Event 13 – Women’s Football Final

A dash up to Newcastle to see family after the Canoeing then it’s time for the next event for Allan and Mr. S, the Women’s football final. A cracking game between U-S-A and Ni-pon ended up USA getting a deserved win 2-1 with USA’s 2nd goal from 25 yards scored by Carli Lloyd a screamer.

Over 80,000 were at Wembley and the only boos of the night were for Sebb Blatter (see here for why), not as fast as the blokes gam,  but skill levels were excellent from both sides. The crowd were enthusiastic and very good natured, although there did seem to be confusion from lots of people of only having a 15 minute half time – masses seem to come back after 15 minutes of the 2nd half.

So, could this be the 2 Geordies last visit to Wem-ber-ley this year?  Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

The 2 USA goals in glorious burred action with the first and last photos below…

























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Event 12 – Rah Rah Rah – It’s sprint canoeing

Having a more awkward than expected journey to Windsor due to South West trains cancelling all special Olympic services to Windsor, we proceeded to Eton Dorney Lake. Hardcow could say all sorts of things about this location, but let’s leave it at; there is no wonder that the privilaged few who can afford to go to Eton public school provide good rowers with an 2km long, Olympic standard, man-made 2km boating lake as part of their sports facilities.

Onto the sport and we had front row, although pretty crampt, tickets for all sorts of canoe and kayak qualifiers and semi-finals. There wasn’t too much competition in the qualifiers as the first 5 racers got through to the semi-finals and often there was only 5 racers. Semi-finals were a little more exciting especially the C2 (Canoe 2 person) race which seemed like a dead heat between around 4 countries. Team GB had an unassuming day with a couple of knockouts in the semi-finals and one guy qualifying for the final.

Not the best sport to watch live, can’t really see the race until it’s around 200m away, but we admire the strength of getting a boat to move so quickly, another new sport watched and somehow we managed to get a suntan even though it wasn’t sunny. Ra Ra Ra indeed.

























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Event 11 – When Hardcow went to the Olympic Stadium

Both of Hardcow went to Olympic stadium on Monday night. We saw; 200m women’s qualifiers, women’s shot put final, men’s 400m hurdle final, men’s 400m final, women’s steeplechase final and the women’s pole vault final. It was thrilling.

The fantastic steeplechase which beat Allan’s previous rule of “Don’t bet against the Ethiopian” when the Russian woman won and preceded to do the fastest lap of honour we have ever seen. The 19 year old Grenadian superstar Kirani James, who won the 400m final thrilled the Grenadian supporter behind us and we also found out what 80,000 people saying “aaaarrrrrr” sounded like when the 400m hurdle winner, Felix Sanchez, sobbed uncontrollably when presented with the gold medal.

And, to top off a great night, we saw Usain Bolt presented with his gold medal!

























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Event 10 – Women’s Marathon (aka “Run it”)

A little after the Lord Mayor’s show considering the day Team GB had yesterday, but managed to get up in time for another event on the streets of London. Once again, a lengthy women’s event was hosted in absolute terrible weather – is it really August?  I managed to grab a viewing spot near the Houses of Parliament in the pouring rain and grab a quick photo whilst the main group was passing then heading off home before I had to take up swimming. Then got unfeasibly excited by gymnastics, yachting and even bloody tennis.

Eventual winner, Tiki Gelana from Ethiopa is somewhere in the photo below.


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Event 10 – “Come on Jess!!”

Event number 9 and first day of the Athletics brings the first visit to the main Olympic park.

Arrived at the Olympic park via the very quick and smooth Javelin train, the stadium standing there like some massive alien spaceship. The Olympic park is a huge affair with lots of people going in all different directions although big enough walkways so not causing too much of a problem. It’s also remarkably easy to get away from the crowds and sit beside one of the canals. Just don’t try to get something to eat or buy beer, the queues before the start were worse than the worst post office queue you have ever seen.

Anyhow, onto the main event. The stadium and seats were majestic. To quote Helen, close enough to the Olympic flame to regret not bringing marshmallows to toast – we could feel the heat from it. We saw Jess Ennis and all (including a NZ lass called Cowley) in the Heptathlon shot put and 200m,  the women’s 100m first round, women’s discus qualifying, men’s 1500m qualifying,  Men’s shot put and the Women’s 10,000m final. There was the men’s long jump qualifying, but we were the other side of the stadium and really didn’t have a clue on that one.

