secondary, you will need to show “A Working With Children Certificate (WWCC)” which shows the police have confirmed your clean record – and so you are given what is effectively a Non-Paedophile Passport.” There has been no whingeing, no whining, no conspiracy theories from the teachers about such a system. Why? Because it makes sense and makes everyone, and most particularly children, safer.
When it comes to actual vaccine passports for employees, the whole thing was put well by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce this week, as he unveiled the company’s no-jab-no-job policy, insisting his staff get the jab or take the consequences: “If employees decide they are not taking the jab, then they are deciding that aviation isn’t the area for them.”
Precisely. And exactly the same applies to football.
Blacklist the medievalists
Back in the 70s and 80s Australia played a very strong and very admirable role in a world push to enforce sporting sanctions on South Africa. The general idea was: when you treat black South Africans in such an appalling manner you are world pariahs and so, no, we won’t be playing games with you. It was effective, and as acknowledged to me by the great Springbok No.8 Morne du Plessis said on BBC Radio in 1995 about sanctions, “We hated them at the time, but there was no doubt that they were good; that they made us change.”
Right now, there is another nation that is disgracing itself in its treatment of a large swathe of its population: Afghanistan, in the way it treats its women generally, and in sport specifically.
Just this week the deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, was quoted: “I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary that women should play. In cricket, they might face a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen like this. It is the media era, and there will be photos and videos, and then people watch it. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed.”
You get it. Medieval nonsense. Cricket Australia has responded commendably by saying that unless Afghanistan changes its position, the forthcoming Test against the Afghanistan men’s team at the end of November is cancelled, effectively implementing their own sporting sanction.
Surely all of world sport should follow suit, stand with the women of Afghanistan and say: “Until such times as you wish to join the rest of us in the 21st Century, and give basic human rights to your citizens, you are on your own.”
What They Said
Emma Raducanu, on making the semi-finals of the US Open: “I didn’t expect to be here at all. I think my flights were booked at the end of qualifying, so it’s a nice problem to have.” She is now in the final!
Naomi Osaka after her US Open elimination: “I feel like for me recently, like, when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.” She and Nick Kyrgios could have a long and fruitful talk.
Piers Morgan weighs in on Twitter: “People got very upset when I suggested Naomi Osaka may be a spoiled brat. Here she is repeatedly smashing up rackets as she loses in the US Open. Then she cried again, and threatened to quit again. If a male tennis player behaved like this, we’d call him . . . a spoiled brat.”
Dylan Alcott after his Paralympics gold: “I was a kid who got bullied about his disability when he was 13 and I didn’t think I had much of a life to live. I hated myself, but I’ve lived the best life of anybody that I’ve ever met and I’m so lucky. It just means so much to me.”
New Collingwood coach Craig McRae on his nickname Fly: “I walked into the club and the Back to the Future movie had just come out and Marty McFly was in it, so I got ‘McFly’ for about two years and then I got to Brisbane and they just dropped the Mac. It’s funny listening to people say my name in the news, I thought ‘who’s that?’ I just haven’t been called Craig for so many years.”
Tennis player Shelby Rogers after beating Ash Barty in the US Open: “I kind of wish social media didn’t exist. Here we are. It’s a big part of marketing now; we have contracts, we have to post certain things. You could probably go through my profile right now, I’m probably ‘a fat pig’ and words that I can’t say right now. But it is what it is. You try not to take it to heart, and it’s the unfortunate side of any sport and what we do.”
The last words Michael Schumacher’s said to his wife Corinna before his horrific skiing accident eight years ago which caused such critical brain damage it is thought he has never been able to speak or even move again: “The snow isn’t optimal. We could fly to Dubai and go skydiving there.”
Corinna Schumacher: “I have never blamed God for what happened. It was just really bad luck – all the bad luck anyone can have in life.” I have a rough understanding of religious precepts, but am clueless as to the difference between what God wants and luck?
Major League Baseball umpire Ted Barrett, who is also a Southern Baptist minister, tells the prayer group he runs for his fellow umpires: “God is our father. He loves to hear from us, and so don’t ever feel like he’s too big or too busy to bring your little problem to him. Jesus would have been a great umpire because he wasn’t a milquetoast where he would have allowed himself to get run over. You see him standing up to the Pharisees. He would have been able to give it right back on the field.” If anyone needs me, I am going to be having a bit of a lie-down.
Novak Djokovic: “I love the [Melbourne] Botanical Gardens and I love nature and I love to spend time daily there if I can. I have a friend there, a Brazilian fig tree, that I like to climb and I like to connect with, so that’s probably my favourite thing to do.”
Stephanie Gilmore before attempts to win a record-breaking eighth world surfing title this weekend: “We’re all just bits of dust particles floating on Earth. I’ve never been able to take things too seriously, but at the same time I do know how much it means to me . . .”
Adam Reynolds on Wayne Bennett: “He has a great personality and often does not always show it.”
Team of the Week
Emma Raducanu. The Canadian-born Brit, just 18 years old, is the first female tennis player to make it from qualifying all the way to the final of the US Open!
Steph Gilmore. This week the Murwillumbahian competes in a bid to surpass Layne Beachley’s record of being crowned world champion seven times.
Madison de Rozario. The Australian registered a wonderful win in the women’s T54 marathon, just nudging out Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer in a fantastic finish.
Wallabies. Take on the Springboks Sunday evening. We could do with a win.
Socceroos. After beating China 3-0, this week they beat Vietnam 1-0. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.
Paul Green. Maroons coach given his marching orders for not ruling out taking an NRL job. Billy Slater would be his obvious replacement.