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3 gold medals was the target for team GB in the athletics stadium and so we decided to get them by the second day of track n field just in case, the middle Saturday a truly astonishing night of British sport. I had a tear of elation for its excellence. The following Saturday wasn't bad either, Bolts brilliance and Rudisha's astounding 800m record crammed in between making it some of the greatest Olympic athletics of all time, what athletics fans like me dream about and of being. I ran the 1500m on Grandstand in 1983, but so far back on the track that history would not remember me, my Olympic dream finished right there. Trying never hurt anybody. We all think we are better than we are. But what's wrong with that?
Day one --
The athletics got underway with golden girl Jessica Ennis the star attraction in the packed stadium. I have never seen an Olympic stadium full for a morning session yet 70,000 packed in to cheer the Sheffield lass on. Every day would be like this. She opened up with an amazing British record in the 100m hurdles, not a heptathlon British record but a national one, which, bizarrely, triggered a drug test during the heptathlon. Even more amazing is that time would have won the individual gold in Beijing in the Olympic Women's 100m hurdles final. Rules state that if you equal or beat your national record you must give a sample there and then. She continued the pressure with a decent high jump of 1.83 for a 100 point lead going into the evening session and then a solid shot put and then another PB in the 200m sprint to lead well overnight.
The 100m heats saw the big names cruise through but a surprise 9.88 from Ryan Bailey of America the fastest time, the quickest ever run heat time in the Olympics. The track was designed to be fastest on earth with its engineered Mondo surface, but rather hard for the longer distant runners. The feeling was that sprint records could go on this. Some of them did.
Day Two --
In the stadium and it would be a golden night for team GB with Ennis winning the heptathlon with ease. I was a bit concerned when she swigged a mouthful of water from her opponent's bottle to celebrate straight after on the finishing line but as yet all is well. She ran a cracking 200m and won the race too, the crowd going bonkers! What a girl she is. All the boys have a crush on her and all the girls would like to be her, athletic but also sexy and nice, a true Olympic great. If you are attractive you feel you have to achieve to keep those looks.
The filling in the sandwich was the shock long jump final win for Milton Keynes boy Mark Rutherford, his jump of 6.37 enough for gold, the lowest Olympic winning jump for 30 years. But if you get it right on the night you take home the booty. It was the first final since 1964 that we got two guys in the final, the year of Lynne Davies no less, our last Olympic Long Jump champion. The omens were very good for the rest of the Games.
Could Mo Farah make it a Hatrick in the 10.000m? Of course he could, holding back to the last as the crowd roared him on to the greatest night in British athletic history. GBR had never won a global or Olympic 10,000m and Mo delivered. Technically Mo is Somali, but he is not a pirate or one of the 77% of unemployed Somali's here so we love him! Three gold medals in one night!!! His little step-daughter came on the track with heavily pregnant mum, the step-daughter clearly not fasting during Ramadan like dad, the kid a right little porker!
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica rounded off a thrilling night in the women's 100m with the fastest ever time in Britain (10.75) for the gold with Carmelita Jeta of the US getting silver and Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica with bronze. USA V Jamaica was underway.
Day Three ---
Tikie Galana of Ethiopia won East Africa's first women's marathon gold medal in a soggy London by running down the Kenyan favorite. The Africans hadn't targeted the event before but there is big money to be had now in city marathons and so they are chasing those big bucks and so will win the next ten Olympics by the looks.
The 100m semi-finals were quick, 2004 champion and drug cheat Gatlin fastest with 9, 82, Blake second with 9.84 and Bolt third with 9.87. Bolt was in shape. These superfast semi times would be the final not two Olympics ago. We have every right to question them. Bolt and Blake slowed down for the line and both had a look around to take it all in. Such theater.
Yamile Aldama qualified well for the Triple Jump Final and looked like medal material for team GB, although hardly British. She is on her third passport and has previously competed for Cuba and Sudan, a true plastic Brit. The Cuban born 40-year-old has lived in Britain for ten years and has a husband and two kids here. She met her husband in Cuba in 2000, a Scottish student, but her life shattered when Dodds was arrested and jailed for 15 years for his part in a Turkish drugs cartel. A hundred kilos of heroin with a street value of £11 million was discovered in a Barking warehouse he rented. She claimed not to know her husband was an international drug smuggler, even though their five bedroom home suggested he wasn't working as a taxi driver. Why on earth is this woman anywhere near our team? She pleasingly didn't win a medal, taking the place of a younger athlete who won't in Rio as that chance of experience has gone.
