2012 things to remember the London Olympics by 1 The London 2012 Summer Olympic Games were the most ambitious logistical exerc ise ever undertaken in the UK in peacetime. 2 Combined with the Paralympic Games, which begin on 29 August, the Olympics have brought more than 14,000 athletes to the UK, along with 21,000 members of the media, and around 800,000 spectators. 3 Twenty-six Olympic sports have been contested, in 34 venues. 4 Athletes from 204 nations have taken part – as well as a handful competing under the flag of the International Olympic Committee. 5 The UN recognises only 192 nations. 6 Around £9bn of public money has been spent on the Games, primarily on building venues and providing security and policing. 7 A further £2bn has been raised privately by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Locog), through sponsorship and ticket sales, merchandising and media rights. This covers the actual running of the Games. 8 Of the 10,500 athletes competing in the main Olympics, 4,688 were women and 5,802 were men. 9 Great Britain, which was the only team to compete in all 26 sports, contributed 542 athletes: 280 men and 262 women. 10 Some four billion people around the world are reported to have seen at least a moment of the Games on television. 11 This figure includes 90 per cent of the UK population. 12 In addition, several million Britons are assumed to have been among the 8.8m people who were lucky enough to get tickets to see events live. 13 Team GB’s medal count – 65, of which 29 were gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze – is the biggest British haul since 1908. (The 56 golds we won then were more than half the total won.) 14 The BBC has broadcast around 5,800 hours of Olympic coverage – more than twice as much as for the 2008 Games in Beijing. 15 Altogether, the International Olympic Committee’s broadcasting arm estimates that more than 100,000 hours of Olympic footage has been broadcast worldwide.
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16 It also believes that, for the first time, more people followed the Games online than on television. 17 The BBC is reported to have paid between £40m and £50m for the TV rights to the Games. 18 In addition to the athletes, around 7,500 team officials have been in the UK for the Games. 19 Altogether, the Games required a workforce of around 200,000, including more than 16,000 caterers. 20 Of these, 70,000 were volunteers, or Games Makers, who were selected from more than 240,000 applicants. 21 Around 18,200 members of the Armed Forces have also been involved in the Games. 22 Many of these servicemen and women were called in at short notice to make up for shortfalls in security personnel that should have been provided by the private contractor, G4S. 23 Around 3,000 technical officials were involved in administering the Games. 24 900,000 different items of sports equipment have been used, from hurdles and javelins to trampolines and shuttlecocks. 25 The bulk of the sporting action took place in the nine venues that comprised the Olympic Park in Stratford. 26 Elsewhere in London, there are venues at the ExCel centre, the Royal Artillery Barracks, North Greenwich Arena (better known as the O2), Greenwich Park, Earls Court, Wimbledon, Horse Guards Parade, The Mall, Hyde Park, Wembley Stadium, Wembley Arena and Lord’s. 27 Beyond London, events were held in Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Coventry, Cardiff, Weymouth and Portland in Dorset, Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire, Hadley Farm, Essex, and near Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. THE STORY BEGINS 28 The tale of London 2012 starts in 1995, when the British Olympic Association decides that the capital will be the next British city to bid to host the Olympics. 29 There have been three other such bids from British cities since 1948: by Birmingham (for 1992) and by Manchester (for 1996 and 2000). 30 In 1997, 2012 is chosen as target date. 31 In 2003, US businesswoman Barbara Cassani is put in charge of the bid. She is replaced by Lord Coe in 2004.
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32 The Government gives its formal backing to the bid in May 2003. 33 The likely cost of the Games is estimated at the time as £2.375bn. 34 Of this, roughly £17m represents the cost of the bid itself. 35 Five cities make the short-list declared by the International Olympic Committee in May 2004: London, Madrid, Moscow, New York and Paris. 36 Plans for the Olympic Park are revealed in November 2004 37 In the final round of voting, on 6 July 2005, London wins a two-way contest with Paris by 54 votes to 50. 38 The decision to award the Games to London comes as a shock to many observers, especially the French. President Chirac says his countrymen are “very, very disappointed”. 39 “We don’t understand,” adds a member of the Paris bid team, Olympic judo champion David Douillet. “This is not logical. Obviously the London tactics were the right ones. This is not the way we acted and we would never act that way. We respected the rules.” 40 The choice of London as host city is thought to have been influenced by an inspirational final presentation by the British delegation, whose figureheads include Tony Blair, David Beckham and Lord Coe. 41 The delegation also includes 30 ordinary young Londoners, one of whom, 14-year-old Amber Charles, presents the final bid document. 42 The announcement that London will host the Games is greeted by wild celebrations in Trafalgar Square, where 30,000 people gather. 43 The following day, 52 people are killed by four suicide bombs on London’s transport system. 44 Speaking from Singapore, where he has been supporting the Olympic bid, the then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, tells those responsible: “In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railway stations and even after your cowardly attacks you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential… 45 Nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that life.” 46 Mr Livingstone also promises free tickets to the Games for survivors of the attacks. 47 Jonathan Edwards, the Olympic triple jump champion, adds: “Terrorists are not going to hold our country or the capital to ransom. We are committed to putting on a fantastic Games.”
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THE PREPARATION 48 The Government presents the London Olympics Bill to Parliament on 14 July 2005. 49 A two-minute silence for victims of the 7/7 bombings is held across Europe on the same day. 50 The Bill, which becomes law in 2006, makes provisions for the creation of an Olympic Delivery Authority, as well as laying down draconian rules for the restriction of non-approved advertising and marketing within an extensive Olympic “zone”. 51 Tessa Jowell is appointed Minister for the Olympics in July 2005. 52 Five London boroughs are designated Host Boroughs: Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. 53 Locog holds its first meeting on 3 October 2005. 54 Work begins on the Olympic Park in December 2006. 55 A disused sports hall on the 500-acre site of Eton Manor is knocked down. 56 Part of the running track used in the 1948 Olympics is buried under the site. 57 Around 2,000 newts have to be relocated from the site before construction canbegin. 58 The Olympic Park includes 45 hectares of wildlife habitat, with meadows planted with wildflowers from Norfolk. 59 There are also 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes. 60 Numerous improvements to the capital’s transport infrastructure are set in motion, including the expansion of the East London Line, an upgrade to the Docklands Light Railway, and the introduction of a new “Javelin” high-speed train connecting St Pancras and Ebbsfleet to Stratford. 61 In March 2007, the budget for the Games, originally £2.4bn, is revised upwards: to £9.3bn. 62 This figure includes £800m for VAT payments. 63 London is the only city to host the modern Olympics three times. 64 The last time London hosted the Games, in 1948, there were 4,104 athletes (3,714 men and 390 women), from 59 nations, competing in 26 sports. 65 The budget then was £600,000.
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66 London also hosted the Games in 1908, when 2,008 athletes (1,971 men and 37 women), from 22 nations, competed in 22 sports. 67 The budget for the 1908 Games was £75,000. 68 The London 2012 logo is unveiled on 4 June 2007. 69.Created by Wolff Olins, the design costs £400,000. 70 “This is the vision at the very heart of our brand,” says Lord Coe. 71 A sequence of animated footage promoting the Games is pulled from the Locog website, because of fears that it could trigger epileptic seizures. 72 In November 2007, the stadium design is unveiled. 73 Created by Populous, it is expected that construction will take more than four years. 74 In 2008, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, invite proposals from artists for an “Olympic Tower” to give the Olympic Park “something extra”. 75 The tower has to be at least 100 metres high. 76 Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s Orbit design is unanimously selected from 50 submissions. 77.Its cost is estimated at £19.1m. 78.Of this, £3.1m is contributed by the London Development Agency. 79 The remaining £16m is provided by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. 80 The tower, officially known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit, is completed in May 2012 81 It is 115m tall, 22m higher than the Statue of Liberty. 82 Construction of the £486m Olympic Stadium begins in May 2008. 83 It is expected to have a capacity of 80,000. 84 The initial plan is that, after the Games, the stadium will be taken over by West Ham United football club, the preferred bidder, under an agreement with the Olympic Park Legacy Company. 85 By the end of 2011, this plan has fallen through, and legal wrangling about the stadium’s long-term future, involving West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur FC, remains unresolved.
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86.Building the stadium will require 10,000 tonnes of steel. 87.On 24 August 2008, at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the Olympic flag is formally handed over to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. 88 An eight-minute presentation promoting London 2012, featuring David Beckham, Leona Lewis, Jimmy Page and a red double-decker bus, gets a lukewarm reception. 89.A month later, the flag is raised outside London’s City Hall, along with the Paralympic flag. 90 At around the same time, the Cultural Olympiad is launched. 91 The Olympic Charter requires that the host city “shall organise a programme of cultural events which must cover at least the entire period during which the Olympic Village is open”. 92 In fact, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is spread – theoretically – over four years, involving 500 separate events across the UK. 93 It is initially, but briefly, overseen by Keith Khan; but his contract, which runs until the end of 2008, is not renewed. 94 After a long interregnum, Ruth Mackenzie is appointed Director of Culture for the Cultural Olympiad in January 2010. 95 Its total budget is £97m. 96 The money is provided by Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. 97 Highlights include 12 major public art projects under the banner “Artists Taking the Lead”; 20 specially commissioned musical works under the banner New Music 20×12; and a seven-month World Shakespeare Festival involving 70 separate productions of the Bard’s work. 98 The Cultural Olympiad is to culminate with the London 2012 Festival, which runs from 21 June to 9 September 2012. 99The £15m Weymouth Portland National Sailing Academy is completed in November 2008. It is the first 2012 Olympic venue to be unveiled. 100 The Aquatics Centre in Stratford is designed by fashionable architect Zaha Hadid. Its most distinctive feature is a 2,800-tonne wave-shaped roof. 101 Lifting the roof into place is arguably the biggest construction challenge in the entire London 2012 project.
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102 There is a 17,500 seating capacity for spectators in the centre. 103 The pool temperature will be 26C. 104 In May 2010, the mascots for the Games, the slightly perplexing Wenlock and Mandeville, are launched. 105 Wenlock is named after Much Wenlock in Shropshire, where the Wenlock Olympian Society’s Olympian Games – inspiration for the modern Olympics – began in 1850. 106 Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot, is named after Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, which held the Stoke Mandeville Games from 1948 and inspired the Paralympics. 107 In 2010, a campaign begins to recruit volunteers, or Games Makers, to help run the Games. 108 More than 240,000 people apply, 100,000 are interviewed and 70,000 are chosen. 109 Between them, according to Lord Coe, the unpaid Games Makers will contribute around eight million volunteer hours to London 2012. 110?The Games simply wouldn’t happen without them,” he adds. 111 Following the 2010 general election, the post of Minister for the Olympics is abolished and Jeremy Hunt becomes Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. 112.On 27 July 2010, with exactly two years to go, Sir Chris Hoy becomes the first person to cycle round the newly completed velodrome track. 113 The track is made of Siberian pine, held together with more than 350,000 nails. It has taken 26 carpenters eight weeks to put it together. 114 The £93m velodrome finally opens on 23 February 2011. 115 Its seating capacity is 6,000. 116 On 11 March 2011, the first tickets go on sale. 117 This first batch consists of 6.6 million tickets. 118 Altogether, Locog aims to make up to £400m from selling around eight million tickets to the Games (and a further 1.5 million for the Paralympics). 119 Prices range from £20 to £2,012 (for prime seats at the opening ceremony).
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120 Initially, demand outstrips supply by a factor of three to one. 121 More than one million requests are received for tickets for the men’s 100 metres final. 122 700,000 people succeed in buying tickets at the first attempt. 123 There are also complaints about the opaque nature of the selling process, in which most of the tickets are allocated to applicants by random ballot. 124 Further batches of tickets to various events continue to be made available over the next 16 months. 125 Survivors of the 7/7 bombings, and families of those who died, are given free tickets. 126 The Government buys 8,800 tickets. 127 Of these, 410 are for beach volleyball and 256 for athletics. 128 The Games’ top sponsors are entitled to buy 13,500 tickets. 129 March 2011 also sees the first broadcast (on BBC4) of the “mockumentary” Twenty Twelve, starring Hugh Bonneville as the harassed Head of Deliverance at the Olympic Deliverance Commission. 130 The sitcom becomes a cult success, and the Bonneville character’s catchphrase, “So that’s all good”, passes into popular discourse. 131 On 14 March 2011, with 500 days to go before the Games open, a digital Olympic “countdown clock” is unveiled in Trafalgar Square. 132 The following day, it breaks down. 133 Curiously, exactly the same thing has already happened in the fictional Twenty Twelve (broadcast the previous day). 134.The Olympic Park is completed, on time and within its revised budget, in March 2011. 135 An estimated 46,000 construction workers have been involved in its construction. 136 Around 800,000 tonnes of soil have been moved during the excavation of the site for the main stadium . This would be enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall nine times. 137 Five bridges connect the island site on which the stadium is built to the rest of the park. 138 Altogether, 30 bridges will enable spectators to cross rivers and railways inside the Park.
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139 An International Broadcast Centre is built to accommodate the 21,000 representatives of the global media who will be in London to cover the Games. 140 Among these, 765 will be from the BBC and 2,700 from NBC. 141 The Centre is big enough to accommodate five jumbo jets, parked wing to wing. 142 In the course of the Games, the media will be served at least 50,000 meals in the Olympic Park area. 143 Electricity, heat and chilled water for the Olympic Park are supplied by a “tri-generation plant” that produces 33 per cent less CO2 emissions than the National Grid. 144 The £500m stadium has 14 lighting towers, with a height of 230ft. 145.This degree of lighting is crucial to ensure broadcasters can capture the action with sufficient clarity for HD TV freeze-frame coverage – which is being used for the first time. 146 Of the Olympic stadium’s 80,000 capacity, only 25,000 are permanent seats. 147 The combined spectator capacity for all the Olympic venues is 700,000. 148 Much of the security for the Games is subcontracted to the world’s largest private security firm, G4S (and the world’s third-largest private employer). 149 However, the security operation is led by the police, who will ultimately assign 10,000 officers to the operation. 150 It is also intended that 13,500 members of the Armed Forces will provide support. 151 Military hardware available for anti-terrorist purposes includes Eurofighter jets and surface-to-air missiles, with one launcher eventually sited on top of a residential block. 152 The total budget for security is £553m. 153.The Royal Mint is set to work producing 4,700 Olympic and Paralympic medals. 154 The Olympic medals are designed by David Watkins, whose previous claims to fame include doing the special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey. 155 The gold and silver medals are made mostly of silver (92.5 per cent), topped up with copper and, in the case of the gold ones, six grams of gold. 156 The bronze ones are copper topped up with zinc and tin. 157 In financial terms, a gold medal is worth nearly twice as much as a silver, and 137 times as
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much as a bronze. 158 On 18 May 2011, details of the Torch Relay route are released. 159 At the same time, the selection process for torchbearers in the Torch Relay begins. 160.Plans are revealed to create a large Olympic transport network to ease the passage of athletes and dignitaries between venues. 161 Thirty miles of Games Lanes will be created in and around London. 162 Motorists spotted using them face fines of up to £130. 163 By the second week of the Games, around 2,500 drivers will have paid such fines to the tune of more than £300,000 between them. 164 Some of those using the lanes will be VIPs and Olympic officials being driven around by volunteers in a fleet of cars provided by BMW. 165.Fears that London’s transport systems will grind to a halt from all the Olympic visitors prompt Whitehall to allow tens of thousands of civil servants to work from home during the Games. 166 It is estimated that 120,000 people will pass through Stratford Regional train station every morning of the Olympics. 167 A £25m cable car, the Emirates Air Line, is built across the Thames, linking the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. 168 In March 2012, Team GB launches its Olympic kit. 169 Designed by Stella McCartney, it features 590 separate items, suited to 46 sporting activities. 170 Between 2005 and 2012, the IOC’s Coordination Commission has made 10 visits to London to inspect progress. 171 On the tenth, in March 2012, it announced that “London is ready to host the world this summer”. Londoners are not convinced. 172 The same month, an Australian senator, Kate Lundy, makes a bet with Hugh Robertson, the UK’s sports minister, over whether Australia or Team GB will finish highest in the medals table. Robertson agrees that if Team GB finishes lower, he will jog round Australia House wearing a green and gold Australian hockey jersey. Lundy promises to row a length of Eton Dorney wearing a Union Jack T-shirt if Australia finishes lower.
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173 On 21 June, the London 2012 Festival is launched. 174 It involves 12,000 performances and events, at 900 venues. 175 More than 25,000 artists are involved. 176 Highlights include a display of flames on Lake Windermere, a bouncy castle Stonehenge in the National Botanic Garden of Wales, a peace message from Yoko Ono in 24 languages, and an attempt by Neil Mullarkey to create the world’s biggest improvised comedy team. 177.More than 12 million people attend arts events under the Cultural Olympiad banner during the festival’s first six weeks. 178 Over40 test events are held in the course of 2011 and 2012, under the umbrella heading London Prepares, testing everything from equipment to ticketing. 179 Many are linked to existing sporting events. 180 As the Games draw nearer, changes are made to a number of Locog’s plans. 181 The Olympic cycle road races are re-routed to make them less “easy”. 182 The marathon course, which had been designed to finish in the Olympic Stadium, is re-routed to finish in the Mall, for fear that closing Tower Bridge would cause excessive traffic problems. THE TORCH RELAY 183 On 10 May 2012, the Olympic torch is lit, by the sun’s rays, at the Temple of Hera at Olympia. 184 After a week-long journey round Greece, it is handed over to a British delegation that includes Princess Anne, Boris Johnson, Lord Coe and David Beckham. 185 It arrives on British soil, at Land’s End, on 18 May and on 19 May the Olympic sailing star Ben Ainslie becomes the first of 8,000 torchbearers to run a 300-metre leg of the torch’s 70-day journey around the UK. 186 The 12,800km journey takes it to most corners of the British Isles, and is said to pass within an hour’s journey of 95 per cent of the population. 187 Each torchbearer gets a different torch, and has the option to buy it afterwards. 188 The three-sided torches are 800mm tall, weigh 800g and are perforated by 8,000 holes. 189 They were designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby.
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190 Some of the torchbearers – 700 in all – are athletes and celebrities. 191 This group includes Rupert Grint, David Beckham, Matt Smith, Will.i.am, Jedward, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, Andy Murray, Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson, Zara Phillips and Lord Coe. 192 The remaining 7,300 are “ordinary” people nominated by the public. 193 Nominations for torchbearers had to be 150 words long, 194 Fifty per cent of the torchbearers are under 24. 195 The average age of torchbearers is 37.5 years. 196 After some initial scepticism, public enthusiasm for the relay gradually builds, as the stories of the individual torchbearers become more widely known. 197 Moments that stir onlookers include the time when Ben Parkinson, 27, an injured war hero from Doncaster, carries the torch for 300 metres on computerised legs. 198 Elsewhere, the late PC David Rathband’s daughter, Mia, carries the torch in his place. She is blindfolded in his honour. 199 BBC producer Stuart Hughes, who lost the lower part of his right leg in Iraq, runs part of the Olympic torch relay wearing his carbon fibre blade prosthesis. 200 Kieran Maxwell, 13, who lost part of his left leg owing to Ewing’s Sarcoma, falls over while carrying the torch. He is quickly helped back up by the accompanying security team and onlookers cheer him on. 201 Another torchbearer, David State, stops mid-relay to go down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend. 202 There is occasional disruption from protesters. A man with a bucket of water is tackled by the security team in Leeds; Republican protesters block the route in Londonderry; a teenager tries to grab the torch in Gravesend, Kent; and a streaker with “Free Tibet” written on his back gatecrashes the convoy in Henley-on-Thames. 203.A team of 364 people is involved in making the relay happen. 204.To enable them to do so, 26,640 beds have been booked, 12,180 lunches have been eaten, and luggage has been carried from hotel to truck and truck to hotel a total of 31,680 times. 205 The torch relay also featured in a 2006 episode of Doctor Who, when the Doctor and Rose went into the future to see the Games.
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206 For much of its journey, the torch is driven in the back of a van. 207 This prompts some amateur runners – more than 2,000 of them – to complete a parallel “real relay”, covering the entire distance of the route (plus detours up mountains) on foot in 55 days. 208 The official torch also travels by a number of other modes of transport, including punt, speedboat, rowing boat, lifeboat, racehorse, Cob horse, tram, steam train, zip-wire, motorcycle sidecar and London Underground. 209 One torchbearer skydives with it; another abseils with it down Grimsby Dock Tower. 210.The oldest torchbearer is 101-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh. 211.One woman who got a new tattoo to celebrate her role in the Olympic torch relay is shocked to discover Olympic has been spelled “Oylmpic”. 212.A paper version of an Olympic torch is sold on an online auction site by a five-year-old boy, starting its own “relay” as it is passed on from buyer to buyer. 213.The Mayor of Louth wears a giant sausage costume for the Olympic torch’s visit to the town – attracting criticism from those who consider that this projects a more phallic image than is appropriate. 214.The Flame travels an average of 110 miles each day. 215.Evening celebrations for the relay are held in 66 towns and cities. ON THE EVE 216.On 4 July, the Athletes’ Village is opened. 217.It is the biggest in Olympic history. 218.There are 17,320 beds, in 2,818 apartments, in 11 residential blocks. 219.Up to 16,260 athletes and officials are accommodated there. 220.Between them, they use 64,000 bed sheets, 22,000 pillows, and 11,000 sofas. 221 But there are only 444 kettles – and 5,000 lavatory brushes. 222 The average floor space for each athlete is 16 square metres. 223 It also has a nail bar, which proves spectacularly popular with the athletes. Patriotically decorated nails become one of the visual motifs of the Games.
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224.By the time they have left at the end of the Games, athletes at the village will have consumed 2.7 million Fairtrade bananas, 682 tonnes of seafood, 25,000 loaves of bread and 75,000 litres of milk. 225.The village is stocked with 150,000 free condoms. 226.Ladbroke’s offers odds of 7/2 against these running out. 227.In Beijing, there were 100,000 condoms. 228.Competing athletes arriving through Heathrow bring 780 firearms with them. 229.The final weeks before the Games are marked by largely predictable worries, quibbles, criticisms and problems. But a threatened strike by border control staff is called off at the last minute. 230.Recorded warnings by Boris Johnson start playing on the Underground, urging people to stay away. 231.A 33 per cent increase in traffic congestion is predicted for the Olympic period. 232.A 45 per cent increase in passengers on the Jubilee Line is expected. 233.On the busiest day of the Games, 800,000 people are expected to travel by public transport to Games events. 234.On the Docklands Light Railway, 550 staff expect to earn £2,500 each in overtime during the Games. 235.The most alarming blow to Locog’s plans is the revelation that G4S, the private security firm, has failed to provide anything like as many security staff as it is contracted to do. 236 As the extent of the shortfall becomes apparent , thousands of members of the Armed Forces are called in to fill the gap. 237 By the time the Games open, there are nearly twice as many servicemen and women on Olympic duty as there are in Afghanistan. 238 This causes some resentment on the troops’ behalf, especially when Nick Buckles, G4S’s chief executive, tells a House of Commons select committee that the company will still claim its £57m management fee. 239 On the positive side, public sympathy for the troops creates an atmosphere of goodwill between spectators and security staff which will be a major contributor to the Games’ success. 240 On Wednesday 25 July, two days before the official opening of the Games, the sporting
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action begins with six women’s football matches. 241 Team GB beat New Zealand 1-0 in the first match, in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. 242 But there is an unfortunate mistake at Hampden Park, where North Korea are playing Colombia. The accidental display of a South Korean flag causes the North Koreans to leave the pitch. With some difficulty, they are persuaded to return. 243.Mitt Romney, the US Republican presidential candidate, visits the UK a few days before the Games and inadvertently stokes some pro-Games feeling by casting doubt on London’s state of preparedness. 244.”It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney tells an interviewer, citing a series of “disconcerting” issues such as security and the threatened strike of immigration and Customs officials. 245.He also questions the likelihood that the people of the UK will “come together and celebrate the Olympic moment”. 246.Later, Boris Johnson wins rapturous applause at a pre-Olympic concert in Hyde Park by saying to the 60,000 audience: “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready?” 247.The rapturous cries of “Yes, we are” are succeeded by chants of “Boris! Boris!” – and the contr oversial mayor suddenly looks like the politician best placed to capitalise on any Olympic “feel-good effect”. 248 Frankie Boyle tries to spoil the gathering party atmosphere with a tweet comparing Rebecca Adlington to a dolphin. 249 He is roundly condemned. 250 Boris Johnson is more in tune with the mood when he speaks of a spreading “contagion of joy”. 251 Tonight, he declares, “the Geiger counter of Olympo-mania will go zoink off the scale”. THE OPENING 252 At 8.12am on Friday 27 July, bell-ringers throughout the UK enthusiastically ring bells of all shapes and sizes to celebrate the impending Games. 253.Among them is Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who swings his hand bell so enthusiastically that it breaks. A bystander is lucky to avoid injury. 254.Twelve hours later, at 8.12pm (20:12) a Red Arrows fly-past signals that the long-awaited
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Opening Ceremony will soon begin. 255.Finally, at 9pm, newly crowned Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins formally opens the ceremony by ringing the Olympic Bell. 256.The 23-tonne aluminium bell is the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world. 257.Directed by Danny Boyle, the ceremony lasts three-and-a-half hours. 258.It cost £27m. 259.With 26.9m people watching on TV in the UK alone, this works out at about £1 a viewer. 260.It is the biggest British TV audience since an episode of Only Fools and Horses in 1996. 261.A further one billion people are thought to have watched worldwide, including 41m NBC viewers in the US (who did not, however, see it live). 262.An audience of around 60,000 people watched a not-quite-complete dress rehearsal a few days earlier, but everyone seems to have complied with Boyle’s request that they “keep the surprise”. 263 The audience on the night includes a vast range of celebrities and potentates, including Prince William, Michelle Obama, the President of Brazil, and the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Australia and Bangladesh- but not, it would seem, the Queen. 264.It also includes six British medal winners from 1948. 265.Fears that the weather will not be kind prove largely unfounded. There is a little rain early on, but that is all. 266.The stadium appears to be packed, although some of the highest-priced seats (£2,012) were still available on the day. 267 Kenneth Branagh, dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, announces the “Isle of Wonder” theme by declaiming from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 268 The ceremony depicts in spectacular fashion a succession of themes relating to British character and history, including (unusually for an opening ceremony) our irreverence, our flaws and our vulnerability. 269 Prominent themes include: the supposed pastoral idyll of the pre-industrial age; the industrial revolution; the dead of the World Wars; the Jarrow March; immigration; the National Health Service; pop music; romance; bereavement; children’s fiction; and the internet age. 270 The ceremony makes heavy use of 70,799 small LED panels, which spectators hold up at
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key moments, allowing complex images to be screened “on” the audience. 271 The panels are connected to the central control by 317km of cabling. 272 A kaleidoscope of diverse cultural references includes William Blake, Humphrey Jennings, Radio 4?s Shipping Forecast, The Wind in the Willows, Pink Floyd, EastEnders, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and the coming of the digital age. 273 There are beds and children from Great Ormond Street Hospital, flying Mary Poppinses, and guest appearances from JK Rowling and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. 274 Danny Boyle explains the latter’s presence thus: “Tim Berners-Lee gave the world a gift that would change things every bit as radically as the steam engine – the World Wide Web. This, he said, is for everyone. ‘This is for everyone’ is the theme of the Opening Ceremony (below) – a celebration of the creativity, exuberance and, above all, the generosity of the British people.” 275.Music for the ceremony – directed by the British band Underworld – includes the Sex Pistols, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Who, Dizzee Rascal, the Specials, the Jam, New Order, David Bowie, Mike Oldfield, the Arctic Monkeys and Sir Paul McCartney. 276.Later on, there is a moving rendition of “Abide With Me”, the hymn traditionally sung before FA Cup finals and Rugby League Challenge Cup finals, by Emeli Sandé. 277.As she sings, a digital “memorial wall” displays photographs of spectators’ absent loved ones, which all ticket-holders were invited to submit. 278.The set for the ceremony features a version of Glastonbury Tor, using real turf; a 40ft steel-and-fibreglass oak tree; fake clouds; a series of 100ft chimneys (inflated by banks of fans); an 18-metre Voldemort puppet; and, eventually, five giant, glowing Olympic rings. 279.Other highlights include a surprise appearance by Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) in the orchestra playing the Chariots of Fire theme. 280.The orchestra also includes Louise Shackleton (wife of David Miliband), and 80 young musicians aged seven to 17 from east London boroughs. 281.But the real showstopper is the sequence in which James Bond (Daniel Craig) visits the Queen (the Queen) in Buckingham Palace, to be greeted with a regal “Good evening, Mr Bond”. 282.The subsequent helicopter ride and “royal” parachute jump, closely followed by the actual Queen’s appearance in the stadium, are widely felt to be the most spectacular coup de theatre in the history of Olympic opening ceremonies. 283.Prince William and Prince Harry, who are in the stadium, are as surprised as anyone else
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by their grandmother’s part in the ceremony. 284.Other stars of the show include 40 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, a sheep dog , and 34 animal handlers. 285.The human cast consists mainly of 7,500 volunteers, aged between seven and 90. 286.These include 170 16- to 18-year-olds, who between them speak more than 50 languages. 287.They also include about 1,200 NHS staff, around 600 of whom prove to be amazingly accomplished dancers. 288.And they include Dr Andrew Hartle, a doctor who treated victims of the 7/7 bombings. 289.Dr Hartle later says that he has found the ceremony cathartic, and that volunteering has helped him to achieve “closure” on the atrocity. 290.Each volunteer has spent an average of 150 hours practising. 291.Most of the rehearsals took place in a car park in a disused Ford plant in Dagenham 292.In addition, the design team has done test runs on scale models, with every performer represented by a plastic figurine. 293.24,570 buttons were sewn on to costumes for the ceremony. 294.The lighting involved 3,500 lights, 36 follow-spots, 24 roof lights and six control decks. 295.In 1908, the highlight of the ceremony had been a display of gymnastics. 296.In 1948, the high points were a 21-gun salute and the release of 2,500 pigeons. 297.For the London 2012 ceremony, 12,956 props are used. 298.In the course of the rehearsals and the ceremony, volunteers wore 90,000 plastic ponchos. 299.Some 15,000 square metres of staging are used – equivalent to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 300.The services of 737 suppliers have been used to create this and the three other 2012 ceremonies (ie, the closing ceremony and the Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies). 301.Of these, 96 per cent are British companies. 302.The costumes for the show incorporate 40,000 recycled plastic water bottles and 10,000 recycled plastic bags.
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303.The million-watt sound system uses 50 tonnes of equipment and more than 500 speakers. 304.In a brief address, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge says that “in many ways the Olympic Games are coming home tonight”. 305.Lord Coe says that he has “never felt more proud to be British”. One day, he adds, “we will tell our children and our grandchildren that when the time came, we did it right”. 306.Eventually, athletes from the 204 competing nations enter the stadium and parade around the running track. 307.The nations are ordered alphabetically. 308.Eighty-one of these nations have never won an Olympic medal. 309.They are encouraged to keep moving by 965 drummers, mostly volunteers, who beat out a rhythm of 120 beats per minute. 310.Each team is accompanied by a young person carrying a copper “petal”, which will form part of the Olympic cauldron. 311.For the first time, the teams from Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia include female athletes. 312.The Czech Republic’s team is wearing blue wellington boots and carrying umbrellas – presumably in anticipation of traditional British summer weather. 313.Japanese athletes have all been given wooden medals hand-carved by children from the debris of last year’s devastating tsunami. 314.The people leading the teams wear dresses made entirely from fabric printed with photos of people who applied to be Olympic volunteers. 315.The Indian team is joined by an unidentified gatecrasher. 316.Madhura Nagendra, a student from Bangalore, later apologises publicly for her “error of judgement”. 317.The athletes’ parade takes one hour and 40 minutes – 11 minutes longer than it was supposed to. 318.The Olympic flag is carried in by nine flagbearers: Daniel Barenboim, Sally Becker, Shami Chakrabati CBE, Leymah Gbowee, Haile Gebrselassie, Doreen Lawrence, Ban Ki-moon, Marina Silva, and Muhammad Ali. 319.The traditional Olympic doves of peace take the form of 75 luminous “dove bikes”, one of which has a yellow “beak” (or face) in honour of Bradley Wiggins.
