CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield is leaving Monday for China, but she’s not just going to report on the games, or the athletes, or on Beijing. Whitfield will be reporting on her father, former U.S. Olympian Mal Whitfield and his return to the Olympics with several other octogenarian athletes.
60 years ago, Marvelous Mal won two gold medals (800 meters and 4×400 relay) and a bronze (400 meters) at the London Olympics. Four years later in Helsinki he won gold again in the 800m and silver in the 4x400m.
Mal Whitfield was inspired as a child watching the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. “Four years later,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview this afternoon, “I was energized by this great man called Jesse Owens.” He’s now 83 years old and, for the last month, along with his daughter, he’s been gearing up for a return to the games.
Fredricka Whitfield’s reports from Beijing will begin airing next week on CNN.
Now, if anyone is around to document this in 60 years, let’s see if Michael Phelps, who will also be 83, goes on CNN with his anchor/daughter, talking about his Beijing experience and preparing to go to the 2068 Baghdad Olympics. It could happen.