Oscar Pretorius, he of the blades, was last in his 400m semi-finals. He is the star of the Paralympics, but because he runs like able bodied athletes allowed into the games proper. Is that the real reason he is the star of the Paralympics we wonder? Blades can make him acceptable and so not classed as disabled. If he had no blades he wouldn't be in proper so I don't agree that he is in. The Belgium Borleee twins qualified for the final, the first twins to do that in the modern games.
Local girl Christine Ohurougu would go in the women's 400m final, the defending champion finding form at just the right time. She got away with her drug issues and kept her lotto funded lifestyle, controversial. She was dreadful in 2011 but back on the pace now, earning an amazing silver medal by splitting the Americans in the race itself with a late run behind Sanya Richards - Ross for America. But the drugs shadow remains with her and she looks like she didn't get her bulk naturally so I didn't cheer her on to that medal.
Kenyan police charged the 2012 Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi with assault after a woman said he stabbed last Wednesday night in Nairobi. After winning the London Final tonight he was flown back to Kenya to face the judge.
Bolt did it again, 9:63 the second fastest time ever and an Olympic Record, faster than Beijing but nowhere near as comfortable, Blake second and twice drug cheat Gatlin third. It was an exciting final but if no one can stay with Bolt on that 65m point he will get the Hatrick in Rio 2016. He celebrated by being snapped in a night club at 3am with the Swedish volley ball team! The final as the fastest ever with all seven guys going under 10 seconds, bar Powell who pulled up.
----The fastest ever 100m Times---
1- 9.58 - Usain Bolt (Jamaica)16 August 2009 Berlin
2- 9.63 - Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 5 August 2012 London
3- 9.69 - Tyson Gay (United States) 20 September 2009 Shanghai
4- 9.72 - Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 2 September 2008 Lausanne
5-.9.75 - Yohan Blake(Jamaica) 5 August 2012 London
6- 9.75 - Yohan Blake (Jamaica) 29 June 2012 Kingston
7- 9.78 - Nesta Carter (Jamaica 29 August 2010 Rieti
8- 9.79 - Maurice Greene (United States) 16 June 1999 Athens
9-.9.79 - Justin Gatlin (United States) 5 August 2012 London
10- 9.80 +1.3 Steve Mullings Jamaica 4 June 2011 Eugene
Day 4 ------
On a weaker night in the Olympic stadium, Britain's Holly Bleasdale mucked up the Pole vault final and Dai Greene floundered in the 400m hurdles final. He clearly wasn't in shape and tailed in 6th, dramatically in form Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic regaining his Olympic title from Athens to take gold. Double Olympic champion Isinbeyova would get bronze in that pole vault final.
Zarapova of Russia now holds the grand slam of women's steeplechase as she added the Olympic title to World and European Gold with the third fastest time in history. A rather eclectic field in the men's 400m final saw no Americans in it for the first time. World Champion Kirani James would win Grenada's first ever medal in the Olympics with a very quick 43.94 for gold. Santos of Dominican Republic would be the youngest ever medalist in the final as two teenagers took 1st and 2nd and Gordon of Trinidad took third for bronze. This kid will beat Michael Johnson's world record. That there is no doubt.
Day 5 -----
Phillips Idowu did indeed tank out of the triple-jump qualifying and then Goldie Sayers followed out in the women's javelin after picking up that injury at crystal Palace. A much bigger shock came when Chinese hurdling star Xiang crashed out when he hit the first hurdle in the 110m and he was also gone, producing similar drama in Beijing in 2008.
The joke going around is that Australia is boycotting the Games, due to their distinct lack of medals in London. But their star turn Alison Pearson won an impressive 100m hurdles with an OR 10.32. Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi won a controversial men's 1500m with a sprinters last 300m. He was the chap who entered the 800m but dropped out in the heats so to boost his chances of winning the 1500, which meant he was dsq on the scorecard on the not trying rule for the following 1500m. His appeal as overturned and he was allowed to run after an injury fudge law reinstated him saying he was in fact injured and so was trying, the same injury allowing him to win the 1500m at a canter. It's believed the Algerian Athletic federation messed it up by double entering him so to get good seats for both events so to sell for money. The BBC commentators were not happy and insinuated drugs.
