The wonderfully named (and cute) 'Ebony-Jewel Cora-Lee Camellia Rosamond Rainford-Brent', a fast bowler and England's first black player, has said the girls should be 'sexier' to sell their sport, on and off the field. In the early days of women's international cricket the England girls would wear the guy's kit and it would be baggy and ... less than flattering. Now the kit is more 'tailored' for the girls and there are calls by the players themselves for it to be tighter still. The women play in front of empty stadiums and even when they shared the sold out World Twenty20 Finals day last week as the warm up act for hosts Sri Lanka versus the West Indies, few fans turned up early to watch them. It's the same with most women's sport when it's the only gig on the card. The fact is there is little interest in women's sport outside of America, especially cricket, and that success only flourishing because of their expansive, well funded and democratic American college system that sees all sports get similar budgets.
Women's sport that is successful on the world stage tends to share the stage with men's sport, like athletics and tennis. Would Wimbledon without men be the sell out it is? In Italy they split women and men for their big tennis championship and the women's event is 'quiet'. The female and corporate spectators prefer men's tennis, simple as. If women don't support women's sport by attending it has no chance. Right now they don't. Yes women's football London got 70,000 at the Olympics but the crowd was there more for the Olympics than the gender. Women's sport can not stand alone and they certainly don't attract the sponsors and money.
The West Indies, the Men's Twenty20 winners, got $500,000 last week for winning; the victorious Australian women got $55,000. The women's expenses for the tournament were considerably lower too. But the reality is they don't generate any revenue for the tournament. The women who generate money in sport are the ones with long legs and blue eyes. Sex sells not female sporting ability so much. Maria Sharapova is still female sports top earner alongside Serena Williams. Her legs are still long and supple and her eyes still sharp and beautiful. A pretty player ranked 35 will earn more than the current world no five from sponsors and appearances. When Maria bends over to receive serve, men are not thinking about her coming forehand winner. There are lot better players out there but they are not as sexy as she is. She hoovers up the sponsors cash along with five or six other cute players.
Coming back to women's cricket and you have to say it's nowhere near as enjoyable as men's cricket. In fact if men's cricket wasn't such a strong product the girl's team wouldn't exist. England are only the best as they are semi-professional and the best funded by far, the conduit for paying them to play via coaching contracts to teach kids and adults around the country. It did them good to lose last week to Australia in the final. Women's top level international football is ok and I like the way it's not cynical and played in an open style but women's Twenty20 is not great, purely because the girls don't have the strength to clear the ropes, the point of Twenty20. Like the goalies in female soccer the fielding is poor in women's cricket and responsible for quite a few fours. The weak hitting and long boundaries strangle any entertainment. You are lucky to get a six in their matches. If they did stack on the muscles to do that, the sport would ironically lose any appeal it has built up. Who wants to see Eleven Maria Matola's out there smashing sixes into the stands? You guys all know who won the Olympics women's heptathlon but not the individual hammer. Jessica Ennis is gorgeous. All power and girth Tatiana Lysenko isn't so cute. Most men are only interested in cute women in sport if the truth be told. Plenty of female Twenty20 cricket stars are pretty and curvy and so expect to see more of them now if their sport is to move forward, hockey style kit inevitable. Hockey girls look fabulous!
Another issue for women's sport like cricket is participation, too many young girls not too keen on having athletic bodies as its no that feminine. Women's cricket just ten years ago was mostly tomboys and Brighton College alumni. Ennis looks incredible, as do most of the girls on the track, but women's lifestyle magazines that seem to shape young women's lives these days don't want to promote that athletic image as it doesn't sell their magazines, Kate Moss over Charlotte Edwards (England's cricket captain) every time, smoking and looking pretty to get the boys an easier life. One German magazine chose to go six months without using skinny professional models and concentrate on 'real' women 'in their publications. But high street sales fell 30% because women want to be inspired by those images to achieve the impossible and so don't really want to see themselves with staples in their exposed bellies. Men watch men's sport because they want to be them whereas women watch men's sport because they want to...well, you know the answer to that. That is why women just don't connect to women's sport.
