The London 2012 Olympic Games have been a resounding success, no doubt, delivering triumph after triumph for team GB and spreading joy and happiness throughout the nation. There have been many unforgettable moments over the last couple of weeks, but here we pick our top ten highlights…
OK, we’re starting with the obvious: Super Saturday. But what wasn’t there to love? Great Britain’s most successful day on the athletics track since, well, ever, with Ennis, Farah and Rutherford all taking Gold in fine style (don’t worry Greg, we’ve forgotten about your final jump already). Ennis was first up, taking Gold in the most gruelling of events by storming home in the 800 metres, remaining as charming as ever in the process. Rutherford’s huge 8.31 metre jump launched him to the top spot on the podium shortly after. We paced that distance out in the office and came to the conclusion that if you can jump that far, you are basically flying; it’s phenomenal. And then there was Farah; his storming performance topped off a magical night of sport for team GB. Just ask Denise and Colin, or watch their studio celebrations here http://bit.ly/OCEUmF. We won’t be forgetting it in a hurry!
London’s transport system
For coping admirably throughout and proving all those predictions of chaos and disorganisation wrong. Despite dire warnings of mayhem at Marylebone, bedlam at Bank and horror scenes in Stratford, most Londoners and Games goers reported more seamless journeys than normal. What’s more, here at PHA Sport we even witnessed strangers TALKING on the tube. The feel good factor brought on by the Games spread right across the capital, even to the depths of the Victoria line… Now that really is an Olympic achievement.
Let’s hear it for the parents
Hoy’s mum unable to watch, Mrs Tweddle acting out daughter Beth’s routine from the stand, Murray hugging mum Judy after his emotional win (yeah, we missed it too thanks to the genius editing by the OBS but we know it happened thanks to the cheering crowd), and who could forget Daddy Le Clos… Parents who have supported their kids every step of the way, lived and breathed the sport as much, if not more (Judy), as their successful offspring and dedicated much of their lives to helping their children achieve their Olympic dreams. To see these parents punching the air, dancing in the stands and weeping with pride, brought a tear to our collective eye. It also made us question why our parents hadn’t made us stick at gymnastics, or taken us rowing when we were three.
‘Good evening Mr Bond’
The opening ceremony feels like a lifetime ago considering all the sporting highs and lows we’ve witnessed since. But a firm highlight of the Games remains the Queen’s acting debut alongside Daniel Craig. What a rascal that Monarch of ours is! She even kept the joke a secret from Harry and Wills! We always knew the Queen had a wicked sense of humour and now the whole world does too. Simply brilliant. And a stroke of genius from Boyle.
Horse Guards Parade
We’ve been to a fair few Olympic venues over the last couple of weeks and they have, without exception, been superb. But the beach volleyball arena at Horse Guards Parade deserves a special mention. Not only is it set against the most impressive of backdrops, with views of Downing Street, St Pauls, the London Eye and Big Ben, but the atmosphere inside is electric. Designed to ensure spectators have the most amount of fun possible in the space of a couple of hours, the organisers threw everything into making this an experience to remember for the crowds… Dancing girls (and boys) writhing in the sand, crowd sing alongs, Chelsea Daggers dance moves, Congas round the stadium, the Benny Hill theme tune and the voice over man from the X Factor (IT’S TIME. TO FACE. THE MUUUUUSSSIIIC – that guy), oh and some beach volleyball action too. It was one long beach party in the centre of the capital. Top that Rio!
Mugging off the French with our ‘really round’ wheels
Oh we Brits do like to rub the French up the wrong way. It serves them right for being rude whenever we get the Eurostar to Paris. And last week, the mastermind of British cycling, Dave Brailsford, pulled off a class A gag. Whilst the French were being sore losers and moaning about the Brits being better than them, a French journalist thought he’d investigate the matter further and quizzed Brailsford on the secrets of the team’s success. Was there some funny business going on? Some dark art at work perhaps? Brailsford’s response was to say that it was down to the ’round wheels’ used by the British team. Not just round, but ‘really round’. ‘AH HA!’ The French journalist thought. What a coup! The secret is out! L’Equipe published the story the next day; ‘The Brits use round wheels! How dare they!’, or words to that effect… Oh, hang on. Wait a minute… They’re wheels. Aren’t they always round? And aren’t they made in France anyway? Yes. Oh. Merde…
Anyone for clay pigeon shooting?
Over at PHA Sport we love the mainstream sports. Football, rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, we can’t get enough of them. But the beauty of the Olympics, especially when they are being held in your own back yard, is the variety of sporting action we get to enjoy, and the range of sports which command column inches. Kayaking, volleyball, hockey, judo, women’s football, basketball, diving, even clay pigeon shooting for heaven’s sake… We’re hooked on them all. Is clay pigeon shooting even a sport? Who cares! We love it! Go Team GB!
Ok, we admit it, we haven’t always liked Murray. Yes, when Wimbledon comes around we try our best, but it’s hard, you know? Well, not any more. During the Games, just four weeks after his devastating Wimbledon defeat, he came out wearing the GB shirt with pride. He smashed Federer in three sets and even sung the national anthem. Andy, we’re sorry for giving you a hard time; we hope you’ll forgive us. We promise to never single you out as Scottish again. It was a brilliant performance and a pleasure to watch. For what it’s worth (nothing, I am sure) we predict that Grand Slams will now follow. Our money’s on you for the Australian Open.
Humble sports superstars
They’ve achieved the highest honour possible in their sport. They’ve worked unimaginably hard for years. Grafting and grafting to knock a thousandth of a second off their time, to throw a fraction of a centimetre further, to jump a millimetre higher… They deserve every bit of their success and could perhaps be forgiven for letting it go to their head a bit. But have you seen any prima donna behaviour from British Olympians over the last couple of weeks? We thought not. Ennis, Farah, Hoy, Murray, Pendleton, Trott… the list goes on. Our biggest Olympic superstars have remained humble, charming, grateful, gracious and likeable throughout. We can name more than a handful of Premiership footballers who could learn a thing or two from them…
We are Gold! Gold! We always believed in our soooouul…. etc
For number ten, we’ll finish where we started. More Golds for Team GB. Tuesday 7th August was another bumper day for medals, with Sir Chris Hoy’s achievement on the track peddling him in to the history books as Britain’s most decorated Olympian ever. The crowd nearly brought the Pringle-shaped roof down on the Velodrome as Hoy battled with German Maximilian Levy to keep the inside line, before producing a final spurt to clinch the sixth Gold medal of his career. Sir Steve Redgrave was there to congratulate him and big man Hoy blubbed on the podium. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at PHA Towers. Granted only two of us had worked late enough to see it in the office but it was an emotional evening nonetheless.
And there endeth our top ten rundown. There have been so many stellar moments it was hard to whittle them down, so we know we’ve missed a few other classics. Let us know what would be in your top ten…