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A day at the Olympics

The weather was great. The stadium was buzzing. The Olympic Park was teeming with people-Welcome to London 2012

Watched Usain Bolt in the 200m heats. Highlight of the day. He was very quick. Too quick for the chasers. Also saw his heir apparent, Yohane Blake. He is a strong sprinter. OMG

Usain Bolt in celebration about 1 or 2 seconds...

Usain Bolt in celebration about 1 or 2 seconds after his 100m victory at Beijing Olympics 2008, breaking the world record. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Olympic Park is a magnificent tribute to the Olympic Heritage. It’s like a hive. So much buzzing. So many people. All having fun. No trouble too. London /2012 is worth the cost to the taxpayer. The spectators are having a ball. So too are the athletes. It’s sad though when an athlete gets disqualified for a false start. Rules are rather strict.
Talking of rules. It’s rather nightmarish going into Olympic Park. Security is so tight bordering on the ludicrous. I am sure these measures are necessary, after all there is (un)clear and rather present danger. However, the security measures kinda spoils the fun to a degree. Even Usain Bolt made his tuppence worth comment on the measures.
The organisers deserve a pat on the back for the great work. It is a magnificent spectacle. There are Live events such as Park Live, there are groups of performers around the park, and all amenities are easily accessible. The support staff are quite helpful too. I should add.
Britain is third on the medals table. Who would have bet on that (Refer to 3 other Olympics articles on this website). China and USA are fighting for top dog status. The Team GB athletes deserve all the applauds. So do all the other athletes from all the other countries. It is disappointing though that Team GB were not even competing  in the steeplechase.  Team GB were also found wanting in javelin, hurdles, sprints, triple jump etc. Surely with all the lottery and other sports funding Team GB should have been doing much better. Not that the natives are complaining. It’s just that I’m sure we spend more on developing our sprinters say in comparison to Jamaica. For instance, yet Jamaicans are somehow quicker. Could it be the training? Maybe some athletes should emulate Mo Farah and enlist with overseas trainers to help them cross that bridge. Swimming and diving are the other sports that disappointed. Without trying to apportion any blame on anyone, Team GB should and could have done much better.
One bit of the Olympic story I could never understand is the Philips Odowu story. How can an athlete chosen to represent a country be so ‘big’ to be allowed to dictate to the selectors? If he was not fit, he should not have been selected. Period. If he was not prepared to avail himself, he should never have been allowed to represent the country. One athlete holding a country to ransom? Maybe there is more to this sad saga than we are made to know. Either way, surely Olympic selectors should reserve the right to assess and monitor the fitness levels of all those selected. It also beggars belief that the UK can only produce one strong male triple jumper in fours years! Someone, somewhere is not doing their job right. Surely the country should have a few long jumpers on the wings and if we can produce a university graduate in say 3-6 years, why can’t we regularly produce athletes good enough to compete at the Olympic level?
The international community has made these Olympics what it is, a great carnival. We have met loads of folk from overseas and everyone is having a ball. May this glorious spirit continue to flourish.

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Olympics in London

200

200 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Olympics are in full swing. The Chinese are leading with the biggest medals haul for now.It looks like its going to be a straight fight between China and the USA for the most medals. London 2012 seems to have overcome the cynics’ predictitions. Its running smoothly. Team GB has not disappointed either. Team GB is currently fifth, and with athletes like Andy Murray, Rebecca Adlinton, Jessica Ennis,Dai Green, Ben Ainslie and Victoria Pendleton to compete today (to mention a few); there is a good chance there will be a few medals added this weekend. We can not talk about the Olympics without mentioning the ‘great’ Michael Phelps. He is in the 100 butterfly. Michael has won 2 Golds and 2 silvers at London 2012 so far. Astonishing! He has also accumulated more than 19 Olympics medals. He is the most decorated Olympian and his feats surely inspire other athletes across the globe.

The Olympics were originally meant to be the tournament for amateur sport. It is disconcerting at times watching professional sportsmen (USA Basketball team, Team GB football, professional tennis players, etc) playing against the amateur sportsmen. However, the amateur status was compromised a long time ago with state-sponsored athletes from the Communist bloc. Commercial organisations and other states have since joined in. That is one reason China does so well at the Olympics; with athletes groomed from a very early age. Though it is not a really level playing field, all competitors have a bite at the cherry, and its great to see athletes from little-known countries like Vanuatu, Micronesia, Nauru, Timor-Leste and even Palestine. Just to mention a few. All the athletes deserve their 15 minutes of fame and we should all applaud our countries’ athletes at the Games.

