In the same way as Mexico City is remembered for Bob Beamon and Munich for Lasse Viren, the athletics in Beijing will be remembered for Usain Bolt.

These were Usain's Games, and beyond that, Jamaica's.

Nothing could ever top what he did in the 100m, 200m and the relay. Even the other athletes only seemed to want to talk about him.

You need superheroes. You need stars that everyone round the world knows, not just within athletics.


If I had to pick one of Bolt's three stunning world records as the highlight, it would be the 100m.

We always thought that one day he might be capable of attacking Michael Johnson's mark over the 200m, but the status of the 100m, its importance out here and the manner of that extraordinary win still give me goose-bumps.

The 200m was incredible too - we think he ran 9.96 secs for the first half of the race, round the bend - and all of it was great for the sport.

Five world records in total in the Bird's Nest made this a pretty good 10 days of athletics.

There was drama everywhere - Bekele's brilliant double over 5,000m and 10,000m, the shocks of Sanya Richards and Jeremy Wariner getting beaten, the performances of Yelena Isinbeyeva in the pole vault, Tia Hellebaut in the high jump and Andreas Thorkildsen in the javelin.

In that sense it was superior to Athens four years ago. What we missed compared to Sydney was the Cathy Freeman moment.

Liu Xiang's absence through injury robbed us of that one special night for the home crowd. The venue was fantastic and the crowd generally responsive to what they saw in front of them, but a Chinese gold from their favourite athlete would have lifted the roof off.

Some events and some countries didn't perform as well as in other years, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I think the tougher drug-testing regimes are starting to bite.

The women's 200m was a case in point. While the standard of the top two or three was pretty good, the depth was not there. You could run 22.50 secs and make the final - and that's nowhere near what you used to need to make the Olympic final.

As for the British team - purely from a medal perspective, these don't appear to have been a bad Olympics.

The aim beforehand was five medals, and we were one off that in the end with several fourth places.

We won the gold we hoped for too, albeit in a different event to the one we expected, and the silver and one bronze from surprise quarters (Germaine Mason and Natasha Danvers).


But, much as it did four years ago in Athens, the medals can skew your picture of what actually happened.

What concerns me is the lack of strength in depth, and the absence of green shoots coming through for 2012.

Only three British men made it to individual track finals, out of ten possible events - not ten athletes, mind, but ten events. That's a big worry.

Martyn Rooney reached the final of the 400m, which was good, and you can't blame Michael Rimmer for his illness in the 800m.

But the sprinters and middle distance performances were disappointing. It shouldn't just be Michael in the 800m - there should be three Brits in there. And where are the youngsters coming through behind him?

In the field, the men had three in the final of the high jump, two in the triple jump and one in the long jump.

That's good, but that was it - nobody in any other field final.

The women's side of the team did far better, which in turn raises even more questions about their male counterparts.

Christine Ohuruogu ran a brilliant race for her 400m gold. Goldie Sayers and Helen Pattinson set British records; Mara Yamauchi produced her best marathon performance in a GB vest and Jeanette Kwakye and Sarah Claxton reached surprise finals.

It shouldn't be any harder for the women to raise their game at an Olympics and get PBs - so why can't men do it?

We can't have a situation where we're hosting the Olympics and we don't have athletes in track and field finals.

Four years away from London, we have to be absolutely confident that the personnel in charge and the structure behind them are right.

There's not the time left to wait and see. If there are going to be changes, they have to be made fairly quickly.

Steve Cram was talking to BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce

Steve Cram won a silver medal in the 1500m at the 1984 Olympics and is now a BBC presenter. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 06:55am on 24 Aug 2008, TheTomTyke wrote:

    Everybody keeps saying it, and I'm going to be the first to say it here - we need to copy cycling's approach. Top coaches and top athletes in one place, a centre of excellence for athletics. Get them performing with and against one another day in, day out and let them know they're going to have to fight one another to get a spot at the "home" Olympics. They've got the incentive to perform right there, now we need to give them the facilities, coaching and competition to make them competitive on a global stage.

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  • 2. At 06:59am on 24 Aug 2008, Bunny wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 07:42am on 24 Aug 2008, Simoc wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 08:22am on 24 Aug 2008, ishkandar wrote:

    Britain will NEVER do as well as other countries so long as the people in charge of funding are more concerned about being politically correct than about the athletes themselves.

    Millions, dare I say billions, are frittered away on politically correct projects while Rebecca Adlington has to train in a pool miles from home !!

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  • 5. At 08:39am on 24 Aug 2008, davemuzza wrote:

    Bunny, the article you referred us to notes that a Jamaican athlete was withdrawn from the squad after a drugs test. Further, not testing the athletes yourself for drugs does not constitute refusing to let them be tested. Unless you are seriously suggesting that Jamaica have refused to let the IAAF test Bolt et al?

    The Jamaican stance on doping could admittedly be more stringent, but unless an athlete refuses to be tested by the IAAF, then he is not doing anything wrong, and there shouldn't be a 'guilty until proven innocent' approach based upon the fact that his countries officials have chosen not to test him.

    If you are not suggesting this then you should reconsider your comment. I too would love to see British athletes breaking athletics world records, but a suggestion that the reason we don't is because other nations are cheating is preposterous. I find it offensive that you accuse those that have worked hard to acheive their medals of being doped based solely on the fact that they performed exceptionally well.

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  • 6. At 09:18am on 24 Aug 2008, greenfaun wrote:

    Athletics is no longer the mass appeal sport that it once was. Tainted by the spectre of drugs and in competition with more entertaining visual spectacles it has fallen from grace with public. In my experience, cycling, for example, has eclipsed athletics in the public's every day conversations - despite a much lower media profile. Why is this? This has to be one of the questions athletics must ask itself. And sadly, perhaps, running, jumping and throwing just doesn't do it for the public anymore - perhaps, in this country at least, athletics has had its day.

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  • 7. At 09:23am on 24 Aug 2008, arevans74 wrote:

    ishkandar says that the problem is political correctness on the part of funders... Well I'm sure that like the Chinese we could spend more money on elite sport - but we would have to spend less money on something else. Primary schools perhaps? Policing? The health service?

    It is a shame some athlete have to train away from home - but lots of us have to work in places that aren't our first choice. That's just life - and surely being an Olympic athlete is a little bit about sacrifice?

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  • 8. At 09:28am on 24 Aug 2008, David wrote:

    TheTomTyke wrote:
    "Everybody keeps saying it, and I'm going to be the first to say it here - we need to copy cycling's approach. Top coaches and top athletes in one place, a centre of excellence for athletics. Get them performing with and against one another day in, day out and let them know they're going to have to fight one another to get a spot at the "home" Olympics. They've got the incentive to perform right there, now we need to give them the facilities, coaching and competition to make them competitive on a global stage."

    That is only the half of what cycling has done. It provides top level support that is in a class of its own for the elite riders, but it also targets grassroots, getting kids involved through the Go-Ride clubs and talent spotting there. That is where strength in depth comes from. It has taken ten years to do that. I saw a huge bunch of kids taking part in a local street sprint event (running) yesterday as part of a city parade - having a structure to support the best there and provide the coaches and inspiration is what is needed.

    In cycling, there is the sprint school where four 12-15 year olds at a time are funded to go to a major velodrome (Manchester or Newport) and are given a weekend of coaching, rubbing shoulders and learnignfromthe likes of Chris Hoy and Vicky Pendleton - ever see a 13 year old girl try to push chris Hoy off his track bike?

    Cast the net wide, identify talent, and provide great role models who are accessible to the youngsters. Cycling does that and it pays off in spades.

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  • 9. At 09:33am on 24 Aug 2008, stumo99 wrote:

    I don't think you can say without any doubt that this was Usain's Olympics when Michael Phelp's acheivement of 8 Golds (7 WR, 1 OR) was of equal if not greater magnitude. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed watching Usain and thought he was incredible but Michael did also smash world records in the same fashion in the pool.

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  • 10. At 09:35am on 24 Aug 2008, amazonmothe wrote:

    This makes me sad but the UK is not brimming with natural talent. Maybe to achieve the goals set out for 2012 the powers that be have to be ruthless in selection. They need to get out TO ALL VENUES however small and pick the athletes with potential, not necessarily just from clubs but from school gyms, school sportsdays parks etc.and identify the strengths and then train the individuals, scientifically work out their potential and then develop, educate and CARE for them. We have relied for too long on parents doing this part, through their sacrifices and that of their familes we have produced some champions, but as Cram says no depth.

    A lot a potential is out there but it is buried under school targets, financial limitations and apathy. Do it properly and youth will reward itself, our society and bring in some national pride and even MEDALS

    Social stigmas have limited the youth and left it idle and up to mischief, we know sport works, look a snowboarding, bmx, boxing, martial arts and yes football. Look at what Redgrave achieved with his rowers - as seen recently in his 'Redgraves Raw Recruits.

    If we get it right we wont only have results by 2012 but an attitude that will keep it going for many Olympics to come and a healthier youth!

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  • 11. At 09:45am on 24 Aug 2008, Malc wrote:

    Mr Cram,

    It has been said that UK Athletics should adopt the "cycling" approach to their training methods.

    I beleive a more successful approach would be to deconstruct the current style of nearly as many coaches as athletes. Perhaps abandon the money chasing tactics of the "elite" athletes and return to an emphasis on Club Athletics to start to re-instill more "team spirit".

    Current UK athletes seem to fall easily into two camps:
    1. The Team Players
    2. The "Big I ams"
    Choose for yourself which athlete falls into which category and which category was more successful!

    The counter to this argument of "athletics is a highly individual sport" is completely blown out of the water by the Jamacan Sprint Team!

    It would also save money on the plethora of individual coaches!
    Just a thought!

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  • 12. At 10:04am on 24 Aug 2008, bambergermadcow wrote:

    I suspect the lack of atheletic success now can largely be put down to the sales of schools playing fields a decade or two ago. It is not that we are not feeding the grass roots, it is that we have dug up the lawn.

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  • 13. At 10:11am on 24 Aug 2008, localhero wrote:

    Athletics still have not got their priorities right. Too much in-fighting going on between coaches and Performance Managers who are far too career orientated. Its still a popularity contest, and quite frankly good experienced people are being kept out. I reckon the 2 camps mentioned above also apply to the coaches and Performance Managers too!

    1. The Team Players
    2. The "Big I ams"

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  • 14. At 10:28am on 24 Aug 2008, Billo60 wrote:

    Its easy to criticise althetics in the ligh of the performances in other sports , but we should recognise that its harder to win in athletics. Just about every country in the world competes in athletics but serious participation in the olypmic sports that GB does well in - cycling, sailing and rowing - is restricted to those countries that can afford the expensive equipment and facilities.
    There is merit in a cycling style "centre of excellence" approach for athletics but, again, its harder as athletics is really a collection of different sports that, by tradition, we lump under one heading. Despite its different formats and distances, track cycling is a single discipline which allows for more focussed use of funding.

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  • 15. At 10:37am on 24 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    I've ironic thousands of brits take part in the London marathon and yet only one runs in Beijing, finishes twenty odd!

    Its sad that only one throwing (javelin) althete competes.

    The experience of Daly Thompson, Steve Batley and Linford Christie are not been used positively.

    Middle/Long distance runners Coe, Moorhouse, Cram, Ovett, Foster have gone to media, politics; so their talent nurturing/ coaching has been largely diverted from the track.

    No shot puts
    No discuss
    No hammer
    No pole vault
    No mens javelin

    The more countries competing argument doesn't wash with me. We don't win medals in shooting, weightlifting or shooting either where smaller amounts of competitors compete.

    Swimming has stalled because the hard nosed winning coaching from Sydney was substituted for a softer tone.

    Big problem is potential athletes are being distracted by wannabee fantasty celebrity (celebrity without effort) BB mentality.

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  • 16. At 10:40am on 24 Aug 2008, MARCUSfromOZ wrote:

    Terrific article Steve, but as an Aussie and an educator of primary students could I also suggest the way for long term success is not only structural (and of course monetary) foundation, but “fair dinkum” government support for school children in all physical activity. There is no question that the UK has its share of track and field superstars, but imagine the impact on the landscape if more children had a greater access to PE and sports, particularly via schools? As an Australian reflecting on our own limitations it does get disheartening when you see so many children NOT being exposed to wider sports, and talented children disadvantaged at not being able to go to the next stage because of distance, money, bad coaching etc. It would be really great if we could say “Now look at how the Poms are getting behind sport by supporting the grass roots of physical activity!” I’m confident that the UK will rise to the occasion, however, and I am looking forward to seeing, for myself in2012 in the city of London, a great athletics show.

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  • 17. At 10:49am on 24 Aug 2008, localhero wrote:

    The same staff have been involved in UKA for years - especially in endurance - what about their accountability to nurturing the talent? Why have so few endurance athletes come through? Why do a number of female athletes end up with eating disorders and fall by the wayside?

    Are they adopting the Brailsford approach and properly utilising every possible form of expertise available to them - or do they run a closed shop - taking charge of everything themselves, refusing to open their minds to new ideas. Clive Woodwards philosophy is to do 100 things 1% better - what 100 things will they do better?

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  • 18. At 11:00am on 24 Aug 2008, NickIOM wrote:

    As well as our lack of strength in depth there is the black hole of British throwers. Of the 6 throwing medals we had 1 finalist. And we could also do with a decent pole vaulter.

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  • 19. At 11:04am on 24 Aug 2008, Welshtyke wrote:

    There are a number of things we need to address. We have got to right back to the school sports day and bannish the PC brigade, and have children competing properly so there are winners and losers.

    Usain Bolt is a rare natural talent, what about an X factor style TV show to try to unearth talent for maybe 2016.

    We have young offenders in prisons who should not be there because they have lost there way through very poor family life and parenting, could these people be asked to volunteer to go on sports programs, where they are put on rigerous regimes, and just maybe someone may pop out of the top.

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  • 20. At 11:07am on 24 Aug 2008, IMACOMPUTERBUDDIE wrote:

    Its time Brendan Foster retired i got so sick of him in the woemns 1500 metre race i nearly switched it off bumming up Lisa Debriskey and then she finished 4.
    As to where ath;letics goes i don't know all the money spent has made no blind bit of difference neither has the first 3 in the uk championships acted as a trial we did much better before that.
    What about getting all the young kids who are in trouble to take up running instead of going to prision there has to be some talent there as their constatly running away from the police.

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  • 21. At 11:24am on 24 Aug 2008, russwyd wrote:

    Glad to see the throws mentioned by various posters - GB has a rich heritage in many areas of athletics which now appear to be ignored - javelin, shot, discus, hammer... I'd also like to mention the walks, true endurance events where we won medals on the Olympic and world stage 20 - 30 years ago and where the Africans have yet to make an impact...

    The men's marathon was African dominated this time, but is usually a really mixed bag with potential winners from virtually all continents.

    The European Cup, for all its faults, does at least offer a platform where "Team GB" is just that, a TEAM. ALL events count on the points total, so the "highly individual" sport of athletics is also a team event. This could give focus and encouragement to the throwers, walkers, vaulters, distance runners etc. Let's not forget Cross Country running is also a team event and the basis of much distance running on the road and track.

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  • 22. At 11:46am on 24 Aug 2008, Bright Blue Shorts wrote:

    While it's great that the UK Sport has massively increased funding to sports since London won the right to host the 2012 games, it's not come early enough.

    Had the infrastructure, training facilities, coaching and talent identification been in place in the 1990s our athletes would be ready for 2012 and we'd have depth.

