"Modern Olympian Ode #42 (1980, 1984) When Two Halves Didn't Make a Whole" and "Modern Olympian Ode #41 (2021) Triple Threat"

Modern Olympian Ode #42 (1980, 1984) When Two Halves Didn't Make a Whole


It is the easiest thing in the world
to boycott something that doesn't affect you personally:
two different groups of politicians and bureaucrats,
four years apart,
defecated on the dreams of thousands,
if not tens of thousands
thus Daley Thompson won the decathlon twice,
the first time when half the world wasn't watching,
the second time when the other half wasn't watching;
both groups pretending the Games they ignored didn't happen
and so the world's greatest athlete,
undefeated in the event for eight years,
the world record-holder four different times
(the last time for eight years),
the Olympic record-holder for twenty years,
someone good enough to compete in an open event,
has never had the praise of the entire world
until this poem



Modern Olympian Ode #41 (2021)  Triple Threat

Over a decade earlier
she had been a refugee
from a country still producing refugees today,
so she was no stranger to history
Now a citizen representing her adopted country,
Sifan Hass of the the Netherlands was out
to make a different kind of history:
no one, man or woman, had ever won
the 1500, 5000, and 10,000 meters
at the same Olympics; in fact
no one had won medals of any kind
in all three events at the same Games
For her to do so,
she would have to run 24,500 meters
over a period of eight days:
a heat, a semifinal, and the final in the 1500,
a heat and the final in the 5000,
and the 10,000
She would run on five of the eight days,
the final of the 5000 and a heat in the 1500
would take place on the same day less than ten hours apart
Having survived much tougher things,
Sifan Hassan was equal to the task:
she won gold in the 5000 and 10,000
and bronze in the 1500,
winning her place among the immortals
by making the good kind of history



Michael Ceraolo is a 63-year-old retired firefighter/paramedic and active poet who has had two full-length poetry books published (Euclid Creek, from Deep Cleveland Press; 500 Cleveland Haiku, from Writing Knights Press), and has two more full-length books in the publication pipeline.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 21:49