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  • Published: Mar 9th, 2012
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3 of the Greatest Athletes Who Never Won Olympic Gold

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Roy Jones Jr.The quest to attain Olympic glory is one of the longest running traditions in all of sport, and the spectacle provided by the games is one of the few events that can claim to appeal to a genuinely global audience.

However, despite being the most sought after prize around, many athletes, who have otherwise reigned supreme in their field, have found that coveted gold medal elusive.

Here’s a look at three of the best athletes who’ve never stood atop an Olympic podium;

Roy Jones Junior


From the title of this article, you’re probably expecting a list comprising entirely of athletes who, despite having vast amounts of talent, for one reason or another, never quite performed on the biggest stage of all.

However, when it comes to the boxer, Roy Jones Junior, this simply isn’t the case. He only competed in one Olympics, Seoul 1988, and, simply put, he blew the competition away.

He made his way to the final without conceding a single round en route. In his last opponent he faced a competitor from the home nation, Park Si-Hun, an athlete many commentators considered very lucky to have reached such an advanced stage in the tournament, having benefitted from some highly dubious judge’s calls in previous bouts. Nobody with any real knowledge of the sport gave the native fighter a prayer.

In the event Jones duly asserted his dominance and didn’t let up for the whole contest. As far as anyone watching was concerned, it was an almost embarrassingly one sided affair, with Jones landing 86 punches, to Park’s paltry 32.

This however, did not stop the judges voting 3-2 in favour of Park, who, when the result was announced, looked completely shocked. In a moment of brave honesty, as the two men stood on the podium, Park raised Jones’ hand into the air, suggesting to all watching that he knew who was to true winner and was himself unhappy with the result.

Though the decision was never overturned, in the light of various pieces of evidence, it is now widely accepted that the three judges who voted for Park had been bribed by South Korean officials, and the incident is usually ranked as the most shameful injustice in Olympic history.

Colin Jackson

Colin Jackson, who was also a force to be reckoned with in sprint events, has to be ranked as one of the all time great hurdlers.

During his illustrious career the Welshman won 3 World Championships, 2 Commonwealth Championships, went undefeated in the European Championships for 3 consecutive tournaments (constituting a 12 year unbeaten streak) and, at his peak, between 1993-1995, won 44 races in a row.

Unsurprisingly, in the course of notching up all these feats, he set a fair few records. His world record for the 110m hurdles stood for more than a decade, and the record he set for the 60m hurdles, way back in 1994, has still never been bettered.

Despite, all of this, Jackson only has a single Olympic medal to his name, a silver which he earned in his favoured event, the 110m hurdles, in his first Olympic games at Seoul in 1988.

At the 1992 games in Barcelona he was contending with an injury and only managed a 7th place finish. In 1996 he narrowly missed the podium, coming in 4th and by 2000 he was past his best, coming in 5th.

Whilst Jackson’s timing on the track was impeccable (he was said to start “on the B of the BANG”) he timed his athletic peak less well, with his major spells of dominance sadly falling between Olympic years.

Paula Radcliffe

We end the list with another British athlete whose dominance of their sport has never been reflected in their Olympic performances, the female marathoner, Paula Radcliffe.

Before even going into her track record at the Olympics, it has to be stated that Paula is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest female marathon runner the world has ever seen. Despite suffering from both anaemia and asthma, both of which are usually a hindrance to distance running, Paula holds the women’s marathon world record time by quite some distance. In fact, 4 of the 5 fastest marathon times ever achieved by a woman are Radcliffe’s.

Unfortunately, she’s never been able to shine at an Olympic games (as of yet, anyway). She was blighted by injury in both the races she’s taken part in, suffering a leg injury ahead of the 2004 Olympics that prevented her from even finishing (the only time she’s ever failed to cross the line) and picking up a stress fracture just before the Beijing Games which confined her to a 23rd place finish.

Will Kerr is a sports writer with a diverse pallet, commentating on everything from athletics to motorsports. You can read more of his work on UK Net Guide.

5 Weird Discontinued Olympic Sports

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If you think the modern Olympics have always featured the same, traditional events then you’re wrong. Here are five of the most unusual events to have ever graced the games.

Swimming Obstacle Race (Paris, 1900)

If you fancy competing in a spot of obstacle swimming you’re going to have to travel back in time to Paris 1900, as this is the only time the event was included. 12 competitors raced the 200 metre course that included three obstacles. The first was a pole which the swimmers had to climb over. They then had to clamber over a row of boats, before swimming under another line of vessels towards the end of the course. The gold medal was taken by Australia’s Frederick Lane, so perhaps they should have resurrected the event for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Long Jump for Horses (Paris, 1900)

This one doesn’t really need an explanation does it? The winner was simply the horse that jumped the furthest, which incidentally wasn’t very far at all. The winning horse managed to leap just over 20 feet, which is more than 2.5 metres shorter than the current human world record.

