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Week 2 of the London Olympics!
Sailing and the sit down sports offered the chance of two more gold's, Ben Ainslie in the Fin and the Star Class guys in the lead in their series going into the final day at Weymouth. But Ainslie started poorly in his race series and has been doing battle with Christenson of Denmark all week, who looks a lot like Richard Dreyfuss did in Jaws, Ainslie very much the Robert Shaw character on the water. Ainslie is a cool cookie though, in race seven even putting the breaks on in the lead so to steel the Danes water to push Christianson down to third behind the Dutch boat, increasing his chances of gold, a master stroke. And he delivered staying ahead of the Dane to win gold in the medal race, four gold's in total and now the most decorated yachting Olympian ever.
The Star class guys of Percy and Simpson mucked it up at the last though. Leading all week they failed to finish 5th or better and so handing the gold over to Sweden at the last, the bloke from the snooker doing the live interview on the water, making them even more embarrassed. 15,000 mugs had paid 25 quid to watch from the shore but very much bring your own binoculars seating, LOCOG closing off the whole area to create this pay scenario.
Venus and Serena Williams picked up their fourth gold medals in the doubles. But Murray went one better and won that singles gold, Federer not on his game and maybe, just maybe, handing one to Andy out of sympathy after that tearful Wimbledon final. With Nadal using the Olympics to rest (and avoid an independent drugs test no doubt) and Federer not at his best the win was devalued some. It as not a slam and so treated accordingly by the top four. All those missed Davis Cup matches by Murray were now well and truly forgotten. Letting Andy have his moment would be the sort of arrogant gesture the Swiss ponce would come up with. I don't like tennis in the Olympics as they steel something from amateurism, an intrusion if you like; Olympic sports the pinnacle of those sports. But gold is gold! But it would be silver in the mixed doubles straight after with little Laura Robson.
Gymnastics and silver and bronze in the pommel horse for team GB. Lois Smiths score was level with the Hungarian World and European Champion and unfortunate to lose on style marks to BIrke as the tie-breaker, the Hungarian holding the slam now. Young Max Gridlocks surprise bronze was a real plus. Ed Clancy picked up a bronze on in the ominmun race, the pentathlon for cyclist, a surprisingly quiet day in the velodrome for team GB.
Another big night in the athletics and the 100m semi-finals were quick, 2004 champion and drug cheat Gatlin fastest with 9.82 and Blake second with 9.84....Bolt third with 9.87. These times would be the medals in 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 as if scarpering from a church roof after nicking the lead.
Oscar Pretorius, he of the blades, was last in his 400m semi-final. He is the star of the Paralympics, but because he runs like able bodied athletes allowed into the games proper. If he had no blades he wouldn't be in so I don't agree that he is in.
Local girl Christine Ohurougu would go in the women's 400m final, the defending champion finding form at the right time. She got away with her drug issues and kept her lotto funded lifestyle. She was dreadful in 2011 but back on it 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 her last Wednesday night. 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, 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 ladies Swedish volley ball team.
Day 13 -
It's a Bronze for 26-year-old Beth Tweddle in the high bar in the gymnastics hall. She was really fancied for gold in the individual apparatus final after scoring the best to scores in this discipline in the team competition and has single-handedly dragged Britain into credibility in world's gymnastics in such a short time, a sport we have been dreadful at long before the Cold War handed it to Eastern Europe. She has won the World Championship and this would be her first Olympic medal and Britain's first medal in the sport in its 106 -year Olympic history, a fitting way to end a glorious career.
Team GB were on top form in equestrian and individual show jumping, team gold in a jump off and the first since 1952, impressive and nerve stretching stuff. I jumped higher than the horse for this one! Two of the four British riders had suffered broken necks in their careers, six times Olympian Nick Skelton getting that gold at last, a surprisingly working-class group of guys for such a posh sport. Canada's Ian Miller became the first person to compete in 10 Olympics when he trotted out for the show jumping. His first Games was Munich in 1972.
The velodrome continues to deliver, unlike the swimming, Britain's swimming team manager sacked on day 13 for producing just three medals from 27 million funding, cut to 14.5 million because of his failure. The new Velodrome king Jason Kenny, in for Chris Hoy now the events have been trimmed meaning one national rider per event, was worthy of the throne, blasting the world champion Bauge of France away 2-0 to be Olympic champion, one medal better than Beijing, one medal behind Chris Hoy four years ago.
On a weaker night in the Olympic stadium for athletics 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 trailed in 6th, dramatically in form Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic regaining his 2004 Olympic title to take gold. Double Olympic champion Isinbeyova would get bronze in that ladies pole vault final, the best legs at the games.
Zarapova of Russia now holds the grand slam of women's steeplechase as she added the Olympic title to World and European Gold 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.
Phillips Idowu did indeed tank out of the triple-jump qualifying and then Goldie Sayers followed out in the javelin after picking up that injury at crystal Palace. A much bigger shock came when Chinese hurdling star Xiang, hitting the first hurdle in the 110m and he was also gone, producing similar drama in Beijing in 2008, getting to half way with most of the hurdles rapped around his neck.
