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Tears a big feature of London 2012 Olympic Games

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John Beattie | 15:46 UK time, Thursday, 9 August 2012

Someone help me. Why are all these athletes crying at the Olympics?

How often do you cry? Ahem, in extreme moments of tiredness, Lassie, or ET for me.
But London 2012 has become the crying Games.

It's not new though. Sir Matthew Pincent blubbed in Athens, as if part of some Greek tragedy, as he won his fourth gold medal.

At the same games Paula Radcliffe was spotted in floods of tears being driven away after having dropped out of the marathon.

My friend Gavin Hastings had Dougie Donnelly in a flap when he was overcome by tears during an interview after a loss to the England rugby team.

Golfer Tiger Woods cried after winning the Open in 2006, tennis player Roger Federer cried in his post-match interview after being bludgeoned by a young Rafa Nadal at the Australian Open in 2009, footballer Paul Gascoigne lost it in the 1990 World Cup and Mary Decker lay on the ground weeping after an accidental clash of heels with fellow athlete Zola Budd at the 1984 Olympic Games.

But they were sporadic instances. Here, in London, it seems everyone is in tears.

Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton has had an emotional Games. Picture: Getty Images

I watched Team GB's women's hockey team in their huddle after their final game and I think they were all in tears after they were knocked out.

Sir Chris Hoy cried on the podium, Victoria Pendleton did as well.

Great Britain national treasure Rebecca Adlington wiped away tears as she accepted a bronze. Jessica Ennis cried as she held her posy of flowers. Either that or she had hay fever.

South African Chad le Clos wept as he beat Michael Phelps and even Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan cried as they won silver in the badminton doubles. They'd been trying to win gold but deliberately threw the match but soon realised they had meant to stop doing that in the round-robin section. Only joking.

Even my friend and colleague John Inverdale cried after interviewing Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase lost their lightweight double sculls title to the dastardly Danes.

What's happening here? I nearly cried during the opening ceremony, shed a tear when Katherine Grainger won her long overdue gold - which was followed by Katherine crying on the podium as the flag went up.

Obviously, when sportsmen and women are interviewed after their events, most of us realise that they have just competed to exhaustion.

I was never a full-time athlete but in our generation we had to go back to work and face workmates or fellow townsfolk if we lost a match.

Rugby used to be what Bill McLaren called a "diversion from the daily grind".

Modern Olympic athletes are, for the most part, completely wrapped up in their sport. It is their everything.

They are publicly funded, the subject of TV, radio and newspaper coverage and, as technology moves on, they are brought into sharp focus for millions of people who, very suddenly, are very interested. It must be intolerable.

Picture yourself. You are exhausted after this one moment which has come at the end of four years of planning. Then your asked how you feel if you have lost or you are standing on a podium with your flag hoisted high.

Kheredine Idessane will be commentating on you, millions are watching on TV, you feel pride, John Inverdale is crying, your family are watching and your agent has just called to say you've got a free car, a new house and a certain porridge oats manufacturer wants you to be the new face on their packet.

Seriously. I cry. I am sure you cry. But why are all these athletes crying in London, and far more frequently than ever before?


  • Comment number 1.

    Why are you so sure everyone cries?

    Maybe there's nuthin' like a guid greet, but in London it seems to be contagious.

    Tartan hankies for 2014?

  • Comment number 2.

    Anyone who does not see the elation, the relief, the torture of training, the commitment and the agony and ecstasy of such success manifested in tears of joy must have been terribly repressed as a youngster.
    Celebrate their wonderful achievement, acknowledge their commitment and rejoice in their excitement.

  • Comment number 3.



    "Celebrate their wonderful achievement, acknowledge their commitment and rejoice in their excitement."

    No, I don't believe I will. Nor do I understand why you think I should.

    indifferent git


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