Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mark Cavendish

In the run up year to the London Olympics, one athlete deserves a special mention for an outstanding triumph this weekend at the World Road Race Championships in Copenhagen. Probably like a lot of Brits, I confess I am new to the sport and it took me a while to work out the whole ‘team’ element of it. I was convinced we’d fill the podium up with Union Jacks at one point until hubby explained – phew!

Actually, I stumbled across the women’s race on the BBC and was instantly hooked. It’s good to see different sports championed on the Beeb, even if it is only because we have a chance of a medal. To put it into context, it was the first time a Brit had won the event since 1963 I believe. Watching the race, I have no idea how he came from what seemed like the back of the pack to clinch the first place. It was so exhilarating and simply sublime. Especially as Australia were beaten to second place.

Lizzie Armistead was less happy with her performance as a crash scuppered her chances of a medal. It was very moving to see her close to tears at the end of the race – and incredibly, she didn’t even look puffed out. It’s enough to make you want to go down the gym. Almost. See you at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Mark!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Diary entry from Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony

16th September 2000

Well. WOO-HOO!!!!! Where to begin? So we were taken to the SuperDome which is where all the gym stuff is – it’s on TV back at the flat right now – and only hours ago, I was there, with all the countries of the world – the athletes of the world – doing Mexican waves and clapping and cheering, watching the torch on huge TV screens as it was taken over the Sydney Opera House sails by swimmer Sam Riley. Incredible.

As I sit here on Coogee Beach the day after, it all seems like a dream. Anyway, as we waited for our cue to join the Opening Ceremony, the Aussies started chanting ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ or rather, we did, the marshalls, as the Aussie team came in to take their place in the SuperDome. They were last in. And the US team couldn’t let it go – they had to have their say – so they started with ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’. And it was all too cringeworthy for words. Because then they were booed by all the countries of the world. Hardly in the Olympic Spirit, but they should’ve kept their mouths shut in the first place. The Aussies are allowed to cheer; they’ve paid to fly them all here and put them up as the host nation after all… anyway, enough about that.

So then we marched over to the stadium. Writing this now, it seems like ages ago that we first did that walk back on the 6th of August, and how exciting and far off it seemed back then. We were old hands by now. All the performers were coming out buzzing, the looks on their faces telling it all. Electric. They high-fived us on their run of victory out of the tunnel. And then it was our turn. I had my camera and got a piccie of the Ned Kellys and fishies. And then we were on.