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  • 23. At 11:49am on 24 Aug 2008, TomSimp wrote:

    I was listening to the Radio 5 programme at 9.00 tihs morning and I feel that Coe, Cram and other champions of athletics remain in denial of what cycling and other sports have achieved - and how they have done it. All praise to the few athletes like the ones mentioned above who did raise their performance but they are rather few when you look at the list! Many of our "top" athletes should be looking hard at what they actually are doing and they and their coaching are simply not up to it. Cycling and rowing simply do not tolerate lack of total commitment. Some of our young sprinters simply do not look fit. Some of our women should be more concerned with their own levels of performance and their lack of improvement since last time rather than motor mouthing about drug cheats who have been let back in. The best answer is to beat them. I was mazed to hear thatwe have a full-time relay coach - I can only hope that he has already resigned.

    I was also disappointed with the continuing discussion about Christine Ohuruogu's missed drug tests, which misses the point and once again emphasises the lack of edge and system in our athletics coaching. I would like to bet that not a single rower or cyclist missed a single drug test. These are professional sportsman coached by professionals. They would simply not be allowed to "forget" a single test never mind three in a row - the systems in place would make it impossible. That Christine could be allowed to forget or be confused must be laughable to the cyclists and rowers. Again Lord Coe was implying that the procedure was "new" and now they are much more aware of how serious it is. Just where has he been for the last 10 years.

    That said, we should congratulate all our Olympic competitors. They work incredibly hard for the right to compete but they will now be pushed off the news pages into oblivion by the unfortunate "slaves" of the Premiership several of whom are individually paid more than the whole of cycling, rowing, etc!

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  • 24. At 12:02pm on 24 Aug 2008, Anderson889 wrote:

    I really dislike people saying that GB had a bad olympics and that we have no strength in depth we have a population of about 60 million whereas russia have 140 USA 300 and China 1 500 now with the extra people those countries have i m pretty happy with how we did. You go on about getting to finals and winning medals but you weren't to successful yourself were you. I agree that we should convert all sports to the way cycling is run and we might have more success but i still think we did very well and nothing can take that away from our athletes.

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  • 25. At 12:40pm on 24 Aug 2008, IzzyMiyagh1 wrote:

    How can we have won the gold we were expecting when it wasn't in the event we had figured we would get it?!

    Cram, - you say;

    "There's not the time left to wait and see. If there are going to be changes, they have to be made fairly quickly."

    I'm hoping this is a slightly veiled rebuke of the structure, systems and managers, experts and coaches in place...

    BBC and its commentators and pundits have been too kind to UK Athletics...bordering on serving as its have others suggested too...

    I've been arguing the same...there is no strength in is hard to see where, in some of the events, there are others following in very closely behind the 0single notable athlete we have ( if we even have one that is).

    Dave Collins cannot pull the wool over my eyes - don't know about anyone else...'stretched targets' and 'no stone unturned' etc...these statements, some of them cliches to the extreme, do not fill me with confidence...and rather suggest to me the he is covering his Glutias Maximus...

    Cram - you say;

    "As for the British team - purely from a medal perspective, these don't appear to have been a bad Olympics."

    "The aim beforehand was five medals, and we were one off that in the end with several fourth places."

    The five medal target was always poor and was reduced from a figure of 12 or 13 at the very beginning...

    Getting four medals instead five is a poor show...80% of an already low target, one set in order to allow for maximum opportunity to achieve the set target and to repel criticism, does not give me a sense of achievement...

    The tone of the article suggests that you are disappointed but cannot be so forthright with your opinions and feelings...

    The gold was unexpected - had it no tbeen for Ohorugu's efforts things would have looked even more stark...the high jump silver too unexpected, and from someone only recently qualifying to represent Britain...

    Thankfully, there have been performances to provide hope for the future...Kwakye in the hundred, Goldie Sayers, Rooney and Steele, Dobriskey is a real hope...of course the 400m girls...but there are many events in which we are figuring...

    Let's be honest and open - progress depends upon it...

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  • 26. At 12:56pm on 24 Aug 2008, Myleftslipper wrote:

    Athletics undoubtedly attracts most attention and British performances here are scrutinized most. It has been suggested here and some people really do need to wake up - winning a medal in athletics really is much tougher than in other events. Not only is there the numerical disadvantage, but also the natural physical deficiencies. Why don't we face it; the 1980s are over, no longer can Brits or Europeans compete with Africans in the middle and long-distance. Yes, there are some exceptions, but very few. AQlso, no white person has broke 10 secs for 100m and the UK has a smaller black population than many other countries.

    Therefore, why not turn attention to the field events? Why no throwers, in particular? It is here where we should be able to compete on a par with the rest of the world.

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  • 27. At 1:04pm on 24 Aug 2008, ilikeALLathletics wrote:

    With all the rubbish that goes on at UKA, in reality most of the performances at the games have been in spite of the system, not because of it.
    I just about choked listening the Dave Collins spouting his garbage on the TV last night. He made mention of preparation if I remember correctly...two of the three throwers we had there hardly competed outside of the UK for the summer, which given the standard of competition that they have here domestically, definitely impacted on their performance.
    For people like Goldie, it is expected that they make the final because they are in the top handful in the world, yet Zoe Derham would've needed a PB to make the final. Philippa Roles didn't need to throw even a season's best to make the final, and a PB would've seen her with a bronze medal around her neck. One needs to have a greater exposure to that level of competition to be expected to perform on the big why don't they have the support to do so? Take a just a few ££'s from all the over-hyped sprinters and Dave could've been crowing from the rooftops about meeting his target.
    Philippa does a great job of driving my train to work at 6am.
    As I said, the good performances were in spite of the system...the poor moreso because of it.

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  • 28. At 1:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, exhull wrote:

    I know this may sound crazy, but these Olympics have been well watched, especially given the number of medals we've won. There's great interest in every event featuring one of our own, and swimmers and sailors have become household names for their underpaid heroics. For some, there's a realisation that, finally, athletes don't have to be paid millions of pounds to preform, only to throwe toys out of the pram when they don't get a new contract that satisfies them (and their agents).
    Our other national fixation in the past decade has been reality television, with more unknowns taking the spotlight, whether it's in a house or buying a property.
    Perhaps there's an opportunity for the BBC to start a reality show to find athletes capable of representing us at the 2012 games. It might inspire some to take part, it might inspire increased funding, and if nothing else, it will be entertaining. It might even give some people an opportunity they may not otherwise get.
    While we're not going to eclipse China or the US in the medal table, at least we now have third to aspire to after these Games. And, on the bright side, neither of those nations participates at the Commonwealth Games...

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  • 29. At 1:14pm on 24 Aug 2008, Peter Palladas wrote:

    Having the right personnel in charge should start with the broadcasting commentators.

    We need some straight-talking people who will not say in the middle of a race:

    "And now X has really got some work to do if s/he is going to get among the medals."

    But rather:

    "X is way off the pace, heading for oblivion. Look at the Russian/Mexican/American runner in front. That's how to win a race."

    We do not need post-race questioning that asks:

    "That looked a tough race. How do you feel about your performance?"

    But rather:

    "You were tenth. That's awful. Can we have our Lottery funding back now please?"

    And we don't need athletes who will respond:

    "I gave it my best shot. The track was a bit slow today and my budgie was taken ill in the night. But I'm OK in myself."

    But rather:

    "Do you want cash or a cheque?"

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  • 30. At 1:24pm on 24 Aug 2008, shinybeast wrote:

    I haven't really seen any progress in GB athletics in recent years - and to be honest time is running short for any kind of substantial improvement for 2012.

    The biggest factor affecting athlete's performance is their training. So we need motivated athletes ( I actually don't think motivation is much of a problem when training is bringing improvement ) and coaches with the insight to get the training spot-on for their athletes.

    I genuinely believe that if every coach in the country (from grass roots to elite) was truly excellent, we would be overflowing with evident talent.

    I'm sure a centre of excellence could be helpful, as long as it has the right coaching and support staff. But i wouldn't like to see too rigid a structure imposed - if training independently is working well for someone, they should be free to continue without feeling they might be out of favour with selectors etc.

    In the middle and long distance events it seems that many promising athletes get passed on to the 'top' coaches in the discipline. Often the same 'top' coaches who have failed to convert any potential to true world class performance for the past decade or more!

    What if a young Coe had been urged to move from his father (who hadn't coached before?) to one of the established 'top' coaches of the time?

    Ok - in case i've been too subtle ;-) , i think the biggest gains can come from improved coaching.

    Scientific support can undoubtedly help, provided it is used wisely by coaches who have enough understanding to make good use of it - but it is just a tool - not a panacea.

    Dr. Shinybeast

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  • 31. At 1:43pm on 24 Aug 2008, russwyd wrote:

    So, Myleftslipper, according to your logic white athletes ought to give up competing internationally in the middle and long distances... oh, and the sprints... because African and black athletes are naturally 'better'?

    I'm very glad our GB runners didn't think like that before they lined up for the marathon - and neither did Andy Baddeley when he won the Dream Mile in Oslo a month back... or Paula Radcliffe when she is fit and uninjured and setting world bests.

    New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Italy and Australia don't tell their 'inferior' white athletes that either - and all gained medals in the distance events in Beijing. USA have also been making headway in the middle and long distance running events, not being afraid to take on the superb east Africans at their own game.

    Yes, Ethiopia and Kenya were incredible in this games, partly I think due to the further disadvantages for Europeans in coping with the climate, but let's not just hand them the medals before the event. USA used to dominate the sprints and relays - and look what happened here.

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  • 32. At 1:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, shinybeast wrote:

    " Why don't we face it; the 1980s are over, no longer can Brits or Europeans compete with Africans in the middle and long-distance. "

    Yes, Africa has really progressed over the last 25years. But GB have regressed. Look at performances from early 80s (Cram,Coe,Ovett,Moorcroft - and there was better depth too). If we had sustained a moderate rate of improvement (which isn't an unreasonable expectation!), we would now have people right up there running times comparable to best athletes in the world.

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  • 33. At 2:21pm on 24 Aug 2008, triniman9 wrote:

    Commenter #2, contrary to what you have read, Jamaica do test their elite athletes on a regular basis. I have read too many articles and comments on various blogs etc trying to find some fault in the achievements of Usain Bolt. Usain Bolt has been tested at least 7 times at these Olympics, submitting both blood and urine samples before and after each race he ran. That is taking testing to the extreme and I would go as far as saying that it is bordering on harassment. Asafa Powell had to endure a similar amount of tests. Athletes from other nations have not had to be tested so rigorously so there is no way that the allegations of 'cheating' within the Jamaican camp can stand. People should just give credit where it is due and just accept rather than analyse and scrutinise the great achievements of Usain Bolt in the same way that all the other athletes from the various competing nations receive credit. Without trying to sound cynical, how many times was Michael Phelpes tested at these games?

    Team GB athletics needs to do some serious work to catch up with the rest of the world in the various sprints.

    All said, the games will be remembered for the achievements of Usain Bolt, Michael Phelpes and Team China.

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  • 34. At 2:29pm on 24 Aug 2008, 1Wattie wrote:

    welshtyke 19

    " We have young offenders in prison who should not be there because they have lost their way through very poor family life and parenting"

    Sorry to say you are misguided in your assertion of the problem. Not all offenders have suffered from poor family life or bad parenting, most have good support. I have, through the penal system, dealt with young offenders for the past 30 years and can assure you they get ideal opportunity to hone any athletic skills they have. Most take part in these programmes but do not have either the talent or commitment to continue after release.
    Someone mentioned earlier that we need to identify talent at an early age and school would seem the obvious place to start but there are few schools that have the sports facilities now which compare with those of 20 years ago. I also think it is far harder to be recognised now and it costs much more to fund the elite athletes who in the main are not performing to the same level as those of the 1980`s. Money doesn`t seem to be the biggest problem so maybe we need to look at the coaching and support staff. To me they have vastly underperformed.

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  • 35. At 3:08pm on 24 Aug 2008, Sprinthog wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 36. At 3:18pm on 24 Aug 2008, LukeMooreforEngland wrote:

    I dont understand what people are talking about somehow linking Political Correctness with olympic sports success.

    I must also stress that vary few people care about success in cycling, sailing and other joke sports like equestrian where people just sit down all day on expensive toys that few people can afford.
    Steve redgrave knighted and possibly Ben Ainsle and Chris Hoy to follow. The Queen might as well start dishing em out to big brother contestants and celebrity chefs.

    Well done to Adlington, Ohorugu and athletes that have succedded using there legs and not sitting down.

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  • 37. At 4:00pm on 24 Aug 2008, Ten_Thousand_Fists wrote:


    I really hope you are not suggesting that rowers and cyclists do not use their legs!!

    It costs less than £300 a year for an adult to row at my local club (the same one Zac Purchase is a member of but doesn't actually row for), and much less for a junior.

    Considering the amount of equipment and the facilities that gives you unlimited access to I'd say that is a good deal.

    Mabe you should keep your ignorant views to yourself?

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  • 38. At 4:17pm on 24 Aug 2008, majorDruid wrote:

    #36 I sincerly hope you are a WUM.
    Your ignorance about the effort and commitment required to be succesful in sports other than athletics beggars belief.
    I would venture you wouldn't last 10 mins on an ergo, you would drop out after a couple of mins of circuits or weights with Ainsle and co and I can't imagine how you would suffer doing a 4000mt cycling pursuit (without your legs...)
    Aprt from that, a good comment........

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  • 39. At 4:18pm on 24 Aug 2008, Saintsforever wrote:

    I agree that the British performance was a bit disappointing, particularly both 4x100m relay teams throwing away medal chances and Dobriskey's atrocious grasp of tactics in the 1500m. She should have got the Silver. However, UK athletics has to decide what it wants from it's athletes. Do we stay as we are where were're reasonable across most events, but only outstanding in a few or do we just concentrate on a few events like Jamaica in sprinting, Kenya/Ethiopia in long distance, Eastern Europe in field events? GBs men did win the European Cup this season, which apart from the USA, contains every decent athletics nation across every event. However at Olympic level it's only top three that really counts.
    The other difficultly is that we have a great history and legacy in athletics, so we expect to do well. What we need to do is focus on the World, European and Commonwealth championships and use those as a stepping stone to 2012. Guys like Martyn Rooney should be aiming for a medal at the Worlds and he should win the European and Commonwealths if he's fit. No excuses now for these guys with the money put in. As others have mentioned, they need to follow the professionalism of cycling.

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  • 40. At 4:31pm on 24 Aug 2008, geoff49er wrote:

    Why the fuss? It has been a good olympics with some memorable moments, but IMHO it would have been so regardless of our medal total. It will, I have no doubt, be a good olympics in 2012, regardless again of our medal total. To read some comments, I am left with the feeling that enjoyment and satisfaction in these games is linked on a sliding scale to this issue!
    Like many people, sport isn't the 'be all and end all' of my life. There are many other factors invoved in that equation. I have watched the events unfold in China with interest and I am pleased for those athletes who have done well. It must be a great satisfaction to them, though I cannot pretend that I personally feel any different. Let's not misunderstand this, none of those participating have done so from some great patriotic need to glorify the country of their birth. They have done so because of personal motivations and the need to prove themselves to themselves. They haven't done so to make you or I feel any better than we did two weeks ago. That is how it should be.
    I will look forward to the next games every bit as much as I looked forward to the one just ended. How many medals might we win? I really couldn't care. I'm certainly not going to follow Steve Cram down that alleyway of worry and concern he appears to be jogging. It won't prevent me from enjoying it at all.

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  • 41. At 4:43pm on 24 Aug 2008, theoldscorer wrote:

    hello, Steve
    Can I just ask - what have you been doing since you hung up your running shoes?

