Almost half a century ago, a bloke called Dick Fosbury came up with a new way of getting over the high jump bar. Today, the Fosbury Flop is the sport’s standard. It may not be the coolest name and it may well have raised a few questions about Dick’s performance in other areas but Fosbury is nevertheless a member of a small club of athletes with a manoeuvre named after them.
So, here’s what I’m thinking. Quad-twisting triple somersault is such a mouthful. Let’s just call it the Lassila. Because you can bet that four years from now, the jump that Lydia Lassila pulled out in the aerials final, the gutsiest choice of jump possible, a jump so difficult that you can medal even when you stack it — are you getting just how big a deal this jump was? — will be part of a normal day in the Olympic office for the women aerialists.
Indeed, if you’ll permit me a rare serious note here, perhaps more important than the bronze Lydia Lassila takes away from Sochi is the benchmark she sets for those that come after her. And you know how much I love an Aussie medal.
But Lydia’s was not an isolated example. Wherever you looked around the world, it was a weekend of Aussies setting the bar high.
Over in South Africa, Mitchell Johnson’s remodelled mo was proving even more potent than the one he grew for the Aussie summer. Mo monstered what was alleged to be the best cricket team in the world, his performance on Valentine’s Day neatly summed up by this Twitter offering.
Mo’s final haul of 12 wickets, a career best, helped the Aussies to a 281-run first Test victory and South Africa’s worst home soil drubbing in nearly 60 years. Which means we could have declared our second innings at 10 runs and still won.
Back here in Oz, golf’s former world number one Karrie Webb wound back the clock, giving her younger competitors a five-stroke head start on the final day of the Australian Open before reeling them in to claim the title. Karrie’s had more ups and downs than an alpine skier lately, disqualified from the Ladies Masters just a week ago for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Returning to Sochi, not content to rest on her silver medal laurels, Torah Bright became the first person to compete in three Olympic snowboarding events, when she took on the snowboard cross. Basically dodgems on snow. Pitted against fellow Aussie Belle Brockhoff in the quarter-finals, all she could think was “don’t take out your teammate, you’ll be the worst Australian ever.” Belle went on to the semis, where she was taken out by a Canadian instead.
Australia hasn’t competed in Olympic ice dancing since the Aussie Bicentenary. Remember how long ago that was? Our ice dancers Danielle O’Brien and Greg Merriman made up for lost time, pulling off the performance of their lives to proceed to the next round of the competition. Which made up for Channel Ten’s shameless ‘So you think you can ice dance’ cross promotion.
Also in the green and gold, Jamaica’s bobsled team returned to Olympic competition after a 12-year absence. One of the riders had a flapping visor and they had trouble lifting their machine off the track when they finished but they brought the house down anyway.
They said it
“I’ve left my mark forever, and made history with that trick.” Yes you have, Lydia Lassila
“I think the surface suited his style of bowling here — he got a lot of difficult bounce.” South African cricket captain Graeme Smith reckons it was the Centurion Park pitch, not Mitch Johnson, that got all his batsmen out. Tell him he’s dreamin’
“It’s amazing what a difference a week makes.” Karrie Webb, winning the Australian Open a week after being disqualified from the Ladies Masters
“It’s like making the ingredients of a huge stew — a stew of sexual ingredients.” Psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky, commenting on all the athletes using the Tinder app to hook up
“I’m definitely coming back, mate. I’ve got three more Olympics in me.” Onya, Belle Brockhoff
“I’m finally done!!!!!! Now I dance!!!!” Torah Bright tweets after rounding up her Olympics campaign