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First things first: Paula Radcliffe should be proud of her performance in Beijing.

She did everything she could to be here and everything she could to get among the medals.

Had it not been for the cramp that spread through her leg, she'd probably have finished seventh or eighth, which would have been a remarkable effort considering her preparations.

It wasn't even a cardio-vascular thing - she said afterwards that her lungs felt OK.

But, with the marathon, it's about more than fitness. You need miles in your legs. You have to get the work into them so they can stand up to the punishment that'll be dished out to them.

If you don't, they won't hold out on you.

At the finish line, all the frustration and pain came out - at the trials and tribulations she's been through and the efforts she's put in to even make it to the start.

None of this should affect Paula's standing as an athletics great.

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Unfortunately, for some athletes - myself included - the Olympics just don't coincide with your best years of form.

Paula dominated marathon running in 2002 and 2003, and then won the world title in 2005. After time off to have daughter Isla, she won the New York marathon last year.

The only years she hasn't been in best shape have been 2004 and 2008, which just happened to be Olympic years.

She can also take great heart from the gold medal-winning run of Constantina Tomescu-Dita.

Tomescu-Dita is the same age that Paula will be in London 2012. On Sunday she showed that a marathon-runner's career can go on, if you can keep yourself fit and healthy, and if you run the right race on the right day.

Paula will have to manage herself carefully over the next few years. She won't be able to run as many races, and she'll have to look at her training, otherwise she's likely to pick up more and more injuries.

Expectations will probably drop, which will help her. But there's no reason why she can't make another Olympics.

Mara Yamauchi, meanwhile, put in an excellent run.

Had she not had that bad experience at the Worlds last summer, when she faded badly in the last few miles, I think she might have had the confidence to push on harder here.

But to finish sixth in an Olympic marathon is a great achievement, and she's certain to keep improving over the next few years too.

As for the battle for the medals - this was quite an odd race.

Two or three of them will probably look back at it and wonder how they let Tomescu-Dita get away and build such a lead without them chasing her down.

Most of them have beaten her before on several occasions, and you expected them to do it here.

The fact that Catherine Ndereba and Zhou Chunxiu had so much left at the end - their last mile was 30 seconds quicker than the penultimate one - indicates that they didn't time their efforts as well as they could have done.

But Olympic marathons are about getting your tactics right, about making big decisions out on the course and then successfully putting your plans into action.

Tomescu-Dita did that; her rivals failed to. That's why she won gold.

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.


Comments

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  • 1. At 09:46am on 17 Aug 2008, montgomeryflange wrote:

    Come of it Steve, she wasn't fit or prepared for it she shouldn't have gone. By doing so she denied a chance to compete at the Olympics to another runner.

    Paula will run as many races over the next 4 years as her sponsors want in order to maximise her waning appeal. The Olympics medal is secondary, Paula's in it for the money, most of her best performances are in a sponsors vest not a GB vest.

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  • 2. At 09:51am on 17 Aug 2008, PointyBeardyThingy wrote:

    Please stop praising failure.

    Paula Radcliffe was not fit enough or prepared enough for these Olympic Games. Yes, she earned her place in the team, but doing so was mere vanity if she knew (as surely she must have known) that she was not physically able to win.

    It would have been better for Team GB to have given her place to a young marathon runner with no expectations of a medal, but who would have gained enormously from the experience and might be able to put that experience towards a winning performance in future.

    From the press/pundits angle, I can't be the only reader/viewer who thinks that devoting coverage, never mind praise, to a a vanity run that ended in failure when we have gold medal winners who have done everything right is pointless and irritating.

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  • 3. At 10:08am on 17 Aug 2008, marskeharrier wrote:

    She showed only how selfish she is going to the olympics knowing she wasn't in top shape. Doing this has let the team down, and stopped someone else from having their dream. As Steve Cram says, he never did it on the olympic stage either, so maybe this article is trying to justify his failures too?

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  • 4. At 10:25am on 17 Aug 2008, localhero wrote:

    I think UK Athletics are desperate right now - and putting Paula in the marathon indicated how bad things have got. Its a waste of Lottery money funding the likes of Paula to be at the Olympics - the programme has got its prorities wrong and should have been a bit more honest in the first place and embarked on a more focused development programme rather than wasting all the money it has on the no hopers over the past 4 years.

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  • 5. At 10:30am on 17 Aug 2008, AlloaNeebur wrote:

    Should Paula get the gold for attention seeking or the BBC get it for attention giving - what about Youmaichi and the fit athlete who's place Paula took?

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  • 6. At 10:32am on 17 Aug 2008, ragads wrote:

    My heart goes out to the Scottish girl told she was travelling reserve for the women's marathon. She was told the decision would be made THE DAY BEFORE the marathon if Paula would run or the race would be hers.
    Imagine that! She showed her maturity and wisdom in declining the long haul and insulting and inadequate last- minute decision. Let's all think of HER today - and the wonderful lost opportunity Dave Collins and his selectors had of giving someone else, prepared and in peak fitness, their deserved Olympic debut. The experience for her would have been wonderful, and in athletics terms could have been invaluable for the future. I give Dave Collins 0/10 ' in his terms'.

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  • 7. At 10:50am on 17 Aug 2008, Sam wrote:

    No wonder UK Athletics is such a mess, when even one of its past stars is trying to award praise for complete and utter failure. Taking part should not even be an option unless you can win.

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  • 8. At 10:52am on 17 Aug 2008, keensportsfan wrote:

    if paula was not fit she should never have competed. she took that right away from someone else! as for the 'olympian spirit' it is that if an athlete goes into the event fully fit and then during the event suffers an unfortunate incident and despite that finishes successfully.

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  • 9. At 11:05am on 17 Aug 2008, macfan1950 wrote:

    She should never have been there in the first place. She was stupid and selfish to even consider running.

    She was not fit and even SHE must have known that. She should have had the grace to stand down and let a more worthy runner take her place.

    The whole thing was a farce!

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  • 10. At 11:10am on 17 Aug 2008, buddyless wrote:

    message to paula,

    you let Team GB down. retire now with at least a tiny bit of dignity intact.

    shambolic affair indeed.

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  • 11. At 11:10am on 17 Aug 2008, goldwendy73 wrote:

    I am really disappointed with the BBC's coverage of the marathon result. I turned on the TV this morning to find images of Paula Radcliffe totally dominating the screen. In passing, Mara Yamauchi was mentioned. She came a fantastic 6th!!! Not even a freeze frame, never mind a moving image or an interview. Having logged on to this website I was greeted by more of the same. I do not want to see an interview with Paula in tears. Why does the BBC do this. From others' comments I am not alone in my views. BBC please take note!

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  • 12. At 11:32am on 17 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    How the hell was she selfish for taking part? Do you think she gets a kick out of putting her body through hell only to be criticised by judgemental 'arm-chair' members of the British public like the people writing on here?

    And I find it very ironic that people are saying you shouldn't compete if you can't win, when people lambasted her for 'giving up' when she was out of the medals in Athens. She should have battled on regardless then, but not today apparently. And is it worth mentioning that well over half that field could not win because they weren't good enough. She was 23rd even though she was well below her best.

    I say well done Paula! You are an amazing athlete and are an inspiration to athletes of the future. The people who criticise aren't going to achieve much in life so I wouldn't worry.

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  • 13. At 11:40am on 17 Aug 2008, ianall wrote:

    International class athletes, in particular those in individual events, are virtually all selfish, driven members of society. Radcliffe merely did what her personality allowed.

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  • 14. At 11:47am on 17 Aug 2008, coach65 wrote:

    In Paula's defence I must ask what would anyone else, honestly have done in her position?

    She's proven in the past that she's one of the best in the world with a world record to her name. On her 'day' she should definitely be racing for a medal.

    Today she faced going into the unknown - racing with less than perfect preparation. It's not as if the kid couldn't even walk before she started..

    It's obviously not a great situation but so many other factors are stacked in her favour, experience, training over so many years e.t.c.

    I'm sure that she would have undertaken some kind of fitness test (I hope so!) and that would have persuaded her to compete today.

    The problem is that you can't replicate the physiological demands of the marathon without doing one! I would have 'gone for it' if it had been me.

    Occasionally you have to be brave in this game - if it comes off you're a hero, if it doesn't you're a dismal failure, who should have known better.

    I think the vitriol which is being dished out is understandable but we should stop and ask ourselves what would we have done given the circumstances?

    Perhaps the questions surrounding the judgement of UKA should really focus around the longer-term question 'Why have we ended up with such a poor depth of talent in so many events in track and field?'

    Well done to Mara! A great result in a high quality field.

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  • 15. At 11:50am on 17 Aug 2008, tallScottishgirl wrote:

    I'll admit I'm a Paula Radcliffe fan so I say well done to her for finishing the race whilst in obvious distress. However, its clear she wasn't fit and should never have been allowed to line up in the first place. I feel terribly sorry for Hayley Haining who was the reserve runner.

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  • 16. At 12:08pm on 17 Aug 2008, Guy Swarbrick wrote:

    Can't add anything to the comments of everyone but the few Radcliffe apologists.

    What a waste of lottery money; waste of a learning experience for an up and coming runner; waste of airtime...

    The whole thing has been a publicity show to repay her sponsors (nice shoes, nice vest... who cares?) and keep her in the public eye to generate more money spinning appearances on the pro athletics gravy train.

    UK Athletics won't begin to match the successes we've had in the velodrome and in the rowing and sailing before it starts putting development and winning ahead of PR and spin.

    A disgrace.

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  • 17. At 12:23pm on 17 Aug 2008, GillH wrote:

    Would Paula Radcliffe been allowed to compete under prepared and unfit if she had been a member of the GB cycling team??? Perhaps that explains the difference between the athletes and the cycling teams!

    If there had been no-one else available (like the case of Michaela Breeze) I could have understood her running, but we had another athelete who was denied the chance of showing her best at the Olympics.

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  • 18. At 12:28pm on 17 Aug 2008, mutebuttondelight wrote:

    Sorry Steve, but as one geordie to another, bonnie laad, this tyme yer wrang! It's clear that Paula's level of fitness was nowhere near being ready to compete at the level she can do when fit. She is indeed a world-class act when fit, but for the Olympics she simply wasn't fit. To run was selfish and silly and robbed our reserve, who was presumably at least fit, of a chance to run And merely a brief mention of a stupendous run by Mara Yamauchi, who got the highest placing of a Brit woman in an Olympic marathon and that seems to have been hardly noteworthy against a 'gutsy' 'brave' etc., etc. Paula. Simply not good enough. UK Athletics needs to be learning the lessons of our cycling, sailing and rowing bodies as regards a winning attitude.

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  • 19. At 12:31pm on 17 Aug 2008, jasonknern wrote:

    This article is a load of tosh. She only performs when there is money on the finish line and has let her country down in two olympics.

    In between she has run paid races which have clearly affected her ability to perform.

    Paula doesn't deserve praise or the press coverage she has got over other contenders.

    There are plenty of athletes that don't do paid races and concentrate their efforts on representing their country in the Olympics

    Paula, retire and focus on your money focused races and let someone else take your place who will actually train properly and make the sacrifices that you won't for gold.

    Jason


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  • 20. At 12:32pm on 17 Aug 2008, dazzlingBestinshow wrote:

    I think the fawning over Paula must end. You would hardly know if anyone else was in the race.

    It was the same in 2004. But epitomising the Olympic spirit...come on. She is a bottler like Jimmy White or Asafa Powell. 4 Olympics, and no medals.

    She is only world class at marathon running in city marathons, at favourable times of the year. But in a competitive arena, where she cant control tactics or weather. She is useless, as proved in 2004/2008.

    Cram/Foster too close to her off-the-track to be objective pundits.

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  • 21. At 12:38pm on 17 Aug 2008, billy1314 wrote:

    If there was a gold medal for whingeing then the great GB public would win it by a mile!

    Try supporting the athletes for a change.

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  • 22. At 12:39pm on 17 Aug 2008, Fergies_red_army wrote:

    I sat up to watch the marathon last night, knowing full well not to expect a medal from Paula. However the way she fought throughout the race and for some 3/4 stayed with the leading runners shows what a phenomenal long distance runner she is.

    I hope she does run in 2012 and if the next 4 years go well for her... she will win. There is no doubt of that. As she sowed even paula at 50% is better than most runners. As we all know at 100% she is the most phenomenal long distance runner ij the world.

    Well done last night Paula, true grit and determination and a brilliant attitude.... if some of our young athletes could be as resiliant as she is we really could win alot more medals.

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  • 23. At 12:40pm on 17 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    jasonknern, I think you will find there are very many athletes who don't concentrate on Championship marathons in order to run in the city marathons. The Championship marathons are always of lower quality, including the Olympics, as the fields in London and Chicago.

    And dazzlingBestinshow, have you forgotton that she was World Champion in Helsinki? That's not a city marathon. And I think she has proved her worth in a competitive arena many, many times on the track, on the roads and on the country.

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  • 24. At 12:42pm on 17 Aug 2008, backofdanet wrote:

    Fair enough Mara Yamauchi deserved much more attention, although clearly given how much tv time was given to Paula during the race by Chinese tv she is a bigger story around the world and most people watching the news would be more interested in how she did. I have no doubt that if Yamauchi had won a medal she would have received the attention she deserved.