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320.The creative team behind the “dove” bikes includes Bob Haro, who was a stunt rider for the flying bike scene in Steven Spielberg’s film ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. 321.The Olympic torch eventually makes its way down the Thames towards the stadium on a speedboat, driven by David Beckham. 322.The torch is held by a young footballer, Jade Bailey. 323.On reaching Stratford, the torch is handed to Sir Steve Redgrave – whose five gold medals, in five successive Olympics, make him (at that point) Britain’s most successful Olympian. 324.Sir Steve brings the flame into the stadium, through an honour guard of 500 of the construction workers who built the Olympic Park. 325.The torch is then passed to a team of seven young athletes, each nominated by a great British Olympic hero. 326.The seven heroes are: Lynn Davies, Duncan Goodhew, Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Mary Peters, Shirley Robertson, Daley Thompson – and Sir Steve Redgrave. 327.The seven young torchbearers are: Callum Airlie, 17; Jordan Duckitt, 18; Desirée Henry, 16; Katie Kirk, 18; Cameron MacRitchie, 19; Aidan Reynolds, 18; Adelle Tracey, 19. 328.William Hill pledges to refund £50,000 in bets about which individual would light the cauldron. 329.The seven young torchbearers take the flame to the cauldron, which has been assembled from the copper petals carried by the parading athletes, and light it. 330.Once all 204 petals have caught light – something that failed to happen in the final test run a few hours before the ceremony – the parts rise spectacularly to form a dazzling ring of fire, 60ft in the air. 331.The cauldron is the creation of British artist Thomas Heatherwick. 332.In his original brief, Heatherwick had been told: “You can do anything you like, but for goodness sake don’t use any moving parts.” 333.The ceremony concludes with a mass singalong as Sir Paul McCartney sings “Hey Jude”. 334.Sir Paul’s fee is £1. 335.Finally, seven billion small pieces of paper are released, representing every person on the planet. 336.Around the world, the ceremony seems to go down well. “The most rock-and-roll opening
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ceremony ever?” asks one Chinese journalist. 337.”It’s hard to imagine any other nation willing to make so much fun of itself on a global stage, in front of as many as a billion viewers,” opines The New York Times. “Britain offered a display of humor and humbleness that can only stem from a deep-rooted sense of superiority.” 338.Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung praises it for its “heart and humour” and calls it “spectacular, but also thoughtful and touching”. 339.”It’s corny, cheesy, altogether over the top. And it works,” says The Washington Post. “This is awesome.” 340.The creative director of the opening ceremony for Rio 2016, Marco Balich, insists defensively: “We are not obliged to throw our president out of a helicopter.” 341.Ladbrokes slashes the price of Danny Boyle receiving a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours, from 2/1 to 5/4. 342.Even Rupert Murdoch gives the ceremony his grudging approval. “London Olympic opening surprisingly great,” he tweets, “even if a little too politically correct. Danny Boyle a creative genius.” 343 But one Tory MP is not impressed. “Thank God the athletes have arrived!” tweets @AidanBurleyMP. “Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones.” 344 Aidan Burley’s tweet earns him a storm of opprobrium. The comedian Dean Burnett tweets: “In fairness, a celebration of everything British wouldn’t really be complete without a Tory MP publicly disgracing himself.” 345.Another unhappy viewer is eccentric ex-footballer David Icke, who claims that the ceremony had a secret subtext based on Satanic ritual. 346.Later, it is reported that a group of Chinese businessmen has asked a British theatre producer to recreate the ceremony in Beijing. 347.A special Olympic concert in Hyde Park, featuring Duran Duran, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics and Paolo Nutini causes rather less excitement, but nonetheless seems to go down reasonably well with a 50,000 crowd. 348.Later, it is reported that more than 130 protesters were detained by police for causing a public nuisance after defying instructions not to cycle near the Olympic venues during the opening ceremony. DAY 1: 28.7.12
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349 While Britain wakes up to an unaccustomed glow of self-approving optimism, the Games proper begin. 350 More than a million people line the route from London to Surrey and back to watch the men’s cycle road race. 351 Many of them gather on Box Hill to watch Britain’s five-man team as they complete nine 10-mile loops before returning to London. 352 Britain expects its first gold of the Games in this event, with Mark “Manx Missile” Cavendish the hot favourite. 353 Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins starts the men’s road race with a simple mission: get Cavendish to the Mall in time to launch him across the finish line. 354 “Cav” is desperate to win, having been the only member of Team GB’s track team to leave Beijing without a medal in 2008. 355.French track keirin specialist Mickaël Bourgain pulls out of the cycling road race minutes after the start. He had only entered to satisfy a rule stating keirin riders must compete in at least one other event. 356.Alarm bells start to ring for Cavendish as a large breakaway group leaves Team GB with work to do, and nobody willing to help them. 357.Mark Cavendish later criticises teams including Australia for “negative” riding. 358.”It seems most teams are happy not to win as long as we don’t win,” says Cavendish afterwards. 359.The BBC’s David Bond asks him: “Was Tour de France tiredness a factor?” 360.”Stop asking stupid questions,” asks Cavendish angrily. “Do you know about cycling?” 361.It is not a good race for the BBC. Viewers bemoan the lack of crucial timing information from commentators. 362.The BBC blames the IOC’s broadcasting arm. 363.Games officials later claim spectator tweets jammed GPS equipment. 364.As Team GB reach west London it becomes clear that Cavendish’s chances of reaching the breakaway are dashed. He finishes 29th, 40 seconds behind the winner, Alexander Vinokourov. 365.The Kazakhstani is a divisive champion having returned to cycling after a doping
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suspension. He has never displayed remorse or regret. 366 In the Aquatics Centre, the heralded clash of swimming heavyweights fails to materialise when Ryan Lochte wins the 400m individual medley ahead of Michael Phelps, who can only finish fourth. 367 Lochte, the new pin-up in the pool, is later accused of inappropriate behaviour after posing with his gold medal while wearing stars-and-stripes diamond “grills” over his teeth. 368 The swimmer had planned to sport the jewels on the podium, but was warned he would not receive his medal if he did. 369 Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, 16, breaks the world record to win the women’s 400m individual medley, completing the final lap more quickly than Ryan Lochte did in winning the men’s event. 370 US coach John Leonard later sparks a diplomatic spat with China after describing Ye’s swim as “unbelievable” and “disturbing” in the context of the country’s poor record on doping. 371 Ye goes on to win a second gold medal in the 200m individual medley, and calls Leonard “unprofessional”. 372 “In other countries,” she adds, “other swimmers have won multiple golds and nobody has said anything.” 373 Australia celebrates victory in the women’s 4X100m freestyle relay. 374 US swimming superstar Missy Franklin wins her first medal of the Games: a bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay. 375 Team GB fail to win a medal on the opening day of the Games. Hannah Miley and the women’s 4x100m freestyle team come closest with two fifth-place finishes in the pool. 376 Yi Siling of China wins the first gold medal of the Games in the women’s 10m air rifle competition. China ends the day with four golds. 377 Thee Games gets its first doping controversy when Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku is disqualified after testing positive for a banned steroid. 378.Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina tests positive for a banned substance the next day and is later sent home 379 Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says medal winners face “the most rigorous anti-doping procedures in place for any Olympics”. 380 So far, the relative lack of positive tests seems to bear him out.
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381 But Victor Conte, the convicted owner of the now-defunct Balco laboratory in the US that supplied Britain’s Dwain Chambers, among others, with drugs, is spotted in London. 382 Conte dismisses the assurances of Games organisers as “propaganda” and claims (offering no evidence) that 60 per cent of athletes in London are on drugs 383 The IOC rejects the claims. 384 The Benny Hill theme tune gets its first unlikely outing during breaks in play at the beach volleyball competition at Horse Guard’s Parade. 385 US football goalkeeper Hope Solo slaps down teammate-turned-NBC-analyst Brandi Chastain on Twitter: “Lay off commentating about defending and gking until you get more educated.” 386 London 2012 organisers promise a “full review” after thousands of empty seats are visible at various venues. 387 The following day, troops are dispatched to various venue to fill seats. 388 Meanwhile, volunteers are asked to bring spare T-shirts so that they blend in if required to act as spectators. 389 Locog later reveals it has put 3,000 more tickets on sale after effectively seizing them from International Olympic committees who did not plan to use them. These sell out in minutes. 390 The US women’s basketball team beat Croatia in their 34th successive Olympic victory. 391 At Lord’s, there is high drama in the archery, as Italy snatches gold from the US with the final arrow, a perfect 10. 392. South Korean hero Park Tae-hwan, who became his country’s first Olympic swimming champion in Beijing and a national hero, is disqualified from the 400m freestyle after a false start in his heat. 393.Ireland is rocked by claims that one of its athletes had placed a bet on an earlier event in which they had competed, in breach of IOC rules. 394.The athlete is later named as Peter O’Leary, a sailor, who would not comment on the claims, and continued to compete in the Star class. 395.Sir Paul McCartney sends his support to British sailors Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, whose boat, Lovely Rita, is also the name of a Beatles track: “Wishing you the very best of luck on the Lovely Rita in the Games. Happy sailing to you both.” 396.Bahia Al Hamad becomes the first Qatari woman to compete in an Olympics when she
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begins her qualifying round in the 10m air rifle event. 397.Italian fencing star Valentina Vezzali misses out on Olympic history when she is defeated in the semi-finals in her bid for a fourth consecutive foil gold at the Games. 398.New Zealand rowers Eric Murray and Hamish Bond shatter the world record in the men’s pair, knocking six seconds off the time set by Matt Pinsent and James Cracknell in 2004. 399.Hamadou Djibo Issaka, a novice rower from Niger, finishes 1min 20secs behind the next slowest competitor in the men’s single sculls. 400.The crowd at Eton Dorney gives him a standing ovation. 401.Issaka has some 25,000 fans on their feet, cheering him on. 402.Issaka, 35, is only there because the IOC gave Niger a wild card. This ensures that all 204 nations represented by National Olympic Committees can send at least one competitor, even when none qualifies. 403.He has been rowing for only three months. 404 The media, remembering Eddie the Eagle and Eric the Eel, experiment with nicknames: Issaka the Otter; Hamadou the Hippo; Issaka the Slacker. None quite catches on. 405 Nor, curiously, does that of Ahmed Atari, who finishes the 400m individual medley in 5min 21.30sec – more than a minute slower than the Olympic qualifying time. 406 “Atari the Qatari” trips nicely off the tongue – but he doesn’t really make a big enough splash. 407 Meanwhile, we will have to wait for a playing of Qatar’s famously short national anthem, which lasts just 32 seconds. DAY 2: 29.7.12 408 Paula Radcliffe says she is “hurt” by newspaper reports that injury means she will not compete in the marathon. The runner admits on Twitter that her left foot is “not looking good” but adds: “[This is] my heartbreaking news to break!” 409 Later the same day, the runner “closes the door” on her Olympic dream, confirming she has failed a fitness test and ending a miserable Olympic record. 410 The next day, British runner Freya Murray receives a text while doing her weekly shop, telling her she has been selected as Radcliffe’s replacement. 411 Zara Phillips continues a family tradition with her debut in the equestrian events after
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missing out on the last two Olympic Games due to injury to her horse, Toytown. 412.Princes William and Harry are shown watching their cousin. The royals prove to be remarkably devoted spectators at various events, leading some to envy their luck in the tickets lottery. They are in fact “official ambassadors”. 413.Still bathing in praise for his opening ceremony, the director Danny Boyle is seen queuing for pie and mash inside the Olympic Park. 414.Police officers from Operation Podium charge eight people with ticket touting. One tout, Josef Aguirre, 29, is later jailed for 28 days after trying to sell 56 tickets. 415.The US women’s football team tries to get one up on their swimming compatriots with a lip-synched YouTube video in which they sing the Miley Cyrus hit “Party in the USA”. A clip of the swimmers singing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” has already gone viral. 416.Britain’s hopes for cycling gold and the first medal of the Games rest with the women’s road team, which includes the defending champion Nicole Cooke and rising star Lizzie Armitstead. 417.The women’s road race follows the same course as the men’s but is almost half as long, taking in two rather than nine laps of Box Hill to give a total distance of 87 miles. 418.Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara, who crashed in the men’s road race, pleads with spectators to give women cyclists more room, tweeting: “We risked our life a lot yesterday.” 419.Team GB stay in contention throughout the race before Armitstead makes a break with Marianne Vos, a formidable Dutch sprinter, and Russian rider Olga Zabelinskaya. 420.The three zip through a rain-soaked London towards the Mall, where a thrilling sprint finish results in a silver medal for the British rider. Vos wins. 421.When asked about gender equality in sport in a post-race press conference, Armitstead says: “It’s something that can get overwhelming and very frustrating, the sexism that I experience in my career.” 422.Armitstead later appeals to anyone who finds the “lucky” sunglasses she dropped during the race to return them to Surrey Police. 423.Om Yun Chol hails the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il after equalling the world record in the clean-and-jerk element of the men’s 56kg weightlifting event. 424 His winning lift, 168kg, is exactly three times his own bodyweight. 425 Later, a free Australian newspaper provokes Pyongyang’s ire by listing North and South Korea in its medals table as, respectively, “naughty Korea” and “nice Korea”. Officials accuse
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the paper of “challenging the authority of a dignified state”. 426 A 25-year-old man is arrested for assault after an incident at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, where the shooting events are being held. 427 Michelle Obama takes her seat for the USA v France basketball match, watching the so-called “Dream Team” beat their European rivals 98-71. 428 Ben Ainslie launches his bid to win a fourth consecutive gold medal when he sets sail in the heavyweight Finn class at Weymouth. 429 The spectators’ hill there is dubbed “Ben Nevis” in the style of Wimbledon’s “Murray Mount” and “Henman Hill”. 430 A campaign is launched in Japan to try and force the country’s FA to treat its teams equally after it emerges the men travelled to London in business class while the women – the reigning world champions – were relegated to economy. 431 US gymnast Jordyn Wieber leaves the floor in tears after failing to qualify in the all-around contest despite scoring highly enough. Rules limit countries to two entrants, and Wieber was third-best in her team. 432 Cashless football fans go hungry at Wembley when they are told they cannot use Visa cards, the only type accepted at Games venues, owing to a fault with tills. 433.Rebecca Adlington wins bronze in the 400m freestyle. 434.Camille Muffat, of France, wins a nail-bitingly close race, setting a new Olympic record. 435.Adlington’s time is better than the time that won her gold in Beijing. 436.”I’m so glad that I’ve got a medal at a home Games,” she says. “Not many people can say that.” 437.It is Britain’s second medal of the Games. 438.There is another world record in the pool as US swimmer Dana Vollmer takes gold in the 100m butterfly. 439.Britain’s hockey team captain Kate Walsh needs emergency surgery after suffering a broken jaw in a game against Japan. She returns five days later wearing a head brace. 440.The hotly-tipped Spanish football team is knocked out after a 1-0 defeat to Honduras. Spain lost its opening game to Japan with the same score. 441.American skeet shooter Kim Rhode hits 99 out of 100 “birds” to win a national record fifth
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gold medal at five consecutive Games. 442 France beat favourites the USA in the men’s 4X100m relay, denying Michael Phelps his first gold medal of the Games. 443 Andy Murray returns to Wimbledon with a comfortable first-round victory over Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka. 444 A British men’s team plays for the first time ever in the volleyball competition, but loses 3-0 to Bulgaria in the group stage. DAY 3: 30.7.12 445.The Olympic cauldron is snuffed out while it s moved to the edge of the Olympic Stadium to make way for the track. 446 The flame is preserved and the cauldron later re-lit. 447 Jacques Rogge’s suggestion that the flame be mounted on top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower is too late to be feasible. 448 At the end of the Games, each team will take its petal home and the cauldron will cease to exist. 449 “Like a flower that only blooms for the duration of the competition,” explain the organisers, “it is a temporary representation of the extraordinary transitory community that is the Olympic Games.” 450.Fears of transport chaos across London appear to be unfounded during the first morning rush hour of the Games with normal or low traffic reported on roads and train networks. 451 An investigation is launched after police lose the keys to Wembley Stadium, forcing security chiefs to change the locks. 452 The parents of Gagan Narang, of India, were measured in their reaction to his bronze medal in the 10m air rifle. “We expected gold but it is a very good achievement,” BS Narang said. 453.A Brazilian judoka who would not be separated from his bronze medal drops it in the shower, breaking the ribbon fixture. Kitadai Altikes is awarded a replacement. 454.Draconian rules about “ambush” marketing by non-sponsors seem to have been circumvented by Dr Dre’s Beats company, which has been giving away its headphones to athletes. Several athletes are seen wearing them, while others tweet about them; and, despite the lack of the logo, the brand benefits.
