A golden day for Kazakhstan and Qld. Britain, not so much
Well, that didn’t take long. There are 19 nations on the medal table after the first full day of Olympic competition, and none of them are Great Britain. To compensate for this, the Poms have started whingeing.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO IS PRETTY NAUGHTY, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE END
Off field, these games have started brilliantly for Britain. The joy and sheer Britishness expressed in that wonderful, quirky opening ceremony has apparently now been embraced by Londoners, who have suddenly twigged that a few overcrowded trains are a small price for having the world’s biggest party on your doorstep.
Then along comes Mark Cavendish and friends from Team GB cycling, accusing Australia and the rest of the field for conspiring against his team. Oh, the poor sweetheart. Was the porridge too hot in the Olympic village this morning, Cav? Were the contents of your drink bottle not isotonic enough?
Seriously, this is a guy who has won a record 23 stages of the Tour de France. The cat and mouse tactics in last night’s road race conspired not just against the five Great Britain riders, but against the Aussies and most of the field.
Remember, they don’t have radio communication in the Olympic road race like they do in the Tour de France. So when breakaways occur, riders don’t always know how to react. The one who reacted best was Kazakhstan veteran Alexandr Vinokurov. The 38 year old made a brilliant move inside the final 500 metres, just as his young Colombian challenger looked over his shoulder.
What’s that your coach always told you, no matter what sport you played as a kid, about playing your own game and not worrying about the opposition? Cav and the Colombian would both have done well to heed that advice.
You sure didn’t hear the Netherlands complaining about Australia’s surprise win in the 4x100m women’s freestyle relay. The Dutch have dominated this event in recent years. They were decisive winners in the 2011 swimming world championships in Shanghai, with Australia fifth.
A year on, Australia fielded just one member of that team, in lead-off swimmer Alicia Coutts. She was joined by Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Schlanger, who bravely held on as the Dutch closed late.
Interestingly, all four young women are Queenslanders. So too were the three swimmers who swam the 4x100m heats but not the final. One of those was Libby Trickett, whose experience and bubbly presence is said to be having a hugely positive influence on her team-mates.
Setting a positive tone is important at the Olympics, not just for your immediate team-mates in your chosen sport but for the hundreds of athletes across your entire Olympic team.
A great day for the Sunshine State and Kazakhstan. If they ever stop moaning, there’ll undoubtedly be better days ahead for the United Kingdom of Whingestan.
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