Even though England didn't win the Twenty20 to hold the Hatrick of best Test and 50 over team they had won 22 straight Twenty20 matches leading up to the World20 last week. On their game they are unbeatable and it's only a freak individual knock by the other team that beats them. Twenty20 games are often won by the big over between equal teams but only Australia can live with England now, Aussie Jess Cameron delivering with a rapid and streaky 45 to be the difference. If the other nations don't find some money for their female teams soon there will be no women's international cricket to speak of. And all those women who speak in defence of women's cricket need to start attending those matches as you are lucky to get 300 in for an England women's match in Britain...
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London Olympics 2012
This time last year London's underclass smashed up London, but sadly didn't use those looted trainers to win gold. A year on and all those who didn't riot came out to reclaim the city and make the Olympic Games an unprecedented success, the true Britain. The shame of the riots, Blair and Iraq were jet washed away in a sea of Union Jack ... flags and enthusiasm for the nation and its athletes. The bankers may have broken the countries spine but the spirit that created an empire lives on. We will not be ruled by thugs and spivs!
The lottery is the main reason we are now top three in the world on the Olympics medal table. Between 1952 and 1996 we took between one and five gold medals each Games. But in the last three Olympics it's been 11, 19 and now 29. On average host nations of the modern Olympics have increased their gold medal count by 50% on the previous Games. Enough money was thrown at London 2012 to beat those 19 gold's in Beijing and achieve that number. But the next games for host nations have seen a huge drop off in gold's and so the legacy lost, presumably sporting bodies having to cut their finding once again after the overspend on the home games. Some how I don't expect that medal tally to fall too far with Team GB. Winning with class, humor and integrity is what we are all about.
I think it as fair to say the opening ceremony was somewhat 'trippy', "left wing multicultural nonsense' as one Tory Mp tweeted. And you could see his point. Film director Danny Boyle is a signed up member of the Labor Party and was clearly making a party political broadcast here, blue-collar heavy industry and the unions that built this country and big smiley immigrants the future of it, seemed to be the message, the bizarre NHS sequence with Marry Poppins what the normal Hackney residents see every Saturday night after doing the class A. If this was a musical on the West End it wouldn't last the week! But the industrial revolution that Britain bought to the world was not built on corrupt bankers and so a good point made by Danny. He rescued things through his love of music, the amazing James Bond/Queen moment and the stunning fulcrum torch never forgotten, the show ending up as brave as it was cheeky. The romance between the two British black people at the end was a finger right up the Tories nose! Boyle just fell short of asking Paul McCartney to play the Red Flag to close the show. I get the point that he was creating his vision of how multicultural London should be and we want that but the reality is corrupt bankers, crammed Tube trains and mass unemployment and crime within those immigrant groups, the rioters of last years London, and that would have been some show if Danny had done that, portable job centers and rioting Brixtonians replacing the farm animals and chimneys.
The big question on the night was why exactly was the commentary in French first? Well two reasons. First because French is considered the first language of diplomacy, for centuries, political delegates from around the world learned to speak French. And because the Olympics were invented by a Frenchman Baron de Coubertin and so the Olympic movement based there.
The British athletics team would be banned from the opening ceremony for petty reasons yet Bradley Wiggins was there after his Tour De France exertions and races to come the next day! What they were doing in Portugal in the sun that they couldn't do in London is a mystery. Should they not be acclimatizing here? Precious lot them runners and jumpers.
The London 2012 bronze medals are worth less than £3, apparently. The gold medals, ironically, are barely gold at all: they are, in fact, 92.5 per cent silver, with just one per cent gold and the rest copper. Their basic value is £410. The silver medals are what they say on the tin, although no tin in them, and so worth more than the gold's, being made up of the same 92.5 per cent silver, with the remainder copper. The bronze medals, though, are 97 per cent copper, 2.5 per cent zinc and 0.5 per cent tin. Bronze alloys usually consist of around 88 per cent copper and 12 per cent tin. The ribbon is purple as no national flag has that colour.