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455.The PM turns up to the Aquatic Centre to watch the diving – and Tom Daley failed to claim a medal. Last week, he went along to cheer Britain’s cyclists – and Mark Cavendish missed out on a near-certain gold. Coincidence? It’s not just the Olympics, either: the PM, you will recall, attended Andy Murray’s ill-fated Wimbledon final match. 456.Before his bid to win gold in the 10m synchronised diving contest with Peter Waterfield, Tom Daley reveals the support his family is giving him on Twitter: “On the phone to my mum… mum: “do * want to say good luck to your brother?” My brother: “you’re sh*t”…thanks @Benjdaley” 457.Daley, who is one of Britain’s big medal hopes, leads the contest after three rounds but he and Waterfield perform poorly in their fourth and fifth dives to finish in fourth place. 458 After the event, Twitter user @Rileyy_69 sends Daley a public message: “You let your dad down i hope you know that.” Daley, whose father died of a brain tumour in May 2011, re-posts the message, adding: “After giving it my all… you get idiot’s sending me this.” @Rileyy_69 later posts an expletive-laden rant, including a threat to find Daley and “drown” him in the pool. 459 The following morning, a 17-year-old boy is arrested in Plymouth for sending malicious tweets and is later bailed pending further investigation by Dorset Police. 460 David Cameron is photographed travelling to the Aquatics Centre by Tube, sitting between two passengers who appeared to be less than excited to see him. 461 The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir says the swimmer-turned-BBC pundit Sharron Davies “looks like she’s swimming in Botox. Against the tide,” prompting Davies to call Moir a “small-minded, ill-informed, bad journalist”. 462 Philip Sheppard, the composer who arranged the national anthems for the Games, receives threats from Colombia after wrongly being accused of disparaging the country’s battle hymn in an online article about the 10 “worst anthems”. He had nothing to do with the list, which included Colombia’s anthem, “Oh Unfading Glory”. 463 US runner Sanya Richards-Ross leads a campaign against the IOC’s Rule 40, which prevents athletes from endorsing companies who are not official Games sponsors. 464 British teenage weightlifter Zoe Smith breaks the British record in the 58kg event to finish 12th. 465.Smith slaps down male critics of her figure in a compelling blog post: “Most of the people that think like this seem to be chauvinistic, pig-headed blokes who feel emasculated by the fact that we are stronger than them. Simple as that.” 466.Britain scores its first gymnastics men’s team medal for 100 years, after qualifying for the final for the first time since 1924.
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and are “mongoloids”, in a tweet in garbled French after losing to the country 2-1. 483.Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou has already been expelled for mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right party. 484.Hungarian fencer Aron Szilagyi, who is initially denied access to an official bus because he does not have the correct accreditation, is allowed on when he displays his gold medal. 485.After a successful start in the Games for France, president François Hollande makes fun of Britain’s failure to win a gold medal. “The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals,” he said. DAY 4: 31.7.12 486.The father of French footballer Eugénie Le Sommer reveals he had been threatened with expulsion from Hampden Park during a match against the USA for waving a Brittany flag. Only national flags are permitted to be displayed during the Olympics. 487.British judoka Gemma Howell is disqualified from a bout against Gévrise Emane for grabbing her opponent’s legs. “I don’t really have any positive thoughts right now,” she said. “I’m just completely gutted.” 488 Fellow judoka Euan Burton is even bleaker about his defeat in the 81kg judo. “I feel like I’ve let myself down,” he says. “I feel like I’ve let my coaches down, anyone I’ve every trained with. I’ve let my mum, my dad and my brother down. I’ve been working for this for over a quarter of a century, so no, there’s no positives to be taken.” 489.A Korean couple trying to get into the Tunisia v USA basketball match using tickets for the men’s football between Egypt and Belarus at Hampden Park are informed they have the wrong tickets for the wrong event between the wrong teams at the wrong venue on the wrong day. 490.Anticipating the traditional handing over of flags at the closing ceremony, the mayor of Rio says of Boris Johnson: “I’m just scared he’ll do something crazy.” 491.Boris Johnson is invited to initiate a Mexican wave at the beach volleyball event but fails when all spectators raise their arms at once. 492.The London Mayor raises further eyebrows when it emerges he has invited Rupert Murdoch and his wife to watch the swimming with him. City Hall insists it is part of Johnson’s efforts to “use the Games to shamelessly promote London” as a business hub. 493.The Spanish water polo team stages a “swim in” after a last-minute winning goal is disallowed. 494.Their coach orders his players back into the pool, where they remain even while opponents Croatia give post-match interviews.
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495.In the dying moments of the group stage women’s basketball match between Australia and France, veteran Australian player Belinda Snell scores the shot of her life from beyond the half way line to level the scores at 65-65, forcing the match into overtime. Despite her heroics, France wins 74-70. 496.Tina Cook gets a double clear in the last showjumping round to secure a team eventing silver. Her team-mate Zara Phillips becomes the first Olympian to be awarded a medal by her own mother. 497.”Whatever you do,” she tells an interviewer, “don’t ask me what it’s like to have my mother present me with a medal.” 498.Later, it is reported that a “tearful” Phillips blames herself for the medal not being gold. 499.Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani is told she may compete in the judo event wearing a headscarf, despite fears over her safety in a sport that involves choke-holds. The Saudis sent their two first female Olympians to the London Games on condition they adhere to the kingdom’s dress traditions. 500.In the tennis, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats Milos Raonic 6-3, 3-6, 25-23. Their final set is a new Olympic record but falls short of the 70-68 decider played by John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010. 501.Chinese, Korean and Indonesian players are booed by spectators watching the badminton for apparently trying to lose matches. 502.Doubles teams who have already qualified are accused of attempting to manipulate group placings to avoid facing compatriots or stronger teams in the knock-out stages. 503.Four pairs of players are later disqualified by badminton’s governing body for “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”. 504.One of the expelled players, the Chinese Olympic badminton doubles champion Yu Yang, then announces she is quitting the sport. 505.”Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton”, reads a Tencent blog associated with the star. 506.In a thrilling final race, Chad Le Clos, a 20-year-old South African, beats his childhood hero Michael Phelps by the width of a fingernail to take gold in the 200m butterfly. 507.BBC swimming pundit Mark Foster collars Le Clos’s father, Bert, for a live interview with Clare Balding that becomes one of the most touching moments of the Games. 508.Bert Le Clos, sweaty and bursting out of his shirt with pride and excitement, says: “Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. I’ve never been so happy in my life. It’s something
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indescribable, indescribable. What happened tonight is like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Look at him! He’s beautiful. What a beautiful boy.” 509.Michael Phelps wins his first gold of the Games and his 19th Olympic medal overall as part of the USA 4x200m freestyle team. 510.He becomes the most decorated Olympian, surpassing the Soviet gymnast, Larisa Latynina. 511.Michael Phelps later reports being congratulated by phone: “I answered the phone and they were, like, ‘Michael?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And they said, ‘Please hold for the President of the United States.’ And I was, like, ‘OK’.” 512.Clare Balding emerges as a front-runner for a gold medal in the presenter competition but Ian Thorpe is winning greater praise for his cool, informed punditry. 513.The “Thorpedo”, who failed to qualify for 2012, is also making a splash thanks to his bold outfits, not all of which are admired. 514.Britain’s women’s football team top their group after a stunning 1-0 victory against Brazil in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley. But, after an unbeaten route to the quarter-finals, they are knocked out by Canada. 515.The day before the match, Brazil accused Games organisers of scuppering their chances after it took five hours for a replacement bus to be sent after a breakdown on the route from their training camp in Cardiff. 516.The Olympic press centre falls into rare silence when one of its TV’s reportedly begins showing an episode of the soft porn sex line, Babestation 2, broadcast on the Get Lucky TV channel. Volunteers quickly locate a remote control. 517.J ournalists in search of snacks not made by official sponsors can source Pringles under the counter at the media centre’s bar. “They’re under here, mate,” the barman says. “But we can’t display them for obvious reasons.” 518.”There are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto,” declares the Mayor of London in a newspaper article. “They are glistening like wet otters and the water is splashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers.” 519.The simile goes viral. 520.”Bonkers Boris goes into hyperdrive spreading joy at the Games,” reports New Zealand’s Waikato Times, succinctly. 521.Le Monde agrees: “You can never say it enough times: the Mayor of London, Boris
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Johnson, is a weird guy.” 522.Veteran cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew has his umbrella seized by the Olympic “brand police” at the archery competition at Lord’s. “Brolly confiscated because it has a golf name on it,” he tweets. DAY 5: 1.8.12 523.By Day 5, concern is that Team GB still haven’t won a gold medal. 524.”Keep calm and carry on” is The Daily Telegraph’s front-page headline. 525.The story beneath begins: “The British public has been urged not to panic over the country’s gold medal drought as officials insisted that Team GB were still on target for a bumper Olympic haul.” 526.Meanwhile, North Korea is fifth in the medals table. 527.According to the country’s Central News Agency, the successes of its four gold medallists “represent the inexhaustible strength of the DPRK, which can never be gauged by the Western view of value and criterion”. 528.Kim Un Guk, who won gold in the 62kg weightlifting, adds: “I won first place because the shining supreme commander Kim Jong-un gave me power and courage.” 529.Luckily for panicking fans, Britain’s drought ends, as Team GB win their first gold medal on the fifth day of competition. Rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning dominate the women’s pair final in their first Olympics. 530.It is the first Olympic medal ever won by British female rowers . 531.It comes only four years after Glover took up rowing. The aspiring hockey player was discovered by UK Sport’s “Sporting Giants” search for tall potential athletes. 532.In fact, she was half an inch too short for the programme – “so I stood on my tiptoes, and it worked”. 533.In Glover’s school yearbook, she was named “most likely to be in the Olympics” because of her talent for running. 534.Stanning says: “I joined rowing because it was the best social club at university and I’ve ended up with a gold medal.” 535.A serving Army officer, Stanning intends to rejoin the service shortly, possibly in Afghanistan.
