Category Archives: London Games

Mohamed we adore you

Olympic Rant #18 On the fourteenth day God resumed work

THE squabbles and rancour of this year’s Ilympics were run into the ground on Day 14 as Great Britain, Jamaica and the United States turned in memorable performances.
Britain’s Mohamed Farah was stunning as he held off Ethiopia and Kenya to take gold in the 5000m.

Mohamed Farah

I usually cheer for the African nations in middle distance events as I love their team strategy in running. But my hat and running shoes go off to Mohamed Farahwho won his second gold medal of London 2012 with a thrilling victory in the 5000 metres on the final night of athletics.
Farah was denied any hope of assistance from GB team mate Nick McCormick who failed to make the final.
Here were the other things stacked against Farrah:
# He admitted to tiredness after his win the 10,000m seven days earlier
# He ran 3rd in his heat.
# He was ranked 11th in the world and was competing against seven of those rated above him.
Farah took the front with 700m to go but had little peace. American Galen Rupp sprinted quickly but could not cross the Brit.
Sensing the American might have weakened the leade,r the Africans queued up to have a crack at Farah. He repelled each one and kicked on the home turn.
The fastest runner over the distance this year was Dejen Gebremeskel and he made his move, looking to have Farah’s measure half-way down the straight.
The Brit kicked again and safely held the Ethiopian for a magnificent courageous victory.
             Farah said each of his twin girls due to be born shortly would have a Gold Medal from the London Games. They will be the heroes of show and tell in a few years, especially if Dad is part of the presentation.
USAIN Bolt took his third Gold when Jamaica raced to a world record in the 4x100m relay.
Bolt was a little less certain that Rio 2016 might be beyond him than he was after his 200m win.
I’ve thought about it but I think it’s going to be very hard because Yohan (Blake), he’s just come into the game and he’s running pretty well, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more cats coming up to run.
I’ll take it a step at a time.
THE U.S. captured the women’s 4x400m relay and Allyson Felix achieved her third gold medal.
Felix ran the second leg after a brilliant start by DeeDee Trotter gave her a big lead at the first change. American 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross ran the anchor leg and the U.S. won in 3:16.87 – the fastest time run in 19 years.
 Russia was three seconds behind Jamaica took the bronze.
Russia had its revenge when Anna Chicherova won the women’s high jump ahead of American Brigetta Barrett. Another Russian Svetlana Shkolina was third.

           The Chinese are yet to get the knack of track and field and the Americans comfortably were ahead in the medal count in gold and total.

Leaders after Day 14
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Total
1
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44
29
29
102
2
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38
27
22
87
3
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
28
15
19
62
4
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
21
25
32
78
5
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
13
7
7
27
6
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
11
19
14
44
7
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
10
11
12
33
8
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
7
8
23
9
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
8
4
5
17
10
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
7
16
12
35
11
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
14
17
37
12
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
6
8
20
13
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
6
4
10
14
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
4
9
18
15
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
5
3
5
13
16
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
5
3
12
17
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
4
4
12
18
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
3
5
12
19
Description: https://www.google.com/images/spreadsheets/trans.gif
4
2
6
AT Beijing 2008, the count was
Rank
Country
1
36
38
36
110
2
51
21
28
100
3
23
21
28
72
4
19
13
15
47
China’s fall in medals and CB’s rise tell us that in any sporting contest, home field advantage is real.
So let’s hear the Unofficial Official GB London Games Anthem. Take it away one more time.
Bernie Dowling, August 12, 2012

Bolts in with the name game

Olympic Rant #12 Fast men are gone in well under 10


THE power of words is more than a casual contribution to the living mythology that is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. He might not go Gaga on Twitter but he is the biggest name in Ol’ London Town as he defends his 100m Olympic title.

Usain Bolt sets the fastest 100m time ever 
in Berlin on  August 16 , 2009

Bolt is no good thing to win. It is three years since he set the extant world record of 9.58s. The field includes the second, third, fourth and seventh fastest men alive – Tyson Gay, U.S. 9.69s; Asafa Powell, Jamaica, 9.72s; Yohan Blake, Jamaica, 9.75s and Justin Gatlin, U.S, 9.80s.
Gatlin is a remarkable athlete who recovered from a four-year doping ban (2006-10) – innocent he says – to run his 9.80s on June 24 this year. Jamaican Blake also set his best time in June, while Gay ran his in 2009 and Powell set his PB in 2008.
Rank
Fastest time (s)
Wind (m/s)
Athlete
Country
Date
Location
1
9.58
+0.9
16 August 2009
2
9.69
+2.0It is three years since he
20 September 2009
3
9.72
+0.2
2 September 2008
4
9.75
+1.1
29 June 2012
5
9.78
+0.9
29 August 2010
6
9.79
+0.1
16 June 1999
7
9.80
+1.3
4 June 2011
9.80
+1.8
24 June 2012
9
9.84
+0.7
27 July 1996
+0.2
22 August 1999