    We hear a lot of you and Brendan Foster on the BBC, but what are doing to bring on the next generation for Team-GB?

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  • 42. At 4:58pm on 24 Aug 2008, trevrut wrote:

    Personally I would like to see the athletic events revert to amateur status again....That way you might get some runners for this Nation who are proud to represent us instead of the over paid athletes that don't seem to care as long as they get their appearance money.........You just have to look at the sprinters to see the amount of money these athletes can waste by the amount of bling they are wearing. As for the rest of the British team....well done!! Many of them have had to struggle through for years with little or no financial help. I think the Athletics part of the team should be ashamed of themselves. Only one gold and that to a person who many, myself included feel should NOT have been at the games.

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  • 43. At 5:52pm on 24 Aug 2008, amazonmothe wrote:

    I love all the comments and truly hope that Coe, Cram Boris and anyone connected to 2012 read them and take note of all the sites commenting on the Games.

    I hope they can see how much we care and how proud we are but that they also see we are desperate to keep all sports moving forward and that we do appreciate the hard work and sacrifice and not a willingness to compromise that for celebrity.

    Please also take note of the number of people who CAN'T STAND that awful title Team GB it is
    ghastly and not one commentator has been able to make it sound anything but GHASTLY

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  • 44. At 6:41pm on 24 Aug 2008, wellingmeister wrote:

    In olympics, all you need to succeed in the medal table is to be really good at 3 sports and then to pick extra medals at other events.

    Look at China, dominated the ping pong, diving and gymnastics but didn't do well in the blue ribbon events like athletics, swimming and cycling. And they still finished top.

    So as long as GB do well in our usual talismins, cycling, rowing and sailing we don't need to win 7 medals in athletics to get us up the medal table.

    I will admit that the lack of current depth is worrying, but look on the bright side, look at the potential at 2012.

    Harry AA in the 100m, is 19 and is just as good as Pickering, 4 years his older. The Nelsons, successful at juniors and every possibility of being the next Devonish and Kwakye. Richard Yates who beat a lot of quality hurdlers at the british grand prix. Shakes Drayton beat Danvers in the qualifiers so she can beat people in a quality field. Rooney who would have won a medal if he ran his personal best in the 400m.

    I don't want to sound like a UK athletics spokesperson, but it is not all doom and gloom. Hope is alive.

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  • 45. At 7:02pm on 24 Aug 2008, rotorhead57 wrote:

    I think that calling our Olympic team TeamGB just about sums up what is wrong with British athletics. It is run by advertising people who think that image is more important than performance. What's wrong with being called Great Britain? I didn't hear the USA team being called TeamUSA and they are experts in the banal. Lets get back to what's important, sweep away the image mongers, numerous coaches and under performers. Learn some lessons from cycling, rowing and sailing before its too late. Have centers of excellence where top coaches can train the top athletes. If you want funding then you have to train there. Hopefully then we can win a bucket full of track and field medals in 2012 !

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  • 46. At 7:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, kevin wrote:

    omg, possibly one of GB's best olympics and all they can do is say there should of been more medals.

    someone is getting greedy... just accept the fact we r not as good as other countries!!! if u wanted a better performance then why ban dwain chambers from the olympics....

    simply a joke this article is!!!

    esp. after all the medals we won compared to previous yrs

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  • 47. At 8:27pm on 24 Aug 2008, ROHANMAC wrote:


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  • 48. At 9:04pm on 24 Aug 2008, Martin Davis wrote:

    Perhaps, as someone said earlier its , in the end about creating a team ethos/ethic...I suspect that is at least as important in cycling as all the other "performance management" targets. Howecver, please look at the athetics results carefully before too swiftly condemning our athletes..its an endemic problem throughout western europe..the performance of the spanish, french, italian, german swedish teams etc etc was worse than european runner made the final of the mens 800m, none "showed" significantly in any other track final...Perhaps "track and field" isnt "sexy" enough to attract those with inherent potential??

    Having said that, perhaps the other lesson to learn from cycling is to be brutal with funding and selection would be unrealistic to select only those with medal prospects..we'll be doing well in ,London to have, say 10/12 medallists, and there needs to be a base to work from -but "making a final" should be a goal for all those selected/funded .

    As for all the athletes being in one place etc, thats a little unrealistic..track and field is too diverse a sport for cyclings synergies to be simply transferred.. However, why not all the sprinters in one location, all the throwers in another, all the jumpers in another, all the middle distance runners in another etc.. Athetics has always been an "individual" sport, the star athelete and their coach being the model..possibly/probably thats now an outmoded model.

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  • 49. At 9:43pm on 24 Aug 2008, Carior wrote:

    Athletics seems too spread with too many people training as individuals or in pairs. Without training with the people you should be beating or hoping to beat you wont reach that level. Get all the GB stars together pushing each other. If your running along side X who just ran a 10 flat the previous weekend your going to want to say "oi i cant beat you" and you can see what is required to reach that level and progress past that.

    You had lots of athletes saying they thought they were in a good place at the start of the games and it only became apparent that clearly they dont know what a good place is and where their contempories are in training and surely the only way to help that is put them together. Get the youngsters in training with the Christian Malcolms and Marlon Devonishes and they will learn and will start training with and like a seasoned athlete from the start giving them a head start. Putting them in higher up the learning curve so to speak

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  • 50. At 9:47pm on 24 Aug 2008, anon wrote:

    my left slipper. i find that comment emphasising that no "White" sprinter has run under 10 seconds offensive. a very small proportion of "people" "can" run under 10 seconds or even 10.00 seconds.

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  • 51. At 10:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, twiddlingbohemond wrote:

    Lot's of good points here but there's no denying the overall thread of what's being said..IT'S JUST VITAL THAT SOMEONE RUNNING THIS SITE MAKES COLLINS AND UKA SIT DOWN AND READ WHAT THE PUBLIC THINK.

    Just for the mix..having been at university with a number of athletes, the majority displayed a real primma donna attitude and many couldn't spell the word "team" let alone say it. (And this was in the pre-funding era).
    How hungry are our athletes for success....granted some are.....but who is pushing them for their places and funding.
    It strikes me that we don't have the youngsters coming through, driving those at the next level to push the so called "elite" onto bigger and better things.
    Similarly where is the Brailsford type figure who pulls all of the elite coaches together...indeed where are all of the elite coaches????

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  • 52. At 10:13pm on 24 Aug 2008, Martin Davis wrote:

    For what its worth, I think around 35/36 athletes have run under 10.00 for 100m...the nearest a "white" sprinter has come , so far, is Marian Woronin of Poland who ran 10.00 flat in, I think 1984.All a bit surprising when Valeri Borzov of USSR was Olympic Champion at 100 and 200m as recently as 1972 and running around 10.1
    Not sure how significant any of this is!

    Many of us would love "track and field" to enjoy the public interest/acclaim it has in Jamaica, or even in the UK in the 1980's. Personally, until it does climb back a little towards those heights I wonder how much talent will be attracted to it(a bit of a vicious circle there!)

    I do agree, however, with those who see a link with the decline in athletics in schools and the selling off of playing fields..a national scandal which has still not been halted

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  • 53. At 00:02am on 25 Aug 2008, geoff49er wrote:

    Hey, hang on now please. Lets notstart blaming schools. I think the playstation culture has had a bigger impact than the school curriculum.

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  • 54. At 03:48am on 25 Aug 2008, rebecca0813 wrote:

    What Does Little Birdie Say?


    What does little birdie say,
    In her nest at peep of day?
    Let me fly, says little birdie,
    Mother, let me fly away,
    Birdie, rest a little longer,

    Till the little wings are stronger.

    So she rests a little longer,

    Then she flies away.


    What does little baby say,
    In her bed at peep of day?

    Baby says, like little birdie,

    Let me rise and fly away.

    Baby, sleep a little longer,

    Till the little limbs are stronger.

