2012 Olympics: Day 14
Events watched: Evening Athletics
British Performance of Day
It's always quite a thrill to see something done faster or better than anyone else has ever achieved. For the second night in a row we saw a world record on the track, this time in the women's 4x 100 relay. We thought it might be a close race between USA and Jamaica so when the Americans were way ahead by the third leg you sensed they might be on for something special. It was a world record that had stood since 1985 and it was also the 2nd gold of 3 that Allyson Felix would win, giving her the same number as Usain Bolt (with slightly less pandemonium surrounding her!)
Olympic Spirit Moment
One of the brilliant things about watching live is you can follow the field events, which don't always get too much coverage on TV, but can be really interesting to watch the whole way through. Tonight we had seats right beside the Pole Vault and I would say the prize for best camaraderie among athletes would go to these guys, led by Australian Steve Hooker. He was the reigning Olympic champion and one of the favourites but went out at quite an early height. In a lot of the other field events the athletes would leave the stadium when they got knocked out, but Steve put his personal disappointment aside and took himself a seat half way down the runway to watch. When one of the officials went to speak to him he patted the ground beside him as if to say “I'm staying right here, I've got the best seat in the house!'” He then gave technical advice to Steve Lewis, the British athlete who finished 5th, congratulated all the jumpers when they cleared a height and stood up and conducted the crowd in synchronised clapping, urging us to up the volume as the competition came to an end. He and Steve Lewis even cheered on the runners in the women's 1500m and 5k when they went past them!
Most Interesting Volunteer Job
It was announced in the middle of the Hammer competition that the electronic measuring equipment had failed to measure one of throws by a German competitor and she would be given an extra throw to compensate! She finished the competition out of the medals and the three medalists went off on their lap of honour. Then we saw officials in the field with huge steel tapes, taking quite a bit of time to measure a load of distances. It turns out that by measuring all the lumps left in the grass by the other throws they were able to find where the 'unmeasurable' throw landed and measure it manually. The throw was good enough to give the German the bronze medal, taking it away from the Chinese girl who thought she was 3rd and had even done a lap of honour. Can you imagine missing out on an Olympic medal not because your performance wasn't good enough but because the equipment failed?! We were very glad to see the dedication of the officials to get the result correct.
If I had to choose a personal highlight of these games it would be the men's 10k. We were already a bit giddy from watching Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford win gold so when Mo Farah came into the home straight in the lead I felt sure he would win. One of the nicest things about it, which shows Mo's character was he immediately turned to see who was behind him and broke into a huge smile when he saw his friend and training partner Galen Rupp taking the silver. The other memory will simply be of the positive and slightly magical energy that the Olympics bring out in the host city. We experienced a London with hassle-free travel, helpful and friendly locals and a stunning Olympic park with stadiums and streets full of sport loving fans.
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