Seoul 1988: Laurie Lawrence – Swimming Coach

Seoul 1988: Laurie Lawrence – Swimming Coach
Network Ten
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Larry Emdur's report for Network Ten focuses on the euphoria displayed by coach Laurie Lawrence following the win of his star pupil, Duncan Armstrong at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Ranked 46th in the world in the 200m freestyle, Duncan was not considered in medal discussions for the Seoul Olympics. However, in the last 25 metres he surged past American world-record holder Matt Biondi to claim the gold medal, setting a new world-record time of 1 minute 47.25 seconds.

Duncan’s stunning triumph set off one of the great coaching celebrations the sport has seen. Laurie became a household name with behaviour so uninhibited that some at the time thought it unacceptable.

Laurie slaps the reporter with joy, kisses random spectators, riles up the crowd and narrowly avoids arrest for being rowdy. Later, he jumps fully clothed into a training pool. Emerging from the pool dripping wet with squelching Reebok shoes, Laurie realises he is missing out on Duncan’s medal ceremony.

He frantically searches the complex, spotting his star pupil on the podium, receiving the gold medal.

The Network Ten segment portrays Laurie in an endearing light. The music – which includes Whitney's Houston's ballad 'All at Once' (1985) and Angry Anderson's 'Suddenly' (1986) – help convey the deep-seated emotion and pride Laurie feels regarding the win. The use of slow motion and long cross fades conveys a similar sentiment.

In the final sequence we see Laurie holding his hat to his heart. This shot is superimposed over an image of the Australian flag, with the anthem sounding in the background. Through the careful editing of sound, image and voice this fascinating piece of news journalism explicitly conveys Laurie’s patriotism and love for Australia.

Excerpt from TEN Eyewitness News Sydney, 20 September 1988.