Tag Archive: London 2012 Olympics

Immigration may seem a peculiar topic when talking about sport, but it is a subject that has been on my mind since Mo Farah became one of Britain’s most beloved sporting stars.

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the 'good immigration' bracket. (Image | NME)

Icon | Mo Farah is idolised as a British sporting hero, putting him in the ‘good immigration’ bracket. (Image | NME)

Few in this country will forget the sight of Farah winning gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London 2012 Olympic Games: yet after the latter victory, Somali-born Farah had to deal with a journalist asking if he would have preferred to have run for Somalia, rather than Britain.

The 30-year-old gave the question short shrift, and has since developed into a sporting superstar, building on last year’s gold medals with two more at the World Athletics Championships last month.

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The World Championships in Athletics that follow an Olympic Games can often have the feeling of “going into the office the morning after the work Christmas party”. A bit of a let down following the thrill of the main event.

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

Expectation | As at the 2012 London Olympic Games, all eyes will be on Mo Farah, the main hope for British glory. (Image | Daily Express)

All the effort that went into the preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games can drain an athlete, both physically and psychologically. Where do you go once you have climbed Mount Everest?

For the world’s premier track and field athletes, they head to Moscow for the 2013 World Championships. From a British perspective, this is not a meet to be anticipated with a great deal of confidence.

Of the trio that brought us that magic hour last summer, Jessica Ennis-Hill is absent with injury, while Greg Rutherford has suffered injury problems, and struggled for form all year. Only Mo Farah heads to Moscow looking like a potential world champion in waiting.

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Why Mark Cavendish must leave Team Sky

Is the Sky really the limit? | Mark Cavendish won his team’s first race of 2012 in Qatar back in February. (Image | Team Sky)

If you have got into cycling recently having been inspired by the Bradley Wiggins boom, then he is naturally going to be your cycling god. For me, however, this title is reserved for one man only. That man is Mark Cavendish.

Back when cycling stoked my interest, the Manx Missile was constantly hitting his targets at then-team HTC-Highroad. With a full lead out train, he would win stages which were not even designed for sprinters.

Individuals such as Lars Bak, Peter Velits and Tony Martin hammered it out for Cavendish on the front, Bernie Eisle drove him up the mountains and Matt Goss and Mark Renshaw took control in the stage’s twilight.

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Murray’s summer of glory is just the beginning

The face of a champion | Andy Murray holds the US Open trophy aloft after seeing off Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam. (Image | Huffington Post)

There were some that thought it may never happen. Rather like peace on earth, an end to global warming, honesty from politicians and trains that run on time, Andy Murray winning a Grand Slam has for so long been a conceptual idea. A “wouldn’t it be nice if…” pipe dream. Until last week, that is, when the Scot triumphed in New York, beating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open title.

This splendid slice of success, in a sport so dominated by one man, Roger Federer, occasionally shaken and bruised by those that choose to take him on, came weeks after Murray won the men’s singles gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

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“Official and souvenir programmes…” | For the past month and a half, I have been selling programmes predominantly inside the Olympic Park. (Image | Metro)

On Monday London 2012 came to an end with another outpouring of support, exhilaration and sheer joy at the achievements of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the victory parade, which stretched across London from Mansion House to The Mall, for many culminating at Trafalgar Square. With the eyes of Admiral Horatio Nelson fixed upon the thousands gathered in the streets, on pavements, within glass buildings lining The Strand and even on rooftops, the country celebrated its greatest ever team.

This is no longer an advertising slogan. At the start some may have been suspicious of the hype. Naysayers and doom-mongerers predicted that the Games would be a disaster.

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A golden occasion | While Team GB set the nation’s sporting passions aflame, the effect of the London 2012 Olympic Games went far beyond the Olympic Park. (Image | Radio Times)

After the wondrous Olympic Games in London, I expect to already be preaching to the congregation with this piece. However, what has happened in Britain over the past few weeks ought to be repeated. This is despite the fact that for so long, the prospect of the greatest show on Earth reaching these shores was met with indifference.

