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Workers' Gymnasium, Beijing

Let's hear no more talk of Great Britain only winning medals sitting down/astride something or in the water or going backwards (or all three at once).

We've finally won one on our feet, on dry land and going forward. Take a bow, David Price.

The 6ft 8in super-heavyweight will return home to Liverpool with no worse than a bronze but, given his serene progress thus far, will be disappointed if he can't upgrade that.

Price became the first member of Team GB's boxing squad to book some bling when he forced Jaroslav Jaksto to retire after the first round of their quarter-final on Monday.

Heavyweight David Price shows his muscle

The limping Lithuanian said afterwards a muscle spasm in his lower back was to blame and that may well be true, but the huge smack in the chops probably didn't help either.

That was one of at least three good shots Price landed on his way to a deserved 3-1 lead.

"I caught him with a couple of big right-hands and I'm not really sure what happened to his leg," said Price.

"It's a great feeling but a bit of an anti-climax the way it happened. I'm not going to complain, though. A win is a win and I think I was going to do him anyway."

He is almost certainly right, and in many ways Jaksto's injury robbed Price of a more complete revenge against an opponent who had beaten him when the Englishman was "less mature".

Maturity has been a recurring theme for the Commonwealth champion in Beijing. Clearly a much stronger man physically than he was even 18 months ago, the 25-year-old is starting to realise how good he can be.

The last member of the eight-strong British boxing team to qualify for the Olympics, Price has been leading from the front here. Voted captain by the rest of the team, it was Price who picked everybody up after a rough start to the tournament.

First, the team was deprived of its brightest medal hope when Frankie Gavin failed to make the weight before the tournament deadline. Then a number of the team, Price included, were handed tough draws. And finally, bantamweight Joe Murray was beaten in slightly controversial fashion by home fighter Gu Yu.

Fighting the day after Murray's defeat, Price decided to take the judges out of the equation - he hit his opponent Islam Timurziev with two huge shots and the referee stopped the fight 30 seconds into the second round.

Timurziev, the world number one, looked utterly stunned by what had just happened. But as Price and Team GB's coach Terry Edwards pointed out, he had never been hit that hard before.

Jaksto and Timurziev can compare notes now, and while Price understands he is fortunate to have reached the semis after only two rounds of boxing he also knows he is due some good fortune.

His next opponent, the reigning world champion Roberto Cammarelle, beat him in their only previous meeting at the 2004 European Championships, a defeat that prevented Price from going to the Athens Olympics.

The two were set for a rematch in the last eight of the world championships last November, when both men blitzed their way through the first three rounds of competition in Chicago, but a hand injury forced Price to give the Italian a walkover.

"That was one of the low points of my career," he recalled. "But we always knew we'd meet him somewhere down the line."

On Friday he'll get that meeting and another chance to test his growing maturity.

"I can definitely beat him," he continued. "He knows I could have made it very hard for him at the worlds. I'm a completely different fighter to what I was four years ago.

"I know I've got the tools to beat him and I've got everything to gain."

He won't be short of support. His girlfriend and close family came out on Monday - "It was great to have them here but it also made me nervous, I wanted to give them an excuse to go out for a bevvy" - and more are on the way.

And he is right to be confident. He has clearly read the Audley Harrison manual on how to win Olympic boxing medals - if you have a reach advantage for goodness sake use it and keep your guard up - but he has also added power to his repertoire.

Edwards believes this is a result of Price fully growing into his frame.

"Four years ago he was a boy in a man's body," said the coach. "He's come along tremendously since then. He's got size, he's got reach and he uses that to his advantage."

He will need to against the canny Cammarelle, who looked pretty good in his quarter-final against Colombian bruiser Oscar Rivas but will be concerned at how much harder he had to work than Price. The other semi-final pits Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov, the man Cammarelle beat in the final in Chicago, against Zhilei Zhang of China.

Zhang, only marginally shorter than Price, looked dangerous in his last-eight contest against Ruslan Myrsatayev. He put the tough Kazakh on the canvas twice and his languid, hands-low style delighted the home crowd and reminded me of a famous former Olympic champion.

Zhang confirmed this later: "Muhammad Ali is my idol, I learned my footwork from him."

He's not that good but in this gym he won't need to be. Should Price get the chance, he will need to keep sticking that long left in Zhang's face until there can be absolutely no doubt the Chinese fighter has felt it.

But first comes Cammarelle - an enormous step for Price and the British team.

The Gavin affair has been parked, not pardoned, and with only two other fighters - middleweight James DeGale and light-heavyweight Tony Jeffries - left in the competition, the pressure is on the team Edwards described as our "best prepared ever". The official target was for two medals but many were not so privately hoping for three.

Price has now delivered one of those but will need Jeffries (on Tuesday) and DeGale (on Wednesday) to follow his lead to make this a par return for British boxing.

Britain hasn't won as many as three boxing medals at an Olympics since 1972, but with golds being added to GB's honours list daily, and new "best evers since..." coming thick and fast, it is time for one of the standing sports to pull up a chair and join the party.

Matt Slater is a BBC Sport journalist focusing on sports news. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


Comments

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  • 1. At 08:56am on 19 Aug 2008, Calidor wrote:

    Why is it a problem that we are winning in Sailing, Rowing and Cycling? The fantastic performances of these three teams has lifted Britain from the also rans up into the major powerhouse nations of the medal table. If you watch all three of these teams there is a common factor - sheer professionalism. Perhaps thats why we are not really very comfortable with the success. The summariser at the cycling said the Brits had to be quiet when they saw the coxless 4 winning on the monitor because so much success in the velodrome has made the Brits unpopular - unbelieveable!!

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  • 2. At 09:08am on 19 Aug 2008, Ryushinku wrote:

    Congratulations to the big chap.
    That straight right was an absolute peach, he'll need plenty more of those against Cammarelle. I also hope he gets that jab of his going more consistantly, it's a good one and he needs to fire it often.

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  • 3. At 09:33am on 19 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    At last! A medal in a real sport.

    Aptly, in the worker's gymnasium.

    Congratulations.

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  • 4. At 09:54am on 19 Aug 2008, Malc wrote:

    Mr Slater,

    If there was a medal for "Straw Clutching" or Free-style "Metaphor Hanging". Another sedantary medal would be on it's way to Team GB.

    The only reason Price is in the medal fights is because his first opponent was, as far as his team were concerned, controversially stopped, and the other had a 'bad back'!

    The sports Team GB has medalled at, are sports where there seems to be a "National Elite Squad' and have gelled into a team. They are not Tabloid Sports, so can get on with their coaching away from the limelight.

    Athletics, for example, has a plethora of coaches and individuals who like to pass comment. It is clear the team have no overall direction, and that any outside help would be resented. The failed men's long jumper exemplifies my view.

    I've seen Clive Woodward around these sports. Has he had anything to do with them?

    Keep both eyes open!

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  • 5. At 10:05am on 19 Aug 2008, gbiese wrote:

    Gosh, i'm getting sick and tired of all this hoo-hah over not very much. You'd actually think the Brits were topping the medal table or something!! I mean, "a major powerhouse nation in the medal table"? Please, give me a break, Team GB has considerable less medals than the Aussies, the Russians and the same as the French.

    Its statements like the above that make British athletes unpopular, not the fact that they celebrate their compatriots success.

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  • 6. At 10:21am on 19 Aug 2008, Jimmy wrote:

    maybe we have less medals than the Aussies and Russians, but more of ours are gold than them, and that is what matters.

    for once i think we are allowed to celebrate the success of our Olympians, too often it is tales of trying our best, but not quite good enough.

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  • 7. At 10:35am on 19 Aug 2008, martinbirkett wrote:

    I personally think that the last big punch Price hit him with triggered the "opt out" nerve in his head, it was just a matter of time.
    All the medals earned in these games should be saluted, the only gripe for me are the Equestrian ones but what the heck, the over privilidged have as much right to compete as anyone else.
    Price deserves his win, the plaudits, and hopefully he will emulate Phoney Harrison, but then have a real pro career, not one manufactured in wonderland

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  • 8. At 10:48am on 19 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Hello SWFWillibobs, I'm trying to follow the cycling so I'm a bit distracted but can you explain the "metaphor-hanging" line? Is there a single metaphor in my piece?? The last line, perhaps? ie The Olympics as a party...

    As for your next par, I don't agree at all. The ref stopped Timurziev before he got hurt...two standing eight counts back to back. JJ's back spasmed because his body tensed when he was smacked in the face, hard.

    Not entirely sure what point you're making with your next paragraph. All the Olympic sports have elite teams in the UK, and pretty much all of them are ignored for most of the year. Not sure what the tabloids have to do with anything.

    I don't get the Woodward bit either. Are you saying he is involved in the sports we're good at or he's involved with the sports we're bad at? He has had absolutely nothing to do with the sports we're good at (although he's getting more involved with boxing) and that is unlikely to change. But don't worry, I'm keeping a close eye out for Sir Clive.

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  • 9. At 11:32am on 19 Aug 2008, MikeFay wrote:

    gbiese - the Americans may try to count a bronze as the same as a gold in their medal table, but I haven't seen the Aussies do the same, and it would surprise me if they resorted to that - this is the nation that produced the quote "you know what runner up means? First loser".

    If they stay behind the UK on the one that counts - number of gold medals - then you can bet they'll be going to their government and telling them they need to increase the financial support or get used to hearing God Save the Queen more often than Advance Australia Fair.

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  • 10. At 12:28pm on 19 Aug 2008, Crowperson wrote:

    gbiese, you mope if you want to. This lady's not for moping.

    Trust a Brit to find a cloud on the silver lining.

    This is a FANTASTIC games for Britain - who knows how well we could do if we developed other sports as well as we have developed watersports and cycling. We are already growing a new swimmer to challenge Phelps over the lifetime of her career. We are assured of a medal in the boxing and we got our first ever medal in the gymnastics. So we have potential in quite a number of other sports - I never thought I'd say this, but I will actually start playing the lottery just to make sure the funds keep rolling in.

    SO WHAT ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT? I think you'd be happier if we were limping along on two or three gold, a silver or two and a bronze. Then you'd be able to indulge in that gold-medal British sport, whinging.

    Meanwhile most of us will get on with getting excited about these excellent games. Who knows what's still to come?

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  • 11. At 1:00pm on 19 Aug 2008, ToranDell wrote:

    I agree with you Crowperson.

    Read these and other blogs and it is so DEPRESSING. The ability of British people to always focus on the NEGATIVE rather than on the POSITIVE has now become such a cultural trait that I think it is now seriously damaging to our country.

    I for one am PROUD of our achievements and want to CELEBRATE. I would hope that the Olympics helps to generate some sense of a "feel good" factor. Yes, things can be even better both for the range of sports, sports in the UK, the nature of the Olympics and how individual countries behave. But that means we should strive to be better, not slag everything off.





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  • 12. At 1:02pm on 19 Aug 2008, MarkB2 wrote:

    gbiese, the Aussies have won precisely three - yes, count them - three more medals than Team GB at this Olympics and we have won 4 - count them - four more golds.

    Whinging Aussies!

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  • 13. At 1:08pm on 19 Aug 2008, iGlad wrote:

    One swallow does not make a GB summer but my concern is that the medals win are wrapped around as a Team GB win, when certain other sports failed to deliver, if it wasn't for the cyclists,rowers were would we be? No we get a good medal haul and everyone forgets to look at our biggest no hopers the a GB athletics team, who are NOT VALUE FOR MONEY! I want a refund on my lottery money!

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  • 14. At 1:16pm on 19 Aug 2008, MarkB2 wrote:

    glad4me, perhaps you shouldn't do the lottery in the first place!

