I post a lot of sports videos. And I try in all my writing here not to overuse hyperbole, indeed do my best not to use it at all. And so, when I say -- this is now one of my all-time favorite sports videos, I mean "This is now one of my all-time favorite sports videos."
It doesn't matter if you follow sports much, or even like them at all, do yourself a favor and watch this. I think there's a good chance you'll love this too.
No 40 year-old had ever won a Gold Medal in the history of the European Championships. Until Tuesday. That's when 40-year-old Jo Pavey of Great Britain won the 10,000 meter race.
But that's not what's so wonderful about this video.
Pavey is not just 40 years old, she's also a mother of two. And more than that, she had her second child just 11 months ago.
But that's not so wonderful about this video.
It's that Jo Pavey, who became the first person ever to win a Gold Medal at the European Championships and is a mother of two, having just given birth 11 months ago -- had never won the race before!
At an age when most runners have not only retired, but retired five or even 10 years earlier, Pavey herself had been considering retirement. But she'd been running well-enough the past few week that she decided to stick it out a little longer. Now, in fact, she's considering running in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
To be clear, it's not like Pavey came out of nowhere as an unknown. She's raced in four previous Olympics. But running is a different thing from winning a race at age 40 you'd never won before.
"I’ve been trying for years to win this and never managed it. It seems funny to do it at the age of 40 now I’m a mother with two young children," she told The Guardian after the race. "I’m so happy in my personal life. I train really hard but don’t get stressed about it."
I'm reminded of when I had the chance to work with the racing legend Dale Earnhardt, who filmed a cameo for a movie I was working on, BASEketball, just days after he had won the Daytona 500. Earnhardt was considered one of the all-time NASCAR greats and had won just every major race on the circuit -- all except one, he had never won arguably the most famous NASCAR race of all, the Daytona. And finally, late in his career (indeed sadly he died not long after), he won. We spoke briefly -- I was a bit hesitant to ask him about almost anything, since he had the reputation of being the Daytona 500 or anything since he had the reputation of being among the toughest drivers. In fact, his nickname was "The Terminator." But how could I not ask Dale Earnhardt about winning Daytona? I didn't know how he'd react -- I saw my career ending before my eyes -- when a warm smile broke out across his face. "How do you think I feel after trying my whole life trying to win just one race? It's wonderful."
It's wonderful. There is no doubt how much a glow Jo Davey feels. She told reporters that her "legs are going to be sore," but I suspect it won't matter.
This is a thrilling video. It's made all the better by the British announcer. As much as people might think U.S. sportscasters are jingoistic when covering the Olympics, I think British announcers have them beat. It works here perfectly.
As the video stars, Jo Pavey is in third place. She's the one below in blue trunks and white shirt. There's one other thing to watch for -- watch the race clock (not the video timer), which you can see in the lower right corner. When it hits 32:12:00 and she goes around the final turn, her 24-year-old opponent on her heels -- 16 years younger -- you get the sense that Jo Pavey decides right there that that she is going to win and that no one will dare come close, because there's something in her body movement that appears to kick into a remarkable high gear. That she (or any of the runners) have any energy after six miles of running is one thing, but to have so much in you that you can go into overdrive is something else entirely.
This is just a great video. Even knowing that she wins, this is a great video. Every time you watch it. And I've watched it a lot of times...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor