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Beijing

You knew from the moment he stood by his blocks, seconds before the start of the most hyped 100m in history, and posed like a man messing about in a club with his mates.

It's the Olympic final. You're supposed to be shaking inside, aware that you're about to go through the 10 seconds that could define the rest of your life.

There are 90,000 people staring down at you from all sides of the stadium, billions more watching around the world on television.

Usain Bolt's performance on Saturday night was unbelievable, in the most flabbergasted, mouths-agape sense of the word.

Continue reading "Thunder Bolt creates shockwaves"


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I'm just getting my breath back after another special day at the Laoshan velodrome that will stay with me for a very long time

Three medal events, two golds, a silver and two bronze, with gold and silver guaranteed in the women's pursuit on Sunday as well!

Every rider in the British team to appear on the track so far has managed to win a medal, but leading the way on the first two days of competition has been the unofficial leader of the team, Chris Hoy.

Continue reading "Hoy the pick of GB's golden bunch"



Africa had to wait until day seven of competition to win its first gold medal of the 2008 Olympics.

The entire continent celebrated as Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the women's 10,000m in the Bird's Nest Stadium, and then, on day eight, there was more glory for Africa to enjoy as Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry took gold while setting a new world record in the women's 200m backstroke.

Continue reading "Africa united!"



Beijing, Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium

Of all the impressive numbers the Chinese are posting in Beijing, two that the British are most jealous of are 639 and 28.

Those are the number of Chinese athletes taking part in these Games and the number of different sports they are competing in...that's 28 out of 28.

OK, as hosts they didn't have any qualification worries but the fact they have more than doubled the size of their team in just two Olympic cycles speaks volumes about their ambitions.

Team GB will struggle to double in size over the same time frame but is determined to contest every event on home soil in 2012, which is why I'm at the Olympic handball venue on "Super Saturday".

Continue reading "Never mind the golds, let's hear it for handball"



Ling Long Pagoda, Beijing

Let's start with the numbers.

She's 19 years old.

This was her first Olympics.

On Monday she became the first woman to win a British swimming gold for 48 years.

On Saturday she became the first British swimmer to win two golds at the same Games for 100 years (the last was Henry Taylor in 1908).

She is only the third British athlete since World War Two to win two golds at the same Games (the others being Kelly Holmes, 800m/1500m 2004 and Richard Meade, three-day eventing, 1972). [1308 BST UPDATE: And now Chris Hoy keirin/men's sprint, 2008].

Rebecca Adlington won her second gold in the 800m final with a winning margin of more than six seconds - in a new world-record time of 8 minutes 14.1 seconds.

It was a record which had stood for 19 years, the oldest record in the swimming book and she broke it by more than two seconds.

But let's look at some less sexy numbers. The ones that really matter, the real story behind Rebecca Adlington's double gold in the pool.

Continue reading "From Miss Nobody to greatest British swimmer for 100 years "



Chris Hoy said it would take a "special ride" to beat the British Sprint Team in Beijing and boy was he right! No-one was equal to the efforts of Messrs Staff, Kenny and Hoy over three laps of the track as the British cycling revolution rolled on.

I was slightly less confident than Hoy at the start of the evening after listening to the French broadcasters next to us talk up their own team's chances. The French had been half a second faster than the British trio (with Ross Edgar instead of Kenny) at the World Championships in Manchester.

But Hoy knew how the team were performing in the run-up to these Games and was less surprised than the rest of the velodrome when they smashed the world's best time in qualifying.

Continue reading "British cycling revolution rolls on"



Four years on from dropping out of an Olympic marathon she was clear favourite to win, Radcliffe lines up in Tiananmen Square on Sunday morning with no-one - not even herself - really knowing how she might perform.

Radcliffe says it's a case of "unfinished business". Unfortunately, after the foot injury, stress fracture and rogue spider bite that have prevented her from racing for the last nine months, her training and preparation are also incomplete.

Continue reading "So Paula's made it to the start-line - but what now?"



Imagine a sport crying out for press coverage, a sport with a really great basic format, full of incident and excitement, a sport that used to be one of the most popular to watch on TV.

That sport is show jumping, so why therefore have the 'powers that be' made it so complicated? Why can't they stick to one team competition or 'Nations Cup' as it's called and then take the top 25 riders from that, zero their scores and qualify them for the individual a day later? Wouldn't that be simple?

Instead, it took three commentators, two text journalists, a TV executive and an actual rider arguing on and off for two days before we could come to a general consensus on the rules and format of this Olympics show jumping competition - and even then I fear some of us went away with the wrong idea!

Continue reading "Olympic rules need a rethink"



It doesn't happen very often that Michael Phelps gets reduced to second place in the headlines, especially after equalling Mark Spitz's seven gold medals from Munich in 1972.

But Rebecca Adlington's gold medal performance in the 800m freestyle was certainly the most astonishing swim I have ever seen from a Briton, and, arguably one of the greatest swims of all time.

To break Janet Evans's 1989 world record by over two seconds was immense in itself, but the margin between the 19-year-old from Mansfield and the rest was nothing short of astonishing.

What's more it couldn't have happened to a more popular member of the GB team. This teenager has charisma, is delightfully free of clich├ęs and has a winning smile that lights up any sporting event.

Continue reading "A great day for swimming"



It's so hard to describe how it feels as we make the final preparations for Sunday's final.

We have spent the week working on all the aspects of rowing and our racing that we think could possibly give us more boat speed.

We were pleased with our heat, and it was a good win for us, but we know that the final will be on an entirely different level.

Continue reading "Women's quad enter final countdown"


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