Medals: Gold – Chris Hoy – Men’s Cycling Keirin, Laura Trott – Women’s Cycling Omnium, Dressage Team, Alistair Brownlee – Men’s Triathlon. Silver -Victoria Pendleton – Women’s Cycling Sprint, Nick Dempsey – Men’s Windsurfing. Bronze – Jonny Brownlee – Men’s Triathlon, Robbie Grabarz – Men’s High Jump
Another fantastic day for TeamGB led by the impressive Chris Hoy. The man is built like a mountain and I loved the shots of him having warmers applied to his thighs between races like Formula 1 times put warmers round their tyres. He also has tremendous parents who provided good entertainment – his father impassive throughout and his mother like a small child watching Dr Who and hiding behind the sofa during the scary bits. Although all performances are superb – to be the flag bearer of the team and then to be the favourite your event must place an extra pressure on you. In his event there are so many factors which could affect his ability to win but he did it and you knew he would do it.
The questions are being asked by the other teams about our cyclists. At the moment they are not making any allegations but the French sprinter Grégory Baugé used some of the press conference to ask Jason Kenny directly what we did that made him so fast. Isabelle Gautheron the French team director said “We are asking a lot of questions: how have they gained so many tenths of seconds? Have they found a new training process based on certain energy pathways? I am not talking about any illicit product, because anti-doping tests are so strong. We are looking a lot at the kit they use. They hide their wheels a lot. The ones for the bikes they race on are put in wheel covers at the finish.” To be fair, under the same circumstances there would be questions asked by us – why are the Chinese swimmers improving so much? Why could we not finish anywhere in the Tour De France for so many years? Why did East Germany dominate so many athletics field events? Why did Australia dominate cricket for decades? Why are Manchester United so consistently good? It’s easy to mix jealousy with insinuation if you are not careful. Dave Brailsford’s response to the questions? “It’s interesting that people are starting to ask questions. It’s no different from when we raced the last three-and-a-half weeks at the Tour de France. It’s the same method, the same philosophy and essentially fantastic coaching which is the only secret weapon we possess.”
One new feature which I find really annoying relates to news reporting and I think covers all channels but particularly the BBC. There is a trend for reporters to record interim updates with them standing in front of the action. I watched the “coverage” of the triathlon on the news yesterday and, just as the Alistair Brownlee was coming to the start of his last lap of running, the shot had some no-mark reporter giving his view to camera and blurry action in the background. It seemed to be some attempt to avoid reporting the news in the “old-fashioned” historical way and to somehow concoct a real-time way of reporting a historical event. The ego of journalists is staggering sometimes. Just to be clear – I am not interested in your face or your opinions. You report the news but you are not the news. You have wasted the opportunity to show some of the finest athletes in the world to get a few seconds of personal publicity.
The medal tallies are now exceeding Beijing and we have a few more guaranteed medals to come from Boxing. Some other fun facts are that the objective was not only to exceed Beijing but also to do it in 12 different sports which has also been achieved. Yorkshire now has a higher gold medal tally than Germany. British Cycling is fifth in the medal table. Although we are a long way behind USA in gold medals (22 vs 30), 16 of USA’s gold come from swimming whereas 7 of GB’s medals come from Cycling. Take out our strongest sports and we are ahead. We have won medals in 13 sports, China has won in 16 and USA has won in only 12.