London 2012 Olympics: Day Six – Inspire a Generation…to suffer

China’s Olympic behaviour has been turning stomachs

Come day six, come the fatigue. Not for the athletes you understand – for me. But I imagine some of those boys and girls are a little knackered. Today sees the last day before the athletics kicks off and the GB team are back in the country looking for gold in many, many areas. It is also the beginning of the cycling at the velodrome with Team GB hunting the defence of their amazing performance in China 4 years ago, led by Sir-M’lud-Jesus-Christ Chris ‘Thighs’ Hoy.

If Chris and his team can win Gold in the Team Sprint he will match Bradley Wiggins as the greatest Olympian that GB has ever produced – a record that has stood for almost 1 day. Before that though came the qualifiers for both the men and women and there was intense heart-break for the women. Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish had sailed through to the semi-final for the team sprint only to be disqualified for completing their changeover ahead  of the designated zone. Pendleton was behind Varnish as they headed towards the changeover line and had begun to make the move. In practice and in previous heats she had always been just behind Varnish as they approached the line. This time however, Varnish had faltered and lost speed, Pendleton made no correction, the move was completed before the line and after 20 minutes of deliberation in the centre the judges disqualified them and sent the Chinese through to eventually claim Silver. Heartbreaking for Pendleton, who was seeking a hat-trick of medals, but devastating for Varnish. With only one event to compete in, this signalled the end of her Olympics. She was to go home as a disqualified athlete and received no sorrow from the press, only a cold shoulder as the hacks clamoured to speak to her more attractive team-mate. For shame.

So with British confidence low Hoy, Hindes and Kenny took to the ‘drome for the final against the French in the Team Sprint. This would not be as easy as it was in China 4 years ago. Chris was older, his two team-mates young and inexperienced and the French had not been beaten on the track since China. A tall order. The klaxon went at the ‘drome and the boys leapt into action, establishing a 0.1 gap after only a lap. The gap grew by 0.1 of a second for the first few laps. The French tried to drag it back but ultimately they were beaten. By the end, the gap was 2.5 seconds and the Gold was Britain’s. Hoy looked tired, his young charges looked overwhelmed and the crowd exploded with delight. A great day for GB to add to the two Golds already won that day (Peter Wilson taking GB’s first Gold in trap shooting since Sydney and Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott powering to a shock Gold in the double canoe).

Still on the bikes, but away from the Olympics, a cyclist was knocked off his bike and killed on Wednesday night by a bus driver in near the Olympic Park. While this had no impact on the Olympics itself, just another of the 17 cyclists killed every year on London’s roads – often through no fault of their own – Bradley Wiggins invited the story upon himself. Some in the press have said that the story did not need a comment and that he needn’t have weighed in. But he is the Olympic Road Cycling Champion, he is the best in the world at cycling on the road and he can be seen as the face of that sport. It was brave of him to come out and say that helmets should be worn and this should be law. Ultimately I agree with his point. I learned to ride the States wear helmets are law until the age of 16 whereby it becomes your responsibility and ever since I have worn a helmet while riding. Cycling in London is a dangerous occupation as well and Bradley suggests that wearing a helmet would give the rider more legal (and life) protection. A good call and one that all cyclists in London should heed. He also said that cyclists shouldn’t wear headphones and listen to music while riding – but that’s just common fucking sense….

Back to the Olympics! Gabby Douglas set the gymnastic world (and this humble house) alight with her mesmerizing performance at the Old Dome. The 16 year-old from Virginia Beach – same place as my better half – was outstanding scoring 62.2 putting her ahead of the Russians Mustafina (who looked delighted with her bronze) and Komova (who burst into tears like a 12 year-old at a party at coming second – ungrateful sodhat). All week Gabby has been indestructible and fearless in the arena. She is called ‘The Flying Squirrel’ by her peers; watching her on the uneven bars you can see why. Add a fluffy tail and big teeth and I would give her a bag of walnuts to store for the winter. But it was her beam performance that was just unbelievable. Landing everything that she could try – flips, jumps, cartwheels, 747s – you name it, she lands it. Her training camp in Iowa is hundreds of miles from her home in Virginia but she seemed at ease and calm as she took to the floor. Astonishing as she is just 16. At 16 I would have been perched in front of the Playstation popping away to Gran Turismo 4. Shows both my age and my lethargy….

