Monday, 26 January 2009

Without wanting to sound like a name-dropper, which I will, I had occasion yesterday to phone Keith Quinn to record a radio commercial for an iconic Southland event.

The Mighty Quinn, along with the Mad Butcher, is a celebrity guest at next weekend’s Crank Up Day at Edendale.

To cut a long story short, while we were waiting for the advertising script I had sent him to come through on his laptop, we got yarning about some of the great celebrities who have graced the event in the past. Sir Ed Hillary and (should-have-been-Sir-if-it-wasn’t-for-a-sickly-liberal-government) Colin Meads immediately came to mind. Then there’s the almost perennial appearance from Dick Tayler whose name is synonymous with one of the great days in New Zealand sport.

Sunday, incidentally, marks the 35th anniversary of Tayler setting the 1974 Commonwealth Games alight with his opening-day heroics in the 10,000 metres.

Still no sign of the script coming through, so I asked Keith whether Tayler’s Herculean effort would rate amongst the top five sporting events he has ever witnessed live. The great broadcaster paused momentarily before his encyclopedic mind burst forth with the following five:

Fifth: The 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch with Tayler’s win and John Walker’s silver medal (behind Filbert Bayi in world record time) in the 1500 metres.

Fourth: Valerie Vili’s monstering of the field in the shot put at the Beijing Olympics last year.

Third: The All Blacks’ 29-9 win over France in the 1987 Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park.

Second: The third test against the Springboks at Pretoria in 1996 where the desperation 33-26 win meant John Hart’s All Blacks became the first to win a series in South Africa against the great foe after the failed attempts of 1928, 1949, 1960, 1970 and 1976.

First: Walker’s magnificent 1500 metres victory at the Montreal Olympics where Keith got to call home New Zealand’s last gold medal on the track and exclaim the immortal phrase “in the best traditions of Jack Lovelock and Peter Snell, John Walker wins gold …”

As fate would have it though, Quinn, a stickler for correctness when it comes to the Queen’s language, is best remembered for an orgasmic outburst that made no sense at all.

Remember Jonah Lomu scoring the first of his four tries against England in the 1995 World Cup semi-final when he ran straight over top of Mike Catt?



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