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British Athletics Supporters Club (BASC) Diary - Part 3

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Supporters Club

A unique series from British Athletics Supporters Club members on the Olympic Games, led by Richard Cooper, Sandra Hogben and Jane Ainsworth in the UK, and Philip Andrew, in Beijing.


21st August 2008 



Sunday night was a good all round performance by team GB, apart from the disappointment of Nicola Sanders - no surprise, bearing in mind her recent fitness.  When Tom Parsons failed at 2m29 we were all sad, his mum Sheila cried and Tom looked totally dejected.  However when the count back was done more carefully, his first time clearance at 2m25 had got him through.  Mum cried again; this time with joy.  What a prospect - three Brits in an Olympic final; stupendous.

On to Monday and Phillips’ opening leap of 17.44 showed the world his marvellous consistency; we don't count chickens but we are all anticipating the final.  Both girls through to their respective finals in the hurdles silences the doubting Thomases in our party.

Tuesday starts with a three-hour lie in until 09:30 for me; yes I did miss a stadium session, but the long hours are beginning to wear.

Tuesday night is a super evening starting with Emily Freeman powering down the home straight to whet our appetites. At this stage we were beginning to count up points for finishing in the first eight in a final, just in case we don't add to Team GB's massive haul of gold medals.  Oh ye of little faith!  There was double joy with Germaine receiving his medal just as Christine was finishing her lap of honour.  Her sheer power in the last 90 metres was reminiscent of Osaka.  It was a great moment as it silenced those who said her World gold was devalued.  Not since the women’s four only got silver have I seen an athlete as gutted as Sanya was when getting her bronze.  We shouldn't gloat, so we had an extra pint in my favourite watering hole.  Paul Dickenson was in there having a drink with some top-class former GB athletes (Daley Thompson et al) but did come over to say that his article for the next issue of BackTrack had been started.  We did, however, fail on his question "Who was the last Olympic gold medallist to use the straddle?”  Answers on e-mail to me; first in gets a pint when I next see them.

The consensus among the supporters is our cycling team are brilliant, oarsmen and sailors top-hole and athletics is not going to spoil the party.
Enjoy your viewing; the real thing is fantastic.






As the 400m finalists line up, I can’t help but think that Sanya Richards looks the part with her long gloves and socks.  Well she might have the gear, but all our World, Commonwealth and now OLYMPIC CHAMPION needs is her talent.  Well done Christine Ohuruogu, and thanks for giving us more than a metre to enjoy it this time.  Steve Cram gets so excited that he names her coach as Lloyd Cole; not quite, but she has caused a commotion now.  Lloyd Cowan must be over the moon, especially with Sarah Claxton’s fantastic final appearance in the sprint hurdles as well.  Day 5 of the athletics; the medal count is up and running, and by my reckoning we’ve already had 15 finalists.


Right, hands up.  Who had Germaine Mason down as our first medallist?  Who had him down for a medal at all?  A fantastic first-time clearance at 2m34 sealed the silver medal, and all our congratulations.  However, I can’t help but feel sorry for Rybakov, who has finished below Stefan Holm in so many finals, only to beat him here and still end up behind a Brit and a bloke who wasn’t even originally selected by the Russians.  Tom Parsons and Martyn Bernard also deserve praise for their performances – Tom lived up to the promise Sandra passed on by text that he wouldn’t come 12th, as he did in qualification.


Fortunately we’ve opted to watch on Eurosport, so we managed to see most of the High Jump live (much better for the fingernails).  We gave up on BBC fairly early on in the week.  It’s frustrating enough not being in the stadium, even more hearing the crowd’s reaction to a good performance in the field and not being able to see it, but to make do with a round-up of the best few performances after the track events have finished is just horrendous.  Especially since, apart from the men’s long jump (worst winning jump since Munich 1972), the finals have been fantastic drama; and that’s before Phillips and Larry in the triple jump.  Jade could perhaps have given us a little less drama in her qualification, but she’s made her second successive Olympic final now and it’s great to see her jumping with a smile on her face again.  Watching Eurosport also gave us the chance to hear some chap called Angus stating that “female hammer throwers are not quite the big lumps of lard they used to be”; I don’t recommend that he covers Throwsfest next year.  We do switch over to BBC for the round-up programme in the evening (why is Ohuruogu there at 3am Beijing time, when she’s got a relay to run?), which treats us to some fantastic shots of Barker, Johnson and Jackson screaming her on down the final straight. A quick glance at the various on-line fora reveals that American fans are going up the wall; presumably annoyed that their Jamaican is the only one not performing to her best.


Well, now we’re on a roll, with Christian Malcolm, Tasha Danvers-Smith, Phillips Idowu, Larry Achike, Goldie Sayers, Jo Jackson and Martyn Rooney all to come in their finals in the next couple of days; the very best of luck to all of them.  The luck has already run out for Liu Xiang, for whom everyone must feel enormous sympathy; what an anti-climax to the most hyped event of the programme.  I’m really looking forward to the decathlon on Thursday and Friday to see which stage we’re at in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.


No morning session tomorrow, just as in Osaka on the day after the Women’s 400m; then we celebrated Ohuruogu’s victory until about 5am.  We’re off to the pub for something gold in colour right now.