Three of OMEGA’s brand ambassadors reflected on their experiences at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the final scheduled event at the Swiss watchmaker’s Pavilion on Olympic Green. Sprinters Tyson Gay and Kim Gevaert were joined on stage by pole vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva and they discussed the highs and lows which characterize every Olympic Games.
For Isinbayeva, a Russian who has established herself has the greatest woman pole vaulter in the history of the sport, there were mostly highs (literally) as she defended the gold medal she had won in Athens by setting a world record of 5.05 metres.
Kim Gevaert, the reigning European 100-metre and 200-metre champion, said that participating for Belgium in the Games was an opportunity to see old friends and acquaintances from her sport and “to compete with the very best athletes in the world.” She and her teammates won the silver medal in the 4 x 100 metre relay and the 30-year-old, who has announced that she will retire at the end of the year, said that she was thrilled to have been on an Olympic medal podium before hanging up her racing shoes.
Sprinter Tyson Gay, although he didn’t meet his pre-Olympic expectations, enjoyed being part of the American team and has particularly fond memories of entering the National Stadium in the flag ceremony. He was philosophical about the American sprinters’ performances at the Olympic Games in Beijing. “It’s the nature of sport – sometimes it all comes together and works perfectly; other times, you come up short. The important thing is to stay healthy and keep a good mental attitude.”
Gay was impressed by Usain Bolt’s world record time in the 100-metre Olympic sprint but is convinced that he can challenge it. He is justified in his confidence: Gay has run the fastest 100-metres ever, at 9.68 seconds, but a tailwind speed slightly above the allowable level kept the record out of the books.
After the athletic stars discussed their Olympic experiences, OMEGA president Stephen Urquhart gave them a tour of the Pavilion where the three had the opportunity to try their hands at watchmaking before visiting some of the exhibits and finally posing in the OMEGA row boat just outside the Pavilion’s exhibition area.
With one day of competition to go at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the athletes’ visit to the Pavilion was the final scheduled event on a busy calendar which, since the facility’s grand opening on August 4th has featured Olympic officials, sports stars, entertainers and dignitaries while hosting tens of thousands of visitors each day.
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