Well-known Rutland League cricketer Colin Dale – a former Olympic hockey player – has been notified he can now use the abbreviation OLY after his name having represented Great Britain in both the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome events.
The move by the World Olympians Association, has been introduced to acknowledge the role that sportsmen and sportswomen have played, having represented their country at the ultimate Games.
Says octogenarian Dale: “It’s a bit like having PhD or MA after your name and I am very proud to have the opportunity to do it. Whether I will or not is probably another matter.”
The former Barnack cricketer, who took up bowls just a couple of years ago as a member of the Stamford Indoor Club, to resurrect his competitive edge, still remembers fondly being part of the teams which finished fourth at each of the Olympic ‘field hockey’ tournaments in which he played.
At Melbourne, the first summer games held in Australia, Great Britain lost 3-1 to Germany for the bronze medal and in Rome they lost to Spain 2-1.
The first was won by India for the sixth successive time and the second by Pakistan.
“As also a keen cricketer it was also such a thrill to stand in the centre of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) one of the iconic places for the sport in the whole world,” he recalled.
“The Melbourne Games were also significant for being boycotted by some Middle East countries because of Israel’s invasion of Sinai and others including Netherlands and Switzerland because of Russia’s recent invasion of Budapest in Hungary.”
Britain’s gold medalists then were in three-day eventing, steeplechase (Chris Brasher), swimming (Judy Grinham), boxing (Terry Spinks and Dick McTaggart) and fencing (Gillian Sheen).
In Rome the nation was less successful, with golds only for Don Thompson (50k walk) and Anita Lonsborough (swimming) but they were also significant for Muhammad Ali’s light heavyweight boxing gold under his original name of Cassius Clay.
Says Colin: “My certificate is only a piece of paper but it is an acknowledgement of a bygone achievement and brings back some very happy memories.”