Medals for Team GB: none
After the euphoria of the Olympic opening ceremony yesterday seemed a bit of an anticlimax. In the morning I went looking for some gadgetry and thought I’d be able to keep an eye on the cycling road race via judicious window shopping for a TV. It was obviously a quiet day on the High Street because the assistants in Dixon’s pounced like traffic wardens whenever I slowed down in front of one of the screens. Whenever I actually need help there’s not a soul to be seen and then when you do see someone they appear to be one of the G4S missing security guards rather than a technician. Worse still there was a whole back of TVs with not one showing the Olympics – its like they’d realised the shopping mall was full of husbands like me and wanted to keep everyone moving along. Radio and odd internet checkups kept me in touch until I got home for the finish. Those who watched the event will know how shocking the BBC coverage was. I know nothing about cycling but it appears I know significantly more than Hugh Porter MBE – multi world title holder. The BBC have lodged a complaint with the Olympic Broadcasting Service over the lack of information provided to them. As the race started to wind up there was suddenly a lack of information on timings between the various racing groups which left the commentary team high and dry. Hugh seemed to have a blindfold on though and continually misidentified riders and misread their racing numbers and shirt colours. Poor Chris Boardman didn’t know what to do. The highlight was Porter’s enormous build up to who was going to cross the line “fourth” as the main peloton came up the Mall. He had overlooked the large second group (from which he’d already failed to even get the colour of the Norwegian bronze medallist’s shirt right) who had already crossed the line. The race itself was disappointing for Britain and just showed the animosity towards Cavs and the British cycling team. They misjudged the tactics but crucially found that teams would rather not win a medal than help get the main peloton back in contention. Australia and Germany should feel embarrassed (or Netherlands and Belgium in Hugh Porter’s world). If it was boxing they’d be docked points for not throwing enough punches.
The other joy of the Olympics is then the end-to-end coverage of things you wouldn’t normally watch. The snippets of other Olympic sport I saw were men’s beach volleyball (as Great Britain lost to Canada), women’s basketball (as Great Britain lost to Australia) and a little bit of Women’s judo as Sarah Menezes’s coach appeared to win gold in the sub-48kg weight division. She shouted, screamed and did the lap of honour with her – I fully expect she was up there on the podium too! Sadly I missed what seemed to be the drama of the day as Italy won the gold medal in the men’s team event with a last arrow Robin Hood-like 10 to pip USA by one point. Remember the opening ceremony parade where the fit young athletes were interspersed with greying middle-aged not-quite-so-trim gentlemen? Turns out they were archers.
So I missed the Murray brothers’ defeat in the men’s doubles tennis, Hannah Miley’s near miss in the swimming, and the GB men’s gymnastics team qualifying for five individual finals and the team event. The thing about euphoria is that it builds an unrealistic expectation that every GB competitor is a potential medallist. I’ll be better today as I listen to Bob Carolgees explain the finer points of rhythmic gymnastics and canoe slalom.