STARTING A NEW SERMON SERIES ON SIN
FINALLY MAKING PRIZE DAY, 40 YEARS AFTER I LEFT SCHOOL!

MARY PETERS GOLD MEDAL - 50 YEARS - PERSONAL SURMISE

Mary P HJ 2

It is impossible to get through this weekend without a blog on Mary Peters. 

Fifty years since that amazing evening in Munich when she became the only Northern Irish person to win a solo gold medal at the Olympic Games. 

I remember it so well. The personal bests, particularly the high jump. Fearing Heidi Rosenthal’s long jump. That last race. “Run the race of your life Mary!” And then… that seemingly long long wait, Mary and Ann Wilson watching the screen, before… jumping into my excited mother’s arms and almost knocking her tooth out!

I was 10. I had only just started P7. I was just discovering Donny Osmond and T. Rex. Yet I was in the zone for the Olympics. I even remember getting up early to watch the Mexico Olympics as a 6 year old. 

My parents were athletes. The big clock on our mantle piece was a wedding gift from the Ballymena Athletics Club. My dad was disappointed he didn’t make the 1958 Commonwealth Games. My mum even claims to have been in a relay team with Mary Peters.

Two years before Munich we had great seats at the 1970 Commonwealth Games when before the hurdles race in the pentathlon my mum shouted down at her and Mary looked up and answered. Colour the son impressed.

As a ten year old my sporting views of my wee home country were a little askew. George Best was the best footballer in the world and Willie John McBride one of the best Rugby players. At those 1970 Commonwealth’s I has watched Mike Bull win a gold medal in the pole vault! I foolishly thought it would always be this way!

I was too young to make comment on how Mary’s gold medal lifted a country at the height of the Troubles. I do know though that that historical night in Munich was a very special one in our house and my memory. I have so enjoyed celebrating it. Thank you Mary!

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