    The suggestion that Paula denied a younger athlete a chance to get experience is simply ridiculous though. Who is this character you refer to? Surely not the reserve who is a full 2 yrs older than Paula, had a chance at the London marathon to get in the team and would certainly have run no quicker than Paula did on the day. What would that have achieved? Why does she have more right than Paula, the best female marathon runner of all time? Clearly Paula knew she was not in peak fitness but the only way she could find out how bad her leg was by running the race and seeing how it went.

    THe criticisms on here smack of the casual, ill-informed opinions normally reserved to the media. The Olympics are a once in every 4 yrs opportunity and given her past experiences I don't blame Paula for wanting to go out and try and put them behind her. lets not forget that this is a woman who in less than a year from giving birth won the New York marathon and has just managed to complete a marathon 3 months' after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her leg with no preparation.

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  • 25. At 12:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, TRENT998 wrote:

    I think its a little harsh to have a go at paula, but i have to agree with most of the comments. She tried, well done, but it didn't work. I want to hear about who did win, and who did well, not about the gutsy performance of someone who didn't quite make it.

    And i do agree she shouldn't have run if there was a fit, and able person who could have taken her place, and got valueable experience.

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  • 26. At 12:50pm on 17 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    backofdanet you are absolutely correct. The people on here seem to think we should have selected Tom Daley's sister to run or something. For the experience. In fact I'm sure Daley's sponsors would have loved that. Double the name checks.

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  • 27. At 12:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, MissDozy wrote:

    I'm fed up of hearing about. She's plastered all over the BBC OLympics webpages as if she'd actually won gold when she was in fact an abysmal failure. Why aren't we hearing more about Yamauchi who put in a more credible performance?

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  • 28. At 12:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, Morty wrote:

    Radcliffe needs to wake up and smell the coffee. She is rubbish and the only time she has been successful is when she is driven by greed of a big pay cheque, otherwise she is at best 'average'.

    Evey time she can't finish or is beaten she resorts to tears in a way that she believes will give her the sympasthy vote from her sycophantic following and her sponsers.

    Outside that remit she is nothing but a gangling marathon runner who makes up the numbers and now has the mistaken belief that she can compete in 2012.

    By that time aged 38 belives she can outpace up and coming fully fit teenagers. talk about conceit. The only person she is deluding is herself. She really ought to be concentrating ( in Olympic terms) on her application for an old folks bus pass. Even her hubby called her rubbish 8 years ago and with that kind of what kind of endorsement who's kidding who. Paula Radcliffes career ...... RIP

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  • 29. At 12:52pm on 17 Aug 2008, mattynew wrote:

    absolutely right! she went for the money but then again lets be truthfull all the athletes there who can win a medal is thinkin MONEY!. Lets look at this ok for an example all gold medal winners or medal winners in general from past olympic games before the 90s. when they were on that podiumand the anthem was being played they were thinkin to them selves wow gold medal i have won this through hard work great coach and i share this medal with all the british people, i have represented great britain by winning a medal im so proud. Medal winners these days while they are on the podium and the anthem is playing they are thinkin yes here comes the money ill probably get a contract with Nike then ill be asked to write my own autobiography perhaps tv work oh yes thank you gold medal!!

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  • 30. At 12:52pm on 17 Aug 2008, VegardHeggem wrote:

    Totally agree with comment 20- Cram and Foster are embarrassing! I think I feel a lot of frustration towards Radcliffe just because of their endless tirades about her "pluckiness" and "bravery". I just hope the BBC don't let Steve Cram loose with her in the studio like in Athens- That interview was Cringeworthy TV, worse than David Brent's Comic relief dance!

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  • 31. At 12:54pm on 17 Aug 2008, Guy Swarbrick wrote:

    If Radcliffe had been a cyclist, British Cycling would have returned her funding, as they did for 20 cyclists weren't good enough for the program.

    Cycling left more riders capable of winning medals at home than UK Athletics took to Beijing.

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  • 32. At 12:58pm on 17 Aug 2008, dazzlingBestinshow wrote:

    Radcliffe, Henman, Jimmy White, Asafa Powell, NZ rugby team...Anyone see any pattern here?

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  • 33. At 1:05pm on 17 Aug 2008, coach65 wrote:

    gswarbrick -

    There is indeed a lot of truth in what you say - but I don't think that Paula receives a lot of Lottery Money - I stand to be corrected on this but I believe as a near millionare she is 'means-tested' out of that.

    The lottery may well go to support her place at Beijing 2008 but I that's not a major amount and I think we owe her the airline ticket and accommodation just to see if she COULD have done it.

    On the subject of athletics/UKA Athletics

    - producing cyclists, rowers e.t.c. is a little bit easier than producing track and field athletes.

    These other sports have either full time or part-time professional coaches and the more controlled nature of these events (the mechanics of the work done on the pedal crank or the oar/rowlock) mean that there is less tendency towards serious injury and, dare I say it, less technical input of that nature required from coaches. These sports also - I understand - support athletes to move to a training venue and they can therefore eat, sleep and train, concentrating on nothing else.

    Cyclists, swimmers and rowers largely self select from their club exploits and you just assess the best, put them in a velodrome, pool or boat, get them to work with each other under the guidance of a good, knowledgeable coaching team and you will do well.

    The lottery money spent on these sports has been spent well and wisely and we now see the result. My hat goes 'off' to them and the far-sighted investment in their training systems.

    UKA could do the same but the weakness is in coaching. We have fantastic facilities in the UK but we do not have coaches of sufficient calibre in sufficient depth. The reason for this is that prospective high-performance coaches are constantly alienated and cast aside in favour of celebrity 'names' who, because they have Olympic medals as athletes are assumed to have the skills required to coach athletes.

    Coaches with years of unparalleled experience producing athletics medallists at all levels are cast aside and treated with ignominy in favour of retired Olympic medallists looking for a job.

    I have watched - open mouthed - as I've seen this done to tried and tested coaches.

    If we are serious about performing in athletics then, after this Olympics, we need to bring together ALL the decent coaches in the sport, LISTEN to them and work TOGETHER to get up to the standard we should be at.

    Paula and Mara are 'one-offs' in a very healthy sector of athletics(road-running) but we can surely do better in the other areas of track and field if we take lessons from cycling, swimming and rowing.

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  • 34. At 1:07pm on 17 Aug 2008, mvishnoi wrote:

    GBR was renowned for everything that they made , they were also the first ones to make well....almost everything !
    For such excellence to foster I am sure , unlike today adjectives like 'brilliant' , 'splendid' , 'outstanding' had real meaning and were not wasted on mediocrity.

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  • 35. At 1:12pm on 17 Aug 2008, bridgend4life wrote:

    Surely its every athletes dream to compete at the olympics regardless of their ability to finish in the top 3? why is paula any different?

    You are saying that because she wasnt able to win and only finish in the top25 she shouldnt be their? but an athlete who wasnt as good as her and would of finished lower than that should of gone instead? whats the point in that?

    We should always put our best athletes into the competition with the intention of finishing as high as you possibly can.Paula could of potentially finished in the top 10 if she hadnt of had cramp.

    The majority of you want to replace Paula with an athlete that might of finished top 40 if lucky ( wasnt good enough to make our 3 places, our 3rd athlete finished 35th) so she could enjoy the experience - why? its not a holiday, its top level competition. Britain needs to do as well as possible

    VERY FOOLISH

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  • 36. At 1:14pm on 17 Aug 2008, MrJimThompson wrote:

    Sorry people you can't have it both ways. Despite it all, she still finished ahead of Liz Yelling. Perhaps Liz shouldn't have bothered turning up either; after all she must have known she couldn't win. Indeed, maybe the reserve would have benefited from the experience. However, Hayley Haining is older than Paula and so I wonder which of the two is likely to be a better medal prospect in 2012.

    Paula’s reaction at the end of showed she knew it wasn’t good enough but it also demonstrated that she thought she had an outside chance of if not winning then medalling. Perhaps she was deluding herself about her chances but surely you need that degree of self-belief/arrogance/drive to be up there with the best long distance runners of all time. As for inspirational, even getting to the line (start, never mind finish) just 12wks after a stress fracture is phenomenal.

    I would go on but I have a 17m training run this afternoon for one of those soft city marathons (my sixth) mentioned in earlier posts.

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  • 37. At 1:31pm on 17 Aug 2008, Grisedale wrote:

    I had thought for ages that I was the only one sick to death of hearing about Paula Radcliffe and reading pages and pages of reports about her in newspapers while many better performers were ignored. I will admit that my attitude to Marathon running is to place it next to paint drying for fascination and excitement and maybe Steve Cram is right in saying that she is an athletics great but I will remember the whinging and whining of Paula Radcliffe long after I have forgotten the athletics achievements. Well done bike riders for producing the results with an unbelievable [for Britain] display of ability and professionalism.

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  • 38. At 1:32pm on 17 Aug 2008, wombletiltheend wrote:

    This is pathetic, get behind our athletes... unless any of the critics could try harder or perform any better than Paula. I doubt it.

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  • 39. At 1:37pm on 17 Aug 2008, Brekkie wrote:

    Paula should never have been there and I hope she realises she's past it now and it was never meant to be. The last thing London 2012 needs is a deluded ageing athlete taking the place of a younger prospect.


    The Brit who finished 6th is the one who deserves the plaudits and praise - I'd love to mention her name but as the BBC's line has all been "poor Paula" I've no idea what it is.

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  • 40. At 1:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, bjblogger wrote:

    I'm afraid the 'fawning' by the BBC commentators over the ridiculous 'achievement' of Paula Ratcliffe has inspired me to join this blog. Why are they devoting so much time and praise to her when so many of our athletes give their very best and get little mention. Steve Cram and Brendan Foster have lost it where she is concerned and I pray for all our sakes she is not in London 2012

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  • 41. At 1:48pm on 17 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    She wouldn't have qualified for a professional competition...(did she actually qualify for the Olympics?)

    It was opportunity for her to have her ego stroked and for the loser-obsessed media to bang on about how brave she was.

    A British runner finished sixth! She barely got a mention. How many people can spell her name?

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  • 42. At 2:01pm on 17 Aug 2008, singinghannahj wrote:

    I've always been a moderate Paula fan and have defended her vigorously on 606 several times against idiotic accusations. While I do acknowledge she must have put in an enormous effort to finish this morning, and credit to her for that, I do feel that in Mara Yamauchi's position, I would start running for Japan instead. The woman has won the Tokyo marathon and finished SIXTH and apparently barely warrants a mention, and LIz Yelling even less so, despite leading the field at one point. Liz has served British distance running very well over the years. It's very disappointing.

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  • 43. At 2:04pm on 17 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    Steve, please, give it a rest.
    I spent years as a Paula Radcliffe fan, suffering with her every time she just failed to grab a top three place, losing out to the africans all the time in the 5000 or 10000 metre track events. Why was I a fan?
    Why did I watch every race she was in?

    Because back then, Paula didnt squawk when she lost, collapse in tears, aim for pity or give up. She gave her all, and if it wasnt good enough, fine, she`d damn well be back and try harder the next time.

    Now, its a different story, make sure theres a good excuse first before a run, either valid or not, makes no difference, then, run, then, if its clear its not going to be a good result, make it absolutely obvious that there is indeed a problem with added tears for effect, stop a few times, hold the sides, go for the sympathy vote.

    It aint working. If you werent fit, you shouldnt have bloody run and should have given the place to a deserving up and comer who could have got something out of the experience.

    Both Steve and Brendan need to get their heads out of the sand and stop trying to explain away what was a selfish decision and a gutless performance.

    From the nations favourite, because of the never say die attitude, to someone the public now treat with disdain.

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  • 44. At 2:10pm on 17 Aug 2008, babydoc wrote:

    It is obviously completely ridiculous for athletes who have been plagued by injury, missed loads of events, and not been able to do anything like enough training, to attend the Olympics. Except, of course, that this also applies to the men's coxless 4s. And they won gold. Perhaps we should have given their reserves a chance?

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  • 45. At 2:13pm on 17 Aug 2008, Inherent wrote:

    the olympics is not a fun run Paula,stick to London

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  • 46. At 2:19pm on 17 Aug 2008, MightyLancs wrote:

    To all those who say Paula only delivers when she wants the money, and is rubbish all the rest of the time- she has only run 9 marathons, and has won 7 of them!

    To say that she is rubbish or has let her country down due to the fact she couldn't finish in Athens thanks to the heat, and that she couldn't win thanks to the small matter of a fractured leg, they should simply be ashamed.

    Athletes in Britain can't win it seems- had Paula not run the same people on here would have written that she was a cop out, while the fact she has run on a broken leg and not won the bloody thing makes her a let down.

    I'm sure given what she went through last night there were probably better things she could have done with her time, rather than suffer what she did, but she still pushed on to try and prove herself, and beat anything that 'poor little Hayley' would have ever done. We should be proud that we have people willing to put themselves through the pain barrier for their country in this way, not berate them. Had it been 'one for the money', she wouldn't have even considered running it!

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  • 47. At 2:34pm on 17 Aug 2008, RaySplendent wrote:

    You say 'First things first'Steve and that should have been congratulations to Mara.
    Hers is the great GB Marathon achievement yet the picture on the BBC website is of tearful Paula.Poor priorities in my opinion and not at all respectful of Mara's 6th place.