But the ages of the Olympians is now becoming a bug-bear for me as I continue on my slow trudge to oblivion and old age. Aaron Cook: 21; Laura Robson: 19; Katarina Johnson-Thompson: 19; Zoe Smith: 18; Rebecca Tunney: 16….and that is the just the GB athletes. It seems that athletes are getting younger and younger. This brings up an interesting point regarding the training of the kids. An athlete in their mid-twenties is an athlete who has trained for years – first at school then college then university and are now at the pinnacle of their sport. A 15 year old….is a kid. This isn’t a new premise mind you. For years the Soviet Union would unleash kids on the world to destroy the opposition and when they hit old age they would be discarded by the glorious leaders. Now it seems China has picked up the baton of citizen disrepect.

China are real strangers to human rights. During the Beijing Games any journalist who went looking for evidence of the human rights abuses by the Red Giants were locked up. Though they didn’t have too look far – even the Olympic Village was buitl on a former slump housing several thousand people who were turfed out. This week pictures became available of a training camp in China where children were made to hang from climbing bars to build stamina, young girls had adult trainers standing on their legs to help strength and there were several other abusive poses. Further news came out of Wu Minxia who took Gold in the synchronised diving only to then find out that both her grandparents had died and her mother had contracted cancer….8 years ago. Seems she was forcibly removed from her family and placed into a state run training camp, far from her family to shelter her from real life a la The Truman Show. Compared with Gabby Douglas, who too lives hundreds of miles from home but with a surrogate family in Iowa near her training base and can communicate with home as often as she pleases, the Chinese have taken the girl from her home, deprived her from the major family events and forced her to compete ‘for the glory of the People’s Republic of China’. Rule of thumb: when a country has the word ‘People’ in the title, it will abuse and mistreat its people to a disgusting amount. Wu Jingbiao broke down in tears at the failure of Silver in the weightlifting, claiming he was “ashamed for disgracing the motherland”.

I think the only people who should be ashamed are the politicians in China. This clearly won’t make news over there and this blog will never be read there. There is no Facebook or MySpace, an ersatz Twitter called ‘Sina Weibo’ which will block you for any ‘false truths’ or abuses of the state and Google is strongly controlled in China. This is a police state and a disgraceful one at that. They abuse the Olympic spirit and have no respect for the athletes, many of whom are mere children who deserve the most looking after in their formative years. The badminton cheats have been summoned back to Beijing to account for their actions and apologise for what happened in London. 20 years ago, you could have guaranteed that they would have been shot or imprisoned for life for embarrassing the State. These days it is hard to say what the punishment will be – maybe death would be better than what awaits them in China…

But from the youngest to the oldest competitor at the London Games (and the second oldest ever). Hiroshi Hoketsu on his horse ‘Whisper’ is 71 years old and competing in dressage some 50 years after he first competed in Tokyo.  He failed to make it past the qualifiers but “Hope for Old Men”, as he is titled in Japan, shows that you don’t have to have a baby face to have Olympic spirit.

Check out the current medal table below. If you want to get involved then feel free to leave a comment or to find me on Facebook (TheOnlyMoxey) or Twitter (@theonlymoxey).

Gold Silver Bronze Total
USA 18 9 10 37
China 18 11 5 34
Japan 2 6 11 19
Germany 4 8 5 17
Russia 3 6 8 17
France 6 4 6 16
Great Britain 5 6 4 15
South Korea 7 2 5 14
Italy 4 5 2 11
Australia 1 7 3 11
Canada 0 2 5 7
Netherlands 2 1 3 6
Ukraine 2 0 4 6
Romania 1 3 2 6
North Korea 4 0 1 5
Hungary 2 1 2 5
Brazil 1 1 2 4
Mexico 0 3 1 4
Kazakhstan 3 0 0 3
South Africa 3 0 0 3
New Zealand 1 0 2 3
Poland 0 2 1 3
Cuba 0 2 1 3
Colombia 0 2 1 3
Slovakia 0 0 3 3
Slovenia 1 0 1 2
Sweden 0 2 0 2
Indonesia 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 1 1 2
Spain 0 1 1 2
Denmark 0 1 1 2
Mongolia 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 1 1 2
Belarus 0 1 1 2
Venezuela 1 0 0 1
Georgia 1 0 0 1
Lithuania 1 0 0 1
Egypt 0 1 0 1
Chinese Taipei 0 1 0 1
Thailand 0 1 0 1
Czech Republic 0 1 0 1
Serbia 0 0 1 1
Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
Azerbaijan 0 0 1 1
Belgium 0 0 1 1
Greece 0 0 1 1
Moldova 0 0 1 1
Singapore 0 0 1 1
India 0 0 1 1
Qatar 0 0 1 1

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