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536.Glover and Stanning struggle to hold back tears as their achievement sinks in, establishing a trend for winning and losing British rowers. 537.Britain’s women cyclists failed to repeat the success of the road race in their time trial event, which is won by US rider Kristin Armstrong. Emma Pooley finishes sixth. 538.The day’s other big British medal hope is Bradley Wiggins. The Sun and the Daily Mirror print “cut out and wear” Wiggins-inspired sideburns on their front pages. The cyclist later says sideburns “haven’t been this popular since Noddy Holder”. 539.Bradley Wiggins reveals his training kit has been stolen from the team’s Surrey hotel. 540.Wiggins is second to last to ride in the time trial event around Hampton Court between his biggest rivals, Tony Martin of Germany and the Swiss world champion, Fabian Cancellara. 541.Martin scores the fastest time, pushing British rider and Tour de France runner-up Chris Froome into second place. But Wiggins is unstoppable, riding to the top of the podium before a short wait while an injured Cancellara finishes. Martin wins silver, 22 seconds behind Wiggins, while Chris Froome gets bronze. 542.During the trial, the fastest three cyclists at any given time are seated on elaborate golden thrones, to the bemusement of many. Wiggins crosses his legs and gives victory signs to the cameras. 543.”King Bradley” becomes Britain’s most decorated Olympian with six medals to Sir Steve Redgrave’s five, but is himself later displaced by Sir Chris Hoy. 544.Wiggins admits to feeling a “slight melancholy” on the podium: “I realised… that that’s probably it for me.” 545.As for talk of a knighthood: “As much as it would be an honour to receive something like that, I don’t think I’ll ever use it. I’ll put it in a drawer.” 546.His wife, Cathy, is asked if she has had to make sacrifices to help Bradley. “Not really,” she says. “Where’s the sacrifice in helping your other half fulfil their dreams?” 547.Some spectators who have paid almost £200 for tickets for the diving event complain that the building’s curved roof restricts views of the 10m board. Locog insists very little of the actions is obscured. 548.Boris Johnson gets “stuck” on a zip-wire near the Olympic Park, dangling for several minutes before being rescued. Conspiracy theorists claim the incident as part of the mayor’s attempt to use the Games to help shape a future campaign to become Prime Minister. 549.Johnson later responds: “How could anybody elect a prat who gets stuck in a zip-wire?”.
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550.Britain’s Eilish McColgan, daughter of Olympic silver medallist Liz McColgan, survives being struck by a car while training in Portugal to be declared fit for the 3,000m steeplechase. 551 There’s a ding dong in the ping pong as Ding Ning, favourite to win gold, loses in the women’s final to her compatriot Li Xiaoxia after receiving three penalty points for prohibited throws before her serve. 552 Michael Jamieson wins a surprise silver in the 200m breaststroke, bringing Team GB’s medal total to nine. 553 He is beaten to gold by an eighth of a second by Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta, who breaks the world record. 554.Jamieson’s preparations included sleeping in an altitude chamber. 555.He is very appreciative of the crowd’s support: “It’s like they are pushing you and driving you on. It makes you really go for it. You feel you can do anything.” 556.Jamieson’s medal will remain Britain’s best performance in the pool at London 2012. 557.Missy Franklin wins another gold for the US, in the 4x200m freestyle relay. The team break the Olympic record. 558.Adam Gemili’s accreditation arrives with a passport photo of a different man. “Who even is this guy?” asks the GB sprinting prodigy. 559.A cyclist is killed outside the Olympic Park after being hit by an official bus. 560.Bradley Wiggins later triggers a debate when he appears to suggest in a press conference that bike helmets should be compulsory. 561.Later still, he shares a photo on Twitter of himself “getting wasted at St. Pauls”. 562.Nadzeya Ostapchuk, of Belarus, takes gold in the women’s shot put. 563 A week later, after the closing ceremony, she is stripped of her medal after testing positive for a banned substance. Valerie Adams, of New Zealand, gets gold instead. 564.Locog reports only 4 per cent of its 70,000 volunteers have dropped out after taking up their duties. The committee had predicted a rate of 20 per cent and later admits it has too many staff. 565.Following the USA’s stunning victory in the women’s team gymnastics event, BBC presenter Gabby Logan asks Olga Korbut if we are witnessing a new golden era. “No,” the veteran gymnast replies, “we need to find new Olga to change to more beautiful gymnastics.” 566.Staff at Los Angeles City Hall are asked to stop watching the Olympics on their computers.
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An email warns extra internet traffic is “impacting city operations”. 567.Sa Jae-Hyouk, the South Korean weightlifter, is taken to hospital after his attempt to lift 162kg goes horribly wrong. His elbow buckles and bends backwards, and he falls to the floor screaming. 568.Australian rower Joshua Booth is arrested late at night in Egham, Surrey, following an incident involving alcohol and a shop front. DAY 6: 2.8.12 569 On the sixth day, the trickle of British medals becomes a flood. A five-minute period just after 3.30pm is the most successful in British Olympic history. 570 Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie start it off, with a faultless performance to win the men’s kayaking (C2). 571 David Florence and Richard Hounslow take silver. 572 All four celebrate boisterously in the water, joined by their of coaches. 573 As they do so, Peter Wilson wins the men’s double trap shooting. 574 Two misses near the end turn a comfortable lead into a narrow one, but he holds his nerve to win by two shots. 575 Then breaks down in tears. 576 Wilson, 25, is a farmer’s son from Dorset. 577 He only took to shooting after damaging his shoulder snowboarding. 578 He did badly in Beijing, and his funding was cut. 579 He tried to cover his costs by working in the local pub. 580 Then Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family, offered to coach him, free of charge. 581 After winning, Wilson climbed a fence to embrace Maktoum. 582 “This man deserves all the praise,” he says. 583 Minutes later, Gemma Gibbons reduces half of Britain to emotional jelly after battling to the final of the under-78kg judo, guaranteeing a silver.
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584 At the moment of victory, she weeps, looks upwards and mouths the words “I love you, mum.” 585 She later pays tribute to her late mother and the sacrifices she made to get Gemma started in the sport. 586 Her boyfriend, Euan Burton tweets: “I’m the proudest man in the world right now.” 587 Earlier, the British lightweight four take a rowing silver in what is virtually a blanket finish. 588 South Africa take gold, Denmark bronze. 589 Team GB’s Chris Bartley throws up repeatedly after the race. 590 “We were in absolute agony,” says his crew-mate, Richard Chambers. “We had to dig in and fight to the death.” 591 Back in the ExCel centre, David Cameron is joined in the judo audience by Russian President Vladimir Putin in time to see Gibbons in the final. 592 But Kayla Harrison, of the USA, is too strong and wins gold. 593 Harrison has spoken movingly about being sexually abused as a teenager by her coach. 594 Putin sees Russia’s Tagir Khaibulaev win the men’s 100kg division. 595 Putin congratulates him with a bear hug, then heads for the door. 596 Khaibulaev’s opponent, Tuvshinbayar Naidan, the Beijing champion, was left screaming in pain after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the semi-final. Somehow he managed to fight in the final. 597 He will now spend two months in a wheelchair. 598 It also emerges that Gibbons has been fighting with a broken thumb. 599 In the Velodrome, Sir Chris Hoy wins his fifth gold in the team sprint, with Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes. 600 The team set their second world record of the event in the final. 601 France get silver and Germany bronze – the same as in Beijing. 602 Hoy says it is “my greatest win”. 603 It was, he says, “the most memorable of all the golds I’ve won”.
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604 It him Britain’s most decorated Olympian, with Sir Steve Redgrave. 605 Bradley Wiggins has the most medals (seven) – four of which are gold. 606 Close to tears, Hoy pays tribute to the crowd: “The whole atmosphere – it gives you goosebumps.” 607 Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish are controversially disqualified from the cycling women’s sprint. 608 They are deemed to have mistimed their changeover. 609 Boos echo through the Velodrome when the decision is announced. 610 In a dramatic final, China briefly take gold – but are relegated from a similar changeover error. 611 Germany eventually win. 612 For Pendleton, there is still hope of medals in the keirin and the sprint. But Varnish goes away empty-handed. 613 “To spend four years getting ready for it only to lose in a fraction of a second is gut wrenching,” says Mark Cavendish on the BBC. 614 Pendleton is tearful but says: “Now and again rubbish things happen.” 615 At the beach volleyball, soldiers are seen filling the empty seats. 616 Sir Steve Redgrave is snapped in a pair of comedy Wiggins sideburns. 617 Four topless Ukrainian women with “No Sharia” on their breasts are arrested outside City Hall. 618 In the middleweight boxing, Anthony Ogogo defeats Evhen Khytrov to progress into quarter-finals. 619 The result is so close that judges resort to a count-back. 620 Germany come from two sets down to beat Serbia 3-2 in the volleyball. 621 Sailor Ben Ainslie is forced by two rivals to take a penalty turn after they claim that he struck a marker. 622 “They’ve made a big mistake,” he says. “They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry.”
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623 Mexico’s women take bronze and silver in the individual archery. 624 The International Amateur Boxing Association upholds an appeal by Japan after bantamweight Satoshi Shimizu loses despite knocking down his Azerbaijani opponent five times. It warns the Turkmenistani referee he could face sanctions. 625 The US men’s basketball team beats Nigeria 156-73 – a record win. 626 Later, triumphant Team GB cyclist Philip Hindes seems to admit deliberately crashing his bike to earn a restart in the men’s team sprint. 627 “I just crashed, I did it on purpose to get a restart,” he says. 628 Team GB insists this is a misunderstanding, caused by the fact that Hindes, who was born in Germany, speaks poor English. 629 The US’s Gabby Douglas, 16, becomes the first African-American to win the women’s all-round gymnastics. 630 Michael Phelps wins his 16th gold in the 200m individual medley. 631 This prompts a phone call from President Barack Obama. “Tell your mum I said hi,” he says. 632 Ryan Lochte swims the 200m backstroke and 200m individual medley within 30 minutes of each other. 633 He wins bronze and silver respectively. 634 Missy Franklin wins her third gold of the Games with a world record in the 200m backstroke. 635 Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands takes gold in the women’s 100m freestyle. 636 She sets an Olympic best of 53 secs. 637 Britain’s Fran Halsall misses out on bronze by 0.22 secs. 638 The women’s 200m breaststroke final is won by Rebecca Soni of the US. 639 She sets a new world record of 2:19.59. 640 She is the first swimmer to defend an Olympic title won in 2008. 641 The British dressage team of Hester, Bechtolsheimer and Dujardin take the lead in the first day of team dressage.
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642 Their combined age is 99 years. 643 In the women’s team foil, Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali brings her all-time tally of Olympic golds to six. 644 Two other Italian fencers already share this distinction: Edoardo Mangiarotti and Nedo Nadi. 645 GB’s Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin leave the women’s beach volleyball tournament after losing to Austria. 646 China’s men win gold and silver in the individual table tennis final. 647 A record 4.31 million passengers travel on the Tube in a single day. DAY 7: 3.8.12 648 The track and field events begin in the Olympic Stadium.? 649 Highlights include heptathlon, triple jump and the women’s 400m heats. 650 Twelve national records and 52 personal bests are set in the stadium. 651 Louise Hazell, in the heptathlon, becomes the first British athlete to run competitively on the track. 652 Jessica Ennis makes a confident start to the same event, and ends the day in the lead. 653 Ennis’s time (12.54 seconds) is only one hundredth of a second off the mark that won the gold in the hurdles proper in Beijing. 654 “It was such an amazing feeling, it gives you goose bumps,” Ennis says. 655 She is 2.04 seconds quicker than the slowest heptathlete, Ivona Dadic. 656 In the Velodrome, Victoria Pendleton bounces back to take gold in the women’s keirin. 657 She leads home China’s Shuang Guo and Wai Sze Lee of Hong Kong. 658 The bronze is only the third medal Hong Kong has won since it entered the Games in 1950. 659 The others were gold in sailing (1996) and silver in table tennis (2004). 660 Pendleton is embraced by her fiancé, Scott Gardner, whom she controversially started seeing in 2008 when he was still Team GB’s cycling coach.