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  • 48. At 2:40pm on 17 Aug 2008, Mark wrote:

    I'm afraid it's time she retired. There's always something and whilst Paul has done great things in the past I think she should call it a day now as she's obviously not at the top of her game.

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  • 49. At 2:44pm on 17 Aug 2008, castellmai wrote:

    I like Cram and think he's a good commentator too, but I thought BBC's coverage of marathon was appalling. It was clear from a long way out that Yamauchi was our main hope and they continued to barely mention her, let alone the other athletes up there. Yamauchi is a world-class athlete (only 45 secs from the gold medal!) and has an interesting biography too - I'm sure loads of people who tuning in to cheer her on as well.

    I've no problem with Paula taking part and think it's unfair to call it a "vanity run". If you were the fastest in the field, then you'd probably take the gamble as well. It's just the coverage of her in the media is way out of proportion (which isn't her fault?), whilst Foster and Cram both seem too close to her to be objective.

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  • 50. At 2:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, lostinmaine wrote:

    it is so wrong-headed and mean-spirited to criticise Paula's decison and efforts. To suggest she was 'wrong' to run because someone else might have done better is to ignore that the Olympics have been Paula's focus for years and everthing was done ....including choice of races, buying special equipment, hiring trainers, etc ....from her own earnings btw..to maximise her opportunity. Injuries are part of an athlete's life and her stress fracture came at a particularly inopportune time...but before, during and after the injury she was completely focussed on being the best at Beijing. She went into the race not knowing whether she had been able to do enough running but knowing that she could run pain-free and had put in as many miles, etc as possible since the injury. she could not know whether she could handle the pace of more-fortunate runners but she decided to stick with the pace for as long as possible...a gutsy decision..she didn't set out to finish but to win! she failed to win because her lack of training finally showed up as it probably was bound to...but she never quit and she'll be back
    As to selfish and only driven by money...utter nonsense....no track (or road) athlete in the UK is going to be driven by money...it takes too long, too much daily grind, year-after year to get to the top...she is very bright but has chosen to completely dedicate these years to being the world's best long-distance runner and acroos the range of distances...she comes pretty darn close. she chooses high-profile races ..not for the money but for what they mean in terms of a racing program. Paula runs to be the best but ever since i saw her win the Junior cross-country in Boston many years ago..i know she runs for her country too.

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  • 51. At 2:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, Aaron wrote:

    Last night british athlete Mara Yamauchi finished a brilliant 6th in the Olympic marathon, yet im posting this comment on an article about... guess who... Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram should dedicate an article to Yamauchi for her great run last night, not even a mention on the coverage, a disgraceful showing from the BBC

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  • 52. At 2:55pm on 17 Aug 2008, londonic wrote:

    Paula, Paula, Paula - YAWN! My friends and I stayed up to watch the marathon - and couldn't believe the comical coverage of the race.
    The whole race was all about Paula Radcliffe, and as others have mentioned, absolutely no credit to Mara Yamauchi. Mara equaled GB's best result in the Olympic Marathon but all she got was barely 20 seconds of coverage at the interview. Credit to Paula, she IS an amazing athlete and maybe she felt she had something to prove after Athens. However, it was embarrassing to watch the interview with Paula and her carry on about herself - barely a mention of her team-mate Mara and her fantastic achievement. The commentary was nothing short of cringe-worthy the whole way through, with the fawning over Paula. Dissapointing BBC! The coverage of the Olympics overall has been great. However, it may be worth remembering the Olympics is not always about the super stars. Give credit where credit is due. Well done Mara!

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  • 53. At 3:11pm on 17 Aug 2008, makeadee wrote:

    Paula is the main reason that I watched the Olympics I am not a sporty person nor am I up on the gen. She captured my heart in the same way that Seb,Steve O, Brendan and Steve C did. Their personality shines through and that to me is what makes them true winners and no one can take that away. It's a shame you people have lost touch with what the Olympics are all about your lights are on but there is nobdy in.

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  • 54. At 3:16pm on 17 Aug 2008, Aaron wrote:

    As i have previosly mentioned the athlete who most embodied the Olympic spirit was british weightlifter Michaela Breeze, not Paula Radcliffe, who yet again breaks down at the end of the marathon, she is in the limelight and will have other chance, the tears were totally unwarranted and attention seeking, and the BBC played along with it, Breeze may never have another chance, but her tears were real

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  • 55. At 3:16pm on 17 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    Well done to Mara Yamauchi.
    An article about her would be interesting. Journalists could inform us about events/people we don't know about rather than going over the same old events/people that are always in the public eye.

    Good luck to Haley Haining for 2012.

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  • 56. At 3:19pm on 17 Aug 2008, alanskillcole wrote:

    Surprising the report hasn't been marred by moaning about the weather. If it's WC/Olympics, there's always something about the heat being something our sportspeople aren't accustomed to - though, events being held in summer, one would expect it to be a tad warm.

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  • 57. At 3:23pm on 17 Aug 2008, xenosys2005 wrote:

    Micksametosis, sorry but an unbelievably uneducated opinion. At least back up your opinion with factual information here.

    2002 Commonwealths, 2002 European Cup (second quickest 10000m of all time up to only a couple of days ago), 2005 Helsinki World Championships competing for her country?

    Gangling marathon runner? If world-record holder at this event makes you a gangling marathon runner, then that must be some bar you set for determining quality in a long-distance runner.

    38 Years old may be a tad old I'll give you that, but the winner of this year's marathon in Beijing was the same age, so it's not out of the question.

    I think the way the reserve Hayley Haining was treated was appalling by the selection team, but I don't think she would have done much better looking at her results/times.

    I didn't even think Radcliffe would have won the marathon when I tuned in, and agree that she's had far too much press attention over other athletes out there. Thought Yamouchi was more of a contender based on her performance in Osaka last year, and put in a superb performance again here, deserved a lot of credit.

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  • 58. At 3:26pm on 17 Aug 2008, SerieA wrote:

    Here we go again, praising failure, sending an unfit runner to the olympics instead of providing vital experience for a newcomer, good job GB we sure are going to light the world in fire in 2012 /sarcasm.

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  • 59. At 3:34pm on 17 Aug 2008, A-Rod-God wrote:

    Why Radcliffe compete is beyond me, she was hyped up and in truth never stood a chance of getting a medal.

    She aslo denied others who had a real chance there from competing.

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  • 60. At 3:37pm on 17 Aug 2008, sraffe8283 wrote:

    We are hearing a lot about London 2012 and funding young athletes. Yet we send an athlete to Beijing who was nowhere near fit enough to compete in an event where peak fitness and training are pre-requisites. Why did Paula not admit she was not going to win anything an allow a fit reserve who has trained hard to take her place. This paints a very poor picture to our young athletes aiming for 2012.

    I bet the next marathon Paula runs will put a lot of money in her bank account but hopefully it will be soon as her marketing potential will surely be fading fast.

    Come on Team GB lets select our best team and not those who think they maybe fit in time irrespective of name or profile

    Steve

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  • 61. At 3:39pm on 17 Aug 2008, madeiraman57 wrote:

    Rubbish Mr Cram.
    On these occasions.... OLYMPICS, only the fit and committed to WIN should be expensed to compete.
    Paula Radcliffe said ' I will give it a go' .. so would my wife - but she isn't going to trouble the scoreboard.
    The place should have gone to the Scots lassie and let PR go back to making a fortune for her sponsors - if she can cut it now - her selfish attitude is a disgrace ????
    At this Olympics maybe more than most, there are far too many 'athletes' ' going for the experience'
    It's about time the athletic field mob started to take a leaf out of the Cyclist's , Rowers, sailors and others who actually have a game plan to COMPETE and win !!!

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  • 62. At 3:45pm on 17 Aug 2008, editorsfoot wrote:

    Rather than blog about another athletics failure perhaps Mr Cram should blog about the successes in sailing, rowing and cycling, or is there just a little bit of jealousy?

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  • 63. At 4:02pm on 17 Aug 2008, HAYDON wrote:

    I had to stop watching this race.

    Twenty minutes in and I still not know the name of any other competitor.

    I was tired of the atrocious commentary. Drivel. Paula this and Paula that.

    Did no one in the production team do any research on the other runners?

    I am all in favour of backing our GB Team but your commentary was the worst I have ever heard on the BBC.


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  • 64. At 4:03pm on 17 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    So are we all saying that Tyson Gay shouldn't have competed either? He wasn't fully fit. Is he a disgrace?

    And the reason why there is so much coverage of Paula is because she is one of the greatest distance runners ever. Maria did great for 6th. But it was one race. She's not a world record holder. She hasn't won 7 world titles. She hasn't won medals for her country.

    And its a an abomination to say that Paula is a disgrace. You may not like her or her performance, but I think the real disgraces are the Marion Joneses, the Ben Johnsons, the Justin Gatlins. Lets have some perspective

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  • 65. At 4:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, the_brazilian wrote:

    This article sums up all that is wrong with UK Athletics and the BBC's supine commentary team.

    Paula Radcliffe has been a fine athlete, but she wasn't prepared for the Athens Olympics and she wasn't fit for Bejing.

    There is never any critiscism towards any of the athletes, only hard luck, never mind, it's OK, there there.

    Imagine if Sky covered the games - do you think Stuart Barnes or Ian Botham would accept anything less than full fitness and preparation from a cricketer or england rugby player?

    No. And the sad fact is, these athletes take money from public funds in order to compete at the OLYMPICS, not the fun run or wherever their own sponsors want them to turn up.

    Everyone knows when the Olympics are, they're every four years - that means you train in four year cycles to get fit and prepare. If you can't do this, step aside for someone else, please.

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  • 66. At 4:42pm on 17 Aug 2008, jfmsha wrote:

    Paula is probably not past it but she was selfish in taking the place at Bejing when she knew she was not right.
    I believe there was another Brit who had the qualifying standard and would have got more out of it than Paula ever could with her preparation.
    Just one more thought, I can never remember Paula says it was for Britian, it is always for her.

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  • 67. At 5:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, Opaque wrote:

    She can continue yes, but with no or minimal Team GB funding.

    On the BBC webpages summing up the results of this weekend the failure of Radcliffe to win and her coming in 23rd place was big news but her compatiriots great 6th position wasn't mentioned.

    If she wasn't ready then she shouldn't have gone to Beijing. Theres several atheletes that did just that. I'm willing to give it a go! What sort of thing is that to say?

    I'm not so much fed up with her, but rather the way that the media concentrates so much time and energy on her. Don't forget, to most people the other athletic competitions through the years don't mean anything, it's down to the olympics. And she's blown 2 of them.

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  • 68. At 5:11pm on 17 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    jfmsha, this is professional sport, not the Eurovision Song Contest.

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  • 69. At 5:11pm on 17 Aug 2008, Irvy111 wrote:

    I am absolutely appalled by most of these comments. Claiming that Paula was selfish or had taken the place of a younger athelete. Hey, Hayley Haining is 36!!! She is older than Paula. So how can Paula have taken the place of a younger athlete? Then, selfish? Do you guys think that it is selfish to put your body through pain and also your mind.

    I was in tears when I saw Paula like this on TV and I applaud her on this gutsy performance.

    I think you should only make such inappropriate comments if you know what exactly it means to be a competitive runner. I know it and there is nothing selfish or wrong in wanting to compete and give it a shot. So keep your horrible comments to yourselves!

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  • 70. At 5:19pm on 17 Aug 2008, alfie wrote:

    Oh Steve : You put this up and of course it served as a magnet to all the mindless Paula - haters .... on they come again to spew vitriol over one of Britains greatest athletes. Really were asking for it with the headline.

    For heavens sake why on earth should Paula not have gone? She had worked her socks off to somehow get fit for this , showed great courage to battle it out , in pain , and finished 23rd.
    Respect to Hayley Haining but I doubt she could have placed that high.
    And as Steve said, if her legs hadn't packed up on her it could have been much better even with a dreadfully constrained preparation.

    She is Britains best , earned her place, took her place and was hardly disgraced in the event.
    Case closed.

    (Who am I kidding - there'll be another bunch of nitwits on tomorrow to pile on the insults.)

    But well said Steve.

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  • 71. At 5:24pm on 17 Aug 2008, jfmsha wrote:

    mxb160

    Exactly! Was she Professional?

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  • 72. At 5:26pm on 17 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    The media coverage has been absurdly oriented towards Paula, who wasn't seriously expected to be fit and to be able to contend for a medal. (This goes for the coverage being shown in the stadium in Beijing too.) And Mara Yamauchi has every right to be frustrated at the relative lack of attention her performance has garnered.

    However...I can't help thinking that Paula Radcliffe is actually the greatest British athlete of at least the last 20 years. If you think she needs an Olympic gold to prove that, so be it. But enough mediocrities have won gold in various events to suggest that maybe that's not a valid criterion.

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  • 73. At 5:27pm on 17 Aug 2008, piran52 wrote:

    What an incredible Olympic weekend for Britain - apart from Paula's dismal performance. I really dislike her constant excuses, she failed in Athens and failed again in China. Stop giving her praise and encourage the really winners like Mara Yamauchi. Saturday was the day Great Britain really struck gold with 4 Olympic titles making a truly historic day for Team GB with brilliant and inspiring performances from swimmers, cyclists, sculling, rowing and sailing. Well done all our true British Olympic heroes. We are all so so proud of all our girls and boys out in China.

