India’s track superstar PT Usha recalls that during the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984, where she missed a medal by one-hundredth of a second, she was forced to eat just rice porridge with pickle at the Games Village. That food without any nutrition supplement had cost her the bronze, she claims. “That definitely affected my performance in the last 35 metres of my event since I couldn’t sustain the energy level,” she said. In that epic 400m hurdles final, Usha and Cristieana Cojocaru of Romania crossed the finish line at almost the same time but the latter prevailed as she went for the decisive lunge.
PT Usha said that the Indian athletes used to be envious of the amenities at the disposal of athletes from other countries. “We would jealously look at the athletes from other countries enjoying fabulous amenities; they had the latest equipment at their disposal. We wondered if we too would one day have access to such facilities,” she was quoted as saying in an interview in the latest edition of the Equator Line magazine.