Tuesday, 26 August 2008


British competitors won 19 golds in Beijing to finish fourth in the medal table with a haul of 47 medals in total.
I didn't watch the last few days of the Olympics but Britain's James DeGale secured our nineteenth gold by winning the middleweight final. The successful medallists came home in Boeing with a specially painted gold nose!

The outstanding performances - in terms of gold medals - were from Chris Hoy with three and Becky Adlington with two.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Our 18th Gold

Tim Brabants powered to a superb victory in the final of the men's K1 1000m to win Great Britain's 18th gold medal of the Olympics. The 31-year-old dominated the race from the start, finishing almost a boat's length ahead of the defending champion, Norway's Erik Veraas Larsen. Brabants crossed the finishing line in 3 min 26.323 sec to win Britain's first ever canoeing Olympic gold medal.

Shanaze Reade crashed out of the BMX final while in second place on the last bend - she wasn't going to settle for silver. It was gold or nothing. Nothing - except a possible broken hand. But at the age of 19 "There's always London 2012...."

Meanwhile, Heather Fell got an excellent silver in the modern pentathlon.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Phillips Idowu

Phillips Idowu got a Silver in the triple jump - not a happy bunny after expecting to get a Gold and despite wearing Kelly Holmes's lucky number 1809. Idowu is known for his eccentric personality, sporting a variety of hair colours, an array of facial piercings and trademark booming laugh. There was no laughing at the end of his event. I expect he will always view his medal with mixed feelings after having been the favourite to take Gold. Not that it is any consolation to him but I think that any sporting event is to some extent a lottery and to be the Olympic silver medallist for th next four years is a pretty creditable achievement. And there's always 2012...

I had expected, at the start of these Games, to be saying "There's always 2012" about a lot of the British competitors but they have done so brilliantly that it is going to be very hard for them and their successors to do as well.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Have you got it?

Have you got it? I’ve got it.

Oops, no I haven’t. If it wasn’t the USA I’d feel sorry for them....

But then... We passed the baton ouitside the yellow line... Or was it on... the debate continues as I write this....

So far, so brilliant...

Iain Percy and Andrew (Bart) Simpson have won GB another Gold Medal in the sailing – in the final race of all at Qingdao in the Star Class. This has been the best Olympic regatta in history for the British team.

As I head off to Exeter to stay with Helen and Ian the medal tally stands at 17 Gold, 11 Silver and 11 Bronze for GB. we are still third in the table.

Lightning Bolt

If Michael Phelps claimed the glory of week one of the Bejing Olympics it is Usain Bolt who will be remembered for the second week. Not only did he easily smash the world record in the 100 metres, taking it down to 9.69 secs) but in a wonderful week from an amazing athlete, the 200m race was the most staggering moment of all. He finished in 19.30 seconds to break Michael Johnson's 12-year-old world record, one of the most venerable in the books. Jaws dropped. Gobs were smacked, flabbers were gasted. That shouldn't have been possible. Michael Johnson's 200m world record was supposed to be untouchable. He had said that if Bolt concentrated on time and ignored the flag waving antics of his 100m run he could do it. And he did, despite supposedly being tired after running eight races in six days.

Bolt, seen here winning his 100m race, is by no means alone in getting two Golds and two world records at an Olympic Games but what Golds and what world records!

Olympic boxing - underwater

Since my last posting we’ve added a couple more medals.

In the women’s 400m hurdles a surprise and well-earned bronze went to Tasha Danvers.

In the past the Olympics have had some weird sports (perhaps no more weird than synchronised swimming!) including rope climbing and underwater swimming but now we've got underwater boxing / wrestling. David Davies swam the 10km marathon but swam off course a couple of times resulting in a silver despite him undoubtedly being by far the best swimmer there. In his defence he led almost the whole way and the other swimmers virtually beat him up in the water – it’s a violent and unpleasant tactical race. At the end he was delirious and had to be stretchered away though amid some concern. Fortunately he quickly recovered and, equally fortunately, he was pleased with a silver.

The girls got silver and bronze in their race and he did equally well getting his silver but if we carry on playing by the rules we’ll never get a gold!!! (I’m not suggesting the winner himself cheated but he was a lot bigger than David and perhaps more able to take care of himself). It’s about time they enforced the rules better though in fairness the World Champion was disqualified during the race for too many rough tactics.

David Davies is a Barry boy and very proud of his Welsh roots but you won’t see a single Welsh flag waving in Bejing. It would contravene Olympic rules - section D of the regulations posted outside Olympic venues says that spectators are not allowed to bring in "flags of non-Olympic and Paralympic participating countries/regions". So, no English, Scottish or Welsh flags are allowed since the UK competes as one nation under the flag of the Union Jack.

The winner of the race – Maarten van der Weijden – is himself a story of some inspiration. Seven years ago he was lying in a hospital bed suffering from cancer; his baldness is the outcome of that and not a swimming tactic. He wants to send the message to cancer sufferers everywhere that “If you are lucky there is a major world out there still”.