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  • 74. At 5:34pm on 17 Aug 2008, emilywil68 wrote:

    going to keep mine short and sweet.........paula.............ignore all the negative comments made above.

    You are an outstanding athlete who 'deserved the chance' to go and get a medal. Loads of us hoped beyond hope that it would be gold............or any colour ......but not to be.

    You are a fabulous role model who I know that 100's of schoolkids look up to. Fingers crossed that one day, your dream (and ours) will come true.

    Good luck in the future

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  • 75. At 5:43pm on 17 Aug 2008, tigerjosephl wrote:

    I have to agree with many others. I felt long before Paulas arrival at the Olympics that she would in no way get herself into the shape required not only to be competitive but to even complete the distance without adding any further complications to her future physical and mental preparations for her future plans. I am a great fan of Paula but her selection for the event by the BOA is nothing short of selfish and I feel for those athletes waiting in the wings who have been deprived of what may have been a once n a lifetime chance to compete at the Olympic games. Maybe the BOA was wishing for devine intervention when they decided to allow her to compete.

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  • 76. At 5:50pm on 17 Aug 2008, grangeperson wrote:

    Brendan F's commentary was a marathon I could well do without. There wasn't a single pause, even when the pictures said it all. Inevitably it was very repetitious! He does the same thing back in Britain - doubtless he's very knowledgeable, but now and again give us a break!

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  • 77. At 5:54pm on 17 Aug 2008, tigerjosephl wrote:

    Alfie wrote "why on earth should Paula not have gone"? Well I think the answer is in the post. Paula is not in any shape to run a competitive marathon that is a fact. Its also a fact that you get no prizes for 23rd so why not put another fit athlete in to maybe finish somewhere around that position, wear the Team GB Vest (which Paula will get to do many more times on the big stage) and who knows, that person weather it was Hayley Haining or a.n.other may have been inspired to greater things by her inclusion in the squad. It seems to me that big name athletes only have to turn up these days to have their names added to the team list.

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  • 78. At 5:56pm on 17 Aug 2008, 1Wattie wrote:

    I would not have a problem supporting Paula no matter if she won or finished last as long as she was fit, properly prepared and her HEART was in it. By her own admission she was not fit enough or properly prepared and I think her "I`ll give it a go" attitude shows her heart was not in it at all.

    At the line up for the race all we heard was Steve going an about her wonderful effort to be there at all with no mention of the other Brits who I`m sure worked every bit as hard to be in team GB. For the last few weeks we`ve been subjected to Paulas media hype and in some respects I think they "persuaded" her to compete in Beijing.
    Mara Yamaouchi finished 6th, a superb feat which even Paula has not done in 3 olympice, and Liz Yelling managed 35th after a horrendous fall left her with cracked ribs and severe shoulder bruising but they had to taks a back seat to the coverage of the BBC Golden girl. Just as a matter of interest I wonder who they will be touting for the BBC Sports personality of the year?.
    They wouldn`t, Would they??

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  • 79. At 6:02pm on 17 Aug 2008, minsterfan wrote:

    Paula Radcliffe has done nothing wrong here - despite not being fully fit, she was still the second best British runner in the field, finishing well ahead of Liz Yelling, and she would have finished some way ahead of the reserve runner Hayley Haining had she been involved. The truth is, Radcliffe was not taking the place of some young prospect who would have benefited from the experience because, unfortunately, there are no such prospects at the moment.

    Radcliffe was unfortunate that she wasn't fit enough to challenge, but has done nothing worthy of criticism by turning up. The vitriolic comments which have been directed her way should be pointed, if at all, at the bbc, who ought not have covered the story almost exclusively from the "poor paula" angle, especially given Mara Yamauchi's prerformance, although even then there would be something wrong with any news agency which did not spend a large amount of coverage on the world record holder and former world champion regardless of the event, context, and nationality of the athlete.

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  • 80. At 6:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    stwl2006

    kelly holmes probably shades Paula as best in last 20 yrs

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  • 81. At 6:07pm on 17 Aug 2008, gorse22 wrote:

    The 'praise and plaudits' should go to Mara Yamauchi who got the highest placing of a British woman in a marathon but who is nowhere in sight on this website or the BBC coverage on TV which I think is appalling.

    Paula Radcliffe is a very talented athlete who has done a lot of great stuff over the years, but the BBC myopia she inspires is infuriating.

    She was not fit and had no business taking the place of an athlete who was.

    All this nonsense about the 'true grit' she showed misses the point - and says a lot about why Britain under-performs in athletics - 'giving it a go' is not good enough.

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  • 82. At 6:13pm on 17 Aug 2008, doctorSparky68 wrote:

    For all those people saying that Paula is driven by money, just how does that stack up with her decision to run the marathon in the olympics where presumably she doesn't get that much money?

    As for those people claiming she is 'rubbish', 'ordinary at best' etc, just remember that this is the first time she has been beaten in a marathon, apart from in Athens. How many british sports people can claim that?

    I fully understad the argument that the place may have gone to another runner, but as has already been pointed out there are no younger runners around who could have gone for the experience.

    Also, those claiming that she knew she wasn't fit enough, how can she have? Let's remember that she was in the chasing pack until very near the end and as such she could have been looking at the silver medal.

    She has earned the right to have had a go at getting an olympic gold, and also to have another go in 2012, whether she is successful ot not only time will tell, but I for one hope she can make it in London.

    I would, however, agree with those people that are saying that Mara Yamauchi deserves a bit more coverage. I thought she deserved a little more of an interview at the end than she got.

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  • 83. At 6:18pm on 17 Aug 2008, Brekkie wrote:

    Thank god I missed the commentary then considering the comments here.

    Actually a comment about Athletics as a whole - it may be the flagship event at the games, but due to the poor performance of British athletes in the last few years as other sports excel it is no longer our flagship Olympic event, and therefore shouldn't be treated as such.

    The BBC have got most things spot on in the first week, but once the athletics started coverage has been far too focused on what's going on in the Birds Nest.

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  • 84. At 6:20pm on 17 Aug 2008, abc123x wrote:

    I think most of the comments on here are appaling. How can any of you badmouth Paula Radcliffe like this? Have any of you actually tried running 26.2 miles, especially with a stress fracture of your femur? I doubt it. Paula is an inspiration to athletes in the UK, she has struggled through two olympic games now with bitter disappointment and yet she's not giving up. Of course she should have run this time, particularly after her catastrophe in Athens it's only natural to have unfinished business with the Olympics. How anyone can say she is rubbish, I cannot understand. I really felt for her in the interview, and as a Paula Radcliffe fan I was mainly watching the marathon so that I could see how she got on, and I'd have liked more commentry on her. We should all be supporting all of our British athletes.
    Congratulations Paula, you showed us your bravery and determination today, and just for that, I'm proud of you. I hope you recover quickly and are back in training for 2012 soon. That is one event I will definitely be watching.

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  • 85. At 6:22pm on 17 Aug 2008, notna303 wrote:

    I dont usually write blogs but Im fed up watching the team GB atheletes make excuses, and the so called TV pundits praising losers, Team GB has done fantastic in the non track/field events,with I bet little lotto money backing,our atheletic team has had bucket loads of money thrown at them for most of them to only say I'll learn from the experience for next time.
    I believe we upsell our atheletes like our national football team, we talk the talk but rarely deliver on the stage that matters most.
    It will be interesting watching the BBC sports personality this year, I'm sure they will give most TV time to Losers rather than the unsung winners at the olympics.
    I dont usually watch the rowers/cycling etc but this olympics has been fantastic, however in 2012 where are the track winners going to come from ?????

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  • 86. At 6:26pm on 17 Aug 2008, richyscot1 wrote:

    I'm shocked, by the majority of peoples comments here! How many people here have ran a marathon and felt the sheer agony in their legs at 21, 22 and if you're lucky 24 miles???

    Paula Radcliffe is the best female marathoner in history, fact! She proved herself last year in the New York marathon, and thoroughly deserved her place in team GB!

    I for one stood up and applauded an astonishing and guttsy run by the worlds best female runner!

    When are we going to stop bad mouthing our athletes for achieving things that we ourselves could never do?? I beg all of you who have criticised Paula Radcliffe to do a little research (Wikipedia her, for a start) and just be proud of what she, a fantastic Britisih athlete has achieved, and will continue to achieve with our support!!

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  • 87. At 6:54pm on 17 Aug 2008, valerierun wrote:

    I totally agree with Steve Cram. I think Paula is fantastic. No one else in the world could have run like that or even made the start with the injuries she's had recently. She showed so much guts and determination and we should all be proud of her.

    Congratulations also to Liz Yelling and Mara Yamauchi who both also ran superbly.

    Looking forward to London 2012!!

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  • 88. At 7:00pm on 17 Aug 2008, stwl wrote:

    #80 - white lady. I've a lot of respect for Kelly Holmes's career accomplishments, but she was dominated by Mutola at 800m for most of her career. She also never threatened world records, although those records are perhaps somewhat dubious in the first place!

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  • 89. At 7:01pm on 17 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    we are proud of what paula has done over the years - but the posts you see today RICHY are testament to the poor decision-making by both paula and the athletics team that allowed her to run beijing

    a relative UK marathon newbie would just not have been allowed to run - but this was "our paula" so run she did

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  • 90. At 7:19pm on 17 Aug 2008, rightbythebeach wrote:

    I agree Paula got too much media attention in Beijing today, especially at the expense of Mara who had a fantastic run.

    That said, Paula is an absolutely exceptional distance runner who has achieved a great deal wearing a GB vest, and across a range of distances - on the track, on the road, and cross-country. Were her Beijing substitute a runner of equal proven talent then the case for Paula to have given up her place would be stronger. But she isn't - and that's said with the very greatest of respect to Hayley.

    Two points arising from that: had Hayley run instead and achieved a similar or possibly lower ranking, would all the whingeing now be about Paula being a wimp for not giving it a go? Or alternatively about why Paula hadn't been allowed to test herself? However it was played, and unless Paula had actually won something today, this one was destined to end in tears (literally so, in the event!).

    The state of UK Athletics leaves a lot to be desired, but just taking pot shots at an easy target will solve nothing. Perhaps, therefore, some of the pundits who've been posting here would like to get themselves out of their armchairs and down to the track - clubs across the UK are crying out for committed grass roots-level coaches and officials. It's trackside - and on cold, wet winter weekends in the mud of cross-country - where the distance runners of the future will be found and they need nurturing now if our athletes are to achieve the type of excellent results in 2012 that we've seen from Team GB elsewhere in Beijing.

    One final observation. I remember very, very clearly the Athens drama and I remember very, very clearly the irritation I felt then as Paula was ripped to shreds by the armchair pundits. It seemed to go on for weeks, and again, she couldn't win: while she said nothing, she was lambasted; once she gave her interview, she was lambasted all over again.

    However, whenever the pontificating was taking place within my earshot I found a most effective way of curtailing it. All I did was just ask: "And how many marathons have YOU completed?"

    Worked a treat.

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  • 91. At 7:23pm on 17 Aug 2008, Hampshirect wrote:

    I think that Radcliffe is an attention seeker - twice now we have witnessed her sobbing when she has not been leading the field. Why did the BBC give her so much attention and ignore our girl who came Sixth. Give it up Radcliffe and make way for fit competitors in 2012.

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  • 92. At 7:27pm on 17 Aug 2008, GillH wrote:

    I do NOT believe it. The second item on the highlights programme after the rowing is the women's marathon and Paula Ratcliffe! Did I miss something or didnt two British women cycle off for gold and silver today? Didnt Ben Ainsley get his third gold at the Olympics? Didnt the women get gold in the sailing today? Or was that some other day???

    This is beyond a joke. OK include her at some point but Paula was NOT a highlight today. Seeing people performing at their peak is.

    This coverage convinces me that the media at least think the public prefer "plucky losers" to winners. I think they are completely off their rockers.

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  • 93. At 7:38pm on 17 Aug 2008, drawdownthestars wrote:

    My friend and I watched the marathon today, really because of Paula. We both watched her in the 2004 Olympics and felt for her, the pain she so obviously suffered and watched her being hounded in the press afterwards which was awful really.

    We then watched as she recovered and bounced back. She didn't give up.

    She is an inspiring athlete and I'm sure is/ has been the inspiration for a lot of ordinary people to get up out of their armchair and do something themselves, including myself (I ran the marathon last year although certainly not as fast!).

    I am not going to pretend I am the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletics, but i enjoy watching Paula who comes across as a genuine, nice lady and I wish her and her teammates well. I am glad she was in the race today and I think the BBC coverage was very good.

    i don't understand why everyone has to knock her down. If she'd not have run, she would have been slated. If she'd have run, but dropped out, she would have been slated.

    As it was, she TRIED, as did all those runners, they tried their very very best, that should be encouraged. She finished and she should proud of herself, esp since the last 4 months have been so trying.

    I'm glad to have been able to support her today and I'm sure a lot of other people were too. I will hope that in 2012 I am able to go to the London olympics and support ALL of our runners and I hope Paula will be there.

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  • 94. At 7:54pm on 17 Aug 2008, mb295 wrote:

    I'm a big fan of Paula, but unfortunately we all knew this was going to be a race too far. As a genuine fan, I'd rather not see her go through this sort of ordeal again - hopefully it'll be a fully fit Paula at London 2012.

    That said, she should have had the decency (and experience) to know that it wasn't going to be her year and give her place to the highly deserving Hayley Haining (that Scottish girl as described by one blogger).

