Archive for the ‘London Olympics’ Category

Cure for Post-Olympic Syndrome-Return of the Premiership

Friday, August 17th, 2012

It doesn’t seem possible but to-morrow represents opening day to a new season in the English Premiership. Most of us couch potatoes are still reeling from the magnificent achievement of Team GB at the London Olympics, and a little depressed that the Games are assigned to history.

It’s quite amazing to me that Rory Mcllroy winning the PGA Championship last weekend was almost overshadowed by the Olympics, but golf will be given its platform when the Ryder Cup is staged in the USA next month.  Nevertheless a final round of 66 would suggest the “Boyo” is back to his mercurial best.

It’s only a couple of months ago that we were entrenched in the European Championships with Spain confirming that winning the World Cup in 2010 was no fluke by adding European Champions to their impressive resume.

So we return to the bread and butter of the Premiership, and my thoughts go out to my home team Swansea City. They finished a credible eleventh last season when many soothsayers were predicting relegation.

However, the off season has witnessed several changes in management and player personnel for the Swans. Manager Brendan Rodgers and his assistant Colin Pascoe are now at the helm in Liverpool. Rodgers signed player maker Joe Allen from his old team for 15 million pounds, Steven Caulker returned to Spurs following his successful loan spell, and another key loan signing, “The Iceman” is now a Spurs player on double the wages.

 Scott Sinclair has one year left on his contract, but has refused to sign a new one. Consequently it’s almost certain that the Swans will be selling him to receive some value before he becomes a free agent, and it is rumored that Manchester City are very interested in him.

On reflection one would agree that the guts have been ripped out of the team, but we must trust in the old cliché that the Club is bigger than any one individual. Arsenal will attest to that having sold their captain and last season’s top scorer Robin Van Persie to their dreaded rivals Manchester United.

Fortunately the Swans have become accustomed to losing managers to bigger clubs (maybe it’s debatable whether Wigan Athletic represents a bigger fish than the Swans,) and they wasted little time replacing Rodgers with Danish legend Michael Laudrup. Before we get too carried away, Laudrup was a legend as a player, but has achieved only moderate success as a manager/coach with a succession of clubs: Brondby, Getafa, Spartak Moscow and Real Mallorca.

He wasn’t slow off the mark in signing some replacements. Kyle Bartley was purchased from Arsenal, Jose Manuel Flores from Genoa, Jonathan de Guzman on loan from Villareal and Michu, an attacking midfielder who scored 15 goals for Ray Villecano in La Liga last season and looks like an absolute bargain at 2 million pounds. None of the players are household names, but neither were Michel Vorm, Nathan Dyer, or Danny Graham all of whom performed extremely well in their first season in the top flight.

Obviously, it’s a voyage of discovery with so many new players in the squad and Queens Park Rangers is not a happy hunting ground for the Swans. Nevertheless Michael Laudrup is making the right noises: “the philosophy of the Swansea team fits mine.” It’s good to know that the coach and team are on the same page at the beginning of a new campaign, so fingers crossed and let battle commence.

Postscript: What do I know? QPR 0 Swansea City 5 (Two goals by debutant Micho.) WBA 3 Liverpool 0.


Olympic Diary: The Final Twist

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

 August 10th

“USA players have donned t-shirts reading ‘Greatness has been found,’” Canadian writer Jerrad Peters wrote on Twitter after they beat Japan 2-1 to win gold. “That, in a nutshell, is why no one outside the US likes them.”

A man who repainted his local post box gold in honor of Olympic sailing hero Ben Ainslie has been arrested for vandalism.

Olympic pundits show that the BBC is full of cheerleading chumps.

Great Britain’s bid to end a 24-year wait to play for an Olympic hockey gold medal came to a halt in the most humiliating of ways as they were subjected to their heaviest Olympic defeat in 9-2 annihilation at the hands of Holland.

NBC chief Dick Ebersol says the BBC has been too focused in British athletes. Has he ever watched his own channel fronted by the poison dwarf, Bob Costas?

Austrian athletes act like tourists, says angry minister. Austria sent 70 athletes to compete in 21 sports, but failed to win any medals for the first time since 1964.

They sucked…….and you can write that down! Wrestling chief blasts Team GB. Well, you have to admire his honesty.

August 11th

Magnificent Mo Farah dedicated his two Olympic gold to his twin girls who will arrive this month after Super Saturday Mark 11. Will they arrive in record time?

