When A. de O. Sales, the grand old man of Hong Kong sport, reflects on what the Olympics means to the city, his focus is not on medals and glory. Rather, it is on 'giving the kids a chance'. Now retired from his many public roles, Mr Sales, 88, also known as Sonny, said his desire to give young people a chance lay behind his decades of service with the then Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee, where he was dubbed 'the tsar' for his strong leadership. 'I wanted the youth of Hong Kong to be given a chance and to take part in sports in their districts and subsequently from their districts abroad, going abroad for their inter-port games and subsequently the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games,' he said. Mr Sales was a key figure in Hong Kong's Olympic story even before it began. In 1950, he attended the first meeting of the Amateur Athletic Federation of Hong Kong, becoming joint honorary secretary. International Olympic Committee recognition followed in 1951, enabling the city to participate in the Olympics for the first time in 1952 in Helsinki, where Mr Sales cheered on the colony's four swimmers. He was chef de mission of several Hong Kong Olympic delegations, including the team housed above the Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian militants at the 1972 Munich Games. Mr Sales rushed to the Olympic Village when news of the attack broke and led two trapped Hong Kong sports officials to safety. It was a 'very dangerous' moment, he recalls. His mission deputy, Raymond Young, later wrote of Mr Sales' 'great courage' in approaching the militant leader for permission to reach his team members. Mr Sales found himself embroiled in another Olympic drama when, at the height of the cold war in 1962, the IOC sought help with talks in 'neutral Hong Kong' between North and South Korea. They were held at The Peninsula. In 1998, after nearly half a century at the helm of Hong Kong sport, Mr Sales handed over to Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, who succeeded him as president of the renamed Sports Federation and Olympic Committee. Mr Sales left behind reserves of more than HK$60 million, built up over 50 years, for the city's sporting future and a legacy of continued sporting independence. He says this 'Olympic independence' still holds true today. He was also a strong advocate within the IOC of residents of cosmopolitan Hong Kong being eligible for its Olympic team regardless of nationality. He says he will cheer the Beijing Olympics from all sides and will probably watch them on television at home. 'I think they will make a splendid success of it, though nature may be against them with the sandstorms.'