Gold for Felix of the USA in the Women's 200m! She is a beautiful sprinter to watch, a real stylist. Jeta got bronze for the USA and silver for Shelley-Anne Frazer-Price of Jamaica. Another plastic Brit fails to make a final, Shara Procter of some obscure Caribbean island, quickly out of the long-jump final. I enjoyed that. Lawrence Clark made the 110m hurdles final for Team GB, a very posh lad and earning a surprise 4th, one to watch for Rio. It would be gold for Merrick of the USA. Robles, like Asifa Powel, feigned injury when he tailed out of the medals and so didn't finish.
Athletics and another fabulous night in the stadium with Manteo Mitchell of US running the 400m relay heats with a 'broken leg'. He felt it snap on 200m and decided not to let the side down, clocking 46.1 in extreme pain.
But the shock of the night was Paul Rudesha winning the 800m with an astonishing world record time, breaking his own 2010 mark. Since Coe and Ovett took a second and a half of it through the 1980s it's remained around 1.41. It's been a very good record until the Kenya dipped it under 1.41. The silver lining for the home crowd was Britain's David Osage, who, although finishing last, ran 1.43.2, the fourth fastest Britain ever outside the great Coe, Elliot and Cram trio, quite something. His time would have one the last three Olympic 800m finals it was that quick. It as the greatest middle distance run ever.
1 Rudisha KEN Watch: Medal moment 1:40.91 WR
2 Amos BOT Watch: Medal moment 1:41.73 WJ
3 Kitum KEN Watch: Medal moment 1:42.53 PB
Bolt didn't break a record but saw of the ever improving Johan Blake for gold in the 200m with 19.32 for a Jamaican 1-2-3. What a run from the show man and the first to retain the two titles with the double - double, now five gold's for Bolt.
--------Fastest 200m of all time--------
* Usain Bolt - 19.19 secs (2009)
* Yohan Blake - 19.26 secs (2011)
* Usain Bolt - 19.30 secs (2008)
* Usain Bolt - 19.32 secs (2012)
* Michael Johnson - 19.32 secs (1996)
* Usain Bolt - 19.40 secs (2011)
Drug cheats from Turkey and Russia won the 1500m and women's hammer respectively, the only positive there that British girl Sophie Hitchon qualified for the hammer final and broke the Brits record getting there. She previously was a ballet dancer and volley ball player. Bizarrely, the officials completely missed the Germans bronze medal throw, having to let the German throw again to measure a new throw. But it was short of the Chinese girl and she immediately celebrated. 25 minutes later TV cameras uncovered footage of the original shot and the divot was measured and the bronze going back to the German as it was further than the Chinese girl, heartbreak for her and elation for the German.
America hit back with their credibility shield by breaking the world record to win the women's 4 x100m in 40.82, wiping away the last 'suspect' Eastern German sprint record from way back in 1984. The British men were dsq from the 100m relay for overshooting the change over, a 100% failure this year in all relay competitions. The Bahamas beat the Americans in the men's 4x400m final for a surprise gold. GB Had mucked up the baton changed in the last five Olympics.
Mo Farah did it again, an astounding double with the 5000m to go with the 10,000m, a rare Olympic double. Tactically he nailed it again and the crowd too much for the other runners. It was all too much for Caster Semanyer in the women's 800m, the South African man/woman a controversial character, clearly holding back so not to win gold as she blasted from way back to conveniently win silver, the best runner in the filed by far. Maybe she couldn't handle the negative press to come if she did become Olympic champion and so chose to stand off. To me that's a bloke and should not be racing with the women.
The women's 4x400m relay offered a last chance of a medal for team GB but not to be as the USA romped it and silver for Russia and bronze for Jamaica. It's now six female Olympic relay titles in a row for the USA. Bolt and co took on Gay and co in the men's 100m relay; a WR yet again for Bolt and co, six gold's for the great man. 36.85. Wow! The biggest shock of the night was Kershaw Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago winning the men's javelin! The West Indians are no taking over the throwing events!!!!
----------Athletics Medal Table--------
1---United States (9) (13) (7) 29 Medals
2 ---Russian Federation (8) (4) (6) 18 Medals
3 ---Jamaica (4) (4) (40) 12 Medals
4 ---Great Britain & N. Ireland (4) (1) (1) 6 Medals
Charles Van Commenee said before the Games that he didn't get 8 athletics medals he would go. He got 6. But 3 were gold and we finished 4th in the medal table. I think he will go.
Think that we still have a lot to do if we are going to achieve a potential gold medal target of 18 in 2012. Its day 2 of the track and field events and I get the feeling that those gold medals will be winging their way to the Americas such as USA, Caribbean, and other parts of Europe i.e. the usually suspects France, Germany and former eastern block countries rather than the UK. Maybe Paula Radcliffe will give us a lift if she can out do the hummid clims of Beijing rather than her fellow competitors. There's no doubt about if the next olympics introduces best pearlly hat in track and field we'll win.
