This article is from the August issue of Total Politics
Labour MP for Vauxhall
My favourite Olympic memory is the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when as sports minister I sat beside the Australian sports minister at two events where we beat Australia to win gold. First was when Richard Faulds beat the Australian world champion in double trap shooting and then our rowing fours led by Steve Redgrave won by a whisker. The minister declined to sit beside me again!
Conservative MP for Croydon South
The great Coe v Ovett 1,500m battle of the 1980 Moscow Games. I was working in the City of London and we all crowded into a bar with a TV (rare in those days) and the afternoon was electric. Seb had blown the 800m but watching him come round the final bend in the 1,500m was unforgettable.
Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead
Perhaps my greatest Olympic memory was David Wilkie winning the gold medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 1976 Games in Montreal. I was racing myself as a 12-year-old and I desperately wanted Wilkie to win. It was a great race and the first British swimming gold for 68 years.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford
SNP MP for Banff and Buchan, SNP work and pensions spokesman
I have two stand-out memories from the Moscow Olympics of 1980: Allan Wells’ brilliant gold in the 100m and Daley Thompson’s incredible achievement winning gold in the decathlon. For someone as athletically inept as me, Thompson’s exceptional ability in so many events was quite awe inspiring. It still is.
Conservative MP for Loughborough, PPS to David Willetts
I think the one that sums up how potential triumph on the international Olympic stage can turn to actual disaster so very quickly was the clash between Zola Budd and Mary Decker at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.
Conservative MP for Gainsborough
I will always remember one race from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Oddly, it was about going slowly rather than quickly. In the sailing, Ben Ainslie was fighting the Brazilian Robert Scheidt for gold – again. Ainslie had a discard in hand, and had to sail Scheidt to 22nd place or worse. Scheidt eventually finished in 23rd place, and Ainslie won his first gold medal.
Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay
In 2004, I was immensely proud to watch as my then boyfriend competed in the Athens Games for Britain in the 110m hurdles as the only out British Olympian in that squad. He was carrying a flag both for his country and against homophobia in sport.
Conservative MP for East Surrey
Growing up, I followed every Olympics with the dream of being a track runner. My favourite moment was watching Derek Redmond complete the 400m semi-final during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Despite snapping his hamstring, Redmond fought through the pain and with the help of his father crossed the line to a standing ovation from the crowd.
Conservative MP for South West Devon
I was nine, and my brothers and I were sports mad. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were being beamed onto the tiny black and white TV screen. We weren’t doing too well. Then up stepped Mary Rand and Lynn Davies and they both won gold in the long jump! We went out into the garden and held our own long jump competition.
Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland
I remember watching Allan Wells run the final of the 100m in Moscow 1980. What really sticks in my mind is his wife Margot cheering him on from behind the starting line. “C’mon Allan!” in a full-throated Scottish roar. You wondered that if he did not win he might have had to keep on running!
Labour MP for Plymouth, Moor View, shadow defence minister
David Hemery winning the 400m hurdles in 1968. I loved hurdling and he always was a real gentleman sportsman.
Liberal Democrat MP for Wells, PPS to Vince Cable
In 1992, Linford Christie became Olympic 100m champion at Barcelona. At 32, he became the oldest winner of the Olympic 100m by four years. I’ve never forgotten the intense excitement of the occasion which to me typifies the Olympic magic.
Labour MP for Inverclyde
My lasting memory of the Olympics is one where the winner finished last. When Derek Redmond pulled his hamstring in the 400m and his dad leapt from the crowd, put his arm round him and helped him to the finish line, you saw what the Olympics meant to these two men. But more than any Olympic gold, the world could see how much his dad loved him.
Conservative MP for Southend West
Chairing the Olympic Games Bill and growing up a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park, I knew that the 2012 Games were going to be memorable. So it proved when the Olympic Torch arrived in Southend. It was an inspirational afternoon, the “best by a mile” according to the organisers.
Conservative, Campaigner for the Olympic Truce
Torvill and Dean winning gold at the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo. The interpretation of bolero was a thing of rare beauty and grace securing a perfect set of 6.0 from the 12 judges. Last year I visited the ice rink on my walk from Olympic to London for the Olympic Truce—the building had been destroyed in the Bosnian War but has since been fully restored.
Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde
A lasting Olympic memory for me was Jonathan Edwards winning gold in the 2000 Olympic Games. It was inspirational to see a person who is from my part of the world achieve extraordinary success and excellence in their chosen profession.
Liberal Democrat MP for Ceredigion
Who could fail to be moved by the rivalry between Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe in the 800m and 1,500m at the 1980 Moscow Olympics? The sense of drama was palpable as Ovett beat Coe in the 800m, and Coe later beat Ovett in the 1,500m.
Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire, Foreign Office minister
It could be Seb Coe’s magnificence at Los Angeles; it should be Steve Redgrave’s final triumph watched excitedly in a hotel room half-a-world away, but it has to be Derek Redmond making it to the line half carried by his father in Barcelona. Love and courage matched uniquely.
Crossbencher, former Paralympian
Watching Steve Redgrave win in Sydney was very emotional. I was in Australia and screamed at the TV with my husband laughing and telling me that it didn’t make any difference how loud I shouted. I told him it did.
Labour MP for Walsall South
My Olympic memories include those who have persevered and inspired us: British hockey team winning after 80 years in 1988; Derek Redmond and his dad finishing the race in 1992; in 2000 Steve Redgrave’s fifth gold after saying “no more”; 2004 Kelly Holmes winning gold medals after injury, and the Fosbury Flop.