Let's prepare for Rio 2016

HARARE - As you read this, Zimbabwe’s iconic swimmer Kirsty Coventry is almost certainly awaiting the final of the 200m backstroke at the London 2012 Olympics, barring a disastrous performance in last night’s semi-final.

Kirsty’s showing at the Games this time around — in which she is now in the running for just one medal compared to four in Beijing four years ago and three in the previous Games in Athens — is a reality check for the country, a reminder that we need to look beyond her now and work on producing more potential Olympic medallists.

Kirsty has spoilt us over the years, so much that a lot of people do not realise the magnitude of her achievements.

Kirsty’s feats are, in fact, world-class and the envy of many bigger and richer countries than ours.

Take for instance that her four medals in Beijing in 2008 were more than of the whole South African team.
But the honeymoon is over now.

Athletes with the kind of talent and commitment as Kirsty’s come along once in a generation.

While we must continue to celebrate the achievements of this great athlete and great Zimbabwean, let us use her as an inspiration to produce more Kirsty Coventrys for Rio de Janeiro 2016.

We need to take a cue from our neighbours South Africa.

After Khotso Mokeona won the country’s only medal at the Beijing Games in 2008, the Rainbow Nation was left to search its soul.

They dusted themselves down.

Four years later, as of yesterday, South Africa occupied eighth place with three golds on the medal table, and probably still counting.

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