Live Pigeon Shooting (Paris 1900)

How mental do the 1900 games sound? In an astonishing display of animal cruelty 300 birds were sacrificed as Leon de Lunden from Belgium fired his way to the gold medal (killing 21 pigeons by himself). The 1900 games in Paris have the dubious honour of hosting the only event in the history of the Olympic Games where animals were harmed with deliberate intent.

Solo Synchronised Swimming (1984-92)

This one’s a bit of an oxymoron isn’t it? I mean if it’s a solo event then who exactly do you synchronize your movements with?

Apparently the answer is that the swimmers performed a routine that was synchronized to music rather than with any other swimmers. In any case the event only survived for three Olympic Games (1984-92), probably because it just looked like someone splashing about in the water.

Club Swinging (St Louis, 1904)

This one sounds more like a night on the town for experimental couples. Don’t get too excited though as it was actually a rhythmic gymnastic style event that saw competitors swing a club covered with ribbons around their head. It made its only appearance at the St Louis games of 1904, and the United States took a clean sweep of the medals. This might explain why a similar event called “Indian clubs” was staged at the 1932 games in Los Angeles. Those Americans love a bit of club swinging.

Bonus: Pistol Dueling (Athens, 1906)

The reason this one’s only a bonus is that the 1906 ‘Inter-calculated’ games in Athens aren’t counted as an official Olympics. It’s a shame, because pistol duelling sounds amazingly dangerous and cool. However, it wasn’t actually dangerous at all as the competitors fired at dummies (wearing coats and hats) instead of each other, which I find a little disappointing to be honest.

When he’s not watching and writing about sport, Robert Jones looks for unusual gifts for the online retailer Find Me A Gift.

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  • Published: Sep 27th, 2011
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How Many Different Competitions Are Part of An Olympic Pentathlon?

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Olympic schedule (Competitions) Modern pentathlon

Image via Wikipedia

The Olympic Pentathlon consists of five different sporting events. The modern pentathlon is composite event which tests the endurance, strength, timing, precision and skill of an athlete. The events are performed consecutively in a predetermined order. The modern Olympic events include swimming, shooting, equestrian, fencing and running. Women did not participate in pentathlon until the 1970’s and the first world championship was not held until 1980. The Olympic Pentathlon excluded women from the event until the year 2000 when women took part in Sydney, Australia. However, this is only one feature where modern pentathlon differs from the Ancient Olympiad version first held in the year 708 B.C.

Besides the fact that the ancient competitors competed without any clothing, the events were the discus throw, long jump, javelin throw, foot race and wrestling. Wrestling and running were considered individual events as well, while javelin, discus, and long jump were considered only as part as the pentathlon series. Although a few events are ancient versions of contests held today, the rules and methods were quite different.

Wrestling was held in a sand pit out side of the stadium. The opponents covered themselves in oil and dust, and grappled each other to the ground without striking each other. As an individual event, there were three different categories of competitors: boys, youth, and adult men.

The rest of the events were held inside of the stadium. There were four different foot races. One foot race was raced wearing armor while the other races varied in length. The javelin, which was as thin as a forefinger, had a leather grip for the athlete to grasp in the middle of a wooden stick with a metal point. The discus area much much smaller than today. Each athlete was allowed five throws for each the javelin and discus. The long jump was made more complicated as weights of stone or metal were to the person with the idea that the weight would propel him further.

Fortunately, the modern Olympic Pentathlon has progressed in the sporting events themselves, the inclusion of female competition, and the dress code. Today’s Olympic Pentathlon is based on the modern pentathlon concept developed in the 19th century based on the strength and endurance training of the military. Modern pentathlon was introduced to the Olympics in 1912.

Today’s Olympic Pentathlon, the next which will be occurring in London, England during the 100th Year Celebration of the Modern Olympic Pentathlon, the five events will take place within a single day. Until the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the events were held over a four to five day schedule. For the first time, the running and shooting elements will be held in combination. This will be held in Greenwich Park, while fencing will be held in the handball arena and the swimming events take place at the aquatic center. With only one medal event at stake, 36 men and 36 women will compete to determine the winner of day in courage, self-discipline and physical fitness.

It is widely stated that Aristotle remarked that the body of a pentathlon athlete was the most beautiful as it combined both elements of strength and endurance.

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