So the London Olympics are over, and the human race has once again been plunged into a state of limbo until the next World Cup rolls around, or until the Parramatta Eels start winning again and Tottenham Hotspur get back into the Champions League.
No amount of superlatives will do justice to just how much I was/am into the Olympics. I properly love that shit. I watched all the usual stuff that one would expect to watch, I watched stuff that bored me to tears (water polo, dressage and that weird canoe one where they are on one knee are rubbish) but didn’t think to turn it off for a second and saw some fucking amazing feats that I mention in this article.
The Games were, as fellow sports aficionado Jasper Clifford-Smith pointed out in a recent article, like crack and I became a whore for two weeks, a whore in the sense that I saw way too many Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Swisse Vitamin ads that I feel I have now been sullied by their horrendous marketing campaigns. But it was all done for the glory of sport! Sport, sport, sport! Here is a list of my five favourite moments of the London Olympics. Enjoy.
1. Mo Farah Claiming the Five and Ten Thousand Metre Double
Was there a better sight at this Olympic Games than the look on Mo Farah’s face as he crossed the line twice to claim gold in both the five and ten thousand metres? Becoming the first British athlete to claim both distances at the same games and only the seventh in history, Mo Farah’s face, coloured as it was with sheer joy and delight at what he had achieved, pretty much summed up these Olympic Games.
In a country that has its fair share of issues with immigration, particularly Muslim and East European immigration courtesy of publications like The Sun and The Daily Mail, there was something brilliant about witnessing a stadium of 80,000 people on their feet willing on a Muslim refugee as he charged to victory twice.
2. Usain Bolt’s Historic ‘Double, Double’
Usain Bolt is an arrogant man. Many of his actions, were they to be performed by an average person down the pub or in a park, would immediately warrant a sincere cry of “wanker” or “dickhead”, but Usain Bolt is the fastest man that has ever lived in the history of anything and his arrogance is partly what makes him so undeniably awesome.
Seeing him prepare for each of his races is to see a type of performance, one where he interacts with the crowd by pulling the now famous thunderbolt pose, jokes around with the officials by fist bumping them and gives thanks to one of his teammates who he claims is his barber by showing off his hair and eyebrow lines.
Coming into these Olympics, Usain Bolt had his fair share of detractors, thanks to being beaten by compatriot Yohan Blake in the Jamaican championships earlier in the year and for giving up his status as World Champion in the 100 metres due to a false start in 2011. Any ideas that he is anything other than the greatest sprinter in history were firmly put to bed after his victory in both the 100 and 200 metre sprints in London, becoming the first ever sprinter to claim the ‘double, double’ following his victories in the same events in Beijing four years ago.
3. Sally Pearson’s Victory in the 110 Metre Hurdles
This was the victory that Sally Pearson has wanted since she so unexpectedly claimed a silver medal in the same event four years ago in Beijing. I remember watching it at the time and being quite stunned because she hadn’t been given much of a chance, even by the normally highly nationalist Australian commentators, and she was amazed with herself at having come second in an Olympics final (please take note of this, all you knob head Australian swimmers).
I had been up all night watching the Games by the time Pearson was running at 6am our time, so I was suitably tired, but Pearson’s victory gave me a necessary energy boost. It was a brilliant run and Pearson was nothing but focused, her eyes remaining clear and open in the face of a fairly heavy downpour of rain; rain that had some of her competitors squinting and appearing uncomfortable.
Edging out Dawn Harper of the United States by only .02 of a second, Pearson became the first Australian woman to win a gold medal on the track since Cathy Freeman’s famous victory in Sydney in 2000 and she was nothing short of ecstatic as her name was put up on the board.
4. Anna Meares beats Victoria Pendleton in the Women’s Track Sprint
This was perhaps the most anticipated race of the whole program at the Velodrome in London. Anna Meares and Victoria Pendleton (or ‘Queen’ Victoria as the British press have taken to calling her), had long been rivals in this discipline, going tit for tat at world championships and past Olympic games, though Meares had never beaten Pendleton at the Olympics in the track sprint.
As the two lined up for the first round (it’s a best of three competition), the stage was set for an awesome battle and the two ladies did not disappoint. Pendleton started the first leg off with Meares sitting just on her wheel, waiting for the third and final lap to explode into action. Rounding the final bend into the last straight, there was some intense movement between the two athletes, with a few elbows thrown in for good measure, the result being that Pendleton crossed the line first but was disqualified for moving too far across into Meares’ way.
Meares led the second leg out, but in a tactically canny move, rode up to one side of the barriers and waited, standing up on her pedals, urging Pendleton to take the lead which she did. With the final bell, Meares darted as fast as she could and over took Pendleton with 150 metres to go, easily beating her in the final straight to claim victory over the woman with whom she has had such a fierce rivalry for so long.
5. David Rudisha Breaks the 800 Metre World Record
This was the effort that seemed to most impress the athletics establishment at these Olympic Games. Michael Johnson, the American former Olympic champion in the two and four hundred metres, speaking as a pundit on Channel 9, claimed this to be the moment of the games.
Even Lord Sebastian Coe, the man responsible for the running of LOCOG, claimed this to be the greatest victory of all in London, ahead of the efforts of Usain Bolt and hometown heroes like Sir Chris Hoy, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis. It being at number five on this list does not diminish the awesomeness of Rudisha’s run, which was pretty damn amazing.
This was the only individual world record claimed on the track in London, claimed by a man who was clearly born to run. He absolutely decimated the rest of the field, which is saying something because every other runner in that race ran a personal best time. His style was just so much more fluid and purposeful than the others and they didn’t have shit on him.
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