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Oh Danny Boy

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tidy shoes

9 August 2012

The relays kick off on Thursday, with the heats of the men’s 4x400m and women’s 4x100m.

In celebration of the only team events in athletics, we are going to take a closer look at one of Team GB’s 4x100m team members, Danny Talbot. I roomed with Danny in Daegu last year, presumably because the team staff thought I was sensible and would take Danny under my wing, and show him the ropes of a major championship.

I’m not sure Danny was prepared for the three weeks that followed. Here is what I learnt:


·      Danny likes to keep things very tidy.

·      This is how Danny likes to keep his shoes:

tidy room


















     This is how Danny likes to keep his bed

untidy room

Danny thought that my side of the room was messy:

Danny gets very annoyed when you slightly move his stuff when he leaves the room.

Danny gets more annoyed when you tell him you have moved his stuff, but you actually haven’t. He has to check everything to make sure nothing has been moved.

Danny gets most annoyed if, when he leaves the room, you put a chair on his bed.

Danny will get annoyed reading this.

contact lens

Anyway, back to the action on the track. The highlight of the day six was an excellent performance from Lawrence Clarke in the men’s 110m hurdles. Lawrence has a key ability to raise his game when it matters most, and in the semi-final ran a new personal best of 13.31 to qualify for the final as a fastest loser.

In the final, he ran another great race to finish fourth in 13.39. When I first met Lawrence less than four years ago, he couldn’t do a sit up or a press up, and was actually sick after running 30m.

He has come a long way since then, although he is still partial to being sick after hard running sessions. Given that his public school educated, Lawrence prefers to refer to this as “chundering”.

I’d like to point out that Lawrence brought a touch of class to the final, racing in a £3000 dress watch. Andy Turner was also competing in this event, but finished fourth in his semi-final with 13.42, and was eliminated.

Other successes came from Lisa Dobriskey and Laura Weightman, as they both qualified for the final of the 1500m. It is great to see Lisa almost back to her best form after a really difficult year in 2011. Laura timed her finish very well, just getting past the Russian on the line to run a personal best of 4.02.99. In the same event Hannah England was just run out of a place in the final, running 4.06.35. Like Lisa in 2011, 2012 has been a tough year with injuries for Hannah, but she will no doubt be back. Lynsey Sharp put together a really good race to finish second in her heat of the 800m in 2:01.41, and runs in the semi-final on Thursday. Steve Lewis only needed one jump to qualify for the final of the men’s pole vault, clearing 5.50m at his first attempt. Sophie Hitchon put together an exceptional performance to qualify for the final of the hammer, throwing a national record of 71.98m. You really can’t ask for much more than a PB in the biggest competition of your life! Olympic 10,000m Champion Mo Farah finished third in his heat in the 5000m, running 13:26.00. Nick McCormick just missed out on a final place, running 13.25.70 for 12th in his heat.


Aside from that, there were some disappointments. My lookalike from yesterday’s blog, Mervyn Luckwell, could only manage a throw of 74.09m and failed to qualify for the final. Christian Malcolm was eliminated in the 200m semi-finals, running 20.51 for third. This is Christian’s fourth consecutive Olympics, which is some achievement. He doesn’t look a day over 40. Shara Proctor in the long jump couldn’t quite live up to her performance in qualification. She managed a jump of 6.55m, finishing in 9th place. Daniel Awde started the day with a personal best of 10.71 in the decathlon 100m, but struggled in the long jump with what appeared to be a knee injury, and subsequently withdrew from the competition.


We are seeing a lot of athletes competing in multiple events at these Olympics, or competing in the same event in multiple rounds. You might be wondering how the athletes recover in order to compete at their best. Every athlete has their own strategy, but there will be some similarities. One of the key things is to refuel quickly. What you eat depends on your own preferences, but I always have a few energy bars in my competition bag, so I can start eating them as soon as I collect my kit. Then it’s back to the warm up track for a warm down, a physio check to make sure there are no injury issues, and possibly a massage. If there is enough time, we can then head back to the village to relax in our rooms. If there is only a short time between your races, a few hours for example, its about chilling out for a bit, and then getting yourself mentally and physically prepared. Finally, once your day is finished, there is the option for an ice “bath”. Bath in this instance is invariably a wheelie-bin filled with water and ice. You quite often find an over zealous volunteer who dumps half the Antarctic into your bin, which tends to result in some choice words in return.


Lets finish things off with a picture. After the heats of the 5000m, one of the athletes lost a contact lens. Being the close-knit community that they are, the rest of the joggers decided to join in and help look for it: