London 2012 Olympics: Day Nine – The Athletes don’t make the Games, London does

A Games Volunteer stands read for another hard day at work. Well done them!

After ‘Super Saturday’ must come ‘Sleepy Sunday’. That’s not to say that the sport was not as furious and as fast-paced or that the athletes were more sparse – it is still only the third day of the Olympic stadium being used in anger and LOCOG need to get the full use out of the old dear.

So after a full week of the Olympics and with some of the banner sports like cycling and swimming nearly all but over what have we learned?

  1. Cycling was the main draw in Beijing; in London Athletics is the new cycling – That is not to say that cycling isn’t beloved by all Brits (except maybe Jeremy Clarkson and anyone who drives a bus). We still go gaga for the two-wheeled antics. And with 6 Golds, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze we seem to have the rest of the world’s attention too. Oh and six World Records. Did I mention that? No? Well we have broken six records in the Velodrome. But now it is all about the runners, the jumpers and the vaulters. After an absence of several years Britain is not only third in the table but is also level with Jamaica and Ethiopia on medals, second only to the US (and we have more Golds). So not only do we love it, but we are good at it too!
  2. I have no idea who the best GB Olympian is – For 48 hours it was Bradley Wiggins, then Sir Chris Hoy surpassed him in the medal count and continues to inspire a legion of young talent to hit the saddle. Lets not forget the efforts of Ben Ainslie who has made it 4 Golds in 4 Games (more on that shortly). Leaving London alone, there is also Dame Kelly Holmes (not a personal great but she is successful) or Sir Steve Redgrave. Who do you pick if numbers are not the fact alone? Many side with their favourite sport, others with the man or woman they most admire or look up to. Whatever your selection is I would love to hear from you either via Twitter or Facebook or via a comment below.
  3. These Games are amazing– And so much of it is down the volunteers. I have a friend who works for Network Rail and  is a Games Travel Champion. In essence he has to stand in Waterloo, in a jaunty pink shirt and trilby fielding questions from lost tourists. I have no idea if this is a notion that other Games have done and we are adopting it or if it is a LOCOG invention but it is a great idea, particularly as London’s transport system is the best that I have ever travelled on (NEVER go to New York if you think the Underground is the only way to travel, their version is an insult).But it isnt just the paid workers who are redirected into helpful roles. It is the unpaid volunteers, the young teens of London who have made the Games come alive. Much like the school kids of Wimbledon make the All England Lawn Tennis Club tick over very smoothly during the Championship fortnight so too, the purple and orange suited kids are greasing the wheels of the Olympic park, armed only with an Oyster Card and free stash. Some have grumbled about the provisions at the Park and, to be fair, I have yet to experience the Park (that will come during the Paralympic Games) and there will always be hiccups but these Olympic Wombles have been guiding and at times humorous keeping the spirits up of those who are stuck in queues for toilets or even, God forbid, for tea.

    The mini Mini for field weapon retrieval

    Also on the subject of Olympic volunteers, a new game has emerged in our house – spot the Mini.The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted the remote-controlled Mini’s that are scurrying around the in-field of the Olympic Stadium. After wondering what the hell they were doing we found out that they are supplied by BMW Mini as shotput/javelin/discus retrievers. Bizarre but fun. Keep an eye out!

    Before I move on to actually talking about the sport from yesterday (and therefore fulfilling the main aim of this blog) I have to recant a story I saw on the Guardian website where one of their journos was queuing behind a couple of grunts in the Park the other day who were talking about the issues at the Dome. When she asked them what the issue was they replied that people were getting a bit shitty about queuing so long for security. When she asked why the queues were so long, the answer was that of the three entrances to the Dome, two are run by G4S and the other by the Forces – everyone was intentionally getting caught in a queue so they didn’t have to use the G4S lines….excellent


But now time for the sport and as it was a Sunday I chose to sleep in a bit and missed a fair whack of sport so can only recant what I saw. So as mentioned earlier there were less emotional scenes on the water today as Ben Ainslie took his fourth medal in four Games. For those as dim to Olympic sailing as I am it is a combination of the results from 10 events and Ben took wins in two and podium positions in a further 4 handing him a points lead so that he needn’t stress himself too hard in the medal race. In fact he didn’t and came 18th – but who cares? 4 Golds makes him the most successful sailor in Olympic history, let alone GB history. And in true British fashion, like Wiggo after winning the Tour de France, he was in a cheeky mood post-race interview with Gary Lineker who asked if he was going to compete in Rio in 4 years time to which Ben replied “I dunno, will you still be doing Match of the Day?” Whether or not he does compete, well done Ben. Good first name too.