    Some may point to the ability of a certain Mr Woods to overcome adversity and win the US Open, but at what cost - when will we see him compete again. The same goes for Paula - the psychological damage done by her last 2 failed Olympic quests must have her wondering if it's really worth subjecting her body to another experience. I hope she does but only if she's genuinely 100% fit.

    Well done for trying Paula - but you shouldn't really have been there.

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  • 95. At 7:55pm on 17 Aug 2008, dfm237 wrote:

    I agree with Steve's analysis of Paula's performance etc, and am glad he gives credit to the winner - last night during the commentary it was not until she had about 1.4km to go that he and my old Olympics colleague Bren gave her any praise, the best till then being 'a smart race but not particularly brave', then at 40.6km it became an 'impressive performance' and with 500m to go 'a brilliant job'. Otherwise too much of the commentary was repetitious (how many times did we hear the view that Rita Tose -'one of the favourites for this race in every sense' (?) should drop out? How often was Mara
    's preparation 'meticulous'?
    The team did not give us much info about the competitors (apart from the UK competitors and even that was short of factual information). We saw a Korean and Bren commented that there were 'a lot of good runners in this part of the world' Really?
    The race was 'going to be a long struggle' - I'd never have guessed. And so on ad infinitum.
    Please collect some better info about past performances, personal details etc about the men before next weekend! I found it sad that all we heard all night about the leading runners could have been written on the back of a postage stamp. Of the 2 leading Chinese runners we learned that one had won the London Marathon (let's keep it parochial) and of the other nothing - we never even learned their first names... Poor stuff - and the 'jokes' ...no comment. Perhaps Michael Johnson could be asked to do the marathon commentary - he's the best by 26.2 miles at least!
    PS The 10.000 was a bit better.

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  • 96. At 8:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, MoGlasgow wrote:

    A though. Perhaps the BBC should try to get commentators who at least have a command of the language, and perhaps, more importantly, grammar!
    Brendan Foster was awful.

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  • 97. At 8:09pm on 17 Aug 2008, RobVilla wrote:

    I have said this on another thread and checked with my family and friends so sure I am not off the mark here.
    The beebs coverage for this event (not others) is a disgrace - Biased Pro-Paula nonsense -'brave' (aren't most Olympians)blah de blah because she is personal friends with some of the commentators.
    She has never won the main gig and that's a fact.
    Can we celebrate the real heroes of today

    Ben Ainslie
    Rebecca Romero
    Rowing Pair
    3 girls in the Sailing

    Winners and honourable mentions to the other medalists from today.

    Please No more Paula - dread to think what would have happened if she had won!



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  • 98. At 8:33pm on 17 Aug 2008, PeterAJK wrote:

    Some of the anti-Paula comments here are ridiculous, such as claims that she only performs for sponsors and never in the Olympics. She was blatantly injured yesterday and blatantly ill in Athens, nothing to do with money.

    As for claiming she should've let Hayley Haining run, Paula still ran better than Hayley Haining would've done when fit: Liz Yelling is a better runner than Haining and Radcliffe beat her. Paula was still the 2nd-best athlete available to us, so deserved to run, and can any of these armchair observers honestly say they would've pulled out in Paula's shoes? She did the best she could've done in the state she was in, and that best was well deserving of her place in the team. She's not a money-hungry athlete who chokes in big events, nor is she selfish for not dropping out, she's just an athlete trying to do the best she can.

    Oh, and massive congratulations to Mara Yamauchi for a really good race, she ran very sensibly, or at least, as cleverly as the other, more experienced athletes who allowed a comparatively average runner like Tomescu-Dita to open up such a big lead.

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  • 99. At 8:42pm on 17 Aug 2008, poshow35 wrote:

    I am a fan of Paula, so like a few others I am biased to a degree.

    I cannot believe the messages I am reading tonight on her performance in the marathon and I agree with Steve on a number of his points.

    She will be slated for not winning and she would have been slated if she had dropped out. Yet if she is fit enough for the London marathon in April and wins it - she will be hailed for it!

    Give her a break, she does not give up, she has the tenacity to keep going and try to win any race not just for herself, but because she is proud to be British!

    I also believe that she is one of the great inspirations to the British team as a whole, and shows youngsters coming through the ranks that if they show her type of determination and tenacity, anything is achievable!

    Bravo Paula, keep going, and I look forward to seeing you win London next year!

    Also, a big big well done to all the competitors who have achieved so much this year, it is truly amazing to watch.





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  • 100. At 8:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, AndyWB wrote:

    I agree - there was too much coverage of Paula today. Why was there all this coverage?

    Well, it was the Chinese choosing the camera shots shown (no more slow motion please), choosing the graphics that showed the leader, chase groups and Paula individually - and they were focussing on her because she is SO good.

    I'm horrified by the comments on here - that's she's rubbish, old, or driven by greed.

    Paula's rubbish? Have the people saying that looked at her career history?!

    Too old? This isn't the women's gymnastics - and today was won by by a 38 year old. Maybe she'll be too old in 4 years time - but not today. Only time will tell.

    Greed? Then why run? Why the tears? Why the grueling grind of the training?

    Took the place of a younger alternative? Okay then, who?

    Quite simply, from the moment she suffered the stress fracture, she wasn't going to win this race - yet of the 3 GB runners, she still came second. It was a magnificent, heartbreaking, impossible run.

    I hope if she reads this page, she ignores all these comments. In fact, I hope she doesn't read it at all, what with the vitriol of ill-informed, probably sofa-bound muppets.

    I would say that the bits of the coverage that the Beeb could control were rubbish. The marathon is a long event - but they didn't seem to have any information about the other runners to fill it with. Frankly, I don't give a monkey's about the entertainments they're being shown.

    And the interviews at the end - they seemed unable to get past Yamauchi fast enough to intrude on Radcliffe's grief. I was appalled - for both of them.

    Congratulations Mara Yamauchi, and next time can we hear a bit more from a Brit who had a really successful run like that?

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  • 101. At 8:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, Hacked account wrote:

    The thing is, Chris Boardman stated in his interview this morning that the majority of TeamGB have accepted that failure is not an option any more, why should the athletes be any different?

    Yes, Paula had to exorcise the demons of Athens, but in the same way, it isn't acceptable to enter the race half fit.

    Lets hope she has a full run up to 2012, and can finally get the Olympic gold. She can retire happy then. :)

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  • 102. At 8:52pm on 17 Aug 2008, John_A wrote:

    Hi Steve,

    Will Paula be able to enter + hopefully start the Marathon with a walkig stick, wheelchair and a spare thrird leg (Jake the pake) She is pulling your or somebody elses' legs Big Time. She is a disgrace. How much is she paid + supported to drop out in one race 4 years ago and then struggles to make it round this time??? If she is allowed to enter next time, then the entire Selection Panel should have to go round the track with her. She is either permanently injures or just plain sick!
    Hope she retires (disgraceful that she has been allowed to swing the lead so far!
    Spendid!!!

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  • 103. At 8:54pm on 17 Aug 2008, davebeetle wrote:

    Wow what response to this. I thought I was alone in my feelings for Paula.

    My Family love the olympics so much so we put our active lives on hold for a day on the sofa watching the games and my views about Paula were disagreed with for the most of the day.

    I believe we had British a marathon runner finish 6th today/last night this being the highest finish ever for an Olympic marathon correct me if I wrong please. I am doubting myself because that information given by the BBC was in seconds. What followed in the BBC's coverage were pictures of Paula not been fit enough to compete at her "normal high standard" level and then crying in front of the nation saying she had let every one down.

    I feel sorry for the reserve athlete that could not go in her place. Perhaps she might had finished 4th! or even 3rd! who knows. The fact remains that Paula took a slot in which she deep down knew could not do justice to.

    Her performance was not "brave" it was selfish. As for those people that think she would have got slated for withdrawing I feel is wrong. I think most of us would have thought she is injured never mind, we the British public will have to wait for your next injury free world class performnce at one of the big Marathons next year.

    I am personally very angry about Paula's descision to run some of the reasons I have stated above. I am also angry at Steve Cram for his opinion on "brave" Paula. Lets rewind back a few years and put in a role reversal. Seb Coe in the 1980's sufferes a stress fracture 4months before the Olympic Games. Only one slot available Cram is the reserve. Coe decides to be "brave" in the 1500 meters he comes last. Cram misses out the games and a possible medal and all the other trimming that go with it. Need I say more.

    I could on and on about this but I have to stop Well Done Team GB 3RD on the table ace :-) :-) :-)

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  • 104. At 8:58pm on 17 Aug 2008, Morad wrote:


    By finishing the Marathon, Paula has won many admirers around the world, sadly once again, many of her fellow Brits are the first ones to criticise her.
    I think Paula should be proud of the way she finished the race, she gave the olympic games that special sportive feelling, that feeling that make people wait 4 long years to watch all kind of sports on the tele.
    Well done Paula.

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  • 105. At 9:08pm on 17 Aug 2008, nottinghammagpie wrote:

    steve Cram knows what he is talking about as he was a world class athlete. Paula was outstanding today for bravery and she is a credit to british athletics and her country. These people who call her a 'failure' know absoluntely nothing about sport and long distance running. She tried so hard she was crying tears of deep emotion and my heart was with her. I find these criticisms embarrasing actually as is the British coverage of these games with paula now ignored. She broke her leg just a few months ago and then finishes in the hardest marathon in the world and competed for such a long time. Have these people who criticise ever ran a marathon. I suggest they go back and talk about things they actually know something about.

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  • 106. At 9:27pm on 17 Aug 2008, heroicreidy1 wrote:

    Think its so wrong that Paula Radcliffe had her place in the team even though she was not sure if she would run. I am sick to death of this attitude of 'she did her best'. She was not even fit, and worse still denied another athlete a place in team GB!!!!!!!! Just watched the highlights and I would have liked to have seen a lot more made of our medal winners today - Paula, give it up, and please stop crying!!!!!! you got your race, and your sponsors are happy.
    Finally - many congratulations to our other two girls - superb.

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  • 107. At 9:41pm on 17 Aug 2008, davebeetle wrote:

    There allot of people springing to the defence of Paula, I dont doubt her achievements. those of us who have run Marathons and trained to complete marathons and other endurance events know what it is like to training the dark winter nights sacrificing friends and family etc.

    My problem is she turned up to an event not fit when there are other people ready and primed to go.

    Oh yeah and some of the people complaining do have some sort of a inclin about endurance sport and the commitment required to compete we are not ALL arm chair athletes complaining you know.

    The Olympic games are so special I have been (as a spectator) and there are two types of athletes there:

    1 - The athlete that has just qualified has little prospect of a medal and will enjoy that life changing experiance and perhaps do something amazing

    2 - The world class who will enjoy the experiance and has that chance of eternal glory.

    Paula is a 2 she was not fit. So let a 1 come and experiance the glorious games and who knows that athlete may blossom in to a super star

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  • 108. At 9:43pm on 17 Aug 2008, fireysportjunkie wrote:

    well done paula next time you'll do it. i was a little upset there was no mention of liz yelling in your reports she was black and blue from her fall and a suspected broken rib
    and no one on the bbc reports even mentioned her shame

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  • 109. At 9:49pm on 17 Aug 2008, tennischrisperrin wrote:

    Paula is the world marathon record holder and everyone seems to be moaning!!!
    As a runner myself she has to go through lots of hard triaining.
    Just remember she was once 499th in the english national championships and look at her now.

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  • 110. At 9:50pm on 17 Aug 2008, Ryan86 wrote:

    I guess it's one of those things, we'll never know what the result would have been if things were different, but on the balance of things, I believe a 80% fit Paula would have been a better bet than Hayley.

    It sort of reminds me of the "I told you so" punditry that people roll out after the event. After things don't turn out quite for the best, they're quick to jump on the fact that their way might have been better.

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  • 111. At 9:53pm on 17 Aug 2008, Peter Biddlecombe wrote:

    "paula is selfish": as others have said, so is any successful athlete. The team management may be slated after the event for picking her when she could "only" come 23rd, but would also have been slated if they'd left her at home and then she'd run a fast New York marathon in October.

    There are umpteen "failure" athletes who never won Olympic gold - Ron Clarke for those whose memories go back far enough, and Colin Jackson, for a couple.

    Those who wanted the management to take a youngster for experience: name one who qualified.

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  • 112. At 10:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, Aaron wrote:

    Steve says had it not been for cramp she would have finished 7th or 8th, in 2004 had she not spent a lot of time on tv talking about her chances in Athens and instead prepared more sufficiently for the marathon she may have actually finished the race, her excuse of the wrong tablets was clearly not true and infuriated many athletics fans

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  • 113. At 10:09pm on 17 Aug 2008, basseo wrote:

    WOW, I truly can not believe some of you people on here! I doubt that any of you who are insulting Paula actually knows how to run let alone run 26.2 miles. Well said Irvy111, abc123x and richyscot1. Paula Radcliffe currently holds an amazing ten world records, she’s a role model to so many young athletes and normal people as she has quite bad asthma and anaemia and is one of Britain’s greatest sports women.

    She is not after the money as she is already a millionaire, she runs because she loves to compete at the highest level and we should be behind her all the way, its shameful but some British people love to insult our athletes when they have poor results but when they win and break world records they suddenly love them and can’t give them enough praise. It’s hard to believe but she’s only human!