Don't get me wrong but if we don't do well here how much of an affect will this have on team moral when its our turn. We've got enough to contend with when it comes to the opening ceremony, because we'll need more than the queen to light a couple of bonfires in Hyde Park to signify its opening. I'll give our current tack n field rating 3 stars.
I used to be a runner back in my hey-day I did, its true....... shocking eh?, even more shocking for some people is that it wasn't just any old event I used to run in - it was Cross-Country, one of the most tiring events there ever was/ever has been/ever will be in the Track and Field side of Sports. Now be warned right here, this is going to be a lot shorter than my usual offerings - why?, well its like Running, how much can you write about putting one leg in front of the other?, exactly....... I'll do my best but I'm not promising an epic here. First off the History of the Event - See way back in the early 19th century Nintendo and Sega just plain didn't exist, people had to make their own fun, and they did with 'hare and hounds' - what was hare and hounds I hear you ask?, well 2 teams set off running with approximately a 5 minute gap between the 2, the first team would run a random course dropping off markers for the chasing pack to follow, the chasing pack had to catch the first team with only those markers to find them by - dull eh? The first time this was actually formally ran in a competition was in 1837 at Rugby School entitled the 'Crick Run', how it got to the event we all know and (a few of us at least) love, well lord only knows, but by 1876 it had evolved into Cross Country and become a race across Open Country-land which had been pre-set by the race organisers governed by the English national cross-country championship committee. In 1898 it was actually picked up as an International sport when a race was organised between England and France then before long Scotland, Ireland and Wales got in on the par-tay and we had a true international competition on our hands. Soon after (well 1912) the Olympic Committee did actually pick up on this and added it as an Olympic Event before going back on their decision when it was deemed that Cross Country was not a summer event (bang goes my chance
of being famous for running). Nowadays the Sport is governed be the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation), and although theres no 'set rules' its generally advised that you now run as a team with points being awarded to a team for each position your team-mates get - so 1st gets 1 point, 2nd gets 2 points and so on, when the race is finished the team with the least points win the event, and thats it really when it comes to History of the sport, heck I've tried to make that part interesting, but sheesh am I rueing the time I made the decision to write this. Now then tactics - Well Tripleys tactics at least, for you see I started this sport way back when I was still at school, and still to this day have been known to partake in the odd race or two. I'll try and seperate the 2 sides of the sport - both individual tactics and team tactics. Individual: You want to do well don't for yourself don't you?, Well whatever you do don't go all guns blazing when you start will you?, because its all about the timing, the amount of times I've seen fellow competitors sprint to be in the lead at the start of the race before hobbling in with the stragglers at the end - its not good, its not advised and its definitely not what the body was designed for, when starting the race try and get yourself at a quick pace but not one where you're sprinting as if it was a 100 metres race. When you actually start running into the main part of the race (the middle), this is where you should find yourself using the energy you saved at the start - because surely you remember from when you used to run at school or from what you've seen on TV, that in races you end up in groups, try not to be one of those in a group - for you see if you're on your own, try and slot yourself in behind the leading pack, then when you see someone starting to drop off from the pack catch up with them, stick with them for a while and
you'll find them relying on you as a pace-setter for them, once they've done that drop back, watch how they follow you, then when you've dropped back enough sprint away, the person you had running with you won't be able to keep up - keep repeating that and 1st spot is in your sights. Finally always keep a little bit of energy in reserve in case anyones still with you at the end - there may be one final sprint needed! Team-Work: Well theres not that much that can be done as a team, except bouncing off each other, plus if you find that a team-mate is in the lead and you're second, do yourself a favour, don't go for first place yourself, try and defend your team-mates position as best as possible. Equipment: the usual of T-Shirt Shorts and Runners (running Shoes), although you are going to need spiked Running shoes as they help you get over some of the types of terrain you're going to come across. Terrain: Usually the perimeter of a Sports field now, but depending on the course you can find yourself running through a local woods, and the ground you're on is usually a marsh-land type of ground. Now then why did I always participate in this sport - well as much as its a team sport, you also have to rely on yourself - if you fail, its nobody elses fault but your own, you see what I'm getting at?, all the glory is yours (well usually from your team-coach and local papers if you get lucky), and you make it what it is for yourself. There you go, don't say I didn't warn you that it was gonna be a short review, I did try though.