The pessimism and apathy had begun to dissipate as the opening ceremony drew closer. Then a political gaffe from Mitt Romney only expedited this, failing to realise that like one’s family members, you can listen to the complaints, but under no circumstances join in. It almost makes me want to see him become America’s next president simply in order to observe the manner in which any future visit to Downing Street would pan out. The country still approached the beginning of the Games with a tangible sense of trepidation. Everyone had witnessed China host a stunning, albeit somewhat clinical, opening in 2008. So how would Britain compare?

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Best of enemies | Anna Meares versus Victoria Pendleton was a highlight of London 2012’s great sporting rivalries. (Image | Daily Mail)

We have witnessed a number of extraordinary accomplishments at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the lead up to the Games, however, there were few events I wished to see more than the culmination of one of the most enthralling sporting rivalries for a generation: Victoria Pendleton facing Anna Meares.

While Pendleton could claim first blood, after taking gold in the keirin, the focus would rightly be on the women’s sprint, which took place on the final day of action in the Velodrome.

Pendleton’s gold in the keirin was an unexpected success. Meares led going into the final lap, but Pendleton timed her move perfectly, taking the lead and maintaining it as she crossed the finish line.

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Blink and you’ll miss it | Usain Bolt clearly had a point to prove when he won both the 100m and 200m at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image | TalkSPORT)

As Usain Bolt crossed the line in first in the 200m, cementing his status as the greatest sprinter of all time, the doubts and whispers about him and his chances disappeared into the London ether. Bolt, however, didn’t forget these. It must be said that, prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games, he had hardly enjoyed a successful season.

The 25-year-old began by running a slow (for him) 10.04 seconds in the a 100m meet at Ostrava, before being defeated in both the 100m and 200m by team mate and friend Yohan Blake at the Jamaican trials. Bolt has often mentioned that Blake trains harder than him, hence his moniker, “the beast”. Following Bolt’s epochal success in Beijing four years ago, had he taken his eye off the ball? Was there someone ready to make a Henry Bolingbroke style claim for Bolt’s throne?

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Team GB’s “apology” culture

“I’m sorry I didn’t win” – Team GB is, by its very nature, carrying the sporting hopes and dreams of the nation on the shoulders of its 500 plus athletes, but Rebecca Adlington’s apology for her bronze in the first week was wholly unnecessary. (Image | Huffington Post)

Sorry seems to be the hardest word“. Not for Team GB, it seems. Along with the raucous sound of the crowds across the Olympic venues, London has been treated to a succession of apologies from its competitors at the Games, all of whom, under extreme pressure and the weight of expectation that they have never experienced before, feel they almost “owe” the nation a gold medal.

It has reached the stage where few would have been surprised to hear Tom Daley, Olympic poster boy and marketers’ dream, apologise for bringing home the bronze medal last night. As it was, the 18-year-old frolicked around in the pool with his coaches and trainers after narrowly surrendering first place to America’s David Boudia and China’s Qiu Bo courtesy of a lower tariff dive than the respective gold and silver medal winners.

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Gifted and talented | America’s Missy Franklin has won three gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games, confirming her ability and almost certain future success. (Image | Vanity Fair)

Back in 1995, surveying the young Manchester United side featuring Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Gary Neville, which had slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa, pundit and former Liverpool footballer Alan Hansen coined a now infamous phrase. “You can’t win anything with kids”, declared the Scotsman confidently. A mantra that was dramatically proven to be false and misguided that very season by Sir Alex Ferguson‘s youthful charges, Hansen’s words also apply to the most exciting and unpredictable phenomena of the London 2012 Olympic Games – youth.

So far 15-year-old Ye Shiwen from China has won the 400m IM, American 17-year-old Missy Franklin has picked up three gold medals, and Kate Ledecky has well and truly outpaced Team GB favourite Rebecca Adlington in the 800m freestyle. These kids, eh? Always winning medals and showing up their elders. It’s a shame you can’t win anything with ki… Oh, wait. You can.

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