For the full column, here's the link
It's available from 10am, Monday
It comes in association with the UK's fabulous concrete show
Meanwhile, here's the first couple of hundred words....
Few of the stories emerging from
the Olympics over the next few weeks, I suspect, will be as compelling as the
Mary Decker - Zola Budd imbroglio at the 1984 Los Angeles games.
Or maybe it's distance that lends
Caught up in the cut
and thrust of the daily action, perhaps we fail to appreciate every little narrative.
Thinking back to '84,
Zola Budd, running for Britain, was no
hero to pinko liberal Guardian readers like me, as we sat around fulminating
against apartheid, and waiting for quinoa to be invented.
When she finished in sixth place in the
ladies' 3000 metres, I don't recall being heartbroken.
Budd's story, of how she broke
records in her native South Africa - barred from world sport at the time - was
bought up by the Daily Mail and fast-tracked to British citizenship, before her
fateful clash with Decker, was told in a terrific documentary,
The Fall, on Sky Atlantic.
It was a tale to make even the pinkiest
pinko think again about our reaction to the barefoot runner.
I remember London at the time being
quite a bolthole for young white politically conscious South Africans, fleeing
their decadently luxurious lives for bed-sits in Camden Town.
What struck me most about their
stories was the total isolation of their leper state; the banned rock music,
the emasculated television service, the censored press.
It clearly would have been quite
possible for a teenager like Zola growing up in a strict Calvinist home in Bloemfontein,
with a controlling father, to be ignorant of the South African reality.