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Mexico 1968

Olympic Memories

Mexico Olympic Logo 1968For the Mexico City Games in 1968, I had to qualify to go. It was the first and only time the Olympic Games have been held in a Latin American country, and it was the first time. that drug tests were conducted at the Games. An athlete from Sweden was sent home for testing positive for being over the limit for alcohol. In the context of the IOC’s fight against doping now, the expulsion seems rather quaint but it must have been devastating for the athlete at the time.

For me, Mexico City was a struggle with jet lag, the climate and the sharp difference in altitude. Mexico City sits at 2240 metres above sea level, compared with Singapore which is only 165 metres at its highest point!

We were a small team: me, a shooter, two weight lifters, a chef de mission and a team manager. I was on my own for most of the time, getting ready for the 100 metre and 200 metre sprints. It was the first time on a tartan track; the events in Tokyo were the last time that a cinder track was used. The track left a good feeling; the altitude was not so good. Even thought we traveled several days before the opening to get acclimatized to the altitude, it was still tough going. I tired very easily. I could only do half the schedules set out by my coach.

I look back and realize that we had so much to learn in terms of Games preparation, athlete development & support and sports administration. However, I would not trade any of my experiences at the Olympic Games. They were among the defining moments in my life.

C. Kunalan
May 2008

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