Farce as two Egyptian wrestlers disqualified for turning up late for start. Not a great story I know, but good leads are thin on the ground as we approach the end of the Olympics. It also reminds me of a Morecambe and Wise long standing joke.

The view from abroad: your Games were great…….apart from the slums and that weird guy Boris. So are we talking sustainability or legacy here?

Russian’s sports miniser, Vitaly Murko, has accused Britain of using political clout to win medals at the Olympics. Sound like sour grapes from the politburo to me.

August 12th

Congratulations to Team GB for winning 29 golds, 17 silvers, and 19 bronze. Finishing third in gold medals won and fourth in total medals is a magnificent achievement for a population of 60 million.

It’s been just over two weeks since the Queen parachuted into London’s Olympic Stadium, her apricot dress flapping in the breeze. So it was totally fitting that the virtual Freddie Mercury should play a prominent role in the closing ceremony.

Belaruse shot putter stripped of Olympic Gold medal for drug abuse and four members of Congo Olympic team go missing.

The Plucky Brit belongs to another era of have-a-go heroes, before British sport became a profession as opposed to a pastime. May he rest in peace?

The Olympic diary has come to an end and we must say goodbye to London and hello to Rio in 2016. The Brazilans have one hell of an act to follow. Stage right……

Postscript: the London Olympics turned out to be a roaring success in terms of  Team GB’s performances and presentation. However one of its finest achievements was the spawning of BBC’s “Twenty Twelve;” one of the funniest sitcoms since “Only Fools and Horses.”

Let’s Twist an Olympic Diary again

Friday, August 10th, 2012

August 7th

”Sport does offer an escape, but it is not a vacation from critical thought. This endless Olympic boosterism is oppressive.” Quote from typical Guardian gobbledygook.

T is about the team, it is about the technology, it is about the wheels, the preparation, the numbers, and the thousand tiny pieces of analysis and insight that go to make an Olympic champion. Yet, every now and then, it is really just about the man. One incredible man; one man and his unending thirst for success; one man who simply refuses to be beaten; a six-time Olympic gold medalist called Christopher Andrew Hoy.

Alistair Brown won the gold medal but his brother Jonny highlighted the brutality of the triathlon when he collapsed in exhaustion after winning a bronze medal. Medics summoned ice, wrapped it in a towel and stuffed it up his shirt. A black cloth was held up to protect him from the photographers’ lenses before he was taken away in a wheelchair to the privacy of a tent.

Great Britain’s dressage riders won gold and landed their first title in Olympic history. The trio of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin triumphed.

British success loosens London’s stiff upper lip: stereotype headline from USA Today.

August 8th

Italian race walker Alex Schwazer broke down in tears as he admitted buying banned substance EPO and even lying about it to his fiancée as he stored it in their fridge.

Despite the lessons of history, it became clear yesterday that a British team can win a sudden-death sporting shoot-out after all. Provided, that is, horses are involved.

Also: Gregory Bauge could not beat Jason Kenny in the sprint so he tried to defeat him in the press conference, turning journalist to demand why Britain are so indomitable in the Olympic Velodrome.

Is that an oar in your pocket, or are you just happy to win the bronze? U.S. rower denies he had erection during medal ceremony. Of course not; he was a member of the coxless fours!

August 9th

American Manteo Mitchell brought new meaning to the phrase ‘carrying an injury’ when it was revealed he ran the 4x400m relay with a broken leg.

History belongs to bonny little lass from Leeds with a smile like sunshine and a punch like thunder. Nicola Adams won the first gold medal achieved by a female boxer.

Kenya’s David Rudisha romps to 800m gold and sets first new track world record of London Games, breaking his own world record in the process.

Jade Jones won Britain’s first ever taekwondo gold when she beat Yuzhuo Hou of China in the women’s under-57kgs final.

This is for Pearl Harbor:” racist tweets after U.S. women’s football team beats Japan for Olympic Gold.

Bonkers but beautiful: Lightning Bolt strikes twice to take these Games to a new high.

Track cyclist Gijs Van Hoecke was sent home from the Games after he was pictured looking drunk and being carried into a taxi after a night out. Can’t a man be allowed to drown his sorrows?

More water torture sees Team GB women take home wooden spoon in water polo competition.


An Olympic Diary featuring Twisted Sisters

Monday, August 6th, 2012

August 3rd

Anyone can participate in dressage, just as long as they have a top hat, tails, white gloves and a £1 million horse.

Team GB’s women’s football team were dumped out of the competition by Canada. How on earth can you beat the Samba girls and lose to the Canucks? It all boils down to a broken bus.