    Yes, its such a waste of time, this GB team - it reminds me of the old comment about the West Indies a few years back - "the West Indies are no good, if you take out all their fast bowlers, Richards, Lloyd, Greenidge, Haynes and a few others - what have you got?"

    (Some) British people really don't deserve success, do they? What do you want? To go back to the days when we used to win 5 gold medals during a Games (or less) but four of them were in athletics? Would that be better?

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  • 15. At 1:32pm on 19 Aug 2008, nicho63 wrote:

    I really can't believe some of the negative comments on here........ok so the athletes may not be as successful as we would like at the moment......but for heavens sake all this "I want a refund of my lottery money" sounds like an editorial from the Daily Mail!

    Sport, as with most things in life goes in cycles (excuse the pun).....but surely the positive vibes generated by the medal success of our swimmmers, rowers etc will push the athletes involved in the other sports to excell in 2012.

    Just think how fabulous it will be in four years time to have these achievments taking place right here!

    Let's celebrate the wonderful success of all our competitors.......and look forward with excitment to more of the same in 4 years.

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  • 16. At 1:46pm on 19 Aug 2008, ruswit wrote:

    gbiese please
    the uk has " medals less than aussie and 9less than russia. but its the golds that count and considering we have 15 we are up there with only the obvious of USA and China beating us. so shush

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  • 17. At 1:47pm on 19 Aug 2008, ruswit wrote:

    sorry we have 3 medals less than aussie not " (im on a french computer)

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  • 18. At 1:52pm on 19 Aug 2008, Biscuiteater wrote:

    I see no problem with our medals being won in sports on the water, sitting down etc. I mean, it is not as if they had an engine. These sports were won with sheer athletic power, as much as any runner, so there is no way these medals are any less than the track and field events.

    To also say they are elite sports as well also misses the point. the only really elite sport I can see is with the horses. It does not cost a great deal to go sailing, or buy a bike.

    Another point I would like to make against anybody winging about our winning sports, is at least there is a large number of people in this country who participate in those sports. We still operate from the bottom up, that is a number of clubs form a national body and that applies to the UK OC to bring people forward to participate in the olympics. (Yes I know its more complicated than that but you get the gist). The thing is as I understand it, the Chinese do not do sports. Their big thing is gambling. There are a number of sports in which the Chinese have won a medal in which it is fair to say not many more people do that sport in China than the ones you see at the Olympics. That is bad. People hand picked from a predetermined pool of elite and 'reliable' athletes. Top foreign coaches brought in. Hey presto - gold medal.

    Hardly the Olympic spirit in my book.

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  • 19. At 1:58pm on 19 Aug 2008, Sir Paul Varley Mk 4 wrote:

    It's worth noting for people who obsess over track and field and consider it more important than cycling that Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton are the fastest man and woman at these olympic games, setting Olympic Record times of 9.815 seconds and 10.963 seconds respectively over 250 metres, and that all of the motive power for their cycling still has to come from their own bodies.

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  • 20. At 3:20pm on 19 Aug 2008, lucabiason wrote:

    I have lived here in the UK for 7 years now and I have to say I have nothing but respect for the achievements of your Olympic team. Well done indeed: they deserve a lot of prize for having reached this level in a country where football is a huge money-sucking business that seriously undermines the amount of resources put in these so-called minor sports.

    I hope these results will help the whole nation to reassess the hype surrounding the football, same problem we had/have in Italy these days. As an aside, I don't understand why anyone should try to undermine what the British team has achieved so far. Sour grapes? Boh?

    Anyway, well well done but I still have to support my fellow countryman in the semifinal. Forza Cammarelle! ;-)

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  • 21. At 4:50pm on 19 Aug 2008, covmatt wrote:

    Unbelievable - our ability to knock our achievements as a country astounds me!!

