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Tag Archive: athletes


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.

English: The Bird's nest, Beijing, during the ...

English: The Bird’s nest, Beijing, during the closing ceremony of the 2008 olympic games, august 24th Français : Le nid d’oiseau, Pékin, durant la cérémonie de cloture des Jeux Olympiques 2008, le 24 août (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It could be sheer coincidence or perhaps  fate that the current Olympics will be held in the backdrop of austere economic conditions. The last  Olympics in London in 1948 were called the ‘austerity Olympics‘ due to the dire post-war economic and social conditions. Times are hard again.Could Nostradumus have foreseen this as well?

The London Olympics Games could  be that  elixir the country needs to come out of the current downbeat mood. The Olympic Torch has been welcomed by millions countrywide. Millions who have braved the weather’s intemperance. Millions of school children shall be able to tell later generations of that day they witnessed The Torch. Surely that should mark the genesis of a few weeks of joy. Joy perhaps rivalling  or even surpassing the Golden Jubilee weekend, just gone.

London and the Environment

A lot of the masses are moaning. Maybe not the majority, but a very vocal proportion. Aided and abetted by some sections of the Press who behave like ravenous vultures. One can  understand Londoners‘s gripe over say, the Olympic lanes. Londoners will have to put up with some disruption to their lives because most of the games will be in London. Londoners have suffered for years with traffic congestion and the new Olympic lanes may make it even harder to crawl through the streets of London. But surely a few weeks of the pain inflicted by these changes must be worth it when the honour of hosting such global event is bestowed upon you. Apart from that, the new Olympic Lanes maybe the trigger that could get thousands of  Londoners to switch to  public transport. Public transport is actually not that bad. With perhaps some benefit to the environment. Other environmentally friendly methods of  travelling such as cycling could also be a viable alternative too.

Financial Costs

Hosting the Olympics has cost the national coffers quite a significant amount of money. Games of this size will always cost billions. I am not privy to the information on the costs of the games. However, some public records suggest that it could be as much as £11 billion. That is a lot of money, which otherwise could have been invested elsewhere. Most public projects always go over the projected budget. As for the argument the money could have been better utilised elsewhere, one can only argue that the investments made will at least leave some legacy. It is not like billions of pounds poured down the drain like the National NHS IT project. And many other public projects over the years. The  benefits  accrued from hosting the Olympics are immense. Some will accrue over time. Of immediate impact would be the income earned from the hundreds of thousands of visitors to London and other Olympic sites throughout the country. People coming to the Games are going to visit other parts of the UK too,  not just London. The health of the nation will also be given a fillip. More people are taking to sport, and even more will, because of the Games.The country will surely benefit if a significant number of the populace regularly partake in sport. The Government has tried to encourage sport participation with limited success. The excitement generated by  hosting the Olympics Games  may actually turn out to be  the fuel that ignites increased  participating in some sport or exercise. Which will be good for the health of the nation as a whole.

Glory

Whats more spectacular than watching your local athletes competing against the best the world has got to offer, in your own backyard? Think about the local boy/girl, the short-putter. Or any other sportsman/woman. Because of the simple reason that  he/she does not play football or tennis, no one really knows or cares about him/her. This is his/her chance to grab World attention for all their hard work. A chance to get countrymen/women to finally recognize and appreciate him/her as their own Olympian. Several less popular sports never grab the limelight yet these boys and girls are toiling daily to be the best in their sport. This is their best chance to do that now with the Olympic Games in London. Friends and family who have supported them throughout will be basking in the Olympic glory too. The spotlight finally showing. There are many benefits to the local sportsmen/women taking part. There is the quite remote likelihood United Kingdom  may finally top the medals chart! Well, optimism aint a crime! But just think, with all the vocal local/national support behind these athletes, who knows, they may find themeselves pushing  that little harder to win; before their fellow countrymen/women. There is also perhaps a better chance too for the football team to finally get a medal.Who would have anticipated watching one national football team for the United Kingdom. Stuart Pearce‘s team is the one time the four countries play as one.It could also be the one occasion when  the four countries may get a medal at football. Because as individual states, none of the 4 has ever come anywhere within spitting distance of a tournament trophy for decades. We should not forget the female football team too. What a wonderful opportunity!

Families can watch the Games

The last time the Olympic Games were held in the United Kingdom was 1948.Ever since  then anyone who wanted to watch had to fork out a small fortune in funding an expedition abroad to watch the games. Now that they are being held in this country, everyone has had a chance to get to see the games. Some have chosen not too. Or perhaps, the costs involved are still onerous. Or maybe there were not enough tickets. Be that as it may, this is the best and most economical opportunity for the majority of people to actually watch the Olympic Games without having to spend a fortune. The organisers have been a little generous as well, throwing in some Free  London travel too . Children and the youths who get a chance to watch these games  will have such magnificent memories. Adults too will be able to say I was at the London Olympics and be witness to some moments that one will cherish forever. And those not able to watch the games in the stadia will possibly be watching on telly. Or listening to commentary on radios. The whole nation will surely be watching the Games.

Celebration

Moaning has become a national pastime. Maybe the advent of blogs and micro-blogs like Twitter have made is easier for mass moaning. It is understandable in some situations. However, the Olympic Games should be a period of celebration. A period when we all acknowledge the hard work and courage of the athletes, wherever they come from. We have got thousands of visitors, why not start highlighting and celebrate the positives and the marvelous achievements so the whole world can see what this great nation is capable of. We  should be supporting our athletes, they will need all the support they can muster as they attempt to prove they are world-class too. We could start by postponing moaning for now and support the Olympics. There is plenty of time and opportunity after the Games!

Security

One can not talk about the Olympics without mentioning the security farce. The G4S fiasco is an acute national embarrassment. Surely the Army has got much more important work to  do than be used as security guards. Especially with resources so stretched due to the war in Afghanistan. Good thing the Cold War is over, otherwise we would be worried about who was to defend us if some intrepid communist General were to  decide we were ripe for some war games. Thrusting as many as 15000 soldiers on the nation’s daily consciousness as they patrol the streets in East London is, at the very most a sure sign that the organisers and the Government were very inept indeed. But is it time for mud-slinging? The mind boggles as to why G4S Senior management being summoned to Parliament at the 11th hour of the Games? Surely they should have been busy trying to salvage a really messy situation instead of attending Parliament. It smacks of cheap political point-scoring by the MPs!  If the Government were doing their job properly surely we could never be in this mess anyway. The problems encountered are of the Government’s own making. Police numbers have been slashed nationwide;  privatisation of once were public services, elevation of commercial enterprises like G4S into national institutions……I could go on and on. However, this blog is about celebrating the Olympics Games. Time for evaluations, Parliamentary appearances and lessons learned shall surely come well after the Games.

Looking forward to the Games

We should all be looking forward to a successful Games. May all the athletes and supporters have a great Games. Just imagine someone like Rebecca Adlington, or Jessica Ennis, Tom Daley, Phillips Idowu, Hanna England, Rajiv Ouseph,Dai Greene, Mark Cavendish, Perri Shakes-Drayton…or any one of the British athletes, imagine them standing at the podium with the National Anthem playing, medals dangling from their necks! Taking part is more important I know. However,  it would be great to see all these athletes receive worldwide recognition for their endeavours. It will be greater still for all of us to be there supporting them.

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