Women's Steeplechase is a 'Development Event' - the very last athletic discipline that WAS strictly for males has only now been opened up to allow women to compete. But what has taken so long? It was in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam that women althletes competed for the first time in a track and field competition. Back then, women could only compete in the 100m, 800m, High Jump, Discus throw and the 4x100m relay. Since then, more and disciplines have been added to the womens sport. Just 4 years after their debut on the track, women were allowed to hurdle and throw the javelin in the Olympics. More recently, by 1984 women could compete in the marathon, 3000m and the 400m hurdles and the pentathlon was replaced by the more demanding heptathlon for the Los Angelos Olympics. The pole vault was later deemed suitable for female competetitors. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the slow introduction of these events - it was honestly thought that women could not compete in such strenuous events...fair enough. But to delay the introduction of the steeplechase until the 21st century is ridiculous. With this exception, women have been competing in the same range of events as the men for at least a decade. And now that this event has finally been introduced, where is the encouragement and incentive to run? As far as I am aware, the only occasions women can compete in the Steeplechase in the UK (particularly Scotland) is in the British Universities Championships (correct me if I am wrong) and still, this is only a 2000m SC. Even at the U23 AAA competition, there was no such event for women. I am not trying to take anything away from Tara Krzywicki, the current UK number 1, she is an amazing athlete but there really isn't an awful lot of competetion! She commented in an interview with 'Athletics Weekly', that during her fantastic race in Glasgow on 1st July when she smashed her own UK record by 15seco
nds, she wasted alot of energy pushing and shoving with her competetitors to get the correct alignment to jump the barriers, as she is not yet used to jumping with other people - this is our top athlete at this event! Surely UK Athletics should be striving to provide many more competitions so that these international runners can get the race 'practice' they need and also to encourage youngsters into this event - perhaps have open, non-counting races at the league meetings. Women's distance and middle distance running is rising in profile and we are actually becoming quite succesful in this area with many talented athletes competing AND winning - just don't let the 3000m SC be our weakest link!
Despite the fact that we didn't finish on the top page of the medal table, Britain's Olympics in 2000 was our most successful for a long time. Almost every athlete achieved what was expected of them, many achieved more than expected. But one of our best hopes, our mens 4 X 100 relay team, completely let the side down. The 4 X 100m relay has always been one of my favourite events. It is very exciting as the World's best sprinters are all battling it pout not only for pace bu for quick baton changes, and the races always have exciting and tense finishes. Many a time there has been an overtake on the home straight that has been very entertaining. This year Britain's sprinters looked to be in great form, all running fast and looking very together, but they had a nightmare coming last and being disqualified in round one. It began with the first baton change that went out of the marked zone. AFter that there was a fine change but Britain were already fighting a losing battle. On the third change Dwaine Chambers decided going off early was our only hope so he zoomed away without the baton. He then had to slow down and speed up again which meant he was also out of the zone and our race that had been practiced so much was a total shambles. Bitterly disappointing.
In general the Great Britain Olympic team competed well except for the men's 4x100m relay team. Oh! What a shambles. Not only did they mess up the baton handover once, but did it twice. The current method of handing over the baton lends itself to problems. As the runner carrying the baton approaches the change over area the next person sets off holding his hand out behind him waiting for the baton to be placed into it. Now there's a natural running position for you! I'll bet! The runner with the baton, now tiring from his stint has to try and catch an accelerating person and place the baton in his hand. He has to run with one arm outstretched in front of him. Yet another natural running position! Oh! Yes! It's no wonder that there are times when things go wrong. How often have you seen the new runner looking behind him as he waits for the baton? I don't know if the rules allow it but what if the change over routine was reversed? As the baton carrier enters the changeover area he starts to slow down and he holds the baton out to his side and slightly in front. A much more natural position when slowing down. The runner for the next leg sets off immediately the baton holder has passed him and as he approaches the other guy he can see where the baton is and grab it and speed off. He will have to avoid running into his team mate as he passes but the lane width is wide enough to accommodate two runners side by side. No doubt someone is already thinking that if all the other teams can effect a problem free changeover then why can't we? Well we weren't the only team to suffer a bad changeover. It's just that most of the rest weren't quite as bad as ours and only a few got it absolutely right. I suppose that the governing body of British athletics, having read this, would throw their collective hands up in horror at the thought that an outsider would dare to suggest such a change. Well
sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees and it takes an outsider to point out that something isn't quite right.