Medals for Team GB: Gold – Women’s Rowing Pair, Bradley Wiggins – Men’s Cycling Time Trial. Silver – Michael Jamieson – 200m breast stroke. Bronze: Chris Froome – Men’s Cycling Time Trial, Men’s Rowing Eight
The medals have started to roll in as I think I predicted yesterday. Without my supervision Stanning and Glover strolled home in the women’s rowing pair while the men’s eight got bronze. There were tears on the podium. I do think they could have been tears of loneliness because the podiums at the Olympics are enormous. I think they were built to accommodate a dead heat in the eights. The camera men are struggling to get everyone in the same shot. Not so much of a problem for Royal Mail. In the BBC roundup show in the evening Gary Lineker presented the gold medal winners with a mockup of the stamp which Royal Mail is issuing immediately. Most ladies are very particular about their appearance and I suspect there was a tinge of concern that they had little editorial control over the image which was taken in the boat shortly after they had crossed the line – exhausted, rosy cheeked and gently glowing. It’s a bit like the camera which catches you unawares half-way down the water slide at Alton Towers and its available to buy as you leave the ride.
I spent some time watching the swimming this evening. The venue is, of course, a thing of beauty – right up there in the pantheon of great Olympic structures. One of the features is the roll call of swimmers for their event. In the old days they would all march out, bags over their shoulders, and have a camera pan across in front of them as they stood ready to go. Now there is a boxer-style entry. They pass a big screen with their name on before swaggering over to the blocks. I did think for a while that Panasonic was a Croatian butterfly specialist – before realizing it was one of the few things on the screen spelled consistently correctly. The method the athlete’s choose to adopt varies. The Australians, Canadians and Brits seem genuinely thrilled as they come blinking into the public gaze and normally have a big smile on their face and wave to the crowd. The Japanese come out a little apologetically, as if they’ve stumbled through the wrong door. The Americans usually style it out with goggles on, headphones on, game face on. I do quite like the Chinese swimmers who come out with the bonkers character hat. It seems like an over-elaborate attempt to impose personality and character. Maybe it’s an attempt to change people’s view of Chinese swimmers – they aren’t the product of a repressive, battery farming approach that steals children’s youth and represses their growth – or maybe it’s just a hat. Well done to Michael Jamieson for his silver medal in the 200m breast stroke who was only beaten into silver by a world record.
I missed seeing the time trial in the cycling. It sounded immense as rider after rider went through the timechecks and Wiggo and Froomey (they are now personal friends) set the pace. Our fun was only spoiled by Tony Martin who split the two of them. The commentators were a little nervous afterwards in approaching Bradley who seems to have a Alex Ferguson-like unpredictability which gets worse after he is asked for the twentieth time how he is feeling. I would love someone to finally get to the front of the media queue and ask him what his favourite ice cream flavor is.
The football droned on with England beating Uruguay to progress to a quarter final against South Korea. Stuart Pearce tries to sound statesmanlike in his post match interview while his agent desperately rings round Scottish second division clubs to see if anyone needs a manager.
Finally, there were some very strange goings-on today. The badminton event was marred as four teams tried to lose (apparently our pairings weren’t amongst them) and were disqualified. Even with the disqualifications we still didn’t get a quarter finalist. In addition, the perpetual issue of questionable judging reared its ugly head as a Japanese boxer had to get his victory on appeal despite flooring his opponent six times. Any question of favouritism in Anthony Joshua’s victory over Cuba’s Erislandy Savon is quickly brushed over