January 2013

In Memoriam: John Thomas

‘American spectators are frustrated athletes. In the champion, they see who’d they’d like to be. In the loser, they see what they actually are, and they treat him with scorn.’ John Thomas, who has died aged 71, said that, and though his wasn’t quite a Wide World Of Sports ‘agony of defeat’ moment, any American of my generation will recall exactly the amount of scorn which was heaped on Thomas, whose failings were that he won bronze and silver medals at successive Olympic games, when he was expected to win gold.