Drama in the triathlon in front of massive crowds in central London as one of the Brownlee brothers of Yorkshire picked up a transition penalty in the leading three when he got off his bike for the final run stage, having to take a 15 second pit lane penalty on the last lap of the run for his two inch violation, grand prix style. Alistair would win the gold, nonchalantly walking across the line his lead that big, and Gomez of Spain the silver as little brother Johnny Brownlee took bronze, the first British brother's to medal in the same event since the Searle boys in rowing. Yorkshire sat tenth in the medal table at this point!
Nick Dempsey's fourth Olympics produced a medal at last in the windsurfing, getting silver behind the Dutch.
Dressage is not my cup of tea but another medal for team GB. How on earth they train the horses to do the rather odd movements and trots is beyond me. The Piaff is very funny, like Kenneth Williams jogging on the spot. Germany had won 17 straight gold's in the discipline but second behind Team GB going into the final round of riders in the team event, their last rider on a horse called Damon Hill? But it would not be a clash from one German that would steel the prize away from Britain on the last corner like it as in the Grand Prix days, a brilliant ride by Charlotte Dujardin to being our first ever Gold in Dressage. We realty have come from nowhere in this sport in the last three Olympics. Rider number two Carl Hester is from the Channel Island of Sark where cars are not allowed, donkey his chosen method of transport to the shops for the milk. Laura Bechtolsheimer was the third victorious rider.
An outstanding Omnimun by little Laura Trott delivered gold medal number three of the day, and a sensational one too, coming from third to first in the final event of the 500m sprint. She is so cute and the girl next door all the boys fell for, and nearly didn't come to be, born with a collapsed lung and now a chronic asthma suffer and double Olympic champion!
It was Mears V Pendleton again, the bulldog v the cute kitten, a huge rivalry here. Pendleton won race one by 1000th of a second, the difference between these two. Mears is all muscle whilst Victoria is all determination and grace. But Viccy was disqualified from race one for a sprinter lane violation, clearly elbowed by the Aussie into reacting to cause the infringement. World cycling is not happy with Team GBs dominance and this was their chance to snatch a gold medal back, Mears winning race two and so the gold.
Chris Hoy does it, the greatest Olympian ever with 6 gold's! He as brilliant in the Kieran but for a moment he didn't look like he would get it but passed Levi on the final straight. Six gold's for Team GB in the Velodrome, equal to Beijing. It should have been seven or eight after Victoria's unfair disqualifications. Redgrave congratulated him at the velodrome and now freeing Redgrave up to do more celebrity work that the greatest Olympian could never lower himself to.
Seven Cameroonian athletes absconded from the Olympic village, asylum claims expected. Be on the look out for the Cameroon women's reserve football team 5ft, 2 goalkeeper!
Freestyle Dressage is a newish event and basically the Twenty20 of horse work, dressage to music, the rider choosing the music and routine, Beyonce's 'Crazy Right Now', if they so choose.
A surprise bronze in the athletics as in form man Robbie Grabanz grabbed a bronze after a wet night saw lots of failures, 2m, 36 the winning height. With that medal Team GB passed their China tally with 5 days still to go.
The joke going around is that Australia are boycotting the Games, due to their distinct lack of medals in London but their star turn Alison Pearson one 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 not trying rule for the following 1500m. His appeal overturned that 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.
3,172 drug test taken during the Games but just one positive, that of an America Judo contestant, who claimed his oats were 'spiked with Hashish'. The question now is are the athletes learning lessons on drugs or are the big positives being suppressed in fear of damaging the Games and being hit by law suits for not being 100% on the test? I fear the later.
The individual show jumping looked very good after the first round with two British clears and a four faults round between the three Brits. But like in Athens 2004, only one rider went double clear and it wasn't a Brit, both Skelton and Parish clipping a fence and losing a medal, all three finishing on four faults. When Skelton led in Athens with a clear round he trashed the course second time up and finished 16th. Here he clipped the last but one and so not to be.
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 out of the long jump final. I enjoyed that. Lawrence Clark made the 110m hurdles final for Team GB, a very posh lad and related to President Theodore Roosevelt no less, Lawrence earning a surprise 4th. It would be gold for Merrick of the USA and Robles, like Asifa Powell, feigned injury and didn't finish hiding their poor runs.
The GB hockey teams quietly made their way to the semi-finals but a noisy semi-final defeat for the girls to Argentina, the bronze medal match with NZ to come. Lively Nicola Adams of team GB had a brilliant win the girls boxing to make the gold meal match. Katie Taylor of Ireland made the women's lightweight boxing, a revered figure in Ireland, rather unfairly having to fight the final the next day.