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661 Pendleton has already won eight world championships, as well as an Olympic gold in Beijing. 662 This second gold ensures she stays in the headlines for sport, rather than her other activities as one of the glamorous faces of Team GB. 663 Many in the Velodrome will have seen the recent BBC film Victoria Pendleton: Cycling’s Golden Girl which dwelt heavily on her personal life. 664 They may also have seen her on the covers of FHM, Harper’s Bazaar or Esquire magazines, or in her capacity as “brand ambassador” for Pantene. 665 Pendleton insists such shoots are to counter the “nasty stereotype of what you should be like in cycling”. 666 “Thank you so much to everyone,” says Pendleton (tearful again). 667 By the way, the man who rides the keirin motorbike is Peter Deary. 668 Deary, 65, is a coach at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. 669 Back on the track, Team GB men win gold in the team pursuit. 670 Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Steven Burke set a new world record in the process: 3:59.659 seconds. 671 This smashes the previous record – which they set in the semi-finals. 672 Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins take gold in the women’s double sculls rowing. 673 They came home almost three seconds ahead of their nearest rivals. 674 Grainger’s gold comes after three previous silvers in previous Games. 675 In her yearbook for 1997 at the University of Edinburgh, Grainger was asked: “Name the object of your desire.” Her answer? “Olympic gold.” 676 Grainger and Atkins are undefeated in 2012. 677 As Australia continue to disappoint, Adelaide’s Advertiser wonders, “What the hell has gone wrong in the past seven days?” 678 The Sydney Sunday Telegraph claims it is because Team GB have hired the best Aussie coaches. 679 Asafa Powell, the Jamaican sprinter, complains to the IOC about having his sleep
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interrupted for a drug test. 680 Noor Hussain al-Malki, the firstwoman track-and-field athlete to compete for Qatar, pulls up with injury after just 15 metres of her 100m heat. 681 In the individual trampolining, China’s Dong Dong bounces back from Beijing bronze to take gold. 682 Rebecca Adlington gets another bronze in the 800m freestyle. 683 Afterwards, she apologises for not getting the gold “everyone was expecting”. 684 The BBC receives a number of complaints about Sharron Davies asking Adlington if she is disappointed. 685 Clare Balding spends much of the rest of the programme praising Adlington’s achievement. 686 Adlington’s mantle is taken by 15-year-old Katie Ledecky of the USA. 687 These Games are only Ledecky’s second major swimming event. 688 In 12 months, Ledecky has reduced her personal best by 21 seconds. 689 She is the youngest of America’s 529 athletes at the games. 690 The youngest athlete of all at the Games is Adzo Kpossi of Togo. 691 Kposi, 13, comes second last in the 50m freestyle. 692 Meanwhile, Ryan Lochte confesses to peeing in the Olympic pool. 693 “I sure did,” he says. “There’s something about getting into chlorine water that you just automatically go.” 694 Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic in the semi-final. 695 It is the sixth time Murray has beaten the former world number one. 696 “You don’t see me smiling that much but I haven’t stopped smiling since I came off the court,” he says. 697.Roger Federer wins his semi 3-6, 7-6, 19-17. 698 The match lasts 266 minutes.
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699 It took Federer just 224 minutes to win all three of his previous matches. 700 His opponent, Juan Martin del Potro, is reduced to tears. 701 “To lose this way hurts a lot,” he says. “It’s very hard to talk about it.” 702 Karina Bryant wins bronze for Team GB in the +78kg judo. 703 Team GB are now a respectable fourth in the medals table. 704 After winning, Bryant embraces her mother, who lives in Australia. The pair have not seen each other for 18 months. 705 These are Karina’s fourth Olympics, and her first medal. 706 She still trains at the same gym in Camberley where she first learnt judo. 707 The judo final between Idalys Ortiz (Cuba) and Mika Sugimoto (Japan) goes to sudden death. 708 The gold is awarded to Ortiz. 709 Tirunesh Dibaba, of Ethiopia, successfully defends her Olympic title in the women’s 10,000m. 710 The 26-year-old runs a 62-second final lap to win by almost 50m. 711 At one point, the race is almost disrupted by Poland’s Tomasz Majewski, who bounds across the track as he celebrates his gold in the shot put. 712 Majewski, who also won gold in Beijing, grabs a Polish flag before continuing his celebration. 713 Belarusian Sergei Martynov, of Belarus, takes gold in the men’s 50m rifle prone final. 714 He sets a new world record score of 705.5. 715 George Nash and Will Satch take bronze in the men’s pairs rowing. 716 Gagan Ullalmath, India’s only competitor in the swimming, comes last – by around 40 seconds – in the first round of the 1,500m freestyle. 717 In Russia, a “psychic raccoon” predicts China will top the medals table. 718 Vijay Kumar takes silver in the 25m rapid fire rifle, India’s first of the Games.
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719 Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin sets a new Olympic record of 83.663 in the dressage event. 720 Jessica Ennis follows up satisfactory performances in the high jump and shot put with a personal best – 22.83 seconds – in the 200m. 721 This gives her a reasonable cushion for the following day . 722 In the men’s 85kg weightlifting, Adrian Edward Zielinski, of Poland, takes gold after lifting 385kg – the same as second-placed Apti Aukhadov, of Russia. 723 Zielinski is awarded gold as he weighs less than Aukhadov. 724 he bronze medal goes to Kianoush Rostami, of Iran, who lifted 380kg. 725 This is Iran’s first medal of 2012. 726 Wojdan Shaherkani, 16, becomes the first Saudi woman Oympian. 727.She lasts just 1 min 22 secs in her judo bout against a heavyweight Puerto Rican opponent. 728 Meanwhile, there is grumbling about the use of “medal” and “podium” as verbs. 729 Another pedant points out that “medal” was first used in this way in 1822, by Lord Byron. 730 Others invent new verbs, such as “to stadium” – for those who have simply been to the Olympic stadium. 731 Oh Jin-hyek makes it three golds out of four for South Korea in the archery. 732 Leuris Pupo wins Cuba’s first 2012 gold in the 25m rapid fire pistol final. 733 “This is the height of glory for the people of Cuba,” says Pupo. 734 In the preliminary round of the 100 metres, Timi Garstang, of the Marshall Islands, finishes last in 12.81 seconds. 735 “I’m not disappointed,” he tells Reuters. “It’s a great feeling to be here.” DAY 8: 4.8.12 736 The eighth day of the Games has been dubbed Super Saturday, but few people can have envisaged how super it will be. 737 Already, nearly 46 million people have watched at least some of the BBC’s coverage – more than saw the entire Beijing Olympics.
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738 In addition, 729,000 requests have been made online to see BBC footage of Bradley Wiggins winning his gold. 739 Now, for Team GB’s poster girl, Jessica Ennis, it is the moment of truth. Will she rise to the occasion? 740 Ennis performs magnificently. In the long jump, she stutters, then jumps 6.40m and 6.48m. 741 A few hours later, she throws 47.49m in the javelin. 742.This is a personal best – her third of the competition. 743 It also gives her a 188-point lead. 744 This means she will go into the heptathlon’s final event, the 800m, in an almost unassailable position. 745 While the nation waits for that grand finale in the evening, along with Mo Farah’s 10,000m final, excitement is coming thick and fast elsewhere. 746 The first two golds of the day come in the men’s coxless four as Andy Triggs-Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James power home. 747 It is the fourth successive Games in which Team GB have won this event. 748 Twenty minutes later, the women’s lightweight double sculls team of Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland also win. 749 At the finish, Copeland exclaims: “We’ve won the Olympics!” 750 Then she says: “We’re going to be on a stamp.” 751 The pair had only started rowing together this year. 752 Copeland’s post-race interview tearful: “I can’t believe this is real… that we just won… I don’t know… we just won the Olympics!” 753 Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter win silver in the lightweight double sculls. 754 An exhausted Hunter has to be helped from the boat by Sir Steve Redgrave. 755 After the race, Hunter said: “We feel like we’ve let everyone down.” 756 John Inverdale tries to reassure Hunter, but finds is overcome. 757 Andy Murray and Laura Robson beat Germany’s Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki to
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reach the tennis mixed doubles final. 758 Team GB’s women’s cycling pursuit team speed beat the USA to gold. 759 Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott and Dani King set world records in every round, including two on the final day. 760 Team GB’s dominance in the velodrome is remarkable. Before Beijing, Britain had not won a medal in the pursuit for 100 years. 761 As the celebratory tones of “Hey Jude” ring out on the PA, a euphoric crowd sings and dances along. 762 Among them is Sir Paul McCartney, who joins in enthusiastically. 763 Stella McCartney, next to him, seems uncomfortable to see “dad dancing” so uninhibitedly in public. 764 Actor Samuel L Jackson tweets: “Like I said before, those BRITS are some PEDALIN’, RECORD BREAKIN’, MUTHACYCLINPHUCCAS!!” 765 Michael Phelps ends his swimming career by winning his 19th Olympic gold in the 4x100m medley relay. 766 The previous record was held by Larisa Latynina, of the Soviet Union. She won her 18th medal in 1964. 767 Phelps reportedly consumes 12,000 calories a day. 768 His preferred breakfast is three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise; three chocolate-chip pancakes; a five-egg omelette; three sugar-coated slices of French toast; a bowl of grits; and two cups of coffee. 769 6ft 4in Phelps weighs 13st 12lb. 770 He has won the World Swimmer of the Year award six times. 771His full name is Michael Fred Phelps II. 772 USA’s women win the 4x100m medley relay in a world record time of 3min 52.05sec. 773 This produces the fourth gold of the Games for Missy Franklin. 774 South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius becomes the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics.
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775 The four-time Paralympic champion, whose legs were amputated below the knee as a baby , finished second in his 400m heat to make the semi. 776.”It was just an unbelievable experience,” he says. “I didn’t know whether I should cry or be happy.” 777 Serena Williams obliterates the world number two Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in the women’s tennis final. 778 She then did what some claim is a “crip walk” dance after the match. 779 But her medal ceremony goes awry when the US flag blows away. 780 No player apart from German Steffi Graf has previously won all four grand slam events and an Olympic gold. 781 The US “Dream Team” narrowly escapes a shock defeat to Lithuania in the basketball, winning 99-94. 782 Former world 100m champion Kim Collins is sent home after the Saint Kitts Nevis Olympic Committee said he broke rules about seeing his family. 783 Collins says he had permission to see his wife, but officials say they had not heard from him for three days. 784 The sprinter tweets: “Even men in prison get their wives to visit.” 785 Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig takes gold in the women’s triathlon – just. 786 After 1,500m of swimming, 40km of cycling and 10km of running, she and Lisa Nordé*, of Sweden, are still neck-and-neck. 787 After a photo finish Spirig is awarded gold.Nordé*, whose head crossed the line first but whose torso didn’t, accepts the decision with grace. 789 “I’m just glad we don’t have to have a re-run,” she said. 788 A Swedish appeal for shared gold is later rejected. 790 Britain’s world champion, Helen Jenkins, finishes fifth. 791 Jenkins apologises in the post-race interview: “I gave it everything,” she says. “I’m sorry it wasn’t a medal.” 792 The BBC is criticised again for “insensitive” interviewing.