Andy Murray smiles. It’s should have been the headline of every newspaper in the land on Monday morning. Andy Murray had a busy Sunday when he booked not only a rematch with Roger Federer in the Men’s singles, but a doubles final with Laura Robson against Belarus’ Ararenka and Mirnyi. The first match was against the Swiss pro, Federer. Many hacks were billing it as one of the toughest challenges for the Scot but he made light work of Old Roge dismissing him in straight sets, taking 18 overall matches to RFed’s 7. A whitewash and a Gold to match. Surely he couldn’t do the double? In the doubles?

On the face of it the match seemed to be Azarenka v Murray with an audience/cheering section each in the shape of their partners. But that would be unfair as Mirnyi had a bullet of a serve and Robson was quick about the court…to start with. As the match wore on it was clear the GB pair were flagging. Murray was exhausted but running on adrenaline. Robson was missing shot after shot, all too often her returns would find the net. Nothing you cannot recover from but her head had begun to drop and this is lethal for any sportsman/woman. By the it was forced into a tie-break and the winner was clear as the GB pair missed too many key points handing victory to the Belarussians. But credit must go to Robson, in a Games were all too often we have seen people getting Silver or Bronze medals and wearing a face that looks like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle but she was overjoyed with the result. Disappointed that they couldn’t get the Gold but an Olympic Silver medal is still more than 99% of the population has so there is no point looking down.

Wenlock does ‘the Bolt’

Oh and there was some chap named Usain Bolt who trained at Brunel and did rather well to retain his 100m title, the first to do so since Carl Lewis in 1988 but it is late, I am tired and he has been talked about faaaaaar too much. Maybe I have wax lyrically about him later. Maybe.

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
China 30 17 14 61
USA 28 14 18 60
Fucking Awesome Britain 16 11 10 37
Russia 4 16 15 35
Japan 2 12 13 27
France 8 8 9 25
Germany 5 10 7 22
South Korea 10 4 6 20
Australia 1 12 7 20
Italy 6 5 3 14
Canada 1 3 6 10
Hungary 4 1 3 8
Netherlands 3 1 4 8
Romania 2 4 2 8
Denmark 2 4 2 8
New Zealand 3 0 4 7
Belarus 2 2 3 7
Ukraine 2 0 5 7
Brazil 1 1 5 7
Kazakhstan 6 0 0 6
North Korea 4 0 1 5
Cuba 2 2 1 5
Czech Republic 1 3 1 5
Kenya 1 2 2 5
Mexico 0 3 2 5
South Africa 3 1 0 4
Jamaica 2 1 1 4
Poland 2 1 1 4
Sweden 1 3 0 4
Slovenia 1 1 2 4
Colombia 0 3 1 4
Slovakia 0 1 3 4
Ethiopia 2 0 1 3
Spain 0 2 1 3
India 0 1 2 3
Azerbaijan 0 1 2 3
Croatia 1 1 0 2
Switzerland 1 1 0 2
Lithuania 1 0 1 2
Iran 1 0 1 2
Indonesia 0 1 1 2
Armenia 0 1 1 2
Belgium 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 1 1 2
Mongolia 0 1 1 2
Serbia 0 1 1 2
Norway 0 1 1 2
Greece 0 0 2 2
Moldova 0 0 2 2
Venezuela 1 0 0 1
Georgia 1 0 0 1
Egypt 0 1 0 1
Chinese Taipei 0 1 0 1
Thailand 0 1 0 1
Guatemala 0 1 0 1
Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
Singapore 0 0 1 1
Hong Kong 0 0 1 1
Tunisia 0 0 1 1
Argentina 0 0 1 1
Qatar 0 0 1 1

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