    How can people call some sports or events 'lesser' just because they dont enjoy them as much?? It still takes as much dedication, determination and effort to win medals in these events as the others. i'd love for some of the people knocking these sports tried rowing at full pelt for 9 mins and maybe they wouldnt undermine the achievement quite so quickly.

    even if we dont particularly enjoy the event (and trust me i have thoroughly enjoyed every event!), you should still be able to celebrate their achievement of making it to the top.

    As a country we look in awe of other countrys ability to dominate in certain sports and moan at how far behind we are, then if we do dominate in a sport we still find a way to moan!!

    go team GB - I am a thoroughly proud brit right now!!

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  • 22. At 5:56pm on 19 Aug 2008, DJHDJH wrote:

    And the 'underachieving' athletics team has joined the party at last with Philips, the 4x400 women, Danvers, Sayers and other medal shots still to come.

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  • 23. At 6:12pm on 19 Aug 2008, gbiese wrote:

    @ tonygreeeg

    I'm not Aussie, just to point that out to you. But the facts speak for themselves, while this has no doubt been Britain's best Olympics in terms of achievements, let's leave all the whooping, high fiving and pats on the back to solely that, the achievements.!! My point was simple, from the coverage and recent blogs on this site, you'd think Team GB were at the top of the medal table, which they aren't. So all those silver lined clouds should be viewed with a degree of objectivity.

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  • 24. At 6:36pm on 19 Aug 2008, covmatt wrote:

    not in the slightest.

    to be top of the medal table was a completely unrealistic achievement for our team - heck it is an unrealistic target for a country our size compared with countries the size of China and the US!!

    That shouldnt for a second affect how much we celebrate our achievements.

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  • 25. At 6:39pm on 19 Aug 2008, covmatt wrote:

    and when i say our, i mean the athletes who competed i really cant take any credit!!

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  • 26. At 7:28pm on 19 Aug 2008, Wayniac76 wrote:

    i think we should all be proud of what team GB have achieved. To win 16 GOLD and 33 medals total with less than half the competitors of the USA and China is an achievement in itself. With the 2012 games coming to London the only way is forward and we have some good young competitors that are still to shine like Jessica Innes that is out injured for this championships. Tom Daley will still be only 18 but should be more mature and able to handle the pressure so all things are looking good for 2012. Come on GB and give us a few more memories of Beijing.

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  • 27. At 7:57pm on 19 Aug 2008, Will wrote:

    I am no particular fan of equestrian, but I do get fed up with the slanging off of it as an elite sport. Given how little money there is in the sport, with many riders dependent on the goodwill of owners and sponsors, and how many genuine amateurs there are (the winner of the gold medal 3-day works full time), this strikes me as commentary from pure ignorance. Yes there are 'posh' people in the sport, but there are in plenty in others too.

    Personally, I am just delighted that at last sport is getting some of the support it so much needs. My one regret is that my own sport (orienteering), at which we are current Men's team world champions, and other non-Olympic sports, are having their funding slashed to support Olympic sports which aren't as successful. I don't think they shouldn't have more money (they may well make very good use of it), but more should be made available given the desperate need for greater awareness and more people to be participating on a wider front.

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  • 28. At 10:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, Mike Mullen wrote:

    Team GB has done us all proud. My only concern is the apparent £100 million pound gap in the funding for 2012, perhaps we should review just how much public money is going to the FA to fund what is laughingly called the England Football team?

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  • 29. At 11:32pm on 19 Aug 2008, Red Nosed Burglar wrote:

    Biese... "So all those silver lined clouds should be viewed with a degree of objectivity."

    Is that right?

    Well, the objectivity of the situation as far as I am concerned is that after having watched the olympics since 1972, this is the very first time that I can say that I am as proud as punch about our medal heroes, and nothing a sourpuss like yourself says makes me feel any different.

    If you arn't an Aussie, might I guess you are a Yank? If you are a Brit, well, shame on you.

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  • 30. At 3:21pm on 21 Aug 2008, joshua goldblum wrote:

    Only a few words to say to all the negatives out there ....


    Hooray ! Hooray! Hooray ! for team GB.

    Sock it to em U glorious people.

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