Adlington goes from top of the world to treading water in the deep end. Having won 2 golds in Beijing four years ago she had to settle for two bronze medals this time around.

Sir Steve Redgrave was a little too eager to congratulate his friend Katherine Grainger on winning her first gold medal when he planted one right on her lips. Was she in need of resuscitation?

At this point Team GB has won 8 gold medals, and silver or bronze are now regarded as failure. I’m just as culpable in this obsession for gold.

August 4th

A British swimming source said: “They complained when the Chinese girl won with a time five seconds better than her personal best but when their girl does it they don’t make a sound. That’s Americans for you.”

Oscar Pistorius, first double amputee to compete at Olympic Games, comes second in 400m heat. The South African, whose prosthetic limbs have earned him the nicknames Blade Runner and the fastest man on no legs, finished in 45.44 seconds, well off the personal best of 45.07 seconds that he achieved last year, but enough to qualify for the semi-final on Sunday.

I maybe an ex-pat living in the USA these past 16 years but I will support Team GB over the Yanks on any given day and twice on Sundays! On that note…….

……..British women thrash USA in world record time to win gold in cycling team sprint.

NBC has become the center of a race storm after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold. Don’t you just love it when Bob Costas looks like a right plonker!

Congratulations to Jessica Ennis for winning gold in the heptathlon. Michael Phelps please note you have to compete in seven events to win the heptathlon for  one gold and not just show up for mickey mouse swimming races where it is difficult to tell one event from another.

August 5th

One of Italy’s best-known sportswomen, Federica Pellegrini, scoffed when her boyfriend, fellow swimmer Filippo Magnini, announced recently that they would refrain from sex during the Games. ‘Abstinence!’ she cried. ‘Are you mad?’

An estimated two billion people saw Jamaica’s Usain Bolt thrash his rivals to win gold in the men’s 100m final on Sunday – but none of them were in America as NBC declined to broadcast the historic moment live. It’s all about Prime Time baby!

Dutch judo medallist tackles Olympic 100m final bottle-thrower. Man who threw plastic bottle on to track at start of race arrested after tackle by bronze medal-winning Edith Bosch. Could bottle throwing become a new Olympic sport at Rio in 2016?

Show me the money!  Australian Olympic chief blames medal failure on low funding.

Ben Ainslie is now the greatest Olympic sailor in history winning his fourth successive gold medal. But, more than that, he is as bloody-minded a competitor as British sport has ever produced. His sport, unlike swimming, does not permit him to win more than one medal at any single Games.

Final closure: Andy Murray exacts revenge on Federer by dismantling him in three sets to grab gold medal… then doubles up with Laura Robson for a silver!

August 6th

The weekend’s Motto: “Kiss Me, I’m British. (Headline from this morning’s Wall Street Journal.)

We did pretty well for a mediocre bunch, didn’t we?” Nick Skelton aged 54 said, referring to some pessimistic previews of the equestrian team’s chances. The oldest winner in any sport for Team GB, Skelton yesterday proved that oldies can indeed be golden.

American judoka star thrown out of Games over failed drugs test for eating food baked with cannabis. Are you serious?

Team GB 4 Montenegro 13: Men’s water polo flops fall to fifth successive defeat. Well they can’t all win medals poor darlings!

Great Britain recorded their first Olympic victory in basketball since 1948 as they routed China by 90-50 in their final Group B game in London.

Olympic Diary with Twists and Turns

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

July 30th

Ryan Lochte may be speedy, but 16 year-old Chinese girl swimmer Ye Shiwen is even quicker! Bizarre scenes as swimming prodigy smashes world record and even beats U.S. champ’s time over last 50 meters

Beach volleyball players say squirrels are causing problems by burying acorns in the sand at Horse Guards Parade. They should give thanks they aren’t playing on an actual beach near London. The dogs bury far worse at Southend. Then they’d have a real problem.

As fireworks lit up the heavens above the Olympics opening ceremony, watched by around a billion people, something else was seen among the whizz-bangs in the night sky… a UFO.

It may have ticked all the cliché boxes – saucer-shaped, bulge in the middle, metallic – but no one has yet stepped forward to explain the slow-moving object.

11 million spectators….just eight cash machines: fears over payment chaos for Olympic spectators as ATM shortage leaves thousands without access to cash. They should take their lead from Prince Charles and don’t carry any cash.

“There are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball glistening like wet otters:” Boris Johnson enthused about Olympic event at Horse Guards Parade. Take a leaf out of Prince Charles’ book and don’t carry any.

