Medals for Team GB: Silver: Lizzie Armitstead – Women’s Road Race. Bronze: Rebecca Adlington – 400m freestyle
Busy at work for the afternoon and into the evening and so my Olympic viewing today was sketch at best.
The sailing from Weymouth intrigues me. The BBC coverage had hundreds of people sitting on “Ben’s Bank” watching the eponymous Ben Ainslie sailing in the Finn class. Now I’ve been to watch the Open Golf and cricket from square on to the wicket and pondered how much better they are to watch on TV. I really think sailing, or rather sea-watching, must beat them for the sheer futility of it. There were some great moments when the commentators had no idea who was winning and where the Saintly Ben was placed because of the distance between the competitors – and they had the benefit of helicopters and GPS. There was also a completely pointless Truman Show-style camera in each boat which would only serve some purpose if one of the boats really did hit the wall at the edge of a great big film studio. Well done Ben though!
I watched some women’s gymnastics – early rounds with the beam in particular having more in common with Becher’s Brook than a piece of equipment for demonstrating grace and elegance. Lots of arm waving to conceal losing balance in the same way a magician distracts the viewer as they pocket a card. Surely they can’t get points for that during the floor exercise or even I could register a score.
I also watched some judo and the magnificent efforts of Colin Oates as he made his way past a prowling Mongolian with a scoring throw in the last five seconds. Completely bewildering sport but what the Olympics is all about – you just need a dressing gown to compete.
My first ventures into the BBC red button system was interesting. The offer to follow every sport all the time is a major undertaking but moving up and down the channels suggests on the surface that there are probably 8 or 9 channels too many. Lots of holding messages and warming up with commentators either silent or filling horribly. The only thing more challenging is following the events on Radio 5 Live where keeping the excitement levels high as rain pours down on dressage or the peloton approaches the 40km stage is an art form honed through decades of test cricket and rainy uncovered Wimbledons.