    She came 23rd and was still the second fastest British contender, I do think though Youmaichi should have had more media coverage but that is the BBC’S fault and not Paula’s. I do however think that the reserve runner Hayley Haining is TWO YEARS OLDER than Paula and if she did race she would probably be lower than 23rd.

    I can’t believe that some people think that she should retire right now and that she is a total disgrace. What right do you people have to tell another person when they should quit, only Paula can make that decision. I really hope that she goes and wins the London Marathon by a mile now to prove you people wrong.

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  • 114. At 10:12pm on 17 Aug 2008, YorkieBlades wrote:

    I don't understand people having a go at Paula Radcliffe about this.

    I can understand the argument that she shouldn't have gone and somebody fully fit should have had her place, but that decision is down to the selectors of the GB team. It wasn't like they didn't know how fit she was.

    Once selected, she did everything she could to do as well as she could. If Wayne Rooney or Michael Owen get picked for the World Cup despite being injured, do we blame them? No, we blame the manager. Or we understand that they had to go because they are worth taking the risk.

    Lay off the poor lass, she's only tried to do her best.

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  • 115. At 10:12pm on 17 Aug 2008, cluffiemac wrote:

    Mara Yamauchi should have tried harder. She could have stuck with the pack rather than just win a small battle for 6th. Unlike Paula, she maintained her form to the end.

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  • 116. At 10:14pm on 17 Aug 2008, heroicreidy1 wrote:

    Not taking away her past achievements, well done for that, but fact remains that she was not fit, she took another's opportunity and given special treatment. having been bitten by a spider she should have withdrawn gracefully. the london marathon ain't the same as olympic gold - and she won't be doing the marathon and taking someone else's dream. that's competitive athletics!

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  • 117. At 10:20pm on 17 Aug 2008, Sam wrote:

    Hang on a minute!

    If people think that 'bravery' surmounts to training less because you are injured, going into a race knowing you can't win and then blubbing to billions of viewers every 4 years when you prove it to be exactly so, you are all completely bonkers! Paula is a fantastic athlete, but imagine what level a new talent could have reached over the last 8 years in place of Paula with dedicated resources and experts like the Cycling squad?

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  • 118. At 10:32pm on 17 Aug 2008, agile&fragile wrote:

    who else could deserve plaudits rather than Paula Radcliffe?

    In Paula there seem to be one true sportwoman and another so lovely.

    I will never forget the moment she broke down in tears after accomplishing the marathon in pain.

    "what really counts in sport is not the winning, but the playing"

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  • 119. At 10:35pm on 17 Aug 2008, Clive1959 wrote:

    When will the whingers get of Paulas back.
    I am 50 yrs of age and along with my wife we sat with tears in our eyes watching the Marathon his morning.
    Surely the world record holder deserves a chance at going for Gold, she trained extremely hard to get their and must have felt confident enough to give it her best shot.
    Did you all complain when she took on the world and won! I dont think so.
    I hope you will all eat your insults when she wins in London in 2012 and I for one will be travelling from the North east to cheer her on, I hope the whingers do the decent thing and keep away.
    Get a pair of running shoes and lets see you do it!
    When you have a headache do you stay of work? its no different.
    Sorry, you whingers probably go on the sick for a month get a life

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  • 120. At 10:38pm on 17 Aug 2008, chris_77 wrote:

    Some of the posts on here are absolute drivel.
    Yes, Maria finished higher than Paula and is newsworthy but then Maria is not in the same class and does not hold the world record.
    Paula desperately wanted to do well and despite not being fully fit she finished 23rd(beating the majority of the athletes that started!) Until she tried, she would never had known, the Olympics is still her main goal despite all her achievements.
    The fact is she would have done better than her replacement. She is a top quality athlete and a world record holder and something Britain should be proud of. However, by the tone of some of these posts you would ahve thought she was some drugs cheat.

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  • 121. At 10:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, heroicreidy1 wrote:

    Only losers bleat on about "it's how you play the game" True winners get on and do it. I have no doubt she will be in the 2012 team, to keep her sponsors happy!
    I'd get a pair of running shoes and do it if I had millions of lottery money, could give up my job, etc....but I would not take the chance away from another person if i was not fit enough to do myself and my country proud.

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  • 122. At 10:51pm on 17 Aug 2008, fluffs134 wrote:

    I just cant understand why the BBC coverage of the ladies marathon became the Paula Radcliffe Show! But it did!
    I think Mara Yamauchi should be invited into the studio for a decent interveiw to compensate for being almost completely overlooked by the commentary team! For goodness sake she came 6th - the best acheivement of a GB in this event!
    Well done Mara, i think you did brilliantly and i am looking forward to seeing you run in 2012!
    No doubt The Paula Radcliffe Show will be the main event again!!!

    BBC, please take these blog comments on board and give equal coverage to all the GB women competing in this event in 2012!

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  • 123. At 10:58pm on 17 Aug 2008, chris_77 wrote:

    to heroicreidy1

    You have truly demonstrated a level of idiocy which unfortunately reflects a large proportion of posters on here.
    if you you think you could set a world records, why don't you give up your job and do it.
    Paula is the elite womans marathon runner in the world today and deservedly warranted the media coverage. The footgae was from Chinese TV and they focussed on her not the BBC.

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  • 124. At 11:06pm on 17 Aug 2008, heroicreidy1 wrote:

    you, like many other of the paula radcliffe fanclub, have completely missed the point. anyone with a modicum of running talent could give up their job IF they had taxpayers' money thrown at them year after year, and then could bleat on about injuries and spider bites, and come 23rd in the Olympic marathon.
    this is about her present fitness and subsequent deprivation of some one else's chance.
    I wonder how we will remember her as an athlete in ten years' time......

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  • 125. At 11:18pm on 17 Aug 2008, potrodelpicasso wrote:

    She was unfit
    She was unprepared
    She was mentally unprepared.
    These are top athletes not school games
    The medals are masking the incompetence, with Paula and the boxing fraud!

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  • 126. At 11:18pm on 17 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:

    Paula appears to have a heart that can fuel her on long stretches but legs that just cannot go the distance - Athens and Beijing now......but her competitive spirit is to be commended

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  • 127. At 11:18pm on 17 Aug 2008, shniggles wrote:

    im sick and tired of hearing British athletes performances being described as "gutsy" or "brave". They are simply not stepping up to the mark and instead of trying to put a brave face on it all things should be done to change these adjectives into "brilliant" or "incredible"

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  • 128. At 11:36pm on 17 Aug 2008, Cool_G_79 wrote:

    Paula tried, again, and failed, again. She is a world class marathon runner (no doubt) but it appears she cannot cut it when it is the biggest stage of them all. I wish her all the best for 2012 but fear it will ultimately end in failure.

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  • 129. At 11:46pm on 17 Aug 2008, amorto wrote:

    To be honest, if i was in her position I would have run too as its the Olympics and it could be her last realistic chance of winning. However, her tearful performance after the race was over the top. It's not as if she entered the Marathon fully fit then broke down whilst in the lead. She knew she wasn't 100% so why the tears? THe BBC obsession with her is annoying, especially when we have so many athletes who are actually winning or performing well at these games. It is so sad that Mara Yamauchi has to play second fiddle to the whining of Radcliffe.

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  • 130. At 00:16am on 18 Aug 2008, coach65 wrote:

    A great spread of views here and very interesting they all are but, to take issue with one or two slightly mis-informed bloggers, it is not possible for someone to simply slip on a pair of trainers and start training for a place in an Olympic marathon, or any other Olympic track and field event.

    I have the privelidge of preparing, coaching and guiding international athletes and I can tell you that anyone who makes the team represents the absolute cream of genetic talent. Marathon runners are not just joggers who decide to take it seriously for a bit...

    The lottery money only goes to the very very best and even then it's not much. So don't assume that the money is 'thrown' at anyone who happens to show an interest in running jumping or throwing - it doesn't work like that.

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  • 131. At 00:28am on 18 Aug 2008, MissSJM wrote:

    I'm a runner who has just recovered from an ankle operation and today I competed in my first race since injury. I knew I probably wouldn't have a great race but had no idea that I would feel quite as sick or experience as much pain as I did. I really really wanted to drop out! Seeing Paula's performance this morning was the thing that stoped me. You inspired me and I'm sure many other athletes today Paula. In addition your twenty plus years of steely dedication and determination, sensational performances, world records have amazed and motivated so many young (and old) athletes, mum's, spectators, commentators, journalists etc...and I'm sure will continue to do so for years to come.
    Good Luck for 2012 Paula!

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  • 132. At 00:55am on 18 Aug 2008, ShuBob wrote:

    Hang on. Is this the same Steve Cram who commented after the men's long jump qualifying round were Chris Tomlinson didn't qualify that it would have been better if he'd stayed at home?

    The sheer hypocrisy of this man!

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  • 133. At 02:04am on 18 Aug 2008, Fishy_Ollie wrote:

    Believe the Hype?

    Media managers are paid to control how their charges are publicly perceived. If Steve Cram is so concerned about Paula Radcilffe, he should maybe go work for her and not our much-cherished public service broadcaster. Here lies the axis of debate : the conflict between public and private interest. In both Radcliffe and Cram’s case.

    Despite Radcliffe wearing GB on her back, it cannot be said she is a team player, seeming to do better as an individual. Taking only personal responsibility. Unfortunately her injury is a national problem - UK Athletics, the BOA, i.e. the powers that be, should have put their collective feet down, and stopped her running. Thus giving the reserve Hayley Haining a go – and invaluable experience to boot. This makes Radcliffe a bad role model for 2012. Two Olympic failures and way too much attention, tarnishing a good solid British effort so far. As a professional athlete unreality has replaced reason and British athletics was taken in by it. Taking away the chance for another athlete to compete. Celebrity is an over-valued commodity, versus grass roots sense. Sure, we need our heroes, why not try unaffected Rebecca Adlington, already proven at 19?

    As for Cram, quick to take the moral high ground on Dwain Chambers, should re-think in future how he conducts himself. He is only associating himself with an object of ridicule which in turn, reflects badly on the BBC, his employer. That organ can’t often defend itself against the underbelly of rampant commercialism in this country – re: the license fee. This is precisely what we need to protect – the independence and integrity of the BBC. To use a Chinese phrase of a dragon eating its own tail, the spiral can only be downward.

    But leaving on a positive note, it is Team GB that have done us proud, so far and at the time of writing without track and field coming to the party.

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  • 134. At 05:05am on 18 Aug 2008, patlana wrote:

    Paula grab your money as thats what its all about for you and husband /family competing in a race where you had no chance and stopped another with any sort of chance you are a sad athlete????

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  • 135. At 07:15am on 18 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    if she is that great - why has she not been made a dame by now like that true olympian kelly holmes - and no you dont have to retire first to be awarded damehood -

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  • 136. At 07:34am on 18 Aug 2008, charliebignuts wrote:

    Steve, you need to detach yourself from this to truly reflect on it. She shouldn't have been there and you do know that im sure.

    As all have said, her attendance was selfish and driven by money and she should have stepped out and let other GB runners step up.

    The fact that she cried so publically just goes to show that she shouldn't have been there. She did not deserve to be there, she should deal with it!

    I am also appalled by her husband, the coach!! What was his motivation in sending her there, did he make her, how much of all this is her trying to prove to the coach/hubby that she can do it. I had the misfortune of hearing a 5Live interview of him after the event. She was crying in the background and the interviewer asked him if he was proud of Paula. He rapidly changed the subject and avoided answering the question, while no doubt she stood and listened.

    He is just as much at fault here, if not more and i wish they would both just retire and let others step forward.

    BBC, stop praising her and tyring to drum up national sympathy. Its all too transparent!

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  • 137. At 08:22am on 18 Aug 2008, croydonrich wrote:

    4 years on and Paula is crying again. This time around she knew she was under-prepared and ran anyway. I feel sorry for Maria - you'd hardly know she'd taken part. I suppose Paula crying (again) is bigger news.

    Sad that the likes of Radcliffe and Ohuruogu (i wonder if she will remember to turn up for her races?) will detract attention from the fine performances on the bike, in the rowing and in the pool to the track athletes.

    Given that money is likely to be extremely tight over the next few years we should focus the Lottery funding on the events where we excel. I dont see why i should be subsidising people who struggle to get out of the heats and who i have very little faith are running clean -- over and above the billions we are paying to host the 2012 games.


    And anyway, who takes the performances on the track seriously anymore?

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  • 138. At 08:53am on 18 Aug 2008, pjcornhill wrote:

    I have been very disappointed with the TV point of view regarding Paula's race... she came home after having a really hard race and emotionally upset but still had time to see that her fellow club member was injured and show concern and help get medical assistance. This is the aspect that should have been highlighted. This is the spirit of the games. Why do our press always have to focus on the negative? There is more to the olympics than just the sporting triumphs and failures. There are the human triumphs to consider too...

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  • 139. At 09:10am on 18 Aug 2008, pjcornhill wrote:

    Supplementary to my comment... I have read a lot of the previous comments on this blog and realise that it is not only the press... I am sure that most of the bloggers like me are unfit and have not run anything since they were at school or college... who are we to comment on such things... However, Paula did state before the race that she was only running in it to see how well she could do... everyone knew her fitness and what preparation she had had. Trouble with us is we expect her to win... I wonder what the chinese are saying about their hurdler? Not much dissimilarity when you look at it. I admit I am jealous. I had my chances when I was younger and I didn't go with them. All I know is every one of the GB Team would love a medal whatever its colour and aspire to a gold. Most won't get anything but they still compete. Paula is no different.