July 31st

The Brazilian women’s football team is fuming that British authorities failed to replace a broken down bus for more than five hours, stranding them on the side of the road the night before their big match against Team GB. The British bounders won 1-0.

The women’s doubles badminton competition at London 2012 descended into farce and scandal at Wembley Arena as two pairs appeared to deliberately start playing to lose in an attempt to manipulate the final standings of their group. Both pairs had already qualified for the last 16.

Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and the South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na were booed off after an extraordinary match in which players regularly served into the net or hit wide apparently on purpose.

Barbara Walters, doyen of American TV journalists, launched an outrageous attack on the Queen’s “sour face” and “19th-Century dress sense” at Opening Olympic Ceremony. Is she related to Julie?

August 1st

Shocked NBC viewers watch as Olympic water polo player’s breast is exposed underwater after fight with U.S. opponent. They claimed they were not to be outdone by the semi-naked beach volley ball players.

Aussie rower detained by police after damaging shop… while fainting on boozy night out!
His team finished sixth in the final.

“They played like depressed blancmanges:” 8 badminton players disqualified from London 2012 following match-throwing allegations.

August 2nd

The Gold Rush finally began for Team GB when rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover surged to victory in the 2000 meter pair, and Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins raced through the tape in the cycling time trial.

Bradley Wiggins celebrated his Olympic gold medal by getting ‘blind drunk’ partying into the early hours of the morning at a Central London watering hole.

James Magnussen, Australia’s world champion in the 100m freestyle was labeled by one US columnist as “the biggest Australian flop since Crocodile Dundee 3. He failed to win the gold medal in his favored event and was only the 10th fastest qualifier in the 50m freestyle.

Ann Romney’s horse fails to win dressage, but avoids offending British. Short of mocking Shetland ponies over their lack of stature or laying into zebras for their failure to make a significant contribution to the world of equine culture, her horse Rafalca was always going to struggle to match the sheer incredulity that her husband managed to provoke on his recent overseas trip.



An Olympic Diary with a Twist

Monday, July 30th, 2012

July 25th

North Korea’s Olympic women’s football team walked off the pitch for an hour at their opening London 2012 match  after organizers mistakenly introduced the players using South Korea’s flag.

A Greek triple jumper has been expelled from the Olympics after she posted a racist joke on Twitter.

Voula Papachristou was kicked out of her national team for mocking African migrants and expressing support for a far-Right political party.

Her offending message – which was referring to reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus in her home country – read: ‘With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food!’

July 26th

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, has questioned Britain’s preparedness to host the London 2012 Olympics and asked whether the country is genuinely willing to “celebrate” the Games.

He told US television there were “disconcerting” signs about Britain’s readiness. “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” he said. “There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, which obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

July 27th

Commenting on the opening ceremony: “It wasn’t Beijing. Not as exotic, not as magical. And not as expensive. This opening ceremony was quirky and fun and loud and British.” Basically it was an unadulterated shambles!

Queen Elizabeth was picking her nails when Great Britain marched into Olympic Stadium. Who can blame her having to sit through several hours of boring drivel?

Aidan Burley, the Conservative MP for Cannock Chase, sparked controversy by claiming that ceremony was “leftie multi-cultural crap.”

A German dignitary at the Olympic Opening Ceremony appeared to greet his country’s athletes with a Nazi salute. the elderly man was caught on video repeatedly extending his right arm back and forth  prompting  a few awkward starres from members of the crowd. Bizarrely he was sitting in front of Boris Johnson and Camilla Parker-Bowles who looked bemused at first  before bursting into laughter.

July 28th

Fearing tainted meat, China’s women’s volleyball team has stuck to a strict vegetarian diet for the last three weeks, which the team’s coach is now blaming for his athletes’ abysmal performance.

The mother of all shootouts is in Woolwich as a pregnant Malaysian lady competes a month before due date in the women’s 10m air rifle.

July 29th

Soldiers and students will take empty seats as organizers probe ticket farce.

It was bikinis, beer and Benny Hill at Horse Guards Parade yesterday where the beach volleyball kicked off and is already proving to be the Olympics hottest ticket. As the sun beat down, beautifully built competitors cast the venue’s historic architectural sights in to the shade as they digged, spiked and bumped the ball across the sandpit in the heart of the capital.

Hot favorite to win first gold for Team GB, cyclist Mark Cavendish: I didn’t have a chance. They just all ganged up on me!

Security staff covering the Olympics has been warned they face a £99 fine for poor behavior, including arriving late for work or not wearing the correct uniform.