Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html en-gb 30 Sat 19 Apr 2014 17:19:28 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=99#comment181 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. Wed 20 Aug 2008 12:10:47 GMT+1 gbiese http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=98#comment180 And Paula Radcliffe has wasted everyone's time once again......i'm not the least bit surprised really!! Tue 19 Aug 2008 09:26:54 GMT+1 Ulutiram69 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=98#comment179 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 !! Tue 19 Aug 2008 08:50:44 GMT+1 fireyMalindi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=97#comment178 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. Tue 19 Aug 2008 07:37:28 GMT+1 JL(SFC58,AFCB) http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=97#comment177 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 19:09:28 GMT+1 ianr1950 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=96#comment176 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 19:02:09 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=96#comment175 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 18:57:20 GMT+1 rexokpodu http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=95#comment174 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! Mon 18 Aug 2008 18:13:47 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=95#comment173 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 17:32:14 GMT+1 coach65 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=94#comment172 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! Mon 18 Aug 2008 17:25:12 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=93#comment171 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:50:19 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=93#comment170 do we have to win a marathon to post here ? Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:47:49 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=92#comment169 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 Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:38:49 GMT+1 ShuBob http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=92#comment168 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? Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:38:32 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=91#comment167 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:27:35 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=91#comment166 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:19:29 GMT+1 alane61 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=90#comment165 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 16:06:48 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=90#comment164 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:47:07 GMT+1 marathonmanmikems http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=89#comment163 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:44:40 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=89#comment162 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:38:33 GMT+1 chanderson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=88#comment161 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 Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:33:54 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=87#comment160 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:30:05 GMT+1 GillH http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=87#comment159 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:28:38 GMT+1 geomians http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=86#comment158 Lock this blog and let's talk about our winners Mr Cram! Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:23:47 GMT+1 chanderson http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=86#comment157 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:22:23 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=85#comment156 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:17:27 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=85#comment155 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 runnersremember they were selected to run on behalf of our country - not for their own frakn self gratification Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:13:18 GMT+1 Christine http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=84#comment154 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:12:43 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=84#comment153 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?? Mon 18 Aug 2008 15:05:47 GMT+1 chrisfarn40 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=83#comment152 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 14:57:48 GMT+1 mxb160 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=82#comment151 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 14:54:27 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=82#comment150 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 PaulaYou pundits aren't always right you know Mon 18 Aug 2008 14:39:25 GMT+1 HAYDON http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=81#comment149 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 14:33:19 GMT+1 fireyMalindi http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=81#comment148 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.) Mon 18 Aug 2008 14:30:15 GMT+1 playunextyear http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=80#comment147 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 13:52:50 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=80#comment146 # 141would that by any chance be the same people who forced the chinese hurdler to get to the blocks today ?? Mon 18 Aug 2008 13:49:13 GMT+1 jonathanfields http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=79#comment145 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 12:26:22 GMT+1 ianr1950 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=79#comment144 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 11:52:58 GMT+1 babylyra http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=78#comment143 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 Mon 18 Aug 2008 11:52:25 GMT+1 StevieGRocksmyworld http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=78#comment142 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!! Mon 18 Aug 2008 10:51:57 GMT+1 mightystags http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=77#comment141 Selfish. Loser. Gettoutahere. Mon 18 Aug 2008 10:11:30 GMT+1 Morad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=76#comment140 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 09:51:57 GMT+1 Ulutiram69 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=76#comment139 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 is1 Cry on camera2 make sure you are not prepared for the Olympic MarathonWhen 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 Mon 18 Aug 2008 08:55:08 GMT+1 pjcornhill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=75#comment138 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 08:10:14 GMT+1 pjcornhill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=75#comment137 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... Mon 18 Aug 2008 07:53:23 GMT+1 croydonrich http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=74#comment136 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? Mon 18 Aug 2008 07:22:33 GMT+1 charliebignuts http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=74#comment135 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! Mon 18 Aug 2008 06:34:48 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=73#comment134 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 - Mon 18 Aug 2008 06:15:31 GMT+1 patlana http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=73#comment133 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???? Mon 18 Aug 2008 04:05:28 GMT+1 Fishy_Ollie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=72#comment132 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. Mon 18 Aug 2008 01:04:57 GMT+1 ShuBob http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=71#comment131 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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 23:55:50 GMT+1 MissSJM http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=71#comment130 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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 23:28:20 GMT+1 coach65 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=70#comment129 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 23:16:06 GMT+1 amorto http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=70#comment128 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:46:08 GMT+1 Cool_G_79 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=69#comment127 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:36:51 GMT+1 shniggles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=69#comment126 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" Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:18:40 GMT+1 sonyse2t5 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=68#comment125 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 Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:18:28 GMT+1 potrodelpicasso http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=68#comment124 She was unfitShe was unpreparedShe was mentally unprepared.These are top athletes not school gamesThe medals are masking the incompetence, with Paula and the boxing fraud! Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:18:23 GMT+1 heroicreidy1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=67#comment123 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...... Sun 17 Aug 2008 22:06:00 GMT+1 chris_77 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=67#comment122 to heroicreidy1You 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:58:53 GMT+1 fluffs134 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=66#comment121 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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:51:41 GMT+1 heroicreidy1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=65#comment120 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:46:13 GMT+1 chris_77 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=65#comment119 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:38:21 GMT+1 Clive1959 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=64#comment118 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 Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:35:36 GMT+1 agile&fragile http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=64#comment117 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" Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:32:11 GMT+1 Sam http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=63#comment116 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? Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:20:37 GMT+1 heroicreidy1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=63#comment115 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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:14:55 GMT+1 cluffiemac http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=62#comment114 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:12:50 GMT+1 YorkieBlades http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=62#comment113 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:12:32 GMT+1 basseo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=61#comment112 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:09:41 GMT+1 Aaron http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=60#comment111 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 Sun 17 Aug 2008 21:06:06 GMT+1 Peter Biddlecombe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=60#comment110 "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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:53:46 GMT+1 Ryan86 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=59#comment109 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:50:18 GMT+1 tennischrisperrin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=59#comment108 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:49:36 GMT+1 fireysportjunkie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=58#comment107 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 riband no one on the bbc reports even mentioned her shame Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:43:52 GMT+1 davebeetle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=58#comment106 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 amazing2 - 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 Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:41:26 GMT+1 heroicreidy1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=57#comment105 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:27:18 GMT+1 nottinghammagpie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=57#comment104 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 20:08:18 GMT+1 Morad http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=56#comment103 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:58:10 GMT+1 davebeetle http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=56#comment102 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 :-) :-) :-) Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:54:50 GMT+1 John_A http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=55#comment101 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!!! Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:52:07 GMT+1 Hacked account http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=54#comment100 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. :) Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:51:39 GMT+1 AndyWB http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=54#comment99 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? Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:46:04 GMT+1 poshow35 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=53#comment98 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:42:58 GMT+1 PeterAJK http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=53#comment97 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:33:17 GMT+1 RobVilla http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=52#comment96 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 todayBen AinslieRebecca RomeroRowing Pair3 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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:09:04 GMT+1 MoGlasgow http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=52#comment95 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 19:06:46 GMT+1 dfm237 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=51#comment94 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:55:56 GMT+1 mb295 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=51#comment93 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:54:48 GMT+1 drawdownthestars http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=50#comment92 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:38:13 GMT+1 GillH http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=50#comment91 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:27:56 GMT+1 Hampshirect http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=49#comment90 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:23:18 GMT+1 rightbythebeach http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=48#comment89 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:19:36 GMT+1 no monkeying about please http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=48#comment88 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 beijinga relative UK marathon newbie would just not have been allowed to run - but this was "our paula" so run she did Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:01:19 GMT+1 stwl http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=47#comment87 #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! Sun 17 Aug 2008 18:00:13 GMT+1 valerierun http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=47#comment86 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!! Sun 17 Aug 2008 17:54:41 GMT+1 richyscot1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=46#comment85 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!! Sun 17 Aug 2008 17:26:02 GMT+1 notna303 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=46#comment84 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 ????? Sun 17 Aug 2008 17:22:06 GMT+1 abc123x http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=45#comment83 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 17:20:24 GMT+1 Brekkie http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olympics/2008/08/paula_deserves_praise_and_plau.html?page=45#comment82 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. Sun 17 Aug 2008 17:18:53 GMT+1