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Olympics – 1980 – Special – USA Road To Moscow – Jane Frederick + Kayak Team + Al Oerter

DOG COMMENTARY:

This 1980 Olympic Special was aired in advance of US President Jimmy Carter’s unpopular decision to let politics enter the Olympics Games by boycotting the Moscow Olympics….while denying all USA Olympic Team athletes from competing in something they had been training for during the four years prior to the 1980 Olympics.  Prior MLB star Steve Garvey was the host of this program….which provides a wonderful insight into the preparation, sacrifices and dreams of heptathlete Jane Frederick….the USA men’s kayak team….and legendary discus thrower Al Oerter….as they prepare for Moscow.

Jane Frederick is a former heptathlete from the United States….who set the first official world record in the women’s heptathlon….while gaining a total number of 6104 points on April 24, 1981 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California….less than a year after the “peanut farming President” robbed her of her greatest dreams and aspirations…then Frederick captured the bronze medal at the 1987 World Championships in Rome, Italy…after finishing behind teammate Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water…..as it is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle….as most kayaks have closed decks.  Kayaks were created thousands of years ago by the Inuit, formerly known as Eskimos, of the northern Arctic regions. They used driftwood and sometimes the skeleton of whale, to construct the frame of the kayak….and animal skin, particularly seal skin was used to create the body. The main purpose for creating the kayak….which literally translates to “hunter’s boat” was for hunting and fishing. The kayak’s stealth capabilities allowed for the hunter to sneak up behind animals on the shoreline and successfully catch their prey. Kayak races were introduced in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936….and In the 1950’s fiberglass kayaks were developed and commonly used until 1980’s when polyethylene plastic kayaks came about. Kayaking progressed as a fringe sport in the U.S. until the 1970’s….when it became a mainstream popular sport. Now, more than 10 white water kayaking events are featured in the Olympics…..which our USA Olympics Kayak Team as depicted in this video herewith….never got the chance to compete for their country on the grandest stage.

Al Oerter Jr. was an American athlete and a four-time Olympic Champion in the discus throw…..as he was the first athlete to win a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games….by winning in 1956 at the Melbourne Games….in 1960 at the Rome Games….in 1964 at the Tokoyo Games….and finally in 1968 at the Mexico City Games.  Oerter did make an attempt to qualify for the American team in 1980….as seen in this video herewith….but he finished fourth….as he nonetheless set his overall personal record of 69.46 meters (227.9 ft) that year at the age of 43.   

This video provides a sad documentary of what athletes go through during four years of training….just to compete for their country in the Olympic Games.

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