Mens Team Sprint
My first language is English and so is most of yours. Whatever Phillip Hinds said he shouldn't have said it. It didn't look like he crashed on purpose and I couldn't tell if it was a slow start or not. Quite possibly there was a steering problem (as Chris Boardman said) and if there wasn't the GB&NI would have quite possibly qualified anyway. Equally possibly he crashed on purpose. As Steve Redgrave said today in the rowing: if it's not broken, make sure you break it. At most it was sportsmanship and they played to the rules (more of that later).
After qualifying they were on fire. There wasn't a single person (at that stage) in the cycling community who would have thought that Hindes could outstart Bauge. He did.
Comically, he is the now the most loved German over here since Queen Victoria (or Jurgen Klinsmann if you live in a small bit of North London).
Kenny was aflame, and Hoy did what he had to to do.
It was touching to see Chris Hoy shed a tear on the podium. And believe me, he has nearly overtaken Mr Grey from the "Fifty Shades of Grey" books as the UK woman's best fantasy. Remind them that Mr Grey is described as having ginger hair and he easily overtakes (as if having been led out by Jason Kenny).
For my part, I don't mind red hair and am gutted that Amy Pond is leaving Dr Who....
And the controversy? Well, the French were led out by Bauge whose ban took place during an eclipse apparently (without actually losing any racing time), and the Germans who selected Foerstemann for the MTB team. Again, not illegal but not massively sporting.
Women's Team Sprint
Does anyone know who the commissaire is? Not so much because of the British disqualification but for the Chinese. At best from what I saw she looked level. The British were rightly DQed. I really feel for Jess Varnish
Germany, Lord love them, were thus promoted from a likely fourth place to a gold. Indeed the Australian team of Meares and McCulloch would have beaten them (comparing times of bronze medal race and gold).
Great world record race from GB and then China. The velodrome is supposedly set for them in terms of temparature and humidity. Spectators have to go through two sets of doors to keep the track in a kind of airlock.
Record then record then record.
Am I surprised? Yes and no. Not that records fell, but that the Australians struggled. Okay they got to the final, but they they appeared surprised they had got there. They should have been challengers, but they weren't. A young team admittedly, but O'Shea looked a hell of a lot like he was making up the numbers.
Perhaps the swimming results were rubbing off. Who would have thought that a week into the games they would be behind Kazakhstan, the Netherland and, Heaven forbid, the Kiwis in the medal table.
I was surprised at GB. Had always thought that Wiggins and Manning were the engine room. I had always heard Wiggins saying about G-Man being too quick for him, but had thought Ed Clancy (and Ed, I apologise massively) was the weak link. Ed was a legend this weekend as the tug boat. Steven Burke, I am gutted you only got an individual bronze last time and no chance to improve, but you were huge. And Peter Kennaugh is the new Thomas/Wiggins. I love that the team appears to be really considering succession, just as the company I work for said it would. I hope Andy Tennant gets a chance.
Okay Pendleton had a score to settle, but Anna Meares, what were you thinking? You won your heat, and you won your semi. And then in the final? Were you trying to make Pendleton lose, because it surely didn't look like a winning move? Massive smiley face to Wang Sze Lee of Hong Kong who is the happiest medal winner of the Olympics so far. You get a gold for the pride you exuded if nothing else. The Chinese girl ran Pendleton close and should be a favourite for the individual sprint.
Pendleton surprises me. I have reverted back to her emotional weaknesses and expected little of her. She is retiring. Wouldn't mind a win. I was wrong. Dr Peters is still clearly working his magic. She really DID want a London gold.
Women's Team Pursuit
This is the best so far. Jo Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King, please take a bow.
For their last six rides, make that six World records. Is that suspicious? Normally yes. But look at the other teams. They are all improving times. Except for Australia. So take out the second team, and it looks like massive winners.
For these guys, I love the personal side:
i) Joanna Rowsell
For those who aren't aware, today (well, yesterday) was International Alopecia day
My girlfriend asked if she shaved her head for aerodynamics. She interviews bald, and though slightly shy, she doesn't wear a cap or try to hid it. For her it's about the ride and not the hair. Not many 23 year old women would see it that way
ii) Laura Trott
20 years old and who is still asked whenever she arrives at a velodrome if there should be abucket on stand by for when she is sick (apprently she has stomach acid issues). Remarkable to believe she was born six weeks premature (those weeks spent on a ventilator) and with a collapsed lung. Some parents would wrap the baby in cotton wool, rather than allow them to pursue a most lung bursting sport. And World Omnium champion at a tender age.
She started off as a trampolinist but had issues with passing out in mid air, which doesn't help.
I take my hat off to the mother, who thinking she needed to lose weight, took the family cycling.
iii) Dani King
I know less about her, except that she has suffered from glandular fever in the past. However, if people talk about glasses being half full it wouldn't bother her, because her glass is huge. I have rarely seen such a fun loving sports person. She, I can imagine, drives morale.
iv) Wendy Houvenaghel
Okay she didn't ride and she doesn't win a medal. I feel for her. She was behind Rebecca Romero last time (remember her?) and wasn't selected this time. I like her. I liker her dignity. I like to hope, and I am speculating here, that she played a part with the team. A kind of mother role. I may be wrong but I like people to be happy.
We still have both Omniums to come, the Women's and Me's Sprint and Men's Keirin to come but I have loved it. What is in my mind is:
i) are GB too good?
ii) are Australia too bad?
iii) is it rubbish that we lost events when the swimmers have forty odd? Shouldn't all swimming events be freestyle? There is nothing "Citius, Altius, Fortius" about the butterfly
iv) is Cav right when he says that the Omnium is for kids so coaches can find out what they are good at?
v) will Cav come ack to the track so he can finally get an Olympic medal?
vi) irrespective, I hope, especially the women, can be seen as role models with our youth. Too often they look upon Jordan or the cast of TOWIE (http://en.wikipedia....ly_Way_Is_Essex). I am old enough to be their collective fathers, but the women especially are role models even to a grizzled old get like me!
This post has been edited by The Rake: 04 August 2012 - 11:59 PM