    If she sleeps a little longer,

    Baby too shall fly away.

    -----by runescape gold

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  • 55. At 06:53am on 25 Aug 2008, the_brazilian wrote:

    Steve Cram is correct about athletics - it needs to get its house in order otherwise it will really underperform in four years.

    There was the unnecessary distraction over Dwain Chambers, but hopefully now, any athlete who cheats will know that drugs mean a ban for life from the Olympics.

    UK Athletics needs to become more self-critical. It needs to look long and hard at the sports that did well and ask how they did that and how to change for the future.

    In addition, and most importantly, it needs to look at the athletes who are receiving coaching and funds, and ask not necessarily are they the best, but how much do they want to win a medal?

    It does appear that the elite athletes in the UK have something of an easy ride - they seem to have believe their own hype without always producing the results.

    The BBC is compliant in this with its less than critical coverage - come on BBC - tell it how it is and stop making excuses. If someone is not fit or not prepared, ask why, be objective, be critical, be real sports journalists/commentators. That's what we want to hear.

    If the poor dear athletes don't want to answer hard questions or hear the truth, let them go elsewhere to make a living, but stop cosying up to them.

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  • 56. At 07:30am on 25 Aug 2008, clare4274 wrote:

    We need to look at how sports are being delivered into schools. If you look at the gold medals we did win, the majority of these competitors were from privelidged backgrounds and would have been educated within private schools. Less time spent on football, more focus on other sports I say. We should look to Jamaica for inspiration....

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  • 57. At 09:43am on 25 Aug 2008, m4nd0rian wrote:

    "It shouldn't be any harder for the women to raise their game at an Olympics and get PBs - so why can't men do it?"

    It's not a matter of getting PBs, it's the simple fact that men's athletics is so much harder and more competitive that to get yourself into a final where you are more motivated is simply much, much harder.

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  • 58. At 11:52am on 25 Aug 2008, BMACO1981 wrote:

    Why is the media suddenly so acceptant of the purity of athletics? Maybe British athletes are struggling because the majority of them are clean.

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  • 59. At 2:26pm on 25 Aug 2008, logicalopinion wrote:

    Track and Field in this country has been a dying sport for many years and for many reasons.

    For many people out there the rewards for being a member of team GB are just not enticing enough. Why be a great athlete when you can be a mediocre footballer and earn more in a week than even some of best athletes earn in a year. Not too mention that its more of a popularity contest than shear talent that will earn you the right to compete for your country.

    Having the right coaches is also just as much of a lottery. Many coaches don't succeed beyond level two, mainly because of the expense involved in renewing their licence and paying for additional courses. Its just a money making scheme for UK athletics, with very little reward, as only a chosen few are ever paid for their time and experience.

    To be a great athlete you need great coaches and the necessary support to succeed. But lets face it, many of our coaches have very lttle knowledge or understanding of the fundamentals required to produce a world class athlete.
    They really do need greater depth of understanding of not only the technical requirements of an event, but also of the anatomical and physiolical aspects that are also involved, to truly understand the techincal dynamics needed to be of benefit to the athlete. Many of them simply don't.

    It takes time to nurture an athlete, therefore it makes perfect sense that even those who train or coach at the so called grass routes level, should have the indepth knowledge and skills necessary to lay down best practices, instead of that athlete being taken away from their coach and given to a more qualified and knowledgable mentor.

    Having several different levels of coaching qualifications does no one any good what so ever. There should be one level and one level only and once it has been attained you should be paid accordingly. Long gone are the days when athletics is an amature sport.

    To do well in this business you need to take a systematic and logical approach to be able to achieve to the highest of standards.

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  • 60. At 3:58pm on 25 Aug 2008, Martin Davis wrote:

    Extraordinary that someone can think that crticising the selling off of playing fields, which is driven by government financial targets(over which schools have no control), and is indicative of a degree of "double think" in our attitude to sport/recreation is somehow "blaming the schools", but there you go!

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  • 61. At 5:23pm on 25 Aug 2008, nexus8 wrote:

    My experience from a local club, if nationwide, worries me about coaching. My daughter joined a local athletics club and I was asked to assist in coaching. Whilst the other coaches have their heart in the right place, everything is so “make do”:
    - There are no planned training schedules, we just turn up and see who else is there, and then asked to train.
    - I have been on one course, but with no structure at club level it is impossible to build programmes to delver what I learned.
    - Often there are not enough coaches to deliver the training and I have run sessions for up to twelve 7 to 10 year olds, which puts pressure on me as an inexperienced coach (in fact according to the guidelines I should not be running sessions)
    - I have never been told of what are aims are. The training course had elements of fun in the delivery which is important, but children respond well to well disciplined training. I have seen the casual styles and the strict styles before at a rugby club my older son is at. Hands down the disciplined and structured training is preferred by the children and delivers the results.

    I don’t think schools are necessarily vital in the sport. Looking at football and rugby most top players joined clubs and they develop their skills there. In school there are too many students for teachers to look after to allow for development of skills. It should be with the local athletics club to do that and for the athletics club to deliver is accordingly.

    So I wonder what I should do? I stress about going as I feel I will be running sessions I don’t feel experienced enough to run. Should I make waves? Perhaps I should but the club is run by volunteers and normally a group of individuals who have run the club for years and are likely to be upset and are not likely to appreciate the comments of a new person.

    If the sort of set up is endemic in the sport, then it is no wonder there are so few athletes. Are there a few clubs who consistently get produce good athletes? If there is perhaps their set up should be looked at and other clubs should be encouraged to follow their example. I think progress can only be made through the grassroots, but that needs to be driven from the top of an organisation, like UK Athletics. They need to get the clubs operating as they should.

    Hopefully my experience is rare.

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  • 62. At 6:19pm on 25 Aug 2008, mrmichaelh wrote:

    A frustrating performance by our T and F team..the brilliance of Ohuruogu and the other medallists apart, there were some "nearly" performances.

    However, although it doesn't make up for a frustrating performance, it must be pointed out that we came 9th in the medal table in Athletics. The only two european countries to finish ahead of us were Russia, as expected, and Belarus. France and Italy not in the top 10 and Germany (39th) and Spain (not in the top 42) had a horrific of course we want to do better and must do better but hopefully we are well-placed to make a real push for more medals come 2012. There must be more strength in depth!

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  • 63. At 6:25pm on 25 Aug 2008, twiddlingbohemond wrote:

    Dear Clare4274...let's not get into this one about all our medalists coming from privileged backgrounds etc. I can only think of one of our cyclists who went to private school and the rowing split was slightly more in favour of state schools...sailing i think was close to 50/50.
    All of this misses the's about hunger and desire to win...a professional structure and topline coaching with no room for excuses.

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  • 64. At 8:09pm on 25 Aug 2008, neverwasbeen wrote:

    I think the whole point is not that other nations are getting better but our athletics team in general is getting worse.
    Look at the times from the 80's and 90's compared with 2008 and the men in particular are far below the standards set back then.
    Sorry Dave Collins but no more spin please -time to fall on your sword.

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  • 65. At 8:59pm on 25 Aug 2008, laouane wrote:

    they should take the animal mark francis

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  • 66. At 03:49am on 26 Aug 2008, taffyles wrote:

    I was amazed at the few British athletes in Track and Field finals. Particularly the 800 and 1500- whats going on. Of course I remember the Steve O, Seb C and Steve C years, but we have always done well in middle distance. Our female 1500 runner was inexperienced- she SHOULD have taken at least silver with what she had left at the end. Tactics disaster. The male 1500 too looked very inexperienced (and where was everyone else??).

    Our relay teams- another fiasco. Is that right we have a relay coach?- I take it a sacked one now. Relay teams should not be messing up like that at that level- the US too have launched a full enquiry into their relay mess ups (and believe me heads will roll here in the US).