Nine athletes failed drugs tests at the last so not to be able to compete in the games, the most recognized being the female favorite for the 1500m, a woman just coming off a two year ban for likewise. Ten competitors have been banned during the games, mostly Uzbeks and Eastern Europeans.
The BBC were promising you could watch every event live through its website and digital platform although anyone who has broadband knows you get throttled or cut off if you get to greedy with online TV and video. This was the first Olympics GB had both men's and women's teams in all events, including handball.
The BBC team was headed by the Breakfast TV team in the morning and Jake Humphries and Gary Linekar by day, leaving Clair Baldwin to be out about and about, mostly in the pool area with Mark Foster or the horsey types in the equestrian events. The pundits are very camp, especially the swimmers, few straight men in that sport by the looks. Thank god Gabby Logan has got rid of that fringe. Sonalia Mendip looks and sounds like the new Konnie Huq.
BIG NEWS -----16 degrees or below is the official cut off point for female beach volleyball players to be able to chose shorts over bikini bottoms for the event. Pray for sun boys!
The women's football kicked it all off on a Wednesday, a row and the Games, some poor stadium lackey putting up the wrong flag on the TV screen for the North Koreans, that of the South Koreans, enough to start a nuclear war. It as all too much and they walked off the pitch. LOCOG apologized profusely and the Koreans kicked off an hour later to win out 2-0. As of yet the North Koreans have not apologized for their gulags, deliberate starvation and oppression and torture of 4 million people. England's girls duly beat New Zealand 1-0 as the Olympics unofficially got underway, unprecedented coverage for women's football.
The Men's footy team drew 1-1 with Senegal, a surprisingly enjoyable game, the crowd very family orientated and refreshingly well behaved. Sadly young Joe Allen from Wales and Swansea was listed as English in the program; up there with the Korean flag muck up as far as the Welsh go.
The first asylum claim of the Games came when an unnamed African middle -distance runner handed himself into a police station in Leeds. It's feared by organizers that as high as 2% of all competitors and officials won't be going home, the athlete's village bespoke East London accommodation after the games if they don't.
The British archery teams preparation and team qualification for the Olympics was to invite 2500 kids with whistles, bells and noisy things to try and put the archers off in the test event, the idea to replicate the Indian Commonwealth Games. Needless to say the kids had a great day and the teacher's one huge headache.
Archery was the second sport to get underway at The Games, somewhat oddly hosted at Lords in the middle of the cricket season. BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew, who is covering the archery, had his umbrella confiscated for an incorrect sponsor.
The South Koreans broke two world records in the qualifiers. The organizers wisely put the correct flag up. These guys don't miss. The Lords test this week will reveal that the outfield has been ruined by the stands, the outfield actually sinking seven inches under them.
The men's road race was the big free show of the weekend as hundreds of thousands of people lined the nine lap route, many to see the new Tour de France winner. But it was not to be and team SKY GB didn't have enough to reel back the final breakaway on the last but one circuit, an athlete from Kazakhstan taking the gold, a man who had failed a drug test and served a long drug ban for it. Talk about a mood killer. All the teams were working against Team Sky and so we had this unforeseen winner. The road race is unique in that its 100% team to set up an individual and the team don't get a medal and so you have to work for and with other nations to place your man, which often means helping the opposition out if your person can't win. The other teams simply didn't want to help Team GB drag the peloton back to set up the sprinters and so Cavendish dead in the water.
Where as pro cycling crosses over well to the Olympics, tennis doesn't, Wimbledon the base for the tournament. The Murray boys were never quite there in the doubles and bounced out in the first round. Why tennis is Olympic sport can only be down to the big sponsors insisting on it so to make the connection with the Olympics with their top brands. It's the same with Olympic football and basketball. America will win the basketball so what's the point?
The swimming got underway and always an exciting event, heats in the morning and finals at night. And what an opening night, Ryan Lochte beating the great Michael Phelps in the 400m medley with gold, and taking his world record too, the two Americans very different characters. The pretender to Phelps could get at least five gold's. Sun of China became that countries first ever men's gold medalist and breaking the great Ian Thorpe's Olympic Record in the process. China won the next race with Ye in the women's 400 medley, drug test pending on that one! She swam faster than the men in the last 50 meters!
The big grumble of the Games were the empty seats in the arenas, most likely to be cooperate types still stuffing themselves or just didn't bother to come or couldn't sell them on because of Britain's strict touting laws. What people don't realize with these freebies are the people who get them is the same people get them for all the Olympic events and other non Olympic events on top of that and so can only be in one place at the same time, hence the gaps. The Olympics is now about selling junk food to the masses and nothing else.
GB women took on Cameron in football. Normally the girls play in front of crowds the size of county cricket and people don't pay to watch and so asking the punters to pay 30 quid showed here, more empty spaces than Jordan's GCSE math exam. It's the least middle-class sport in the Games and they play in a likeable honest way with no diving around and cheating. I quite fancied them for a surprise medal. Another one for the girls was eight months pregnant Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, a 10 m shooter, officially the most pregnant women ever to compete in the Olympics!
Medals - 1 silver and 1 Bronze
The boys couldn't deliver in the road race but the girls did, Lizzie Armistead latching on to a three girl breakaway on 27k and securing the first medal of the games for Team GB as the three girls kept that gap from the peloton, the incentive to work hard to secure a medal each. The Dutch favorite Marianne Vos won the sprint from Armistead, a brilliant ride by the British girl never-the-less. She took the opportunity to criticize the lack of funding for women's sports and cycling. But if women don't pay to watch women's sport then there will be no money babe.
If anyone had home advantage at the Olympics it would have to be Zara Phillips, 'Princess Thicko', the dressage course in one of grandmas many gardens, the groveling commentators having you wretching for the sickbag. Better riders were passed over to allow her into the team. Dressage is very much like your driving test and like most women she failed on parallel parking. Zara missed Beijing 2008 because her horse Toy Town was supposedly ill, but believed to be more about her fellow contestants thought her inclusion was unfair and so an excuse found not to take her. Dressage is also the home of the oldest competitor in the games, 71-year-oldd Hiroshi Hoketsu of Japan, the horseman's third Olympics Games, debuting in his home Olympics of 1960 in Tokyo. Now he is retired he thought why not? Olympic equestrian is unique in that age, gender or sexuality is no bar for everyone competing together.
The increasingly irritating Paul Radcliffe pulled out of the marathon, a good job to after her last two Olympic efforts, using the course like a public toilet, apt for the Stratford location. She has been dragging her career out for ages now and I can't recall her running a race of note in the last 4 years and so she should have been dropped so not to let her drop out. I do feel she pretends to herself and her fans she is still competitive so to keep in the limelight and keep sponsors and appearance money coming in. After having a baby in 2010 she should have retired. Why else did she have a baby?
Back in the pool and the loveable Becky Adlington couldn't quite defend her 400m freestyle title with a gusty bronze as the medal rush begins. She actually swam faster than her gold medal swim in Beijing when they all wore those go-faster suits. Phelps and Lochte got silver in the 100m freestyle relay behind France, Olympic medal number 17 for Phelps. 15-year-old Jennet Saryyeva of Turkmenistan was so slow in her heat that she was swimming up the pool when the rest were swimming the other way, finishing one minute 12 seconds behind. Bless!
For the first time there was no doubt the British girls were better than the boys in the home team. Great Britain's Helen Glover and Heather Stanning set a new Olympic record with a dominant victory in the first heat of the women's pairs. The British girls have won all three World Cup races this year and the early morning ripples in the sunshine turn to gold when their oars caress it. No women had ever women Olympic gold in rowing. Cornish girl Glover is very sporty and was the first young athlete to win any sort of world championship medal from the 'Sporting Giants' scheme, set up to identify potential Olympic champions the day after we were awarded the Games. She only started rowing in 2008 and was world silver medalists by 2010. As a junior she was a fringe England hockey squad player and cross-country performer. Stanning is a captain in the Air Force and headed to Afghanistan in the autumn, Olympic champion or not. Any fit youngster reading this can be Olympic champion four years from now.
Kim Rhode became the first American to win individual medals at five straight Olympics by securing skeet gold, a shooting discipline. The marksmen events are great as you don't need to be that fit for them and so compete for six or seven Olympics straight. She looked like a school secretary.
Team GB in the football got their first win by beating the UAE 3-1 but Spain crashing after losing to Honduras, 65,000 in for that one. S.Korea took an astonishing six straight archery women's team gold's, going back to the 1984 games! The star shooter cried because she had won with an 8, a huge disgrace in Korean shooting, apparently.
Medals - 1 Bronze
The biggest stadia muck up was the aquatic pool, 8% of the seats unable to view the 10m diving board properly, Tom Daley's feet all that was on offer for them. For some of his gay fans that was more than enough. Some of them get off on that. He has thrice been The Gay Times pin up of the year, worryingly so in 2008 when he was only 14. 600 people were refunded because of this obtuse blind spot.
On the board and Daley and Waterfield finished a disjointing fourth in the 10m final after mucking up dive number four and five, Daley spending most of his time posting for the cameras, Waterfield the better diver by far.
Zara Phillips home advantage continued, this time on one of gran's bigger Royal Parks used for discipline two, that of the cross country race at Greenwich Park. But she did well with a clear round and pushed the British team into the top three, minus one horseshoe. Mark King on her sixth Olympics sat six after the event. There is no doubt the course was too easy and only the rain caused any issues on the turns. But the sport has suffered some high profile fatalities in recent years, the most dangerous sport outside of NASCAR for women, and we really can't afford Zara to land on her head again.
Rowing is a very posh sport and like a sports day at an independent school there are rosettes for everyone. Even if you finish last in the heat you can get another go through the reportage. David Beckham promised Anna Watkins and Cathy Grainger a peck on the cheek if they won the double skulls gold, the pair hot favorites after a brilliant semi-final, unbeaten in 22 races.
Zoe Smith broke the British record in her class in the weightlifting, lifting twice her weight. All you can ask is the athletes do PBs in the finals. She got some wretched stick on twitter with cruel jibes that she is lesbian and a tomboy. She flicked it off her shoulder with class. Being black and cute she has managed to get good sponsorship and a classy little lady and champion to her fans, the lesson being DON'T go on twitter if you want an easy life and to be liked.
Gymnastics is a sport we have thrown money at it and it paid off, both men's and the girls making the team finals, young Lois Smith breaking out in tears after nailing his pommel horse routine. The Eastern block decline has allowed other countries in and there is always a chance of the bronze behind the masters of China and Japan. But what happened in the hall was quite astonishing, team GB pulling off a spectacular bronze medal when the Japanese guy fell off the pommel horse, nearly a silver but a upheld Japanese protest denying the boys at the last. Its Britain's first team medal for 100 years!!! Athens we were 21st in the world at this.
Oksana Chusovitina of Germany was the surprise entrant, 37-years-old no less, a Russian now competing for Germany. It all looked rather odd, mum doing it for her kid who needs some special and expensive healthcare for his cancer, that familiar dyed hair and cheap crop you get with Eastern European women giving it away.
Medals - Silver
A week into the Games and its clear the home crowds are effecting results in certain events for team GB, especially in the pool. The boys and girls are not on it and the medals just not there, no swimmers improving their results from the last world championships. The rowing it's the opposite where the boys and girls are over performing, making 13 of the 14 finals. If your not the favorite in your event then that support seems to help you but if you are it just stacks more pressure on you and your tighten up and under perform.
One lot that performs every Olympics is the equestrian team, brilliant silver achieved on the final discipline, just a time fault handing the Germans the gold. Yep, we lost on penalties! Three day event is like Formula One Racing in that the richest teams win the medals. Grumpy Princess Anne refused to clap her daughter's achievements, the stuffy old bag, whilst the two British girls in contention for the individual gold on the second show jumping round took out the same two fences to drop from the top five to lose out on the medals. The brilliant German Michael Yeung completed the grand slam of holding the three big titles as the young Swedish girl just brushed the last fence to lose the gold. No woman had ever won the gold medal for this event.
When a British swimmer was asked what he thought about the Olympic village not having any bars, he replied that: 'it won't help if the coaches aren't fit for work in the morning'. Phelps was fit for work and had his first gold of the meet in his hands in the 200m butterfly but lost it on the touch to a very cute South African. With that silver he tied the most ever medals for the Olympian, an extraordinary achievement, a Russian female gymnast, Larissa Latynina from the 1950s, about to lose her record on the same night. Ye won her second gold with an Olympic Record in the 200m freestyle whilst Phelps broke that record in the 200m freestyle relay for his 15th gold and 19th medal.
Drama in the badminton hall, both South Korea and China trying to lose games in the men's and women's group stages to try and get better draws, absurd as their opposition in the next round were China and South Korea. It's the first time group stages have been used in the Olympics and all the experts expected this to happen. The players were just hitting their serve into the net and or hitting returns out and into the net. The teams are to be charged with something or another. They were kicked out soon after.
To finish off the day the girls beat Brazil 1-0 in the footy as group winners in front of 70,000! A medal is on. It reminds me of the hockey teams run to gold all those years ago.
The girls delivered in the rowing, Stanning and Glover romping home in their double skulls final, a brilliant gold and the first for the women in Olympic history and of the 2012 games.
The men's GB eights bravely blasted out for gold but just faded in the last 500m to take bronze, all or nothing almost paying off as the super German team remained unbeaten. 42-year-old Chris Searle of the infamous bawling coach win of Barcelona 1992 was in that eight, twenty years between his podiums.
Bradley Wiggins (born in Belgium) also delivered in the time trial, his specialist race, 42 seconds ahead of the second place man Tony Martin from America, none other than wingman Froome (born in Kenya) of Britain in third for bronze. It was turning out to be a very good day, crowned with silver in the men's 200m breaststroke for a young man called Jamison from N.Ireland in the swimming. Wiggins is now our most decorated Olympian and the only man to hold both the Tour de France and the Olympic Gold time trial. If he wins in Rio four years from now then he will be an Olympic great.
Gold and silver in the canoeing, Baillie and Stott and Florencer and Hounslow wining a surprise first and second in the men's C2 pairs, Great Britain's first ever gold medal in the event, one of those unexpected results that Team GB needed to finish in their targeted third place in the medal table. Florencer had won silver in Beijing but one better here. The lads looked like blokes form the down the pub in those laddish beer commercials and extremely stunned and still smiling, genuine medals for genuine Olympians, what the games should be about, all those long winter evenings swallowing river water and weed worth it. Spare a thought for New Zealand Kayaker Mike Dawson though, who received two penalty points from a judge, none other than his mother, a member of the referee's panel. It gets worse for the Dawson family as dad was Mikes coach. Imagine the rows on the way home from the race.
Another gold followed on the shooting range when posh boy Peter Wilson won the double trap, gold medal number five for team GB. He was funded by a Saudi Prince and his parents better spoken than the Queen. On the less chaotic water of the rowing regatta finals there was silver for the men's fours of Rob Williams, Chris Bartley, Peter Chambers and his little brother Richard Chambers, champions South Africa having the first black man to win gold in their boat. There was also silver in the judo when Gemma Gibbons won silver. Gemma mouthed 'I love you mum' to the sky when she did, mum dying of cancer in the build up, very emotional stuff.
Phelps, Lochte and Cleary did battle for team USA on the penultimate day with an individual gold each, Phelps finally up there alone on the podium. It was his twentieth Olympics medal and 16th gold.
Sir Chris Hoy equaled Steve Redgrave with his fifth gold medal in the sprint pursuit, Jason Kenny and Phil Hyndes powering them home to rapturous applause, and a world record to, Pendleton's blunder long since forgotten after being DSQ in her race. Anthony Ogogo of team GB pulled off the shock off the boxing by beating the Ukrainian favorite, which looked like a home bias to me.
The athletics got underway and golden girl Jess Ennis in the stadium. I have never seen an Olympic stadium full for a morning session yet 70,000 packed in to cheer the Sheffield lass on. She opened up with a British record in the 100m hurdles, not a heptathlon British record but a national one which, bizarrely, triggering a drug test during the heptathlon. Rules state that if you equal or beat your national record you must give a sample. Even more amazing is that time would have won the individual gold in Beijing in the 100m hurdles. She continued the pressure with a decent high jump of 1.83 for the 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 ever 100m heat time in the Olympics. The track as designed to be fast and so rather hard for the longer distant runners.
Grainger and Watkins blew the rest away with a stunning gold in the women's double skulls (two oars each), upgrading from those three silvers to that gold. Four games, four medals. Britain's George Nash and Will Satch snatched a bronze as Eric Murray and Hamish Bond underlined their tag as favorites with gold in the men's pair. Great Britain's gnarly Scott Alan Campbell claimed bronze in the men's single sculls as New Zealand's unbeatable Mahe Drysdale romped home again.
Karina Bryant got bronze in the judo women's 78kg plus as the medals begin to stack up. Federer beat Del Potro 18-16 in the final set to set a world record for a three set match to make the final, where he will play Andy Murray, who beat Djokovich in straight sets. Over three sets Murray is hard to beat and if only slams were played in the shorter games, Andy now guaranteed a medal.
Gold number 17 for Phelps in the pool in the 100m backstroke. Becky Adlington gave it a great go but only bronze in the 800m.
The England girls crashed out in the football quarter-finals to Canada 2-0.
Down on the velodrome and the British team are again dominating, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Laura Trott earning the 3,000m WR of 3.15.669 seconds, and that just the semi-final? It was gold for Pendleton in the Kieran and gold for the men's pursuit four of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh, who chipped another second of their world record they set in qualifying. After Beijing the IOC tried to stop GB dominating the cycling by dropping certain events as they have a policy of not letting countries dominate events. It didn't work, team GB's tech boys and girls getting to work with every bike set up and four braking a world record so far.
Day Eleven ---
Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory beat arch-rivals Australia in sensational fashion to win Britain's fourth consecutive Olympic title in the coxless fours. In the very next race, Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland produced a stunning performance to win gold in the lightweight women's double scull.
Then the drama moved up a gear. Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, the lightweight men's double scull champions in 2008, were less than a hundred yards into the race when a seat broke. The rest of the boats stopped and after Purchase used a screwdriver to mend the seat, the race re-started. They won silver.
Gold again in the velodrome, Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell clocking their sixth straight WR to win the team pursuit, gold number five for team GB in the fancy velodrome. Its technology that gives us the edge but the athletes are super. These were not drug cheats and delirious with their prize for those four long years. The night was lightly tarred by Paul McCartney having his Cliff Richard moment.
In the stadium and it would be a golden night for team GB with Ennis winning the heptathlon. I was a bit concerned when she swigged a mouthful of water from her opponent's bottle to celebrate but as yet all is well.
First long jump with two Brits in it since 1964, the final that saw the legend of Lyne Davis do his thing. But Greg Rutherford banged out some huge jumps and led after four rounds with Tomlinson in sixth. Then he won, the greatest ever upset in Olympic history for gold in the field events for me. Wow!
