James Lawton: In the long run, Radcliffe cannot erase Athens flop
Tuesday 19 April 2005
Paula Radcliffe, and her more fervent supporters, insist that she has been made whole again by her success in the New York and London marathons, and that what happened to her in the Athens Olympics last year is something that can be wiped from her own and the nation's memory.
Unfortunately, life doesn't quite work like this. We are obliged to live not only with the best of our past but also the worst, especially if we have become a household name and earned many millions of pounds for doing a certain thing consummately well.
Radcliffe now says she was injured in Athens and misguided to run. Well, she didn't quite say that at the time, and part of the sympathy she evoked was because of the degree of her public pain, and her incomprehension that, unlike so many obscure, and infinitely less wealthy competitors she quit, not as they say in boxing on her stool, but on an Athens pavement.
No right-minded person wants to keep on returning to that desperate time in the shadow of an ancient Greek stadium. But there is a certain gap between the meaning of what the Olympic winner Mizuki Noguchi, a 26-year-old company worker from Japan, did on that broiling night in Athens and what Radcliffe achieved on a cool, early spring day in London.
This is not to diminish Radcliffe's superb body of work over recent years. But it is a reality she would be wise to accept.
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unhappy forward is ready to quit Real Madrid, according to Angel Di Maria
Commonwealth Games 2014: Australia launch Glasgow swimwear - but are criticised for drawing attention to the 'crotch' area
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Jurgen Klopp concerned with Dortmund injuries and praises signings of Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez
Hull City vs West Ham match report: Enner Valencia stars as honours shared at the KC Stadium
Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United: Ramon Calderon claims Real Madrid star is 'fed up'
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...
£350 - £425 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager - 3 mont...