This clip includes the final 30 seconds of commentary of the 4 × 100 men’s swimming medley relay at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
This is Norman May’s commentary of the last lap when Neil Brooks of Australia and Sergey Kopliakov of the Soviet Union race to the finishing line and where May gives his now famous, and famously misquoted, line: ‘Gold, gold to Australia, gold!’, which many now remember as being simply ‘gold, gold, gold’. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2010, May said that this call was the highlight of his career and laughed at the suggestion of being remembered for something he didn’t actually say.
The call was broadcast on the 2UE radio network because the race occurred in the small hours of the morning when, in 1980, the ABC had closed for the night. The broadcaster at 2UE played May’s call of the last lap eight times over the next hour, which helped propel the phrase to its edited version and into the hearts of Australians.
Even from this short clip at the end of the race it’s obvious why May is such an effective commentator. He conveys a sense of the atmosphere ('The crowd’s going wild!’) so the listener feels like they are there. His description of events is concise ('Forget the rest’) and thrilling, with the countdown at the end ('Five metres … four …’) raising the suspense to unbearable levels. The excitement and jubilation in his voice as he shouts 'Gold!’ at the end is infectious and helps explain why this broadcast became so iconic.