Highlights and Results of the first two days of The London Olympics 2012
After a spectacular opening ceremony the London Olympics 2012 kicked off on Saturday. OK there were a few Football matches before that, in order to accommodate the long competition, but officially things got going on Saturday with Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Equestrian, Fencing and a whole heap of other events.
Archery seems to be proving more popular than ever with TV viewers, taking place at the home of Cricket, Lords. So far Italy have picked up the men’s team event and South Korea the Women’s. Those bows sure have a lot of fruit on them; it’s a long way from Robin Hood.
In Basketball the USA Dream Team, featuring LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, started slowly in their opening game, but ended with a comfortable 98-71 win over France. The Australian Boomers narrowly lost their opener 75-71 to Brazil, while home side Great Britain suffered a 20 point loss to the mighty Russians.
Beach Volleyball in London was always going to be a challenge. Forgetting the English weather, London is 30 miles (48Kms) from the coast and much, much further from the type of beach normally associated with this sport. The English coast is not quite Bondi or the Coppa Cabana. But never discount the British ingenuity; thousands of tons of sand were shipped into Horse Guards Parade, home of the Trooping of the Colour, backing onto the Prime Minister’s home at No. 10 Downing Street and no more than a decent serve with a tail wind from Buckingham Palace. Add to that some skimpy dancers, a whacked out MC and liberal airing of the theme from Benny Hill and you have a whole new unique venue for one of the most popular Olympic events.
Although the dress restrictions for women competing in Beach Volleyball have been relaxed, thankfully most of the girls stuck with their skimpy bikinis and the London tournament is proving just as scenic as all those that have gone before.
The 250Km Road Race threw up an interesting result. With favourites Australia and Great Britain featuring the last two winners of the Tour De France, one of them was expected to pick up the Gold. But Kazakhstan rider Alexandre Vinokourov and Columbian Rigoberto Uran Uran got a break on the peloton and Vinokourov took the Gold with a neat and sneaky overtaking move in the final stretch onThe Mall. Vinokourov has previously been banned for doping, but he has served his time and at least now Kazakhstan will be known by the masses for more than just Borat.
Team GB started their Football campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw with Senegal. But the team showed signs of starting to gel in their second game against the United Arab Emirates. Great Britain played some very attractive Football and secured a 3-1 win, with goals coming from veteran captain Ryan Giggs and substitutes Scott Sinclair and Daniel Sturridge, Coach Stuart Pearce should be commended on his use of the subs bench when the score was 1-1 and Sinclair scored within a minute of a arriving on the field.
One of the other over age players Craig Bellamy was also a huge contributor. In fact the Welsh contingent of Giggs, Bellamy and Aaron Ramsey were highly influential in the result and as Wales are not known for their qualification in the World and European cups this could be the biggest representative tournament that any of them play in.
The big Olympic draw card in the pool is well under way. Day one saw Ryan Lochte begin to rest the crown from the sitting US King of the Pool, Michael Phelps. Lochte won the 400M Individual Medley, almost 4 seconds ahead of Phelps, who came in 4th after barely making the final with the 8th fastest qualifying time. China began to show their strength in the pool with Sun Yang winning the Men’s 400M Freestyle in a new Olympic Record of 3:40:14.
Chinese compatriot Shiwen Ye picked up the Women’s 400M Individual Medley, with Australian hope Stephanie Rice coming in 6th. I think Stephanie’s expectations for this Olympics are much more realistic than those of the Australian press, after suffering long periods of injury and shoulder surgery. But the Australian girls are not to be outdone, winning the final event of day one, the 4 x 100M Freestyle Relay with another new Olympic record and beating world champions the Netherlands and Team USA in the process.
On Day two American Dana Vollmer won the Women’s 100M Butterfly with a new world record of 55.98 with Australian Alicia Coutts picking up the Bronze behind China’s Ying Lu. Australia’s Christian Sprenger picked up the Silver in the Men’s 100M Breastroke behind Cameron van de Burgh of South Africa, who also created a new world record. Brendan Hansen of the USA secured the Bronze.
Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain picked up their first Swimming medal, coming third in the Women’s 400M Freestyle behind Camille Muffat of France and Allison Schmitt of the USA, who broke the Olympic and American records respectively. I guess you could say this is a fast pool.
The last medals of the day went to the French Men’s 4 x 100M Freestyle team with Team USA and the Russian Federation collecting Silver and Bronze. Australia finished a disappointing 4th
More news tomorrow on the hectic London schedule.