真正的運動員 A true athlete

每一屆奧運會開幕時,我最喜歡的環節㠇是燃點聖火。我跟很多人一樣事前都會在猜,場內聖火的設計是什麼樣子?誰去燃點它?怎樣去燃點它?During each Olympics Opening Ceremony, my favourite part is always lighting the Olympic cauldron.  Like many I always have the three big questions : What does the cauldron look like? Who is going to light it?  How is the cauldron going to be lit?

數十年前,燃點聖火是一件簡單但十分莊嚴的環節。傳送火炬的運動員一般會慢慢走上聖火盤前,然後很慎重地燃點聖火。後來在一九九二年巴塞羅拿奧運作了一個很不一樣的安排,迄今為止這是我最難忘的一刻。當時運動員跑到台上用火炬燃點站在那裡的傷殘奧運射箭選手Antonio Rebello弓上的箭。這一刻我就在想,莫非他是真的要…  很快在那一剎那,遠處的奧運聖火被射出的箭燃起了!真的太厲害噢!

In the early years, lighting the cauldron was a relatively simple but nonetheless solemn event.  The final torch bearer walked up to the cauldron and lit it.  Then Barcelona 1992 did something very remarkable and to date this still remains my favourite.  The penultimate torch bearer lit an arrow on the bow carried by the Paralympic archer Antonio Rebello.  For that split moment, I was thinking, is he really going to…. Within a flash, the Olympic torch was lit!  Absolute genius.

被邀請燃點奧林匹克聖火是一件極榮幸及有意義的事,所以通常都是在運動界很有成就或地位崇高的人。當中有兩屆,我的印象特別深刻。 一九九六年,拳擊傳奇人物穆罕默德·阿里Muhammad Ali燃點亞特蘭大奧運會聖火。阿里在台上顫抖,這並不是因為他怯場,而是因為他當時已患了帕金森症。但我看到的卻是一個曾經在拳擊擂台上極度輝煌及無忂,而今天仍然很勇敢去面對生命中另一次戰鬥的偉大運動員。

Lighting the Olympic cauldron is an honour normally bestowed on athletes with great achievements and two different stories come to mind.  In 1996, the boxing legend Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta.  As the world watched Ali’s body shaking, not due to stage fright but due to his Parkinson illness, I saw a great sportsman who once was ruthless in the boxing ring, was now even more courageous and determined to face another major fight in life.

相比之下, 二零零八年北京奧運的情況我就覺得很不同。燃點聖火是在一九八二年洛杉磯奧運會奪得六枚獎牌的體操王子李寧。當時,他已經退役,並創辦了自己的運動服裝公司,更很積極地在中國以外建立品牌。燃點聖火的過程需要把李寧吊起到場館的頂部,然後他在空中漫步繞場一周才能到達火盤的位置。整個過程花了超過三分鐘,而李寧是一直需要維持漫步姿勢。我相信這對一個四十五歲並已退役二十年的運動員絕不是一件容易事噢!結果李寧當然很完美地完成這差事,而據說開幕禮之後首個交易日,他公司股價還漲了三個百分點呢!

By contrast, Beijing 2008 told a different story.  The final torch bearer Li Ning won 6 gymnastic medals in the 1982 Los Angeles games.  By 2008 he had retired, founded his own sporting apparel company and was aggressively building up his brand beyond China.  Li Ning’s task to light the cauldron was quite strenuous for a 45 year old who had retired from competitive sports for 20 years. He was suspended to the top of the stadium and walked mid air around it.  The whole process took over 3 minutes during which he had to maintain his walking posture before he reached the cauldron.  Of course, he completed it perfectly, and it is said the share price of his company rose by 3% on the next trading day after the opening ceremony.

最後,不得不提今年里約熱內盧奧運,相信大家已了解過燃點聖火選手Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima及為甚麼他是最佳人選。如果還未知,這裡有介紹他的故事。de Lima當年在二零零四年雅典奧運會上失去金牌機會,最终䇔得銅牌的心境及態度完全表露了以下信條所表達的奧林匹克精神。

Finally, Rio 2016.  Many people would have read about Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima by now, but if you haven’t, here’s his story and why he is so deserving to light the cauldron this year. de Lima’s attitude and reaction when he lost the gold medal opportunity and won the bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympic is a perfect example of what Olympic creed strives to achieve.

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參與奧運的過程應該比最终站上頒獎台重要得多。獎牌一定要光明正大靠自己能力,決心和刻苦練習而得到,否則根本沒有資格稱自己為運動員。

The journey of getting to the Olympics is much more important than getting onto the podium.   To win fair and square through dedication, capability and determination makes one a hero, anything less one doesn’t even deserve to call themselves an athlete.

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