In candid interviews with Bruce McAvaney, 12 Australian Olympians reveal what happens when there are no personal bests left to chase and what, if anything, replaces the euphoria of elite sport. They'll share the highs and lows, the glory and heartbreak, not just of sport but life itself, in a powerful half hour that goes far beyond the Games.
Type: Talk Show
Runtime: 30 minutes
Olympians: Off the Record - P. T. Usha - Netflix
Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha (born 27 June 1964), popularly known as P. T. Usha, is a retired Indian track and field athlete. She has been associated with Indian athletics since 1979. She is often called the “queen of Indian track and field”. She is nicknamed as the Payyoli Express. Currently she runs the Usha School of Athletics at Koyilandy near Kozhikode in Kerala.
Olympians: Off the Record - 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - Netflix
Usha's best moment came at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She entered on the back of a string of good performances at the year's New Delhi inter-state meet and Mumbai Open National Championships. However, poor performances in 100m and 200m at the Moscow World Championships prompted her to concentrate on the 400 m hurdles. At the Olympics trials in Delhi, she beat Asian Champion M. D. Valsamma to qualify for the Games. At another pre-Olympics trials, she clocked 55.7 seconds beating American top sprinter Judi Brown. At the Games, she clocked 56.81 s in the heats and 55.54 s in the semi-final, setting a new Commonwealth record as she entered the final. At the final, she came fourth, at 55.42 seconds, falling behind the eventual bronze medalist by 1/100th of a second. This followed after one of her competitors had a false start, which was said to have “broken her rhythm” as “she got off the blocks a bit slower at the restart.” In the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships, Usha won six medals — five gold and one bronze. She won the 100 m in 11.64, 200 m in 23.05, 400 m in 52.62, an Asian record, and 400 m hurdles in 56.64, with the final two coming in a span of 35 minutes. Her fifth gold came in 4 x 400 m relay, and a final bronze in 4 x 100 m. She set a record in the process for most gold medals won at a single event in the history of the championships. In the first two of her wins, she equalled the Asian record held by Chi Cheng of Taiwan. She went on to better her personal best in 400 m a week later at the 1985 Canberra World Cup, when she clocked 51.61, finishing seventh. She almost replicated her Jakarta Championships performance at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. She won the 100 metres silver with a time of 11.67 seconds losing the gold to Lydia de Vega. The 200 metres gold came in 23.44, 400 metres gold in 52.16 and 4 x 400 m relay gold in 3:34.58, all of which were new Games records. At the Games, British athletics coach Jim Alford said of her, “Usha is a first class athlete, a tough competitor and a terrific runner to watch. She has all the potential. Given careful guidance, she can be world class.” Prior to taking to the 1987 Singapore Asian Championships, Usha spent a month training in London under Alford. She began the Championships with a silver in the 100 m after falling behind de Vega by 0.31 seconds. She dropped out of the 200-metre race as the 400 m hurdles final was scheduled in 70 minutes from the former. She went on to win gold in 400 m hurdles clocking 56.48 s and another gold in 400 m with a timing of 52.31 s. She won two more medals in the competition — silver in 4 x 100 m relay and gold in 4 x 400 m relay. From 1983–89, Usha garnered 13 golds at ATF meets. In the 10th Asian Games held at Seoul in 1986, P. T. Usha won 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal in the track and field events. She also won five gold medals at the 6th Asian Track and Field Championship in Jakarta in 1985. Her medals at the same meet is a record for a single athlete in a single international meet. Usha has won 101 international medals so far. She is employed as an officer in the Southern Railways. In 1984, she was conferred the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award. Currently she coaches young athletes at her training academy in Kerala, including Tintu Lukka, who qualified for the women's semi-final 800m at the London 2012 Olympics.
Olympians: Off the Record - References - Netflix