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Archive for August 11th, 2012

Farah’s Mo-mentous second gold crowned another epic day for Team GB – and this time it’s the men who rule the roost!

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Can you believe it - Mo's done it again!

Can you believe it - Mo's done it again!

BY JOHN GUBBA

There has been so much talk of Girl Power these past few days that some of our men may have been getting an inferiority complex. But there was no danger of that happening on Day 15 as the boys were back on top with another remarkable Super Saturday.

At these incredible Games it is impossible to pick out the ultimate superhero in the British team. There have been so many magical moments and unbelievable achievements to savour. But none greater than watching Mo Farah complete his historic double gold medal-winning triumph, by adding an unforgettable  5,000 metres triumph to his extraordinary 10,000 metres success a week ago.

Sprint king Ed McKeever - the Usain Bolt of kayaking

Sprint king Ed McKeever - the Usain Bolt of kayaking

The facial expressions of Britain’s middle distance king as he again crossed the line first will be among the defining images of these Games for many people around the planet. His double celebration with the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, after the Jamaican completed the unprecedented defence of his Olympic treble by wrapping up a new world record to win gold in the 4 x 100 metres, confirmed farah’s new status as a global superstar.

Against the backdrop of the incredible atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium generated by the home fans, it all combined to make this one of the greatest track and field events at any Olympic Games. And it crowned another gold plated day for Our Greatest Team.

When Ed McKeever wrapped up gold in kayak’s 200 metres sprint shortly after breakfast we knew it was going to be another special day. Hailed the Usain Bolt of  kayaking, McKeever lacks the aura of the man who calls himself a living legend. But he is lightning quick and led his race from start to finish to give his sport a huge boost.

Luke Campbell wins GB's first  bantamweight gold since 1908

Luke Campbell - GB's first bantamweight gold since 1908

After the high drama at the Olympic Stadium, Team GB’s third men’s gold of the day was delivered by Luke Campbell when he defeated Ireland’s John Joe Nevin in a pulsating final to become the first British bantamweight to win gold since 1908.

Campbell, who raised the hands of Nevin after the result was announced and broke down in tears, said: “I’m lost for words, very emotional. It’s something I’ve worked for all my life. I can’t believe it. ”

But  rivalling all those gold medals in the emotional stakes was the remarkable achievement by teenage diver Tom Daley winning a fairytale bronze in the men’s individual 10-metre platform.

After an horrendous year that cruelly saw Daley’s father Rob lose his fight against cancer before he could share the joy of his son competing in his home Olympics, it was one of the most moving stories of these Games to witness the hugely popular and charismatic diver from Devon win his medal.

happy and glorious - Tom Daley celebrates bronze

Happy and glorious - Tom Daley celebrates bronze

On this occasion bronze meant gold for the Plymouth schoolboy who won the hearts and minds of the nation long before the airing by the BBC of the brilliant, intimate documentary that told the story of his father’s  last days and their unbreakable bond.

Sport is forever the backdrop to so many poignant dramas that touch the watching world. And the Tom Daley story in one such tale that will resonate with everyone. The sheer joy of Daley and his team mates jumping into the pool to celebrate his success was  a special moment that for many of us will sit alongside the fabulous images of Mo Farah rejoicing at the completion of his iconic golden double.

Fitting tribute to Ben Ainslie will crown an emotional closing ceremony at London 2012

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Proud to carry the flag: Ben Ainslie

Proud to carry the flag: Ben Ainslie

BY JOHN GUBBA

With 24 hours to go before the curtain comes down on a remarkably successful London 2012, there is already a feeling here in the capital that we are in for a highly emotional end to the Games.

After a fortnight of sporting celebration the likes no country in the world has ever surpassed, to say that anyone who loves the Olympics will be sad to see the party come to an end would be an understatment

For Team GB and the Great British public it will be one almighty party that will celebrate an unbelievable medal haul and the fulfillment  of staging an outstanding Games. To quote International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, London has been “the beating heart of the world, giving new life to the spirit of fair play and competition.

Rogge has praised Britain, acknoweldging the huge crowds that have filled the stadiums as well as saying those that lined the Olympic torch relay route had sent cheers resonating in every home around the globe.

Without doubt, London has delivered across transport, crowds, security and enthusiasm, making the predictable pre-Games cynicism by certain sections of the media look rather foolish.

Britain’s biggest medal haul in more than 100 years and the quality of the athletes’ performances have boosted the party atmosphere. And what a great choice by the British Olympic Association to choose record-breaking sailor Ben Ainslie to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.

Following Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and then took his gold medal haul to six, it is a fitting tribute to Ainslie, who became the greatest sailing Olympian of all time during the Games when he won the Finn class – his fourth consecutive gold medal.

“It is a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at what’s been such an amazing Games for the whole country, ” was how Ainslie greeted the news. And I am sure every Team GB athlete will be proud to walk behind the 35-year-old who has a huge personality to match his legendary status.

Team GB’s Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “He has been at the heart of Great Britain’s Olymoic endeavours since 1996 and his achievements are already legendary. ”

Added Hunt: “As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way.”