I have not posted a review of the Olympics for the past week as I have been too busy to sit down and make a concerted effort to watch the events for a lengthy period. The main exception being that while out clubbing on Saturday night the highlight had been watching and cheering on Mo Farah to his 10,000 metre gold medal amidst a packed dance floor, picking up a few strange looks along the way.
The start of the second week was marked by the beginning of the event period which makes so many of us feel somewhat inadequate, thinking what may have been, the track and field athletics… Arguably the most anticipated event of this being the Women’s Heptathlon, with the majority of spectators wishing they were or were with the competitors being admittedly envious myself. Jessica Ennis-Hill, despite spending time out of the sport for family reasons following London 2012 was firm favourite to retain her title as the British looked to replicate their Super Saturday success of four years ago. This was also the second games for young and emerging star Katarina Johnson-Thompson looking to establish herself against the more experienced field. However it was a surprising gold medal win for the Belgian, Nafissatou Thiam who stole the show with Ennis-Hill in Second Place overall and Johnson-Thompson coming Sixth overall, only let down by throwing events, Javelin and Shot Putt coming 27th both times.
Of the other Super Saturday re-entrants, as previously mentioned Mo Farah, holding towards the rear of the pack early in the race, stormed from behind after recovering from a fall to pick up an iconic victory. However the same levels of success could not be enjoyed by Long Jumper Greg Rutherford as he managed to only scrape a bronze with his final effort of the night.
The past week also saw the Group Stages of my main sport, the Badminton Competition. In particular my focus was on Chris and Gabby Adcock the British Mixed Doubles pair who won Gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Before and throughout their final group match against Poland the commentators kept assuring the viewers that regardless of the result, the Adcocks were in to the next round and that the Polish Team were simply playing for pride…however this was not the case. The British team despite having three match points in the second set were undone by an inspired resurgent Mateusiak (My competitor of who went on to dominate the decisive set which sent the Brits out and the Poles through, something which the commentator immediately after the match was still oblivious to. Elsewhere Male pair Ellis and Langridge ensured that Great Britain had some representation in the Quarter Finals of the Badminton.
As much as you’d love to have a non controversial world tournament, this rarely happens and the Greatest Show on Earth has been no exception with this years edition arguably going to be remembered to circumstances off field equally or more so than the content on field. Of course there have been moments which we will undoubtedly see months after the games and be brought up at future events such as; Dutch Keirin Cyclist, Lauren Van Reissen, riding at a right angle to the ground along the crowd barrier wall to avoid crashing in to off balance Frenchwoman, Virginie Cueff. Reissen finished last in the heat but managed to win the Repechage heat to qualify for the next stage of the tournament. Ultimately photo of the tournament had been the selfie taken between two gymnasts, representing North Korea and South Korea, a vision of war, propaganda and hatred set aside in the spirit of competition, friendship and a sense that there was no point in having conflict with somebody who you do not know. Sadly, this was not the case at the Male Judo event, after a victory by Israeli, Or Sasson when Sasson attempted to shake the hand of Egyptian, Islam el-Shehaby only to be aggressively refused leaving the Israeli dumbstruck in the middle of the mat. el-Shehaby later was quoted saying, “You cannot expect me to shake the hand of someone from this state”, prompting and investigation by the Egyptian Athletics Governing Body. Aside from this there have been strange occurrences such as the Diving Competition Pool mysteriously turning green and the revelation that should Michael Phelps have been a nation in himself he would have been tenth in the medal table on Thursday and that over the course of his Olympic Career he has more gold medals than over 170 countries competing at any Games in history. Spates of criminal activity and numerous horrific injuries has also brought the decision to award the Games to Brasil in to doubt and organisers in to disrepute, something which I hope to see over the remainder of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
On a brighter note, my team of the past week…
Great Britain- Trying to remain as unbiased as possible it was tough to find a nation who had impressed as much over the past seven days other than clear leaders, the USA. Featuring around eighth and ninth place on the medal table on Wednesday, to be equal second with China (second overall based upon Silver Medals) at the end of play on Sunday has taken an immense effort from all involved. Previously, it had appeared as though this would be annoying Olympics of nearly’s and what ifs with Silver in the Men’s Rugby Sevens after a demolition by Fiji and missing out on a Bronze in the women’s version after a convincing defeat at the hands of Canada. Of the other sports mentioned in the first review, the Women’s Hockey team have progressed to the quarter finals where they are to play Spain on Monday Night. The majority of gold’s have come from the velodrome as well as on the water with the rowing team as the Men’s 8s swept to a comfortable victory. Both Cycling Pursuit Teams claimed the titles, both memorable in their own way with Sir Bradley Wiggins pulling faces on the podium and the Women’s team repeatedly breaking the World Record on the way to gold. As my girlfriend is always very keen to point out, GB also experienced great success in the Men’s Diving, picking up one gold and one bronze as well as in the Men’s Gymnastics where Louis Smith picked up a Silver and Max Whitlock has already claimed two Gold’s and a Bronze. Mentions also have to go to Andy Murray who became the first tennis player to retain their gold medal in successive games and Justin Rose who became the recipient of the first golf golf medal.
Who and What have been your Teams, Moments and Competitors of the Olympics so far? Leave a comment or drop me a message to include in the next review.
I’ve been Crag Banna…Signing out.