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View From the Stands

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Craig Pickering

05 August 2012

Well, it’s been a pretty boring and disappointing start to the athletics to be honest. Standards across the board have been terrible, the track clearly isn’t up to standard, and the crowd has been deadly quiet.

Actually, it has been absolutely mental! 3 Gold medals in the first two days for Great Britain is unbelievable. The track has been producing some crazy times. And the crowd has just been amazing. I was in the stadium on Saturday morning, and I have never heard a noise like it, both for GB athletes and all other nationalities alike.

Lets start with the heptathlon. Jess Ennis was almost flawless, posting some incredible performances, most notably her 12.54 in the hurdles. Jess is a born winner and a true professional, and gold is nothing less than she deserves. Katarina Johnson-Thompson also had a really good competition, setting a National Junior Record in the process. I was watching her (like a stalker) throughout the whole competition, and she seemed to be having a great time, really feeding off the crowd noise. Louise Hazel also had a good competition, finishing 300 points off her PB.

Mo Farah was fantastic in victory, pulling away on the last lap. I have a ton of respect for Mo, who has made some serious sacrifices in his life in order to get success. It cannot have been as easy decision to move wholesale out to the USA, but it has more than paid off. Hopefully he can strike again in the 5000m next week. Chris Thompson finished in 25th place, but will not doubt be as happy as everyone is for Mo.

The men’s 100m was absolutely ridiculous. Ryan Bailey ran 9.88 to clock the fastest heat time ever in the Olympics. Gatlin, Gay and Blake also looked dominant. Bolt looked very, very beatable. Our guys were very impressive – SBs from James Dasaolu and Dwain Chambers, and Adam Gemili also qualified with ease. The competition was undoubtedly hurt when Kim Collins was pulled out by St Kitts and Nevis for going AWOL to see his wife. Asafa Powell (a guy who has yet to find a race he couldn’t lose) was sporting his new ginger beard. It looked to be the most impressive thing of that shade in the stadium, Until………….

Greg Rutherford took Gold. I can picture the scene now; ginger wigs will be selling out of fancy dress shops very quickly. A great performance by Greg, who has struggled with injuries in the past. But it all came together on the day. Chris Tomlinson was down in 6th place, which is nothing to be scoffed at.

Aside from all this, we had various levels of success from athletes in other qualification rounds. Martyn Rooney, Conrad Williams and Nigel Levine all qualified in the 400m heats. Christine Ohuruogu looked almost as good as she did four years ago to make the 400m final, whilst Shana Cox and Lee McConnell missed out. Abi Oyepitan missed out on the final of the 100m, but will get another chance in arguably her better event, the 200m. Barbara Parker and Eilish McColgan both missed out on qualification for the steeplechase final. Holly Bleasdale got through to the final of the women’s pole vault, whilst Kate Dennison unfortunately missed out. In the 400m hurdles, Dai Greene survived a scare to qualify for the final in the 400m hurdles, where he will be in lane 3. Jack Green hit a hurdle pretty hard, and pulled up injured. Rhys Williams also missed out.

Lets finish things off with a quick look-a-like.... see you tomorrow

Zinedine Zidane
Dai Greene