MEDALS:

Country                                      Gold     Silver     Bronze            Total

1 China                                        18           11              5                34

2 United States                           18            9              10                37

3 S Korea                                     7             2               5                 14

4 France                                      6             4                6                16

5 United Kingdom                       5              6               4                15

Controversy

Every Olympics games gets its fair share of controversy, and London 2012 is no exception. There has been some considerable murmurings following the exploits of the  Chinese 16-year old record-breaking Swimmer Ye  Shewin. Lord Coe even went on to urge everyone to cut her some slack imploring “My instinct is to always give benefit of the doubt to the competitor until proven otherwise. My instinct is to celebrate an extraordinary performance.” Her feats were truly extraordinary, achieving a faster time than some male competitors. Record-breaking feats have always left a sour state-When Ben Johnson won the 100m in record time, we all applauded only later to be left deflated after revelations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. It also happened with athletes associated to the Balco scandal. Some of these broke records at the Olympics and we all joined in the adulation,and only to be left dumbfounded when the true nature of their deeds were revealed. A few athletes have all ready been thrown out for using performance-enhancing drugs. That is why some people find it hard to celebrate when some extraordinary athletes win the Yellow jersey at the Tour de France. Many a time we have discovered that these sportsmen tend to use performance enhancing substances and this leaves spectators quite cynical.

A truly spectacular gaffe involved the raising of flags. Yes. South Korea’s flag was raised when the North Korea women’s football team was just about to play at Old Trafford. A spectacular own goal. However, these things happen. As a result the Koreans refused to play until the right flag had been. However, the flag issue aside, is it right for a country that’s known to be arbitrarily abusing its to be invited to the Olympics? Syria is at the Olympics-Aleppo is awash with the blood of hundreds if not thousands of innocent children and people being massacred everyday.  Thousands of Syrians are being murdered by the state everyday and yet the country is allowed to be at the Olympics. It beggars belief. Zimbabwe’s regime atrociously abuses the human rights of its citizens, Tibetans are not allowed to be free yet China is not reprimanded. There is strife in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, just to name a few. It seems as if the Olympics exist on another planet where only sports matters. Nothing else is important, as long as the athletes grapple for the medals. The only thing that matters is the Athletes Oath! Well, talking of the oath, Badminton has created its little storm in a tea-cup. China, yes China again, Indonesia and South Korea women badminton players have been disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Their crime was and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” by not making any attempt to win the matches. Erik Thohir the Head of Indonesia’s Olympic team later controversially claimed to AP that “China has been doing this so many times and they never get sanctioned by the BWF”

Saw this video at http://www.guardian.co.uk and felt I should share it. Some may baulk at the temerity. Others may sympathise with the protester. One thing I will never understand though is: Does taking of clothes when protesting make a bolder statement?

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ccL_11x04sI&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

London 2012 has proved to be a success so far. It has not been a failure as some people wanted the world to believe. Team GB is doing remarkably well thanks to these athletes who have worked so hard to compete at the highest stage of all. We should all applaud all our representatives at the Games and enjoy these Olympics. After all they only come once every 4 years.

I am a prisoner. Locked up in my own cell. The world is the warden.
I can not drink
I want a drink
You drink too much, they say
Your liver is gonna go.

I am a prisoner in my own prison
I can not face them
Demons control me, they say
You are a bad influence, some say
I know not what they know

I am a prisoner in a world I once belonged
I can not walk
I can not get out of the house
You don’t belong here they say
A waste of skin

I am a prisoner gaoled within my mortal coil
I am my own warden
Voices tell me I am useless
They tell me they hate me,
A waste of space

I am a prisoner for all to see,
The world is the warden
I am scared of my own shadow
I am going to burn in hell,
The man with the white collar says

I am a prisoner no one wants
Forgotten by my friends
Unwanted by kith and kin
Banished to the prison that is within me
Loneliness is my companion

I am prisoner,
My conscience is the warden
You can’t say that, I hear it say
You can not do that, the voice says
I know I am no good

I am a Prisoner, no one can save
The dark walls surround me
An abyss I slowly sink into

Prisoner (TV series)

Prisoner (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Locked away in darkness
No one to save me

I am a prisoner, marooned, abandoned
Unseen walls around me
I know not what freedom is’
Float like a butterfly, fight, man fight
There is no fight left in me

How the mighty have fallen

Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994

Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scottish football has been  caught between a rock and a hard place right this summer. The league football started this weekend and who could have guessed that one half of the Old Firm would be playing their League football this weekend, instead of a next Saturday when the rest of the Scottish Premier League starts.