Asafa Powell is a mellifluous name befitting the world’s fastest man from 2005-2008.
Asafa Powell: 3rd fastest time and 2nd best name

Then along came Usain St Leo Bolt. On May 31, 2008, fellow Jamaican Usain Boly  ran a time of 9.72s at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City. Bolt not only had a better time but also a better name.
Usain Bolt sounds like it burst from the pages of a private-detective thriller, but it is his real moniker. I believe the name has added zest to his performance in the track. Coupled with his playful warm-up antics, the name Usain Bolt, the Thor of our times, is revered around the world.
The concept of the fastest man alive helps, as well. It is something of a misnomer in that Bolt would have to be faster than all the dead man, too.
I achieved my only gold medal at the final Goodwill Games in Brisbane in 2001. It was through the then Fastest Man Alive, Maurice Greene. Injury prevented star attraction Greene from competing but he was an ambassador.
He gave a media conference and I asked a question which led to my gold medal. I maintain to this day it was a good question. Before me was the fastest man alive, a man with an English surname and a French first name.
I knew Kansas had French settlers before and after the United States acquired most of the territory through the Louisiana Purchase. One Frenchman Ernest Valeton de Boissière was a fascinating homme who came to the U. S. in 1852.
Although he was a former French army engineer, he was of an idealistic bent and, in 1870, set up what he hoped would be a utopian commune in Kansas. He called it Silkville, planted mulberry trees and produced high quality silk. The enterprise hummed along sweetly and Silkville soon had a school, winery, silk factory and a three-story 60-room housing complex.
Cheap overseas silk imports and community members re-joining the rat-race took its toll financially Sticking resolutely to his dream, de Boissiere and his communards diversified into dairy cattle and livestock , but with little success. In 1892, de Boissiere, gave the property to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he sailed back to France, where he died in 1894.
Some might say he wasted the last had 25 years of his life but the utopian commune survived for 22 years. By most comparisons with  similar ventures, the Frenchman did well.
In 1972,  the extant  buildings of the ghost town of Silkville  were added to the National Register of Historic Places. If you are in the area of Williamsburg Township, Franklin County, Kansas, you can  pay Silkville  a visit.
Why Maurice  Greene was given a French name might not be as fascinating as the saga of Silkville. But we would never know unless someone asked. So, at an international media conference, I asked the  fastest man alive how he got the name Maurice. ‘My mother gave me that name,’ Maurice Greene replied. It was not the answer I was looking for, though it seemed to please my media colleagues who laughed heartily.
Six months later, an anniversary of the Games was held in the swank Brisbane Polo Club, a place no one had thought to invite me to, before.
I was presented with a gold medal. I do not remember what the event I won was officially called but it was little doubt it was meant to be for the dumbest question of the final Goodwill Games anywhere in the world. I still maintain it was a good question and a lot better than Greene’s answer which sank my credibility.
After all my years in journalism I have only two small pieces of advice for novices: it is not a popularity contest and never be afraid to ask what you think could be a dumb question; you might win a gold medal from it.
So who will win the gold in the 100m.? Like most of the world, I would like to see Usain Bolt win. But I think the gold will go to Yohan Blake. As soon as I post this rant, I will contact my internet bookie to have a modest wager on Blake.
Yohan Blakei looks for gold 

If I am wrong, that’s alright. You have to back your judgement in life, or wait for others to tell you what you think.