Could Mo Farah make it a Hatrick? 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. Technically Mo is Somali, but he is not a pirate or one of the 67% of unemployed Somali's here so we love him! Three gold medals in one night!!!!! Six gold's in one day means it was our greatest ever in Olympic history. His little daughter came on the track, clearly not fasting during Ramadan, a right little porker!
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica rounded off the night in the women's 100m with the fastest ever time in Britain -10.75- for the gold with Jeta of the US getting silver and Veronica Campbell-Brown for Jamaica with bronze.
Serene Williams won gold in the tennis. Murray and Robson made the mixed doubles final. England crashed out of the football to South Korea - on penalties!
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London Olympics 2012
My initial reaction at the thought that there 2012 Olympics were to be held in London was along the lines of: "meh". So, I've never been such a huge sports fanatic. So, has my opinion of the London 2012 Olympics changed since it actually happened, right here in London? Well, as the Olympics are drawing to a close now (as I am ... typing this, the Olympics Closing Ceremony is blaring from the television in the background), I thought that I might as well write a little something on the topic.
First of all, let's start off with the pros of the whole thing, one of them being the government spending money to clean up the 'poorer' parts of London and doing a bit of this and that to redecorate it and show their patriotic pride. I must say that the areas do look nicer, especially Stratford with the rather lovely Olympic Stadium and Park, which is not as grand as some of the other Olympic stadiums from other countries, but it is still rather impressive, I think. There are new signs put up which are even helpful to people like me who are prone to getting lost, let alone tourists.
Another advantage of the Olympic games taking place in London is supposed to be the boosting of tourism and economy. The UK does get its share of tourism normally, but it is not a nation that specifically relies on tourism. I have seen quite a dramatic increase in tourism during these past weeks (who doesn't want to see their own country perform?) especially near Central London and the main British monuments- people are to be seen talking in foreign languages and enthusiastically snapping up photos at main sightseeing spots. I don't know how well we are doing exactly in terms of statistics, but this tourism can't be doing all the people who work for that particular industry any harm.
Something that I did not expect to be moved by was the supposed team spirit, the unity and the patriotism the Olympics are meant to bring. However, it was hard not to get swayed by the victory and the excitement. Whenever Team GB won a medal at an event I found myself clapping and cheering and whooping along with everyone else. Where the most genuine emotion comes, however, is at the actual Olympic event, if you have had the fortune to go to one. I was lucky enough to go to several Olympic events, some within the Olympic Park and some in other locations. On TV, they tend to focus more on the actual sports and the technique. Of course, this is equally important when you are watching the event live, but you can catch those things that the cameras seem to zone out, or make more subtle to accent the actual sport itself. Like the sheer number of people screaming, crying, laughing, cheering, there to support their team with their heads held high. The sound can be deafening, though not actually in that much of an unpleasant way, something that always seems rather faded and distant when you are watching from the living room.
Now, unpleasant aspects? Well, I have heard people complaining about places and public transport becoming crowded. I suppose this is true, applying to the overground and the underground. However, I have found the buses to be operating much the same as usual. The transport does not affect me too much- after all, it is not too devastatingly crowded and anyway, I try to use other means of transport whenever I can.
The main disadvantage,the thing that bothers me the most about the Olympics is the shattered hopes and dreams of those who did not qualify for a shiny new medal and a place on the podium. These athletes have trained and trained, hoping and wishing for sucess, thinking that this time, it may be their turn. But there can only be three medals and one winner. The best athlete in the world will be human, and humans make mistakes. One mistake, one fall, one break can finish them, tear their dreams apart and rid them of their ambitions. They may put on brave faces and manage a half smile for the cameras, but inside, they are devastated. Of course, they must know of the risks before entering, so why do they still do it? Because it is still a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is their chance and path to success.
Altogether, the Olympics haven't done much harm to us, and overall I have quite a positive view about them. It hasn't been the best thing to happen in my life, but I can even admit to enjoying some parts of it. After all, live each day as it comes (or however that saying goes) because are we going to experience another Olympics hosted in London in our lifetimes? Probably not ever. So enjoy the celebrations whilst they last!
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