While we’re on holiday in Devon during this first week of the Rio Olympics, here’s an Olympic memory from “1000 Memories”, available as a Kindle book here (UK) or here (US).
I thought that he was dying. I thought that the man on the television was dying. He had collapsed beside the running track. He had something on his face, over his mouth and nose, and he was breathing through it. There was a long tube going from the thing over his mouth and nose into a big metal thing on the ground.
“What’s happening, Daddy?”
“Ah they’re just giving him oxygen. It’s very high altitude there.”
I didn’t know what oxygen was, or altitude, and Dad explained. The man was running at very high altitude, like running up a mountain, and the air was thinner, and he needed oxygen to help him breathe. He wasn’t going to die.