The girls yet again dominated the day with gold in the freestyle dressage and it was Charlotte Dujardin with her second dressage gold for Team GB, the current world champion and record holder now the Olympic champion. Her routine was rapped around some iconic British theme tunes and finished to Land of Hope and Glory to take the gold, Laura Bechtolsheimer taking bronze for GB
Boxing and Nicola Adams did it, the winner of the first ever Olympic Boxing gold, rolling over Chinese world champion Can Chan from China. She won in huge style and the show followed up by Katy Taylor winning for Ireland. But the fighting girls were not finished there, a stunning gold in the Taekwondo for Jade Jones, a chirpy 19-year-old from Wales, Great Britain's first ever gold in this sport.
Britain's Keri-Anne Payne took an agonizing fourth in the open water swim, just 0.4 behind bronze. She seemed to lose it on the third circuit when she took a food break during the two hour race. I can only imagine how disgusting the water is, condoms, pee and Corgi poo to name but three ingredients.
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 a world record, 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 as 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.
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.
GB sailors Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell had to settle for silver after falling short of their Australian rivals in the men's 470, the old enemy starting to claw it back in the medals table. Fellow Britons Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark had to be content with a silver medal after losing out in their final 470 shootout. The final was moved a day after the racers were becalmed in Weymouth, punters charged up to 80 quid to sit on some grass to watch it, 20x50 binoculars required but good to see more medals coming in.
It was bronze for the girls in the hockey after losing to Argentine 3-1 to make the gold medal match and so having to beat NZ for bronze, which they did by 3-1, twenty years since the last medal. The rather hyped Shaneze Reed in the BMX finished sixth in the final.
Lutalo Muhammad won bronze in the men's Taekwondo, controversially bought into the team to replace Brit Aaron Cook, the current world champion. Ashley Agogo won bronze in the boxing after losing his semi-final but Fred Evans beat the world welterweight champion to make the final. Anthony Joshua in the super heavyweight with a brilliant last round also made the gold medal match. Luke Campbell made it a Hatrick to reach the Bantamweight Final.
Drug cheats from Turley and Russia won the 1500m and women's hammer respectively. Two year bans clearly don't mean anything if that can happen. The only 'positive' here is 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 messed the German girl's 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 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 X100 in 40.82, wiping away the last 'suspect Eastern German sprint record from ay 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.
Ed McKeever took gold for team GB in the 200m canoe sprint on the golden waters of Eton Dorney. It's a new event and he is the Usain Bolt of the water. Heath and Scotfield got bronze in the men's pairs event. Brazil yet again failed to in the Olympic football, losing to Mexico 2-1.
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 with no Golden League pace making and the crowd, it was all too much for the other runners and the Somali born Mo made history. It was all too much for Caster Semanyer, the South African man/woman in the women's 800m, clearly holding back so not to win gold as she blasted from way back to conveniently win silver. 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 it should not be racing.
The women's 4x400m relay offered a 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 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 now taking over the throwing events!!! He celebrated by winning a lighthouse back on his island.
Luke Campbell is the Olympic champion after beating John Jo Nevin of Ireland in the Bantam Weight, the first Brit to win this belt since 1908, the first London Olympics, of course.
Tom Daley waited two weeks to achieve his and his families dream to become Olympic champion. The pressure has been huge on this kid and the face of the Games from the day London got it, then just 11-years-old. It would only be bronze but it may have well as been gold, a kid who has felt pressure like no other in the British sporting world. It's the first team GB individual medal in this competition since Tokyo 1960.
Gold for Joshua in the super-heavyweight after a dramatic last round win over the defending Olympic Italian champion. It was some fight and Joshua's late bombs nicked it on a split decision. It was not to be for Wales Freddie Evans, overrun for gold by Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan by 17-9 for silver. The Congolese boxing team has now gone missing after their last guy was knocked out. All athletes' visas run out on November 1st, time enough for team GB to poach some.
The Games traditionally closes with the modern pentathlon, traditionally a good medal event for team GB, Sam Murray winning silver in the women's event, medal number 65.
The female Belarusian shot put champion was stripped of her medal on the final day after testing positive. At the time she beat the NZ two times champion and looked suspicious by clearly out throwing the field. The NZ champ was handed the gold at the airport.
----------The Final Table ------
Rank --- Country ----- Total
1--- United States (46) (29) (29) 104 Medals
2--- China (38) (27) (22) 87 Medals
3--- GREAT BRITAIN 29 (29) (17) (19) 65 Medals
Team GB comfortably topped the sitting down sports medal chart with 14 gold's and state schools getting 40 medals to the private sectors 25 although the private sector are just 7% of the education sector.
Britain had delivered, in medals and a great Games. The 50% increase in medals and gold's for the hosts happened as predicted. I'm a very proud Brit and so should you be. Cyprus, Guatemala and Grenada were new medal winners in these Games. Roll on Rio! Alas, more Romanian nationals were arrested on the Stratford site for pickpocket theft than their athletes graced the podium. Why cant we have good foreigners, like those Olympians, coming to London for once.