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Workers' Stadium, Beijing

Last night I indulged an Olympic guilty pleasure. It was hot and sweaty, kept me up very late and involved lots of Brazilians. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't help it.

The men's football semi-final between defending champions Argentina and their arch-rivals Brazil was like nothing else I've witnessed at these Olympics. In fact, it was like nothing else I've witnessed full stop.

Before I continue I should state I'm not sure football - or certainly some of the players involved - should really be here. Having earlier questioned tennis's place in the Olympics, any other position would smack of bias.

The match was a cracker. Tense and tight in the first half, Argentina poached two quick goals at the start of the second. They then survived a Brazilian rally, before killing the game off with a third from the penalty spot. The team in gold ended the game in disarray, while the team in blue and white left dreaming of gold.

Continue reading "Latin fancy lights my fire"

Recent entries

In a wonderful week from an amazing athlete, this was the most staggering moment of all.

19.30 seconds? Jaws dropped. Gobs were smacked, flabbers were gasted.

That shouldn't have been possible. Michael Johnson's 200m world record was supposed to be untouchable. Usain Bolt was supposed to be tired after running eight races in six days.

Bolt, we should know now, makes the impossible real.

Continue reading "Bolt makes the impossible real"

Don't knock synchronised swimming - imagine the strength, the poise, the precision and the amount of practice it takes to be the best of the best in aquatic gymnastics?

All while maintaining a rictus grin which would embarrass an angry hyena.

I did recently read that synchronised swimming doesn't now require its competitors to hold an incessant smile, but the performers still seem keen to show how much they're enjoying themselves while carrying out their routines.

Continue reading "What's the most impressive sport?"

Shunyi Lake

Open water swimming took its bow at the Olympics today - and what a debut it was!

The 10k race had everything from controversy to a fantastic sprint finish - and two more medals for Britain thanks to Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten.

I really had my eyes opened to what a tough physical battle it is.

The girls were getting bashed and kicked in the face - and by no means always by accident.

There was a lot of physical contact - but that made it all the more fascinating to watch. It was clear to me that Cassie Patten was pulled back by the German swimmer Angela Maurer with about 150m to go.

Continue reading "Was this swimming or boxing?"

Athlete's Village, Beijing

I am physically and mentally drained.

The main emotion this morning is less exhilaration and more a mix of relief and exhaustion.

For the first time in months and months I'll be able to walk up a flight of stairs without worrying whether my legs feel tired.

To finally get it all finished is a wonderful feeling. For five days I've been battling to keep my head above water.

I can pinpoint times in the last four years when I've gone through real suffering.

Certain sessions I've done have been simply horrendous. The only thing that gets you through is the thought of the Olympics and the gold medal.


Continue reading "Three gold medals - and I'm shattered"

Athlete's Village, Beijing

I've left it a few days partly because I have been busy in the village food hall piling on the pounds!

But mostly because I wanted to gather my thoughts and not rush into writing anything too quickly.

I suppose I should get right down to business and let you know how I feel about my performance and the 81kg weight category.

Everyone who knows me will know that I am absolutely gutted not to come away from these Games with a medal.

Continue reading "Dealing with demons after defeat"

As the Dutch superstar 'passaged' and 'piaffed' her way around the arena to her specially-composed music, we all knew she was going to take the title for a third time.

She was in a class of her own and it was magical to watch.

The victory makes Anky van Grunsven the first person ever to win the individual Olympic dressage title three times. If she wasn't before, Anky is now officially an equestrian great.

Continue reading "Anky strikes again!"

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