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  • 140. At 09:55am on 18 Aug 2008, Ulutiram69 wrote:

    How did the BBC get sucked into the Paula Radcliffe self publicity machine?
    A fine individual runner , but never delivers the goods during the Olympics. However coverage of "The Paula Show" totally eclipsed the fantastic performance of the other British competitor Mara Yamauchi.
    The fact that she acheived a very creditable sixth place was totally ignored, no interviews, no Photo, no race footage.
    My advice to Mara is if she wants to be recognised in the BBC reports is
    1 Cry on camera
    2 make sure you are not prepared for the Olympic Marathon
    When interviewed on British Eurosport last night, the great Rosa Mota commented when asked if Paula Radcliffe should have run said No, when asked what were Paula's chances for 2012 Marathon she said she thought Paula had no chance.
    I agree with Rosa, so come on BBC start supporting the athletes who do stand a realistic chance of success in 2012, not those that cry to order during interviews

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  • 141. At 10:51am on 18 Aug 2008, Morad wrote:

    If you ask the Chinese events directors, the IOC, people interested in Marathon running all around the world, I am sure they will tell you they are glad and happy that Paula Radcliffe decided to take part in the Marathon, even though she was not fully fit.
    Paula made the Marathon very interesting to watch.
    With respect to the other GB athlete who was a reserve and waiting for the opportunity to tale part in the Olympics, has she competed, she probably would've made no mark on the event and probably finish way way back ...Yes she was robbed of a place to take part, that's how things work out sometimes, I am sure she will get over it. So should many of you.

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  • 142. At 11:11am on 18 Aug 2008, mightystags wrote:

    Selfish. Loser. Gettoutahere.

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  • 143. At 11:51am on 18 Aug 2008, StevieGRocksmyworld wrote:

    People keep saying how selfish paula was to take away the chance to run from a young, "up and coming" runner. I'm just interested to hear who people think this runner is?? As far as i'm aware, the reserve runner is older than Paula and most likely would have finished way below the 23rd place that Paula managed.

    I agree that mara should have been given A LOT more coverage after her fantastic 6th place- major faux pas by the BBC there.

    And I do understand people being annoyed by the amount of coverage Paula has been given, but i really think the level of vitriol aimed at Paula on this blog is way over the top.

    I think she should be applauded for even making it to the starting line (let alone the finish) If she is only motivated by the money winning races, then why would she bust a gut to make it to Beijing and then drag herself to the finish line despite being unfit and in a lot of pain.

    Too many people on here too quick to criticise someone for trying their best!!

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  • 144. At 12:52pm on 18 Aug 2008, babylyra wrote:

    why all the time spent on failed again paula radcliff what about the british girl who finished sixth, it was a great achievment yet nothing is said about her

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  • 145. At 12:52pm on 18 Aug 2008, ianr1950 wrote:

    I just don't get this hysteria over Paula Radcliffe, she went to the Olympics with no chance of winning and performed to expectations but why all the sympathy.
    She is getting paid well to do her job but Yamouchi who came 6th is being virtually ignored because of the Ratcliffe PR and the likes of Foster and co talking about great british failures.
    Until the athletics start delivering the results that the money being poured into it as the rowing, sailing and cycling are doing then they don't deserve any more.

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  • 146. At 1:26pm on 18 Aug 2008, jonathanfields wrote:

    I felt very sorry for Mara Yamauchi (and her supporters) as she was hardly mentioned during the race by the commentators. Athough she ran an excellent race and was only a few seconds behind the medal winners all the attention was on the Paula Radcliffe saga.It is high time to move on.

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  • 147. At 2:49pm on 18 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    # 141

    would that by any chance be the same people who forced the chinese hurdler to get to the blocks today ??

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  • 148. At 2:52pm on 18 Aug 2008, playunextyear wrote:

    Like athletics, rowing and cycling have had generous lottery funding. They've used it to hire the very best coaches they could find anywhere (e.g. the two Germans) and create a professionally organised, properly communicating team. The very best coaches recognise the importance of mental strength, and of getting the athletes to regard only their best as good enough.

    Look how distraught the womens four were, though they'd just won silver, losing the gold to the home nation. And look how Sir Steve Redgrave immediately set about building them up again.

    And what do we get from the athletes? I lost count how many times I heard - from an interview with a non-qualifier - "I felt so good in the warm-up." Now the men's long-jump pair win my provisional gold medal for choking, though I'm not confident, and neither is Jonathan Edwards by the way, that Mr Idowu won't out-choke them later in the week.
    This is the Olympics. Coaches must demand a season's best at the least, and preferably one or more career PBs. But more importantly, so must the athletes.

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  • 149. At 3:30pm on 18 Aug 2008, fireyMalindi wrote:

    Is it a sign of the times or is it something more inherent in the British press, that when we achieve a result that is equal best ever in the women’s Olympic marathon, the coverage, interviewing and assessment focuses on two athletes that are suffering from injury and underperforming rather than the outstanding performance of Mara Yamauchi. Mara came 6th, beating many other outstanding distance running nations such as Japan, Ethiopia, the US, Russia. She didn’t achieve a medal but she did run a very professional, sensible, well-calculated and planned race that brought Britain home as the fourth nation in the event, as well as her highest ranking so far in her relatively short marathon career to date. She also achieved this result is conditions that were arguably very tough for distance runners – it wasn’t as hot or humid as had been feared, but it was still much hotter and more humid than most other major marathon races.

    It was very sad and unfortunate for Paula Radcliffe and Liz Yelling to be injured and become injured during the race. But it is no accident that Mara arrived at the Olympic Games and marathon start line well and fit, and has largely managed to avoid serious injury or illness over the last year. This is the result of very careful planning in her training schedule and the implementation of that training programme, and a rational, sensible approach to her training, which has included listening to her body and heeding the warning signs. Mara is phenomenally disciplined, focused, meticulous, tenacious and intelligent, and this has played its part, to very good effect, in her preparation for the Olympic marathon race, and in this four year project of hers.

    So how did it come about that in the post-Olympic marathon race interview Mara got a few seconds at best and was then obscured from the camera and interview by Paula Radcliffe commiserating about running the Olympic marathon carrying a major injury? You could see Mara hovering behind Paula unsure of whether to stay or go. I’m not sure Mara’s team mates congratulated her on her performance when Mara went over to join them – the focus of their, and especially Paula’s, attention seemed to be on finding Liz a doctor even though Liz had managed to complete the marathon with the injury.

    Mara is Britain’s second fastest ever women’s marathon runner – she deserves the credit and recognition for achieving this status. It’s no accident or good fortune – it’s down to very hard work, discipline, focus, and a lot of sacrifice, as it is for all athletes of this calibre. What does it take for the British sporting television press to give recognition when it’s due? Do only personalities and tears count?

    (I’m a world champion in another sport that’s mentioned in this blog, so not an armchair synic. And in that sport you can get VERY serious back injuries, so suggesting running injuries are worse than those in other sports is absolutely ludicrous! And Paula’s PR manager deserves a bonus.)

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  • 150. At 3:33pm on 18 Aug 2008, HAYDON wrote:

    Radcliffe to win and her coming in 23rd place was big news but her compatiriots great 6th position wasn't mentioned.

    _____________

    Exactly.

    Congratulations to Mara Yamauchi for finishing 6th.

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  • 151. At 3:39pm on 18 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    So Mr Cram ! - cat got your tongue , or are you hiding like a coward behind a BBC PR umbrella ?

    You cant deny the significant (> 90%) depth of ill feeling on this one toward the BBC and the disbelief in the poor decision making by team Paula

    You pundits aren't always right you know

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  • 152. At 3:54pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    Well white lady, I would suggest the 90% figure you quote is a result of people with negative and borderline hate-filled attitudes having a hell-bent desire to force their bad feelings on everyone else so everyone else is as miserable as them. Hence people having to have a pop at a hugely successful athlete that has nothing to do with them, in order to feel better about themselves. Because lets face it, they can criticise Paula all they like, but they are never going to be in a position like hers to have any clue what they are talking about.

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  • 153. At 3:57pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    Neither Steve or anyone else from the BBC will see fit to comment on this blog white lady, because they know they got it badly wrong.
    They expected the same degree of sympathy from the public for Paula that she has enjoyed in the past, but, the difference is that this time, her position is of her own making and under those circumstances, she can expect no sympathy.
    The rules were bent by the selectors as it was to give her time to decide wether she was fit to compete or not and leave the poor girl who finished up as reserve unsure as to what the hell she was doing.
    That decision alone was bad enough, but for Paula then to decide that she could 'give it a go' while KNOWING that she was NOT by any means 100% is nothing short of ludicrous, selfish, and an utter disgrace.
    I dont care who the reserve was, how old she was, what her record was, it makes no difference.
    I would rather have a fit athlete try her heart out, at 100% fitness and give everything they have got but finish well down the field, maybe with a personal best and gain from the experience, that an unfit athlete who will 'give it a go' and then be plastered all over our screens weeping when what everyone knew what was going to happen, promptly happens.

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  • 154. At 4:05pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    chrisfarn40, exaclty how many athletes at these Games do you think were 100% fit??! I'm sure many athletes can only dream of what its like to be at top fitness! The Olympics is so special that sometimes you have to just give it a go. Look at Tyson Gay, Powell, Manadau, Hackett etc. Were they all disgraces too??

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  • 155. At 4:12pm on 18 Aug 2008, Christine wrote:

    I can't understand all the complaints. So she failed in another Olympic Games. That's a real shame, but she's far from the only one it's happened to. Who's criticising Asafa Powell for choking repeatedly on the big occasions? At least Paula's problem isn't that she choked, but that she physically wasn't able to win. OK, we could've sent someone else, but Paula was a gamble that could've paid off. If it had, everybody would've been full of praise for her, even if she'd run so hard that she ended up finishing her career through injury.

    That's what sport is about. If you don't gamble, you don't win. I wish Paula all the best for the future and I do hope we see her in London in 2012. She's a terrific inspiration and I bet most people who criticise her have not run many miles in their lives and don't realise how fit you have to be to simply complete a marathon, let alone win it. I was obese and unfit, but inspired by Paula in the London Marathon to take up running and now I'm fit and healthier than I've ever been in my life. Thank you Paula and good luck in the future! I hope to see you in London next spring.

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  • 156. At 4:13pm on 18 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    so mxb - why are there not m4 pepl defending her on here - answer me that then !

    and anothr thing - its pretty patronising to suggest that othrs will/aren't in her position , there are honest , toiling athletes up and down the country, beavering away with their own "finals" evry day of the week- their disappointments are surely of no less value than an olympic runners

    remember they were selected to run on behalf of our country - not for their own frakn self gratification

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  • 157. At 4:17pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    mxb160, I do not really care about what decisions other countries make.
    And if thats the best excuse you can come up with then its falling pretty flat.
    She wasnt fit, she knew it. She didnt have a realistic chance of a medal, she knew it. Under those circumstances, the right thing to do, the honest thing to do and the FAIR thing to do was relinquish her place and let the reserve enjoy the exerience of competing in the event.
    Its all well and good to be a Radcliffe fan to the degree that you obviously are where you cant see past her at all, but think how the poor girl who was reserve feels?
    She didnt know right up till the last minute wether she would run or not due to the cutoff point being moved for Paulas benefit and she knows as well as everyone else that Paula was not in with a hope of a medal.
    How does she feel eh? What about her feelings? Or are you that blinkered to Radcliffe that you cant see past her? The reserve trained just as hard, maybe harder, wanted it just as much, maybe hasnt had the same chances that Paula has, yet she lost out to an unfit athlete.
    Get your head out of the sand and stop hanging onto the coattails of someone who`s PR has got some people fooled way too much.
    I spent years cheering Paula on and feeling for her while she gritted her teeth and tried like hell to make her dreams come true and still would under the right circumstances, but this decision was got very very wrong and it was to the detriment of another FIT athletes opportunity.

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  • 158. At 4:22pm on 18 Aug 2008, chanderson wrote:

    Firstly, you can't blame Paula for the amount of media attention she gets.

    There are lots of people posting to say how sorry they feel for Liu who had to pull out of his race, they seem to understand that injury is an unfortunate part of sport that is devastating for the athlete.

    I was a bit annoyed on Paula's behalf that the clip the BBC showed all day was of the 20 seconds she stopped to stretch out her calf and not the other two and half hours she was running for and for a lot of that time with the leading pack. If I'd have run that far, just stopping for a few seconds and that was the picture everyone saw, i'd be gutted. And why were those photographers allowed so close to her in the middle of a race.

    There were other runners in that marathon that suffered injury and didn't perform their best, at least one pulled out. But I guess they don't have the pressure that Paula has on her.

    I really hope she is around and fully fit for 2012,she won't be too old for a marathon runner, Constantina Tomescu has just proved that, and when fully fit Paula is much better than that.

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  • 159. At 4:23pm on 18 Aug 2008, geomians wrote:

    Lock this blog and let's talk about our winners Mr Cram!

