Who is this cyclist?
Why is this photograph embarrassing?
Where was he riding?
Why was he using a false name?
When did he shave off his moustache?
So many questions.
Are we watching the dirty deed that got him a life ban from the Olympics? Why should he care?
Thirty-eight years later he’s a member of the IOC!
Funny thing: If you look at his official IOC biography, they forgot to mention that 1976 life ban.
This fellow can hand out medals at the Games but, unlike nearly every other citizen of the planet, is refused the opportunity to win one.
Meet Patrick “Pat” McQuaid, born September 1949. Let’s wind back his biographical clock. In the mid-1970s he was one of Ireland’s top amateur cyclists, determined to be selected for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. His fear was that he might not be fit enough. Pat won the 1975 Tour of Ireland but the Irish cycling season ended in September 1975 and he needed more road racing. And not just for Ireland and the Olympic Ideal.
If Pat raced well in Montreal his chances were greater of getting a pro cycling contract and giving up school-teaching. So he was open to offers. And, Pat says, he ‘got an offer he couldn’t refuse’ – to secretly break international bans on competing in apartheid South Africa.
Six thousand miles later, in early October 1975, he left “Pat McQuaid” on the plane and emerged into the bright Spring Cape Town sunshine relabelled as “Jim Burns.” First thing he needed was a leak. OK, there’s the sign for the Gents but with the baffling Afrikaans words, “Net Blankes” – but underneath was the comforting translation “Whites Only.” Phew, no black man was going to peer at JimPat’s penis.
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