    I used to run back in the days when it really was amateur- coaches were amateur too and clubs run by volunteers really (ex athletes). Sounds like they still are- athletics needs a radical shake up. Now that athletes get funding- there's no excuse to run out of your box or fail to pass on the baton!!! And we need professional coaches- who get marching orders for failures like that.

    Another thing I think which has really contributed is the lack of competitive sports in schools. That's how I got spotted, and nearly every athlete I knew were spotted and approached as SCHOOL sports!! Here in the US, children are taught sports in a professional manner from very young- "little leagues"- which are competitive sports leagues with trophies etc. I don't see many American's lacking the will to win, do you?

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  • 67. At 04:00am on 26 Aug 2008, Makelele6 wrote:

    Britain have been Shocking in Track and Field and it has been 3 steps backwards when compared to Athens.

    The Mens side has to take the majority of the blame and so the selectors and the system.

    Relay just topped it off

    4x100m mens - wrong order, pickering should of been dropped for malcolm
    Malcolm - williamson - Devonish - Edgar
    funding should be cut to athletes who underperform simple as

    4x100 womens - good effort unlucky in the final atleast they made it through one round

    4x100 mens - Rooney went down in my opinion after the semi finals where he was taunting the other two teams behind him showed his lack of class and glad the team underperfomed. Rooney is an average runner who went under 45 seconds and thinks he should be a medalist dream on son!

    4 x400 womens - should of got a medal with the olympic champion and the world bronze medalist in the team, sotherton should not of run, a actual 400m runner would have been better than her!

    The Head of Track and Field needs to go and maybe a jamician sprint coach for track and an american coach for field. we need to try something new and our athletes need to step up for 2012. we should be aiming for 60-80 medals atleast considering we will have 600 athletes

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  • 68. At 08:52am on 26 Aug 2008, PierreLaurent wrote:

    It's interesting how in this country we always go on about the need for centres of excellence, increased funding, better coaches etc. etc. Whilst this is most probably true, it is worth noting that Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps achieved their incredible successes on diets of chicken nuggets and 10,000 calories worth of fry-ups respectively. Sometimes it doesn't matter how meticulous you are in preparation, it seems that some people just have it, others don't.

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  • 69. At 09:02am on 26 Aug 2008, ilikeALLathletics wrote:

    Makelele6 - #67.

    Interesting you suggest a throws coach from the of the coaches who has been in the college system and has a huge amount of respect over there is our very own Bob Weir.

    But that said, I don't think that it's coaching the issue with our throwers (discus/shot particularly)....we have some world class coaches here already doing a good job with limited resources.

    The top 4 men at this year's trials didn't achieve the standard, but all four have the potential to reach international standard. The unfortunate thing in this era is that to reach the top in athletics, it's very difficult to do it part-time. All four have demanding full-time jobs, and do what training they can around the demands of earning their living.

    Philippa Roles, as I've mentioned before can commonly be found driving my train to work that arrives at Victoria just before 0630...hardly conducive to excellence.

    Even a small amount of support (compared to the overfunded relay primadonna's) would allow these athletes to work a little less, and more than likely get the better results we all seek.

    On results, Mike Winch's group at Crystal Palace is far and away the best throws group in the country, but there is absolutely no support provided from UKA to step up and be regular international athletes.

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  • 70. At 09:35am on 26 Aug 2008, U13180968 wrote:

    Whilst athletics needed to focus on performance and it was right to appoint a performance director and to recruit people to move the sport foward, I have concerns that people with knowledge of athletics were pushed aside for people with little knowledge of the sport(s), athletics is more than one sport, resulting in mistakes that may have cost team GB medal chances. Why was Tasha Danvers not brought into the relay team after her brilliant run in the 400m hurdles? How could the men's team fail to qualify in the 4*100m relay when given the failure of 4 teams in heat 1, virtually all they had to do was get the baton around safely.
    We failed to build on the golden era for athletics in which Cram/Coe/Ovett dominated men's middle distance and Whitbread/Sanderson reigned supreme in the javelin. Unless we learn the lessons and involve those coaches who worked with medal winning talents in the past we will fail again in 2012.
    All too often theses days the coaches who develop the talent are cast aside for performance coaches who get people there, fitter and stronger, but neglect the skill factor that is required to perform at the highest level.

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  • 71. At 10:32am on 26 Aug 2008, Pierredelafranchesca wrote:

    I think certain members of the athletics team need a serious talking too, mainly the male sprinters, who after crying about the fact Dwain Chambers was kicking the p1ss out of them on the track and moaning that his inclusion in the squad would take away a great opportunity for one of them to go to the olympics, what a joke, I admit i have no idea on how the funding is split but can assume that the 100m sprinters are some of the top earners, and their shambolic performance certainly doesn't warrant continuous funding. They have tried and failed, failed miserably, and now deserve to have their funding decreased, with the money re-allocated to the next generation of sprinters as the current crop will never be good enough

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  • 72. At 10:53am on 26 Aug 2008, pecmeister general wrote:

    Here is an idea, why not visit football clubs youth teams and try to poach some athletes from there.Its highly likely that they will have a number of players who will not make the grade but can probably run the 100m in around 10.50 at the very least.Get them into intensive training and see what they can do?

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  • 73. At 11:21am on 26 Aug 2008, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    The following statistics back up Steve Cram's idea that there is a lack of strength is depth in UK athletics.

    Of medal winning athletes, and ignoring a loading for gold and silver medals compared to bronzes as that makes the athletics figures look worse compared to more successful sports at Beijing the stats are as follows.

    In athletics of 67 athletes that took part only 4 won medals. A return on 6% of entrants winning medals.

    Even swimming doubled that with 5 swimmers out of 37 winning medals a rate of 13.5%

    In boxing is was 3 out of 7 i.e. 43%; rowing / canoeing 23 out of 50 i.e. 46%.

    In sailing 10 out of 18 i.e. 56% and in road and track cycling 15 out of 21 competitors returned with a medal of one colour or another i.e. 71%. And Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins medals along with the gold and bronze for Jason Kenny only count as one athlete so in relation to total medals won it would be even worse for athetics.

    UK athletics can look into its navel as much as it likes but the facts remain for the size of squad Team GB took to beijing we massively underperformed.

    Something has to be done!

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  • 74. At 12:46pm on 26 Aug 2008, Chad Secksington wrote:

    The athletics team will always struggle while we accept that honest triers like Pickering are anywhere near world class, he isn't and at the moment he doesn't appear like he's ever going to be, he's the same age as Bolt near as dammit and a good half second slower over 100 metres, no coach on earth is going to make that up and there are a lot more runners who are more than capable of getting within that half a second than Pickering is, in an age where sprinting seems to be reverting to rangy athletes, Pickering seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

    Similarly Kelly Sotherton, the world and his wife knows that Kelly is hopeless at Javelin, so why is she still throwing it like a nine year old at school sports day? it's not good enough, I can accept that she's never going to be Tessa Sanderson, but a professional athlete should have better technique than that.

    At the moment it seems that the track and field team are using their funding to featherbed a collection of sacred cows, it needs to be used to discover new talent rather than providing subsidies for talent that has peaked and been found wanting. Cut the funding if they don't perform, it'll either give them a kick in the pants and spur them on or they'll look elsewhere.

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  • 75. At 12:57pm on 26 Aug 2008, Ian B wrote:

    It was a really mixed bag from the T and F athletes.

    The most disappointing aspect was the number of athletes who didn't live up to their expectations - coming into a major championship, the minimum an athlete should be aiming for is a season's best (exception could be longer distance races, if conditions aren't condusive). How many of our athletes acheived this?

    On the men's side, positives or at least acceptable performances came from:
    Edgar, Malcolm, Rooney, Idowu (ok, so someone jumped better than he did, but his performance level was OK) and the high jumpers.
    Disappointments: the other sprinters, long jumpers, pole vault.