Glasgow Rangers went into administration last season and were bought by Charles  Green’s Sevco consortium which then created a new company after failing to prevent the old one being liquidated. Scottish Premier League clubs voted against accepting the new club into the top flight and the Scottish Football League clubs voted them into Division Three instead of the First Division. Charles Green has accused some of the SPL clubs of jealousy, pettiness and bigotry after they denied the new Rangers into the SPL. He may be right. Or could also be wrong. We are not here to judge.  The Scottish FA  having taken cognisance of the massive impact the implosion (caused by the Rangers meltdown) would have preferred Rangers to play in the First Division. They attempted to restructure Scottish football and offer incentives to the lower division teams. This alternative was however, unsuccessful as the other teams saw this as a chance to punish the League giants for their misdemeanors. Rangers played Brechin in the League Challenge Cup this weekend and came out winners after extra time by 2-1! A fixture the Rangers of  the past would not even have contemplated during the off-season (unless it was a pre-season friendly or testimonial match).
This refrain shall be heard down in the lower echelons of Scottish League football next few seasons:

Hullo, Hullo
We are the Rangers Boys
Hullo, Hullo
You’ll know us by our noise
We’re down to our knees to see our team
At Ibrox or away
For we are
The Glasgow Rangers Boys

Rangers FC  is definitely down to its knees. Scottish Football too may also be down to its knees as result. As a result of the meltdown at Rangers, the majority of their first teamers have left. The Manager Ally McCoist reckons over 20 players have left. A few have crossed the border to join the likes of Everton FC, Norwich and other Premier League and Championship teams. Rangers deserved to be penalised for the misdeeds of the previous owners/executives. Moreover, tax avoidance is abhorrent. However, penalizing the ‘newco’ so excessively will be to the detriment of Scottish football. How many people outside Scotland will be looking forward to the SPL games on television? Many of the SPL teams are going to suffer financially as a result of the chasm created by the absence of Rangers football club. Clubs like Inverness Caley Thistle and St Mirren (just to mention two) have all ready voiced their concerns. The financial plight that faces Scottish football, in the backdrop of revenues that have not significantly increased for years may take some clubs to the wall. It will be a sad day indeed if any one of the SPL clubs faces bankruptcy or liquidation. Moreover, the absence of the ‘Old Firm’ games will remove the only ‘glamour’ Scottish league game from our screens. Many people from across the globe have always followed the ‘Old Firm’ matches – frenetic, sectarian, absorbing, tribal rivalry very exciting all the time. There will be no one standing in the way of Celtic for the next few years, and if that does not make a League boring! Celtic are a great club, and the rest of the SPL are not anywhere near Celtic in terms of quality or financial power so it is going to be quite interesting to see how things pan out.

Rangers like the phoenix will rise again. They are wounded, and certainly hurt. However, the club with the backing of the thousands of its supporters will get back to the top of league football again. In the meantime the team’s presence in the lower reaches will be good for the 3rd Division teams financially. Juventus suffered the ignominy of relegation to the Serie C in 2006 following one of the worst scandals in Italian football. The Old Lady of Turin only won the Italian Serie A again  last season. We wait to see how Rangers will fight back. We are certain they will come back stronger. Scottish football though may yet suffer more heartache in the meantime.

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside

A silver medal with the olympic rings inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally they have arrived. The whole world witnessed one magnificent spectacle last night when the Olympics were officially kicked off.

More than 11000 athletes are competing. Well, watching the archery today I thought, umm maybe the word athlete is abused here. Whenever ‘athlete’ is mentioned, I for one expect a specimen of physical fitness, evidence of hard work at the gym, running swimming or whatever. The Olympics motto is ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ and I am sure the Olympic family embraces all those who take part.  But looking at the archers,well! It doesn’t matter anyway. The Queen apparently parachuted herself into the Olympic Park! Who would have ever thought or imagined that possible. Whether it was the Queen or not is secondary. David Cameron was in attendance too. What he made of it I will always wonder. The best bit for me was watching the athletes walking into the stadium. They are the performers, without them there will be nothing to watch.