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  • 160. At 4:28pm on 18 Aug 2008, GillH wrote:

    I think a lot of the reaction has been caused because it is felt, rightly or wrongly, that Paula Radcliffe was given special treatment that would not have been given to other UK athletes.

    The other cause for complaint, which I share 100%, is the amount of coverage that Paula has been given. To have the marathon on as the second item in the highlights show last night when we had gold medal winners in other sports was an insult to those competitors and their sports.

    Paula has been an inspiration to people. That was when she WON. Not that many people knew much or cared much about her until she started doing that. So let us concentrate the coverage on those sportsmen and women who will inspire the next generation. And if evidence of this is needed, remember Bradley Wiggins (multiple medal winner!) was inspired by seeing Chris Boardman win.

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  • 161. At 4:30pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    well white lady, I would suggest the lack of people defending her on here, which thankfully there isn't a lack of, is not because this is a barometer of public opinion, it is simply the fact that after reading Cram's blog, the people who wish to be negative feel a compulsion to vocalise their negativity. God forbid someone who knows what their talking about like Steve Cram goes against their own hate-filled opinion. So they must comment and criticise Paula so it can be noted that they know best.

    And I totally agree with you that there are honest hard working athletes up and down Great Britain who are of no less value. And I know that many would have done exactly the same in Paula's position. Athletes live to compete after all.

    And finally, they may well be representing their country at these Games, but lets not pretend they are the armed forces or MPs. They are professional athletes, its their career. The Olympics only happens because athletes wish to compete. They don't do it to serve their country. Athletes basically self-select themselves through their own, personal performances.

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  • 162. At 4:33pm on 18 Aug 2008, chanderson wrote:

    Another thing, there is no way that an athlete like Paula actually wants to do anything less than win at the olympics, and I expect she would swap any of the higher earning wins she had for an olympic medal, it is what she dreamt about since she was a little girl. Unfortunately you can't time your injuries to not coincide with the olympics

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  • 163. At 4:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    chrisfarn40, how can you be suggesting that as Paula had no chance of a medal that we should somehow replace her with Haining who had even less chance of a medal! One minute you're being ruthless saying 'if you're not up to shape then you're out, sorry' and then the next that we should be condidering the 'feelings' of the reserve? Hayley Haining may well have trained just as hard, but quite clearly she was not of sufficiant standard to be selected above Radcliffe, or Yelling or Mara for that matter.

    And far from being fooled by Paula's PR, I am vindicated in my views by performance and huge success Paula has had in the past, and will no doubt have in the future. And lets not forget, an unfit Paula beat well over half the field.

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  • 164. At 4:44pm on 18 Aug 2008, marathonmanmikems wrote:

    Why was Paula even allowed to go to Beijing? Yes she is a world class athlete. However she got a serious injury. At the time it was known she had a stress fracture it would also be known she would not have enough time to recover and train for the Marathon. Someone at either the BOA or UK Athletics should have told Paula she was not going and sent Hayley Haining instead who was on stand by after the London Marathon in case of an injury.

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  • 165. At 4:47pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    mxb160, I feel you are somewhat missing the point.
    I was not in any way contradicting myself.
    I said that Paula was not fit. She wasnt and she knew it. Under those circumstances there is no way she should have run. Hayley WAS fit, and has trained just as hard, if not harder as she hasnt spent time out recovering from injuries right at the last moment.
    Wether or not Hayley could have won a medal is NOT the point. Radcliffe went into preparation for the Olympics with a clear objective, that being to get a medal. Hayley went into it with the objective of trying her level best to run better than she ever has before and try to improve her personal best.
    Which had by far the better opportunity to achieve their goal hmm?
    Argue away with that if you can.

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  • 166. At 5:06pm on 18 Aug 2008, alane61 wrote:

    I'm sorry but this is a familiar pattern. At the end of the day she knew she wouldn't be fit enough and therefore took the place of another athlete who could have benefited from competing.

    I was also cynical of the pull up and then carry on after the cramp. That act alone ensures that the media will give great coverage to the brand 'radcliffe'.

    Sadly, I no longer think Paula runs (or trys to run) for the sport. She has been sucked into a brand driven world and now really participates in anything that drives media attention. It is in many ways a parallel to Beckham whose largest income is away from his sport and who now plies his tried for a lowly USA team while his peers (Scholes, Giggs, Nevilles) still fully engage at the highest level.

    It is so unfortunate for our sixth place runner who has received no real attention for a fantastic achievement underneath the Radcliffe media shadow.

    I sincerely hope that Paula moves away from the sport, concentrates on her brand and media work, and lets young, aspiring athletes compete our 2012 marathon.

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  • 167. At 5:19pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    Oh don't chrisfarn40, I can argue away with that. When there's flaws in an argument its a lot easier.

    Paula got selected fairly, based on past performance. Just because she wasn't at her best, which could have been gold medal winning, doesn't mean she should give up her place. I am fully aware that she was not fit enough, but there was a chance she could still still put in a good performance, and at 23rd I would say she did. How do you know whether Hayley was in shape to beat her PB or even run her best. Why should Radcliffe be denied the chance to run her best on that day, which she did. Athletics is an individual sport after all, you do what you think is best for yourself. If Hayley, who I'm sure is a fine athlete, wanted to compete, I suggest she improves her PB before the trials and get selected outright. And I'm sure she would prefer it like that.

    Tbh though chrisfarn40, what I took exception to was your totally unjust and uneeded criticism directed at Radcliffe. Paula's performance on Sunday was far from a disgrace. She ran her best after all.

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  • 168. At 5:27pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    Mxb160, ohhhh dear, not as many flaws as in your argument.
    Paula didnt run her best did she?
    SHE WASNT FIT.
    Hayley was. End of story.

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  • 169. At 5:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, ShuBob wrote:

    For me, it's Steve Cram's utter hypocrisy that galls me the most! Only two or so days previously, he commented that chris Tomlinson should have stayed at home instead of coming to the Olympics unfit. Now, here we are with Cram lauding Paula who was also unfit but worse, denied another athlete a chance to compete!

    How can he be allowed to get away with such hypocisy?

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  • 170. At 5:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    Oh yes chrisfarn40, you're right. Argument won. Well done. Tell me, why don't you share your experiences of professional athletics with the world. Paula and the world could learn a lot I'm sure

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  • 171. At 5:47pm on 18 Aug 2008, no monkeying about please wrote:

    do we have to win a marathon to post here ?

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  • 172. At 5:50pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    lol cant you argue with that one mxb?

    Simple fact....If the England football manager picked a goalkeeper who was 80% fit and he then let in 6 goals and limped around in the box people would go totally nuts.
    If the England cricket team selectors picked an 80% fit bowler who promptly got hammered all over the place or pulled up limping they would be condemned from all angles.
    If the England rugby team coach picks a player who is only 80% fit and they then play very poorly or well below their usual standard they would be ripped apart by the press.
    The Olympic committee picks an unfit Paula Radcliffe above a fit athlete, then Paula, whos aim is a gold medal finishes well down the pack and pulls up for a short time before continuing and people defend it.
    Your argument in your last long piece was how do I know that Hayley was in condition to beat her personal best, well, I dont, but every damn person in the country knew that Paula was not in any condition to beat hers or achieve the aim she had set for herself.
    She finished in 23rd position. Who the hell are you to say that a fit Hayley Haining wouldnt have matched or bettered that? At least she was fit and would have been able to try to the best of her ability.

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  • 173. At 6:25pm on 18 Aug 2008, coach65 wrote:

    fireyMalindi wrote:

    'I'm a world champion in another sport that's mentioned in this blog, so not an armchair synic. And in that sport you can get VERY serious back injuries, so suggesting running injuries are worse than those in other sports is absolutely ludicrous'

    I'm assuming that you wrote this in response to my earlier assertion that injuries in athletics tend to be a bit more difficult to control than in sports where the degrees of freedom of the athlete's limbs are more constrained.

    Getting into a debate about 'my injuries are more serious than yours e.t.c...' was not what I was driving at. Most sports have their own particular injury 'hotspots' caused by their peculiarities and they are all debilitating.

    I'm not going to get into a sports science essay that will bore everyone to tears but, if you're genuinely interested then I can go through the science with you.

    I digress.. but..

    On the subject of Paula - we all will have our 'take' on what she did, how she reacted and what her motivation is but PLEASE..I defy you to be the person who would have taken her out of the team in the circumstances. She MUST have passed a fitness test, unless NIKE brought unbearable pressure to bear on the BOA...
    And she DID finish 23rd(?) which is actually pretty good, just not good for an athlete of her standard.

    Championship marathons are always 'graveyards' for athletes, remember the legendary Steve Jones? If Paula had a 'bad day at the office' then so be it.

    The country has so much 'emotional capital' invested in her - as evidenced by this blog - that whatever happened was bound to elicit strong opinions.

    She had an 'off' day and will, I'm sure, recover to fight again. I'm no fan of Paula's but I am a coach working at World level and it's the job of people like me to put these athletes together again for another try.

    If you want to have a go then come on in and join the party 'cos we've got some serious work to do - mainly unpaid of course!

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  • 174. At 6:32pm on 18 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    and for the benefit of mxb160 and others defending the decision for her to run:

    Paula Radcliffes time in the marathon:

    2 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds.

    Hayley Hainings personal best, set in May of this year:

    2 hours 29 minutes 18 seconds.

    So mxb160, judging from that, Hayley Haining had every chance of being able to finish higher than 23rd position AND was in the form of her life, having set that pb in the London Marathon this year.

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  • 175. At 7:13pm on 18 Aug 2008, rexokpodu wrote:

    Can somebody please explain to me why she feels the need to burst into tears each time she realises she is no longer a contender? It really is just attention seeking!

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  • 176. At 7:57pm on 18 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    chrisfarn40, I don't think you can compare team sports to individual sports. UK Athletics doesn't select athletes to fill a team, they select as many or as few individual athletes as have achieved the qualifying criteria. It is then up to individual athletes to perform as well they can. Hence why Chris Tomlinson decided to go to Beijing when not fully fit etc. Paula had every right to run, she put in a brave performance. You are simply in no position to judge her. Athletes who have achieved as much as Paula don't have to justify themselves to you.

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  • 177. At 8:02pm on 18 Aug 2008, ianr1950 wrote:

    When they are being funded by lottery money we have every right to criticise, and has has been mentioned earlier Haining would have finished as good as if not better going on her time this year.
    A sobbing Ratcliffe makes good headlines about a sad 'heroic' loser although the word hero is very much over used in the athletics world.

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  • 178. At 8:09pm on 18 Aug 2008, JL(SFC58,AFCB) wrote:

    Post 149 - I entirely agree about the lack of attention given to the excellent run of Yamacouchi (sp). It has gone almost entirely unremarked.

    Likewise the splendid winning run by Constantina Dita - an athlete who has performed consistently well for many yeas without getting the recognition she deserves.

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  • 179. At 08:37am on 19 Aug 2008, fireyMalindi wrote:

    I thought the AAA said in a press conference that they were unsure that Paula would compete, but Paula replied that SHE had decided she would. So not sure the blame should be entirely levelled at the authorities. I gather she and Garry are a law unto themselves.

    She is an awesome, inspiring athlete - shame it didn't work out for her this time. The outcome was pretty inevitable given the injury and the conditions, which weren't dissimilar to Athens.

    She didn't make money out of this race directly - the Olympics doesn't give out prize money as far as I'm aware - but the PR she has gained and that will perpetuate her profile, and therefore her sponsorship, was incredible. No advertising campaign (or press conference) could have achieved the same degree of exposure and coverage. Isn't this her second race in the last year and a half? Had she not competed, would her profile have dropped away with more focus turning to another athlete?

    My frustration is (marginally) more directed towards the commentators (Steve Cram and Brendon Foster) and the extremely biased reporting.

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  • 180. At 09:50am on 19 Aug 2008, Ulutiram69 wrote:

    The silence is deafening Mr Cram.....or have you been bitten by a spider?

    Come and explain the reason for your biased coverage....my tv licence demands it !!

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  • 181. At 10:26am on 19 Aug 2008, gbiese wrote:

    And Paula Radcliffe has wasted everyone's time once again......i'm not the least bit surprised really!!

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  • 182. At 1:10pm on 20 Aug 2008, chrisfarn40 wrote:

    I`ll put it again mxb just for your benefit as I see you didnt post on it.....

    Radcliffes time in the marathon:

    2 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds.

    Hayley Hainings best time in a marathon, posted this year during the London marathon proving that she was in the form of her life:

    2 hours 29 minutes 18 seconds.

    You are obviously one of those who is that far taken in by the Radcliffe PR machine that all she has to do is twist an ankle, grimace, or shed a tear to have you reaching for the hankies, the fact remains that Haining was in the best form of her life and was denied a place by Radcliffe who said 'I`ll give it a go' while knowing damn well she was not fit and was in no position to achieve her goals. Haining most certainly was.
    No, Paula doesnty have to justify anything to me or anyone else for that matter, she can do as she likes and she does for the most part anyway, but, the support she gets from the British people is going to wane a hell of a lot in the aftermath of yet another shambolic approach and overall performance.

    You say brave? Brave my ass. She knew damn well she had to at least finish after all the hoohaa or the press would have gutted her.

    Now mxb, having said that, get the last word if you wish, my final comment would be to ask if you are one of those sad individuals who would buy a piece of wembley turf if some shady character turned up on your door saying he had some for sale. Seems probable to me.

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