London 2012 Olympics: Day Seven – And on the seventh day God said “Let there be Athletics!”

The Athletics come to the Olympic Park

It has been a week of the 2012 Games and I personally have yet to tire of it. This has been a light week of work for me with many of my colleagues and my supervisor on holiday so I have been able to spend many waking moments devouring the Olympic Games. You would have thought that after 7 straight days of sport I would start flagging but the shear variety of the sport on offer continues to amaze and delight. The joy of the Olympics is the watching of a new sport you have never concentrated on and becoming a master of it by lunchtime with wry quips of: “oh, he made a mess of that, he should have done x y and z”. This week has been a collection of these with weightlifting, hockey, diving and swimming. Now though comes the seventh day, and on the seventh day God said “Let there be Athletics!”

The GB fans didn’t have to wait long before they got a reason to shout on Friday. Jessica Ennis, Britain’s Golden Girl, who has adorned cereal boxes to shampoo containers all year-long was about to walk out in the Olympic Stadium in East London. Her home games. You could be forgiven for imagining that the pressure would have overcome her. Seems her self-imposed Twitter/Facebook ban had the desired effect of walling her off from the baying public. In the first event, the 100m hurdles, she set a time of 12.54 seconds which is faster than any Brit has run them before – heptathlete or no heptathlete. She then made light work of the high jump and the shotput before crossing the line level with a competitor to take the lead of the heptathlon going into the second day. After yesterday’s theme of great young guns, we also got a look at the 19 year-old Katarina Johnson-Thompson (who as her Twitter profile says is “Chronically indecisive so [she’s] adopted two surnames & the heptathlon”), the understudy to Ennis and will most likely take over from the Sheffield girl when she steps down from the sport. Johnson-Thompson is rough around the edges but a great athlete and will become a star soon: you heard it here….probably tenth-hand.

Also in athletics action was Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles, Brunel University’s very own Christine Ohuruogo in the 400m and Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson in the long-jump. They all put in good shifts and will progress to Saturday to go for Gold (as is the British way it seems).

Away from the track and field is the Judo which saw the first female Saudi athlete to take part in the Games ever. Her name is (deep breath) Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani and while she only last 22 seconds, her participation will send shock-waves around the Gulf State and hopefully be a catalyst for women’s rights over there.

Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets to reach the final against Federer. Hopefully he will be able to do what he was unable to last time these two met at SW19 and beat him to an historic Gold medal. Chances are he may get two bites of the cherry when he and Laura Robson take on Hewitt and Stosur in the Mixed Doubles quarter-finals. Two Gold medal matches in one day – stuff that dreams are made of. Speaking of GB Gold, Grainger and Watkins took Gold in the double skulls today with a fine performance to see off the Aussies. A great day and a great row from the girls who are both currently studying for their PhDs and have succeed in making me feel like a lazy shit.

Finally it was back to the Velodrome. I am under strict orders to refer to it as the Velodrome and not the ‘drome as it seemed to irk you folks a bit yesterday. I get the same way when lazy commentators say that someone ‘medalled’ at the Games so I feel your pain. I will behave. Honest. Anyway, Vicky Pendleton was keen to shrug off the defeat of yesterday and take gold in the Keirin. She was lined up behind the little noddy bike just waiting for the break and the start of what would be a great race. At the break she then pulled out a respectable lead over Meares and looked to hold that as the final lap began. Suddenly from the middle of the pack China’s Guo and Hong Kong’s Lee popped up and made a bid for the title. Some last-minute puffing and panting gave Pendleton a winning margin of half a wheel. Very close but a magnificent ride and another Gold for the GB cycle team who look invincible in the Velodrome.

This invincibility carried on to the men’s team pursuit and Hoy and the boys get it done again, with a World Record to boot. Hoy now sits on 5 Olympic medals making him the most successful Olympian ever from the UK, taking the title from Bradley Wiggins after only 48 hours. Still, it was the thought that counts.

Lastly a mention of credit has to go to Team GB’s women’s footballers who were defeated 2-0 by Canada. Hope Powell’s girls have been outstanding, including scalping Brazil the creators of the modern game. She is determined to post a team for the Rio Games in 2014 though how far the various FAs let that go will remaining to be seen.

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 21 10 11 42
China 20 13 9 42
Russia 3 12 8 23
Great Britain 8 6 8 22
Japan 2 8 11 21
France 8 5 6 19
Germany 5 8 6 19
South Korea 9 2 5 16
Australia 1 9 4 14
Italy 4 5 3 12
Romania 1 4 2 7
Canada 0 2 5 7
New Zealand 3 0 3 6
Netherlands 2 1 3 6
Ukraine 2 0 4 6
Brazil 1 1 4 6
North Korea 4 0 1 5
Cuba 2 2 1 5
Hungary 2 1 2 5
Kazakhstan 4 0 0 4
South Africa 3 1 0 4
Belarus 1 1 2 4
Mexico 0 3 1 4
Poland 1 1 1 3
Slovenia 1 0 2 3
Colombia 0 2 1 3
Spain 0 2 1 3
Denmark 0 1 2 3
Slovakia 0 0 3 3
Sweden 0 2 0 2
Czech Republic 0 2 0 2
Indonesia 0 1 1 2
Belgium 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 1 1 2
Mongolia 0 1 1 2
India 0 1 1 2
Norway 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
Croatia 0 1 0 1
Serbia 0 0 1 1
Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
Azerbaijan 0 0 1 1
Greece 0 0 1 1
Moldova 0 0 1 1
Singapore 0 0 1 1
Iran 0 0 1 1
Hong Kong 0 0 1 1
Qatar 0 0 1 1

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