Mark Cavendish (cyclist) did not win the gold medal as everyone expected. He didn’t get any medal at all. After Bradley Wiggins‘s victory in France last week, we all expected Cavendish to triumph on home soil as well. He is a very, very good cyclist.It wasnt meant to be. Michael Phelps could not get a look in as well. He came fourth in the 400m Individual Medley. Ryan Lochte,had the cheek to beat him. The American part of the Olympic Village must be a fun place to be tonight. Team GB ladies football team is doing well and I hope that will be replicated by the male team.

Football/soccer

Just been watching English teams playing or showcasing the ‘beautiful game’, in the USA and Canada. They prefer calling it soccer in those parts. Liverpool just played a 0-0 draw with Spurs,and that got me wondering whether the Americans enjoyed it at all. Or how much they are enjoying it. Of course there is a significant proportion of fans who have always watched ‘our football’ or migrated from the hotbeds of football and they will of course enjoy watching the teams from England and Europe. Liverpool have a massive fan base across the globe too. The English teams have every right to invade those ‘virgin’ territories to develop more marketing opportunities. How is the market responding?  The MLS seems to be getting stronger and more competitive too. It’s a good thing the MLS never thought they would name their competitions a ‘world Series’ like the MLB does. Is soccer proving to be a major competitor to MLB, NBA, NFL, NASCAR etc? As a football lover, I really hope soccer becomes big in America. The other side of the same coin though, is that I would also love to watch say the Boston Red Sox playing the White Sox or the Dodgers in the UK. The NFL have a game annually at Wembley. Surely MLB could also have something similar, at Lords or the Oval! After all even NBA has exhibition ,matches, plus, there is the Harlem Globetrotters!

Darts.

It is indeed a very good weekend for sport. We have got darts tonight as well. We have got the World Matchplay at Blackpool. Here is to Hoping Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor is victorious. Whats in a name anyways? All these sports like to call their tournaments ‘world’ this and that. Americans do that for competitions involving not more than 2 countries. Yes Uncle Sam that’s true. Darts now have also got onto the act and proclaim to have a ‘World Matchplay’. Possibly involving more than 5 countries. The mind boggles. But does that give these sports the right to add ‘world cup’ to their competitions? At least with football (or soccer we know every country in the world gets a look in. Why is darts not an Olympic sport,any road? Surely it is a sport and you are very unlikely to find anyone taking performance enhancing drugs in this sport. Moreover, there would have been a guaranteed Gold Medal for Team GB – Phil Taylor would have won it. It time the IOC reviewed the games on offer. Talking of performance enhancing drugs, Hysen Pulaku from Albania has all ready been thrown out of the Olympics for using anabolic steroids. At least two other athletes from Morocco and Hungary have been precluded from taking art in the Olympics because of the use/abuse of these illegal substances.

Formula One

Congrats to Lewis Hamilton getting pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The boy is made of sterner stuff. The British tabloids have been relentlessly trying to make his personal life a nightmare of late. If not discussing the ins and outs of his contract with McLaren, they are busy trying to turn a mole hill into a mountain – Apparently Lewis Hamilton had the temerity to hang out with mates (including girls)  when Nicole Scherzinger was away working.Therefore his girlfriend is either (1) going to give him a stern talking to, or (2) Dump him. Well,well, well,I bet the same journalists are allowed to go out for drinks with friends of the opposite sex without asking for explicit permission from their other halves! Ignore the barracking Lewis, and win the Hungarian Grand Prix for all the millions who follow you and McLaren. Admittedly McLaren have had a bad time of late with pit stops, mechanical faults, weather et al. Hopefully they have turned a corner! An interesting fact I just felt I had to throw in: Sebastien Vettel has never won in July. He doesn’t win in July. Therefore the competition for first place tomorrow will just be Alonso, Webber, Schumacher and or Button. Those are my bold predictions. Ladies and gentlemen.

It is quite exciting at the moment.London is doing well. We hope the weather decides to take a back seat and not rain on this parade. Oh and we hope Mitt Romney and his apparatchiks are watching: ‘YES WE CAN.

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