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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Event 4 – Boxing, or, “Hit ‘Im !!”

Onto boxing in the evening for Allan and Mr. S after watching the finish of the cycling over a couple of beers, a very large Italian meal and a bottle of their finest Brunello. Nice.

Met up with Dave and Steve and proceeded to watch 10 bouts where the little lads gave us 2 1/2 hours worth of entertainment. Top marks to Taylor (the boxer not the guy who got us the tickets) from Team GB who got through to the last 8 and there was a couple of real good scraps. One to look out for in the next round is the Korean seconds who were bobbing, weaving, making every punch and defensive move with their man in the ring.

London’s transport system held up well and we were back to Chez Hardcow in an hour from the Excel centre.

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Event 3 – Elizabeth the Second, raining over us

Mr. S arrived into Chez Hardcow for a 1 night stay with his bag in hand. Maybe it should have been an umbrella.

Off to Putney again to watch the Woman’s road race. It was sunny, then with 10 minutes to go before they arrived, it absolutely Chris’ed down, then proceeded to get sunny again. The rain followed the racers all the way from deepest Surrey, nightmare for them.

This time we saw the gold, silver and bronze group including the incredible Lizzy Armistead who went on to get Team GB’s first medal in this games and retain her silver medal from 4 years ago. Apparantely she only got on a bike for the first time 9 years ago when she was 14. Maybe there’s hope for me yet. Actually, no.

Thanks to Mr S for the first part of the post title.

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Event 2 – Sven Goonsson and Klaus Bin

Second sporting event arrives on the same afternoon as the Archery. Watching the men’s road race at Putney a few kilometers from the end, surely no-one had the same idea as Allan? Erm, yes, it was rammed but managed to get a front row view. This consisted of waiting around for over half an hour, seeing two groups whizzing by in barely 5 seconds, plus a couple of stragglers and waiting over half an hour to cross the road back to Putney station. Loved it – except for the Brits not winning at the end.

Photos below, including one that has the eventual winner: Kazakh, Alexandre Vinokourov, is in second place on the last photo on this post. After the mess-up of the Korean flags in the football, let’s hope they didn’t play the Borat version of the Kazakh national anthem.

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