Bernie Dowling, August 5, 2012 

Games people play

Olympic Rant #11 Games reputation on the chopping block

WHEN I heard the IOC had booted out a referee and the coppers had lumbered an Olympic tweeter, I thought it best to turn my attention to an alternative spectacular, the annual Pine Rivers Show.
No axes in the back at the Pine Rivers Show
In the noble sport of bashing, referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan was punted from the London games after he failed to stop a match despite a fighter from Azerbaijan being knocked to the canvas six times.
Amazingly, judges awarded the fight to the Azerbaijani Magomed Abdulhamidov, but that decision was soon reversed amid allegations of a $2 million bribe by Azerbaijan. Wow, who would have thought bribery and match fixing would have crept into the pristine sport of bashing?
Outside the bashing ring, police arrested a 17-year-old for tweeting “negative messages” with reference to Olympic diver Tom Daley’s dead father. Wow, who would have thought an offensive message would be posted on Twitter? Police throughout the world are now investigating 45, 762, 811 people over possible similar offences.
Some journos have taken to referring to these London Olympics as the Twitter Games. In my day job, I tweet a bit about the Olympics among posts on more pressing local matters. (I work for what used to be called a suburban newspaper but we have rebadged ourself as a community newspaper.) In these rants, I have quoted a couple of people’s tweets. I am far from an astronaut in the tweet universe but I am not a black hole, either.
On our papers Facebook pages, I posted the discussion point of whether the gun Chinese swimmer was Ye Shiwen or Shiwen Ye. The topic was bubbling nicely when my posts and its attached comments disappeared. Our IT guru assured me the posts were there on the Faceboook page but nobody could see them. This seemed like a great metaphysical conundrum along the lines of “if a tree falls in the forest…” But it curtailed one of my more promising social-media adventures.
One positive thing I will say about my Twitter universe is all the stars in it are rarely negative or insulting. I will just check my Twitter account to see how many stars there are.  I have 22 followers and I follow 30 people. I try to keep parity between followers and followees, but it seems I have slipped up a bit lately.
I read everything I can lay my screen on about social-media strategy. Bent Banana Books is a professional publisher, after all. We need to go into the marketplace and kick arse, ass in America, though I do not get the metaphor of booting a donkey, in the bum, or anyone else, for that matter. I vow to follow hundreds of people hoping some will reciprocate.  But I find it a bit contrived. Then I start getting picky about whom to follow. Those I choose do not follow me back. It’s a mess. One woman – not one of my stars – tweeted anyone with fewer than 100 followers –she actually tweeted less than 100 but I have cleaned her grammar for her – was a cyber stalker. For some reason, her tweet made me feel better.
I believe I should have 2000 followers because what I tweet is really really relevant. Others seem to disagree. They could be right.
After reading depressing reports from the London Olympics, I decided to go to the Pine Rivers Show.

Pine Rivers is a district north of Brisbane. This is its 108th show and the showground is just across the road from where I live.
Pine Rivers has a population of about 130, 000. More than 30,000 people attend the show each year. Per capita, the Pine Rivers Show is far more popular than the London Olympics. No-one watches the show on TV, but.
I tweeted and Facebooked some of my observations to our newspaper accounts. It is my day off, but what the heck, what are a few lousy tweets between friends. I will share some of the tweets and posts, but only the ones which set the scene or demonstrate how wily I am in linking the Pine Rivers Show to the London Olympics.

1. #pineriversshow This is shaping as the best Pine Rivers Show ever. If you like leisurely strolls head down in the next few hours before the burst of the late afternoon crowds.

#pineriversshow Check out 3-month-old alpaca named Short Circuit and 10-month-old miniature long-hair goat Twiggy. They are in the farmyard.

Ugandan drummer Joseph Matovu is conducting free drumming workshops. The kids from Pine Rivers Special School (for disabled students) really pounded out the beat for Old McDonald Had a Farm. “They are fantastic,” Joseph said of the kids. Joseph is fantastic, too.

The variety of food is amazing. You have the old standards of Dagwood Dogs, burgers and chips, as well as the scouts’ sausage sizzle and the Rotary sangers. But there are also wood-fired pizzas, American-style burgers, Teppanyati noodles, Turkish gozleme which is beef cheese and spinach on pita bread and yakitori, Japanese chicken skewers. From the Taste of Greece stall I bought the spanakopita (spinach and feta pie) Yum-eee! The vendor said I pronounced spanakopita so well, he gave me an extra pie free.

#pineriversshow I don’t know what school it was but props for the kids who waited patiently in a 50-metre line to get into the show. They spent the waiting time pointing out to one another all the wonders inside.
                                                     
Pine Rivers was only settled by the White invaders in the mid-1880s and the district only began to become (sub)urbanised 30 or so years ago.  (In 1966 the population was fewer than 14,000). It has nowhere near the rich cultural history of the London and the local council refuses to heritage-list significant sites and buildings in Pine Rivers district. Yet Pine Rivers can host a friendly show of competitions – cooking, horticulture, beef cattle, poultry, arts & crafts, photography, wood-chopping, needlework, school work, colouring-in, show jumping, a rodeo and some I cannot recall – as well as exhibitions and entertainments, many with an international flavour.
I loved it when the Greek man gave me an extra pie for showing the respect to try to pronounce one of his national dishes as best I could.
On that positive message, let’s play the Australian National Anthem for London 2012.