Our Men’s RS:X wind-surfing – Nick Dempsey - slipped out of the medals in the last race and came in that most invidious of spots – fourth. I think I’d rather be last than be so close and yet so far.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

We never had it so good..

In 1996 ‘we’ (i.e. our representatives in Atlanta) came home with just one Gold medal. So far we have now got 16. Absolutely brilliant.

British cyclist Chris Hoy claimed a superb hat-trick of gold medals after beating team-mate Jason Kenny in the sprint. Kenny’s silver was an addition to his gold in the team sprint. The 32-year-old becomes the first Briton in 100 years to win three golds at the same Olympics, after his earlier success in the team sprint and keirin. The Scot was pushed to the limit in the first race by his 20-year-old opponent, edging the opening duel in the best-of-three by half a wheel's length. Hoy dominated the second race, giving a victory salute as he crossed the line.

Victoria Pendleton won Britain's sixth track cycling gold of the 2008 Olympics with victory over Australia's Anna Meares in the women's sprint final. The 27-year-old was in a class of her own, winning the first two races of the best of three, with relative ease. She led out in the first race before outsprinting her opponent and then gave Meares the chance to lead in the next but the result was even more emphatic.

In the Bird’s Nest stadium our high jumper Germaine Mason took the stadium by storm and gained an unexpected and very welcome silver medal.

This was shortly followed by a Gold when Christine Ohuruogu's stunning 400m victory brought Team GB's gold medal haul to 16 as Britain sealed their best Olympic performance for a century.

The Americans commented the other day that we only won our medals sitting down – a bit of jealousy over our sailing and cycling records, I think. We most definitely proved them wrong the last couple of days... (And one could argue that they win all their medals in the water - when we don't beat them!)

Britain's Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten took silver and bronze in the 10km swim.

Bryony Shaw took the Bronze medal in the Women’s RS:X wind-surfing medal race at the end of a very long week. An emotional Bryony promptly jumped in the water and was dragged into the BBC boat where she was 'over the moon' - "I am just so happy. It was such a hard race and I had such a hard week. It's the best thing in the world. I love my mum and dad so much, they are so supportive. And my boyfriend Greg. My coach Tom is such a legend. I am so (unacceptable word for morning television) happy." That was like Gwyneth Paltrow but with genuine emotion," said BBC presenter Adrian Chiles.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Cyclists demoralise the opposition

The Track Cycling Men's Team Pursuit gold medal final was held at Laoshan Velodrome in Beijing, China, on August 18, 2008. The British team claimed the title in this event and broke the world record with a time of 3:53.314. Our cycling team has just totally demoralised the other countries.

Gold Medal thirteen for team GB came with Paul Goodison in the Laser class sailing.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Super Sunday

By Sunday lunchtime (our time) Britain was third in the Gold Medal table with 11 golds. Three blondes in a boat got the gold in the Yngling class.

Ben Ainsley got a third career gold in the Finn class sailing.

The lightweight scullers (Zak Purchase and Mark Hunter) got a brilliant gold in their little boat and the Woman’s quad got silver with which they were devastatingly disappointed but it seemed like good going to me. It’s all about expectations.

Rebecca Romero got the gold in the women’s pursuit cycling with Wendy Houvenhaghel getting the silver. Rebecca was only the second ever woman to get a medal in two entirely different disciplines in the summer Olympics – she was part of the silver Women’s quad scullers who won silver in 2004.

Mara Yamaguchi came sixth in the marathon but the unfit Paula Radcliffe had to be content with finishing. Liz Yelling was just behind her des[pite a fall very early in the race which left her bruised and with cracked ribs.

The men's team pursuit cyclists made it into the Final beating their own world record time in the process - so another gold or silver has to be earned tomorrow.

If Michael Phelps were a separate country he would be in seventh place in the medal table - as it is his eight golds are the difference between the USA and ourselves at the moment.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Still Medalling

Chris Hoy, Jamie Staff and Jason Kenny won Gold for Britain in the Cycling team sprint.

Rebecca Adlington got a second Gold in the swimming - the 800m freestyle - the first British woman to get two swimming medals in one Games. She managed to smash the World record in the process. That man Phelps got his seventh Gold. The Brits have done reasonably well in the early rounds of the athletics. I have been amazed at how many World Records have gone in these Olympoics in a wide variety of events. Often, winning events involves a different technique to smashiing world records but in Bejing they have done both. I wonder if the 100m sprint will be a record.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

More Medals

The personable David Florence got a brilliant silver medal in the CI canoeing slalom final.

Britain's eventing team got a bronze and Tina Cook on Miner's Frolic got a Bronze in the Individual eventing. As she rode for her individual medal the commentator was so wound up apologised in advance in case he swore.

Emms and Robertson (silver medallists from last Olympics) got through their first round - agsinst the Chineseto whom they lost in the last finals. For them it was like a final all over again.

Emma Pooley brought in our second Silver with a second place in the women's time trials cycling. In the pool American Michael Phelps won medals four and five of this games taking his all-time tally to a record ten. Then he got another making him the most successful Olympian of all-time. He is still on target for eight medals in eight days with eight world records....