Video Saturday – Long John Baldry

FACT – the people in this video are walking very fast because they are walking in very thin atmosphere.

The 1968 Mexico Olympics were “the first” for many reasons, they were the first, and so far the last Olympics to be held at altitude, 7350 feet above sea level causing world records in throwing and short sprinting events to be broken by such margins that they stood for many years, the long jump record set at the 1968 Olympics was not broken again until 1991, in an event that is measured by improvements of fractions of an inch the American long jumper Bob Beamon broke the previous record by 22 inches. The triple jump competition had four athletes all beating the previous world record in the first round.

It was the first to use an artificial surface for the athletics stadium – a 3M “Tartan” rubberised running track that had been designed for horse racing, the horses didn’t like it but the athletes much prefered it to the traditional cinder tracks.

It was the first time that East and West Germany competed as separate countries, they’d been forced to compete as one Germany in the three previous Games.

It was the first Olympics in which drugs testing was used and the first athlete to be banned was a Swedish pentathlete testing positive for alcohol, he enjoyed a few pints of beer before competing, I’ve done some daft things whilst pissed as well so I know how he felt.

David Hemery and John Sherwood of Great Britain ran in the final of the mens 400 metres hurdles and I watched it the next morning before going to school, the first time that the BBC had broadcast early morning programmes as most of the track competitions took place after midnight UK time – it was also the first Olympics to be broadcast in colour

And by the way, David Coleman later apologised to John Sherwood for saying “who cares who finished third”, for of course it was John Sherwood.

The Mexico Olympics were held in October 1968 and the young JerryChicken had just started at Leeds Modern Grammar School, so I’d get up early, get ready for school and then watch Frank Bough present Grandstand at 7am with a round-up of all that had gone on while we slept, Long John Baldry sang the BBC’s theme tune while athletes of all nations walked very quickly around the stadium in the thin atmosphere wearing a wonderful display of trilby’s.

Just a few months later Long John went back in to the studio and re-recorded “Mexico” with a new chorus, the revised song “Texaco” was then used for a UK advertising campaign for the petrol stations of the same name, now THAT is genius.

 

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