PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 August, 2004, 12:00am

Look out for the schedule of events daily in the South China Morning Post

Former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch had strong views on doping: 'Yes, doping equals death. And then death of the spirit and intellect by the acceptance of cheating by disguising one's potential, in recognising one's inadequacy or unwillingness to be satisfied with oneself or transcend one's limits. And finally moral death, by placing oneself de facto outside the rule of conduct demanded by any human society.'

In Moscow in 1980, Finnish javelin throwers accused their Russian rivals of cheating by 'improper use of the stadium'. They said, when it was a Russian's turn to throw, groundsmen would open the giant stadium doors to let a powerful draught in and 'wind assist' the javelin. On foreigners' throws, the doors would quickly be drawn shut.

To shorten the often drawn-out boxing programme, organisers in Seoul in 1988 had the idea of setting up two boxing rings in the same hall. A 50 per cent time saving was envisaged and spectators could choose between two bouts at a time. But confusion reigned when the first bell sounded and the contestants could not determine which bell to respond to. Some rounds went on for up to six minutes, fighters delivered knockout punches after the bell had sounded and some boxers headed for the corner to sit and rest in the middle of a round, having to be steered back into the ring. The innovation was shortlived.

American Dick Fosbury, using his now legendary 'flop', won the high jump by reaching a height of 2.24 metres at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. Instead of leaping facing the bar and swinging first one leg and then the other over the bar in a scissoring motion - the preferred method of the time - Fosbury turned just as he leapt, flinging his body backward over the bar with his back arched, following with his legs and landing on his shoulders. Although Fosbury set an Olympic record in 1968, he failed to make the 1972 Olympic team and he never set a world record during his career, but his innovative style of jumping - called the 'Fosbury Flop' - had a profound effect, becoming the dominant method in the sport.

Micheline Ostermeyer, a French concert pianist, hit a high note by winning gold medals in the discus and shot put at the 1948 Olympics in London. She celebrated by performing an impromptu Beethoven recital back at the team camp.

New Yorker Fred Lorz came charging in first across the line with an impressive time of three hours and 13 minutes in the marathon at the St Louis Olympic Games of 1904. He was about to be given the gold medal when it was reported that a car had given him a lift for 11 miles of the course. He never got his medal.

Film fans will remember the story of how Harold Abrahams raced around the Great Courtyard of Trinity College at Cambridge University in the time it took the clock to toll 12 o'clock. The event is portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire before Abrahams later won the 100 metres final at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Abrahams, however, never performed the inspirational feat - that honour goes to Lord Burghley, who thrilled his fellow students by running around the courtyard before winning the 400 metres hurdles at the 1928 Games. Lord Burghley was so upset about the distortion that he refused to view the film when it was released. He was then 76 years old.

Jesse Owens, the black American sprinter who embarrassed Adolph Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by winning four gold medals and confounding the dictator's theories on racial superiority, was born James Cleveland Owens. As a boy he was known as 'J.C.' because of his initials. That was until a new teacher mistook the sound of J. C., and began calling him 'Jesse'. The name stuck.

When American Helen Stephens was introduced to Adolph Hitler in his private box after winning the 100 metres gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, she got more than she bargained for - a Nazi salute being followed by a pinch on the backside from the Fuhrer. She recalled: 'Hitler comes in and gives me a Nazi salute. I give him the good old Missouri handshake. He goes for the jugular vein. He gets a hold of my fanny and he begins to squeeze and pinch and hug me.'

Karoly Takacs' shooting hand - his right - was shattered by a defective grenade in 1938. So the Hungarian army sergeant adapted and, aged 38, won gold in the rapid-fire pistol event 10 years later in London using his left hand. Four years later in Helsinki, Takacs successfully defended his title to become the first repeat winner of the event.

American Frank Shorter drank about two litres of beer the night before winning the marathon in Munich in 1972. 'It settled the nerves and I slept wonderfully,' remarked Shorter afterwards.