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Archive for August 4th, 2012

Gold Rush on Greatest Day for Our Greatest Team was priceless, magical, unbelievable – more than we could ever dream for!

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Queen Jess celebrates her Gold medal which was only the start of the greatest night of British athletics

Queen Jess celebrates her Gold medal which was only the start of the greatest night of British athletics

BY JOHN GUBBA

As Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics sang in one of my all-time favourite records: “Sweet dreams are made of this” and as Mo Farah poignantly declared after becoming Britain’s first ever winner of the Olympic 10,000 metres: “it’s never going to get better than this.”

Super Saturday at London 2012 has been the Greatest Day in Olympic history for Team GB – with Our Greatest Team delivering six glorious Gold medals and one silver.

The cauldron of noise at the Olympic Stadium was truly stupendous as Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Farah brought a phenomenal day to an unbelievable crescendo.

When poster girl Jessica Ennis, the face of London 2012, put herself into an unassailable lead in the heptathlon the stage was set for a special night of track and field. Watching Jess turn on the turbo chargers in her final event to surge across the line first in the 800 metres was an iconic moment for British athletics. It was the gold medal we had all hoped and prayed for, and when it finally arrived it was a moment to savour.

Minutes after Ennis secured gold Greg Rutherford had the jubilant home fans in ecstacy again when he won the long jump

Minutes after Ennis secured gold Greg Rutherford had the jubilant home fans in ecstacy again when he won the long jump

But that was only the start. When Greg Rutherford added an unexpected gold in the long jump minutes later we knew this was turning into something extraordinarily special.

“This is what I’ve dreamt of my entire life – and I get to do it in London,” said Rutherford who was besides himself with joy.

When Farah put the seal on the greatest night in British athletics history with gold in the 10,000 it was almost too good to be true.

The sight of Farah being joined on the track by his jubilant daughter and heavily pregnant wife was priceless. For anyone who loves sport this was the perfect end to a perfect day that began with two outstanding gold medals for our rowers

After the heroics of our rowers it was the turn of our cycling team – and a record breaking performance by the women’s team pursuit in the Velodrome that was quite simply out of  this world.

Britain’s cycling team have built on their outstanding success in Beijing to confirm Team GB’s status as the strongest in the world in a sport that has stolen the hearts of the nation.

Sealed with a world record: Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell stormed to gold in the women's team pursuit

Sealed with a world record: Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell with gold in women's team pursuit

Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell broke the world record in the semi-final and then broke it again final as they destroyed their American opponents in the 3,000 meters pursuit.

Remarkably the British trio have broken the world record on each of their last six competitive races. It was a truly memorable achievement and it was a joyous scene as Paul McCartney led the celebrations from high up in the stand by bowing down to the triumphant girls as joined in as the crowd sang Hey Jude.

“Unbelievable!” Trott shouted over the din. “Who would have expected a Beatle to be here? It’s not every day you can wave and blow a kiss at a Beatle!”

To anyone who questioned the merits of staging the Olympics in London the message is coming back loud and clear that this has been one of the greatest things ever to happen to Great Britain.
The perfect end to a perfect day: Mo Farah celebrates an historic gold in the 10,000 metres

The perfect end to a perfect day: Mo Farah celebrates an historic gold in the 10,000 metres

To quote one jubilant fan: “It just feels like London is the Capital of the world of the moment.”

Higher, stronger, faster, LOUDER 

“Unbelievable” home support at London 2012 is proving a magnificent spur for Team GB

Day 7: They’ve done it! Gold for Kathy Grainger and Anna Watkins followed by glory for Victoria Pendleton and Men’s Team Pursuit

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Higher, faster, stronger LOUDER! Our Greatest Team is 60 million strong as rowers lead Gold Rush on Day 8 – but don’t forget to respect superheroes who fall agonisingly short at London 2012

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Great Britain won the Olympic title in the men's coxless four for the fourth successive Games, edging out Australia in a thrilling race at Eton Dorney

Great Britain won the Olympic title in the men's coxless four for the fourth successive Games, edging out Australia in a thrilling race at Eton Dorney

BY JOHN GUBBA

It’s Super Saturday for Team GB and the familiar sound of “God Save Our Gracious Queen” sounds sweeter and more glorious every time we hear the national anthem boom out at London 2012. The unprecedented levels of expectation have raised the emotional stakes to such intense levels that we are witnessing the ultimate human joy for our winners – but the price of failure is almost unbearable.

Nowhere have we seen more extreme emotions than Eton Dorney where the British rowers have given absolutely everything and delivered our greatest medal haul in the history of their sport.

The day began with superlative gold medal winning performances for the men’s coxless four of Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory, followed by Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking in the women’s lightweight double sculls.

But then  came the raw pain of failing to retain their Olympic crown for Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter in the lightweight men’s double sculls. Given a second chance when the final was re-started after a broken seat  brought their race to a halt, the British duo made a superhuman effort to hold off the Danes. But they had to settle for silver when they were caught in the final surge for the line.

As former Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington so passionately proclaimed yesterday after winning her second bronze of these Games, there is absolutely no shame in winning silver or bronze. A medal of any colour is simply outstanding. But Purchase and Hunter were unable to share that sentiment when they were left shattered and devastated at Eton Dorney.

Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won the women's lightweight double sculls to claim Britain's fourth rowing gold medal at London 2012

Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking won the women's lightweight double sculls to claim Britain's fourth rowing gold medal at London 2012

Watching Sir Stephen Redgrave assist the medics help distraught Hunter to his feet onlookers shared the raw pain of defeat that was so overpowering it was  impossible not to feel emotional. The subsequent interview for Hunter and Purchase live on TV with the BBC’s John Inverdale was painful to watch. Even the veteran interviewer was close to tears as his lips trembled when  he handed back to the studio.

But this is why we love sport and why the Olympics is The Greatest Show on Earth. The full range of human emotions experienced in the quest to be the best sports men and women on the planet all contribute to the ultimate drama. But the priceless value of sport is much more than the entertainment it provides – and this is the rub.

There are too many people in Britain who for far too long have argued against the value of sport because of the fear of losing. Learning how to win and lose is one of the most valuable lessons we can experience in life. Sport teaches us so much about ourselves. It teaches us personal discipline. It teaches us how to fight for what we want. Sport in my humble opinion is the most important subject in any school’s curriculum. I sincerely hope that London 2012 will help restore sport to its rightful place in our nation’s hearts and minds.

The pain of losing is no reason to shy away from sport. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger – and I am certain that is how every athlete will feel when they eventually come to terms with the disappointment of not achieving their goal. Meanwhile, for the winners there can be no greater experience and the pain makes the glory all the more special.