    On the women's side, the biggest let down was Kelly Sotherton - ran well but her jumps and throws were way below standard.
    They all need a lesson from Goldie Sayers - go out in the big event and break your PB. Can't ask for more than that.

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  • 76. At 1:16pm on 26 Aug 2008, beaucastel wrote:

    Was I the only one that was convinced that Sanya Richards only had to put her running shoes on in order to hand Christine Ohuruogu the accolade of an also ran!! What did I know and I suspect there were plenty like me out there. That lady is built of sterner stuff than I ever imagined. Gold where silver or bronze seemed much more likely.
    Lisa Jane Dobriskey is an exceptionally tallented runner, and from an interview I saw her do post the 1500M Final I was utterly dismayed at the total lack of self belief that she exuded. A few sessions with the cycling psychological guru Dr Steve Peters could well have reaped a reward measured in Gold or Silver. And if I picked this up from a tv on the other side of the world, what the heck were her backup staff doing or not, as the case may be.
    As much as everyone else had bought into the idea that Phillips Idowu was nailed on for the Triple Jump Gold I will say that I was not. The bookies had him odds on, I have always found him to be an extrovert without the results to back it up. Ok, I know that he is World Indoor Champion and yes, he did jump further in Beijing than anywhere else this year....but he still finished second, and his job was to be first.
    A day or two afer the event he was saying that it was a success and in some ways it was, I just would have prefered to have heard a "Katherine Grainger" attitude rather than what I was given. Me, I'll take an Olympic medal of any sort but then I have not been blessed with a world class athletic skill, to see the likes of Phillips Idowu be somewhat content, I suspect will not cut the mustard in 2012.
    And to finish it has to be Martyn Rooney, A touch of arrogance is just about ok if you are Usain Bolt having just anhialated your competiton in the 100M with a world record. Rooney's display post the heat of the 400M relay was quite out of order and I suppose that justice was served when the beaten Bamamian team took the Silver in the final and we ended up with 4th place.
    I enjoyed the games far more than I thought that I might, the thrill of some of these perfomances was quite breathtaking but not to forget Jeanette Kwakye's 6th place in the women's 100M final or the selfless effort from Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws that enabled Nicole Cooke in the women's road race to get our Olymplic bandwaggon well and truly rolling!

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  • 77. At 4:44pm on 26 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    There are obvious negatives and a few positives.

    I would stick with Dave Collins unless their is an outstanding Performance Director on the international circuit. He needs to reassess strategy, especially coaching, field/middle long distance events, support staff and competitions. He must apply GB cycling mentality

    WHAT IS A TRUTH. Brendan Foster, Steve Cram, Steve Ovett or David Moorhouse haven't put their hat in the current Althetics ring; they are all making their ready cash as media pundits and commentators!!!! This is their legacy.

    Hats off the Seb Coe who has put his soul into the London 2012 Olympics.

    Where are the coaching talents of Linford Christy or Daly Thompson? These are key people, though outspoken, and need their talent included and focused positively!

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  • 78. At 5:37pm on 26 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    If Jamaica hasn't got a "fully operational anti-doping agency of its own" then if they had would that make it any better? Then, the critics would say "how can you it, it's from a Third World country". The US didn't release news that Lewis failed 3 tests before '88 (see Crams' own article re Ben Johnson).
    Would the critics accept anything the Jamaican authorities have to say? If they withdraw Dunkley - the critics say see there's a problem. Surely that proves that the system works.
    Anyhow, the Jamaicans must be tested abroad - or when the authorities fly in? Note the Russians caught out recently. And no Jamaican has been missing 3 times from a test.
    And, if Jamaica managed to con the authorities - barvo - if we can have some super-dooper system that is even better than any being used abroad!

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  • 79. At 5:38pm on 26 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    Remember the GB silver medalist in high jump was representing Jamaica before and trains with MVP in Jamaica.

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  • 80. At 6:00pm on 26 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    However, in the boys' Class One 200m, the race of the championships, which piped three World Youth medallists and one World Junior medallist, St. Jago's Ashmeade prevailed. Ashmeade, who finished third behind McKenzie in Ostrava, turned the table this time around with a hard-fought 21.04 seconds victory against a negative 2.1 head wind.

    He clocked 20.61 seconds to win then, but he has gone a lot faster since, with a sizzling personal best 20.25 at the Jamaica's Boys' and Girls' Championship in April, when he also ran 45.36 seconds in the 400 metres.

    Indeed, at sixteen-years-old Bolt had reached times that Johnson did not register until he was twenty and Bolt's 200 m time was superior to Maurice Greene's season's best that year.

    Look to 2012 - AShmeade, Lee, Blake in 100m, 200m, 400m...
    May find the current Jamaican stars have given way to new ones by then!

    BTW, to those, thinking of Owens, Lewis, and envisaging Bolt for long jump - though it's something we've had some (minimal) success in, it's not our thing - the field evens aren't concentrated on in same way. If Bolt moves up, encoraged by Bert Cameron?, it'd be 400m I suspect...

    Look at
    "Colin Jackson the making of me"

    Youtube - CHAMPS in Jamaica

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  • 81. At 6:19pm on 26 Aug 2008, Makelele6 wrote:

    i think we we need also is more UK athletic meets in a year than the 2 or 3 we have, more race competition and a chance for athletes to be race sharp. i have been harsh on pickering but he has the chance to be a good runner, would like to see him lean down as he looks very bulky.

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  • 82. At 00:39am on 27 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    "It's a touchy subject, but if I should be honest, I really believe men get more attention in this sport," Campbell told the broadcast media here. "It's based on the fact that the world record in the 100m and 200m for men is reachable.

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  • 83. At 1:54pm on 27 Aug 2008, end2endgame wrote:

    TheTomTyke - I see your point but it would be difficult to do this as our Track and field athletes are from clubs all over the country. They primarily train with coaches at their respective clubs. It would be hard to persuade all athletes to forsake their own clubs and training coaches to permanently base themselves in the capital at the Olympic stadium. In theory this is a good idea, but in reality it won't happen unfortunately.

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  • 84. At 09:11am on 28 Aug 2008, hackerjack wrote:

    This makes me sick.

    The UK massively over performs at sport in general. In this Olympics in particular.

    We have some of the best football and rugby clubs in the world, participate in top level Cricket, Tennis, Squash, Boxing, Swimming, Badminton, Horse Riding, Motorsports, Gymnastics and Hockey, and that's without mentioning sports/games that we dominate such as Snooker and Darts.

    We only have around 60 milion people to choose from, only a small percentage of those have the capacity to be professional sportspeople in any discipline at all. Why does Cram and all the other once-famous commentators feel that his sport has a right to be well represented from that very small pool?

    There come's a point where you have to put your hands up and say that we can not be good at everything all at once. Increased funding for all sports would lead to only a small increase accross the board because in essence most of these sports are in competition with each other for the attention of the small number of kids with that potential.

    How many potential 800m olympic medallists are lost to lower league football every year? How many Kids with the right skills and mental balance to be the next Gareth Edwards never pick up a Rugby ball in their life? How many 12 year olds will now attempt to get into cycling after watching the olympics and stop playing cricket despite having the as yet untapped potential to be the next Shane Warne?

    That is always going to be an issue in a system like ours where we let kids choose for themselves. China is not so much successful for the investment or the training regimes as for the early identification of kids with certain talents and placement of them in the right sporting channels and environments from an early age to give them the best chance of success (oftnw to the detrement of enjoyment).

    At school we try and guide children into taking subjects that they are good at and suited to, yet in sports all the best kids are often sciphened off into the PE teachers favourite sport or allowed to pick a sport that they enjoy instead of one that they are best at to the detriment of everything else.

    Am I proposing that this changes? No I dont see how it can nor would I want it to, but I am proposing that people wake up, stop being unrealistic and just accept that it means we will never be good at everything.

    Only one country in the world (Australia) has more success in a wider range of sports than the UK does, every other either has far more people to work with, a more limited range of sports and oppertunities or both.

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