Highlights were just being at the stadium, Jess’s storming run in the 200m, seeing all the 100m contenders take a bow, Polska winning the men’s shot put and the amazing sprint with 300m left for Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba to retain her 10,000m Olympic title that left everyone else over 30m behind at the end. Below are some photos of the evening – click each one to bring up a full size version.

































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Event 9 – South Korea dominates on the field and in the stands

Larry Godfrey, Team GBFinally, after a week of envying Allan’s Olympic excursions, Chloe made it to her first event – the men’s individual archery, at which the 16 best shooters of the tournament will be whittled down to the final 8. As a bonus, the archery is held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which contains one of her must-see structures – the media centre, a giant, white clock radio contrasting with the Victorian architecture of the pavilions.

The eight pairs of archers in a knockout set of matches include world champions, European champions and surprise newcomers. So long as the rain holds off it promises to be a glorious morning of sport.

First up, Larry Godfrey of Team GB was up against Khairul Anuar of Malaysia. On the way in, we were encouraged to roar for Larry the Lion, which struck me as a risky marketing strategy since another famous Larry was a lamb. Despite an incredibly close match, which ended with a dramatic tie-breaking shoot-off, Larry’s Olympic journey ended there . While we’re alliterating, let’s just call him Larry the Local Boy and leave it at that. He certainly got a big cheer from the leaving crowds as he posed for photos with fans outside the pavilion.

Korean archery fansAccording to Allan, there’s only one rule in archery – don’t bet against the South Koreans. So it was a surprise when, in the second match, it was the European champion from the Netherlands who won. He later admitted that it was the first time he’d ever beaten a Korean in a senior competition.

The final match was another South Korean, the world number two Kim Bubmin, against a 15 year-old from Moldova. Although the game went as the bookies predicted, wee Dan Olaru was very self-possessed and scored respectably. Since archers can compete for many years, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he’ll be at the 2048 Olympics.

There were contingents there from all the nations competing, though in true Olympic spirit everyone was clapped and cheered. But who were the best fans? Honourable mentions for the Dutch, French and Ukranian fans, but it was the South Koreans who nailed it by a country mile – flag waving, clapping with special blow up thingies, shouting, cheering. Next time we watch some archery, we’ll be learning Korean for ‘go on, my son!’

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Event 8 – So, where did all go wrong Wiggo?

So, you’re the first Briton who has won the Tour de France a couple of weeks ago? How do you follow that? Maybe a gold medal in your home town?

Watching from Hampton near the end of the course, I had the privilege of watching the gold medal run of Bradley Wiggins. The crowd went wild, even the sun came out and all is right with the world. I do see a problem, his time of 50 and a bit minute for 40km equates to 52.1km/h or 32.5mp/h or, to put another way, breaking the speed limit. Surely with all those police around, there must be 3 points on Mr. Wiggins’s licence forthcoming.

On a side note, looks like South Bank Bikes produced the goods, the Iranian cyclist seemed to make it through unscathed.


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Event 7 – Women’s Time Trial

Event 6 and I made a schoolboy error, I turned up at Hampton way too late to get a good view of the Women’s time trial. It rained again for them as it did for the road race, I imagine all the women cyclists must believe it rains all the time in London. Photos therefore are at a bare minimum. The winner apparently did the 29km in 37 and a bit minutes – a remarkable average speed of 46km/h or 29 mp/h.

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Event 6 – Canoe Slalom

A last minute decision to see another event resulted Allan taking a trip to Lee Valley to see the men’s Canoe Slalom.

There are some sports at the Olympics such as running, swimming and even throwing that we all probably did at school. Others like Boxing, gymnastics, cycling and rowing some people do for hobbies but obviously not to Olympic standard . The Canoe Slalom I struggle with. How do these Olympians do this sport so well? It looks totally impossible to get through all 20 odd gates in gushing water and stay upright in less than 100 seconds – it’s even impossible to do on the Playstation London 2012 game.

I gasped when the Team GB world champion missed out on the final, cheered on the Slovakian as there was a massive group of fans near me and admired an amazing run from the Frenchman that blew his rivals out of the water – well, not literally, that would be cheating. But, for the sheer guts, skill and strength, I think they all deserve some sort of medal.

To the sounds of La Marseillaise and the pouring rain, Allan made his way back to Vauxhall looking a bit bedraggled but happy to see yet another fantastic Olympic event.

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