Medals for Team GB: Silver – Equestrian team
At last – an extended session watching the Olympics – and on a momentous day. The day had begun as the previous few days had done. My catch-up on the radio on the way home told tales of silver success for “Equestrian”. Well done to the team although the four ladies looked on the podium to be in an entirely different scale to the giant William Fox-Pitt. The individual show jumping round went the way of other plucky Brits – excellent performance in the build up with cruel defeat at the sharp end of the competition. The silver medal though does point to a possible exit route for the Olympic medal forecasters. Do we have two silver and two bronze so far or six silver and five bronze. If the ladies football team and the men’s eight in the rowing can come up trumps we are much closer to the finishing line in the new scoring system. The alternative strategy at the moment is to extend the Olympics by at least another two weeks at the current strike rate.
The other interesting point is that use of the word “Equestrian”. I’m sure in previous Olympics the term was always Equestrianism or Three Day Evening. As soon as a word is used oddly it becomes one of the iconic words of the London 2012 Games. At the moment I’ve got “Fourth Dive” and “Box Hill” as not only iconic words but oddly reminiscent of mythical venues for ultimately unsuccessful last stands. “General Miller of the 4th Dragoons fell at Fourth Dive”.
In the TV coverage I did see the magnificent record breaking medal for Michael Phelps. Whether you think it is easier in swimming or not is irrelevant, the competition is fierce and to achieve golds at three Olympics is magnificent. The event is somehow heightened by his hunger and failure in previous swims.
The British ladies were a breath of fresh air in the football. I have no interest in the puffed-up self-importance of Ryan Giggs, Stuart Pearce et al. It was refreshing not only to see success but also the manner of the success, and genuine celebration and surprise at victory against Brazil. I would love to see them succeed.
The other highlight for me is the machine that is the British Rowing team. Along with cycling they are a wonderful example of a proper team programme that manufactures winners. We have chosen events where we have an established infrastructure and taken them to the next level with technology, training and science along with fantastic coaching and teamwork. They are reminiscent of the Sir Clive Woodward all conquering England world champion rugby team – you expect success. What does strike me though is how unfair it seems to be on the receiving end of the South Korean archery squad, the US basketball team, East African long distance running and Eastern European weightlifting teams doing exactly the same things. We are a nation of double standards.