Bernie Dowling, August 3, 2012

Olympics in song

Olympic rant #4  OIC bans Bond

WHAT were they thinking. giving mad Irish film maker  Danny Boyle $42 million to stage the Opening Ceremony of the London? When the Big End of London goes for the cutting edge, it ends up bleeding badly.
Danny Boy, the Pistols are calling

The Scots bung on the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, and, of course, they are going to put on a Fringe Festival for comedians to ridicule the High and Mighty. Among the English.
(Do not  go down to the comments column to tell me I am an idiot because Boyle is English. You will lose the thread of my dissertation . I have no time to explain why Boyle is Irish so just take my word for it and we will move on.)
But the English should not have fringes, even on their foreheads. Yet Boris Johnson is the Official Games Madman and Boyle is the Fringe Games Madman.
Of course Boyle was going to include the Sex-Pistols’ God Save the Queen in the ceremony. It was only a snippet but Boyle knew we would all usain-bolt to our computers to play the whole damn thing.
The Queen was a good sport in allowing Boyle to put together the great-looking hokum with Her Maj, the Royal Corgis and James Bond. I believe Boyle has offered Elizabeth II a role in the sequel to Trainspotting. I was going to show the You Tube vid but the IOC spolsports tracked it down and banned it. You know how it goes.
This video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright groundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube, Yair, we are too.
That vid brought out the republicans and the jingoes among the Youtubers who saw it before the IOC swooped.
good2btheking  commented ‘Thats (sic, commas and Capital Letters are optional for good2b) not fair, she had a parachute on! What a waste of my time.’
I guess the implication is, if China had Danny Boyle, Mao Tse-tung would have opened the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 
If we cannot watch the Queen/ Bondy/ corgi thing we will make do with another classic which Danny Boyle’s mob covered.
This is 4u, IOC



Paul McCartney sang Hey Jude, a song the former Beatle wrote though it was credited as being by Lennon-McCartney. I have no idea why Boyle did not have John Lennon performing beside McCartney. Hey Jude is a sweet song but not overly inspiring.

McCartney, could have chosen one of his songs which more reflected on modern Britain. You might correctly guess Lennon’s fingerprints are on some of the lyrics of the song McCartney should have sung.

Six young athletes lit the cauldron from a flame carried by five-time gold medallist, rower Steve Redgrave. In a thoughtful gesture, Redgrave’s guard of honour consisted of 500 men and women who built the Olympic Park, specifically for the London Olympics and Paralympics. After the Games are finished, it will be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and will be used as a playground for her corgis.
The Arctic Monkeys covered the Beatles Come Together but the IOC says we are not allowed to watch the replay.  You know the drill:

oundsThis video contains content from International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
.Sorry about that, says Youtube.


Yes, it is a bit of a shame as we will not see a song with the title Come Together at the fiscally responsible Ayn Rand Olympics. (Read my previous blog. Or not.) The Arctic Monkeys did a version most faithful to the original. You can catch the sound of Youtube but, what the heck, we will play a cover  from a trio who should have been invited to perform at the London Games.
You cannot finish on a more inspirational note than that.
Enjoy the Games.!
Olympic shorts
Ducking for glory
THE archive of Australia’s first ever double Olympic Medal winner Bobby Pearce was the top selling lot at Bonhams Olympic Games Sale held on July 25 in London. (See My Olympic rant #1)
The collection included the rower’s two Olympic Gold Medals, letters, photographs and posters.
It sold for £49,250 to an Australian buyer.  The winning bid was at the top end of Bonhham’s expectations
He buyer will be able to tell the story of Pearce’s heat at the 1928  Amsterdam Olympics. He stopped rowing during his heat to allow a group of ducks to cross the course. Pearce went  on to win by 20 lengths.
It would be good if the modern IOC could realise how fireworks terrorise wildlife and domestic parts. I know I am in the minority on this one but I would like to see fireworks replaced by laser light shows synchronised with popular music.
BIGGEST representation
The Cook Islands has the biggest number of national representatives.
Its eight athletes represent the nation at the rate of 40 per 100,000 inhabitants. The greedy nation the United Kingdom (England and those countries yet to win independence) has  a rate of  under 1 for every 100,000 people.
Half the nations  have fewer than 10 competitors, while six nations –  the US, UK, Russia, China, Germany and Australia. –   have  2,720 athletes or  a quarter of all the athletes in the games.


Meet you in Burkina Faso
A HUMBLING experience for Olympic spectators is the realisation that there are countries we have never heard. Be honest: how many of these countries  do you know something about: Andorra, Aruba, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mauritania, Myanmar, Suriname, Tuvalu.
Over the next fortnight, Olympic Rants will feature some of the athletes from these countries. The Olympics is a better way for countries such as these to make the headlines for reasons other than war and famine.
Bernie Dowling June 28, 2012