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793 Miroslava Knapková becomes the first Czech gold medallist of 2012 in the women’s single sculls. 794 Bob and Mike Bryan win the men’s tennis doubles event, defeating the French pair of Michaël Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-6. 795 They are the first pair of twins to win gold in the current Games. 796 The Bryans have been the world number one pair for more than 297 weeks – the longest in doubles history. 797 They have also won 11 Grand Slam doubles titles. 798 American Jamie Lynn Gray shoots a new Olympic record of 691.9 to claim gold in the women’s 50m rifle three positions competition. 799 Her husband, Hank Gray, is a sergeant in the US Army Marksmanship Unit. 800 Jessica Rossi shot a world record 99 hits out of 100 to claim gold in the Olympic women’s trap shooting. 801 The Italian 20-year-old police officer only missed out on an unbeatable perfect score on her 92nd shot. 802 Rosie MacLennan win Canada’s first gold of the Games in the women’s trampoline, seeing off He Wenna, of China, who won gold at her home Games in Beijing. 803 Li Xuerui defeats compatriot Wang Yihan 2-1 in the all-Chinese women’s badminton singles final. 804 Following the disqualification of China’s world number one pairing of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, their second-seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei defeat Japan to take the gold in the women’s badminton doubles. 805 Weightlifting world champion Ilya Ilyin retains his Olympic title in the men’s 94kg. 806 The 24-year-old Kazakhstani lifts a combined score of 418kg to break the total world record as well as breaking the clean and jerk world record with a lift of 233kg. 807 The 20km walk gold medal goes to 19-year-old Chen Ding, of China, who set a new Olympic record of 1:18:46. 808 South Korea narrowly beat North Korea in the table tennis. 809 The 22-year-old Croatian Sandra Perkovic, who tested positive for methylhexanamine last year and served a six-month ban, wins gold in the women’s discus with a national record of
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69.11m. 810 In the pool, China’s Sun Yang smashes his own world record to take gold in the 1,500m freestyle in 14min 31.02sec – 3.12 seconds faster than his previous best. 811 But the day’s greatest drama is in the stadium, where the atmosphere is electric when Jessica Ennis steps out for the final event of the heptathlon. 812 Ennis needs only to run respectably – and stay out of trouble – in the 800m to secure the gold. 813 But to deafening applause, she storms across the line in first place, with a time of 2min 8.65sec. 814 Team GB’s “golden girl” then lies down on the track, apparently overwhelmed with relief – and exhaustion. 815 She finishes 306 points ahead of her nearest rival. 816 Her total score of 6,955 is 371 higher than Denise Lewis’s gold-medal-winning performance in Sydney. 817 It is also a British record. 818.The entire heptathlon field then accompanies her on a lap of honour. 819 Four-time Olympic gold-medallist Michael Johnson calls it “a phenomenal performance”. 820 Her achievement is all the more remarkable because of the pressure put on her as the “face” of Team GB. 821 As well as appearing on innumerable posters and photo shoots, Ennis has commercial deals with Adidas, British Airways, Powerade, Aviva, Olay, Omega, BP, Jaguar and Proctor Gamble. 822 Such deals are reported to earn her £1m a year. 823 “She had a date with destiny,” says BBC analyst Denise Lewis. “A destiny to become the Olympic champion.” 824 An injured Lewis failed to make the 2004 Games, and retired in 2005. 825 In her post-race interview, Ennis speaks movingly of her gratitude for the support she has received. 826 Meanwhile, almost unnoticed at first, Greg Rutherford has been inching towards victory in
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the long jump. 827 A leap of 8.31m puts him into the lead, and spectators gradually absorb the fact that victory is within his grasp. 828 One by one (interrupted by a brief pause for the start of the 10,000m), his rivals fail to beat his mark. 829 By 9:20pm, Rutherford has won. 830 He becomes the first British man to win the title since Lynn “The Leap” Davies in 1964. 831 Rutherford comes from Bletchley, near Milton Keynes. 832 He once tried out for Aston Villa. 833 His great-grandfather and grandfather played for Arsenal. The London Forex Rush System Probably The Best Instra-day Forex System 834 Rutherford has been plagued by injury since winning gold in the 2005 European Junior Championships as an 18-year-old. 835 His victory comes as a complete surprise to many observers – but not to The Independent’s Simon Turnbull, who described him earlier in the week as “a serious contender”. 836 Rutherford, too, has insisted that “everyone needs to beat me”. 837 On the night, however, he can scarcely believe what has happened. “I might wake up in a minute,” he says. 838 His emotional post-event interview (“I have the most amazing parents you could possibly have, a beautiful girlfriend, just everything… I can’t tell you how much everyone has worked so hard for me”) is yet another heart-warming moment on an evening that is going implausibly well for Team GB. 839 “I thought I was going to jump further than that,” he concludes. “But I don’t care – I’m Olympic champion.” 840.Meanwhile, Mo Farah is powering his way towards Britain’s first ever gold in an Olympic long-distance race. 841 As he draws away in the home straight, there is pandemonium in the BBC commentary studio. Denise Lewis is filmed jumping up and down in excitement.
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842 When he crosses the line, it is the third British gold in 45 minutes. 843 Farah’s training partner, the American Galen Rupp, takes silver. 844 Farah is congratulated on the track by his young step-daughter, Rihanna. 845 A little later, his heavily pregnant wife, Tania, joins them. 846 “I just can’t believe it,” says Farah. “The crowd got so much behind me and was getting louder and louder.” 847 “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he adds. “It will never get any better than this – this is the best moment of my life.” 848 Farah interrupts his victory lap so that the women’s 100m final can go. 849 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, of Jamaica, retains the title she won in 2008 with a time of 10.75 seconds. 850 But Farah is the star of the night. Born in Somalia, he moved to England with his father when he was eight. 851 “I want to thank everyone who has supported me from my childhood until now,” he says. “Without [them], that wouldn’t have happened.” 852 Farah failed even to qualify for the final of the 5,000m in Beijing. 853 Since then, he has trained in Oregon, under the supervision of the Cuban-born coach Alberto Salazar. 854 He runs 120 miles a week. 855 Some of his sessions are on an underwater treadmill, to prevent injury. 856 He has also trained extensively at altitude in east Africa. 857 His charity, the Mo Farah Foundation, provides aid to those faced with hunger in that region. 858 He is a passionate Arsenal fan. 859 After his win, Farah was rapidly topped up with replenishment drinks. 860 He was had a massage. 861And he spent time in a cryogenic chamber: about 90 seconds at -70C.
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862 Then he and Rupp went for a run, while the reality of their extraordinary achievement sank in. 863 In all, Team GB have won six golds medals and one silver – in Britain’s most successful Olympic day for 104 years. 864 It is also the first time ever that Britain has won three Olympic golds in a single athletics session – let alone three in London, in the space of an hour. 865 Lord Coe speaks for millions when he says: “I think we’ve witnessed the greatest night of British athletics.” 866 But one sport, at least, seems unaffected by Britain’s dies mirabilis. Team GB lose on penalties in the football tournament. 867 Their quarter-final against South Korea finishes 1-1, with Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey missing a penalty in normal time. 868 Team GB lose the penalty shoot-out 5-4. 869 Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge is the unfortunate fall guy. 870 His penalty is saved by substitute goalkeeper, Lee Bum-young. DAY 9: 5.8.12 871 Lord Coe is still enthusing about the night before. “I dreamt that we would have a night like that,” he says, “but not in my wildest dreams did I think that it would actually unfold in the way that it did. There was a narrative yesterday of infectious success and it is a day none of us will ever forget.” 872 Meanwhile, fears that the Games have peaked too soon are rapidly dispelled. Usain Bolt advances his claim to be known as the greatest sprinter of all time by winning his second consecutive 100m gold. 873 He sets a new Olympic record of 9.63sec in the process. 874 Yohan Blake, Bolt’s training partner, is runner-up. 875.Blake’s time, 9.75sec, is a PB. 876 He calls it an “honour” to come second to Bolt. 877 Justin Gatlin, who returned from a four-year drugs ban in 2010, is third. 878 Seven of the eight starters finish in under 10 seconds.
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879 The eighth, Asafa Powell, pulls up injured, but still clocks 11.99sec. 880 Bolt wins in 41 strides. 881 His average speed is 23.23mph. 882 At the fastest point, however, he is going nearer 27.4mph. 883 This makes him faster than an elephant (25mph) but slower than a domestic cat (30mph). 884 Bolt is the first man since Carl Lewis to win back-to-back 100m golds. 885 Lewis did so in 1984 and 1988. 886 “It means one step towards being a legend,” Bolt declares. “But it’s only one step. I have the 200m to go.” 887 Just as the 100m final is about to begin, a drunken Yorkshireman, Ashley Gill-Webb, throws a bottle on to the track. 888 Dutch judo bronze medallist Edith Bosch, who is sitting behind him, promptly knocks him to the ground. 889 He is then arrested. 890.Some 19.4 million people watch the race on TV – Britain’s second-biggest Olympic audience ever. (In 1984, 23.95 million watched Torvill and Dean’s final dance routine in Sarajevo.) 891 There is a huge TV audience in Jamaica, too. But at Usain Bolt’s old school, a power cut means that adoring fans have to gather round a tiny battery-powered radio. 892 “We thanks God almighty for our athletes,” says Jamaica’s Prime Minister later. 893 Bolt delights the Olympic Stadium with his exuberant celebrations. 894 He is still celebrating at 3am, helped by members of the Swedish women’s handball team. 895 Perhaps he was inspired by Michael Phelps, who was photographed a 4am outside a Soho club with his three latest golds and a “mystery woman”. 896 According to Forbes, Bolt earned £20.3m last year. He will soon be worth a great deal more. 897 Bolt’s sponsors include Gatorade, Hublot, Virgin Media, Visa, Soul Electronics, Nissan and Puma.
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898 Puma alone pays him $9m a year. 899 He prepared for the race by eating a few chicken nuggets, and a wrap. 900 Bolt later complains that officials have prevented him from wearing a tie in the Olympic park, and from bringing in a skipping rope. 901 Lord Coe promises to look into it. 902 China Daily marks Bolt’s victory with this headline: “Bolt fastest in 100m but China back on top of medal table.” 903 The Stadium’s running track, which some are saying is unusually fast, is made by the Italian firm Mondo. 904 A spokesman explains that:”The backing is now a stretched hexagonal honeycomb shape with elongated, diamond-shaped cells that flex easily in any direction, rather than just forward.” 905 At Wimbledon, Andy Murray defeats world number one Roger Federer on Centre Court to win gold. 906 Murray’s victory comes only 28 days after he was beaten by Federer in the Wimbledon final, on the same court. 907 The Scot wins convincingly 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 – his fourth career straight sets victory over the Swiss. 908 “It’s number one for me, the biggest title of my life,” says Murray. 909 An elated Murray climbs into the stand to embrace his family. 910 He also dons a Union Jack. 911 An 11-year-old boy, Henry Caplan, clambers over to him to demand a hug. “You’re my hero,” he tells Murray. 912 Murray even sings along to the national anthem when he gets his medal. 913 He is the first British man to win a tennis gold medal since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. 914 Barely an hour after the men’s singles final, Murray returns to Centre Court for the mixed doubles final. 915 He and Laura Robson miss out on gold, losing after two sets and a champions’ tie break to the Belarusian pair Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi.
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916 But Murray has still achieved the rare distinction of winning two Olympic medals in one day. 917 The medals are later photographed being worn by his two dogs. 918 In the ExCel Centre, the first ever Olympic women’s boxing match takes place. 919 The flyweight bout (between Elena Savelyeva and Hye Song Kim) introduces the women’s discipline to the Games 108 years after the men’s version joined. 920 There are 36 female boxers, from 23 countries, taking part. 921 Oscar Pistorius fails to qualify in the 400m semi-final. Kirani James, later takes gold, and exchanges shirt numbers with him. 922 In Weymouth Bay, Ben Ainslie celebrates his fourth gold, becoming the most decorated British sailor ever. 923 A team of photographers and designers is on standby to turn the images of his win into a postage stamp. 924 The completed stamps are on sale the next day. 925 Ainslie’s fourth gold is won on home waters. He says it may be his last: “It’s the best way to bow out, at a home Olympics”. 926 Thousands of spectators on the shore sing “Rule, Britannia” to celebrate. 927 Ainslie pays tribute to their support. “We’ve never experienced that sort of thing in sailing before,” he says. “They really did make a difference.” 928 It is, he adds, “the greatest victory of my entire career”. 929 In the men’s Star class sailing, Team GB’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson must settle for silver. 930 The British pair conceded an eight point lead going into the medal race, beaten at the death by Swedes Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen. 931 “We just got it wrong and it is pretty gutting for sure,” says Percy. “It is our fault and we will take it on the chin.” 932 British gymnast Louis Smith misses out on gold in the men’s pommel horse final to the narrowest margins. 933 Hungarian Krisztiá* Berki earns the same overall score as Smith but wins gold thanks to a higher execution score.
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934 Smith’s silver is a mixed blessing for his mother, Elaine Petch. She said: “I have made a pact with God… If you give Louis a medal, any colour, in the individual, I will never eat another square of chocolate.” 935 His team-mate Max Whitlock takes bronze, to top off a historic Games for Britain’s male gymnasts. 936 In the Olympic Stadium, Christine Ohuruogu wins silver in a courageous but unsuccessful defence of her Olympic title. 937 Coming into the home straight, the local girl seems out of contention. But the crowd seems to spur her into an extraordinary final spurt that takes her agonisingly close. 938 Sanya Richards-Ross of the US hangs on for gold in 49.55sec. 939 “I was heartbroken,” says Ohuruogu, “to lose my title like that.” 940 But the ovation she receives is so warm that she cannot help smiling on her lap of honour. 941 Meanwhile, in the Velodrome, Victoria Pendleton sets another record qualifying for the individual sprint. 942 Her time is a blistering 10.724sec. 943 Five-time world champion Ed Clancy wins bronze for Team GB in the men’s omnium, beaten by Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen and France’s Bryan Coquard. 944 Bantam-weight boxer Luke Campbell, from Hull, guarantees himself at least a bronze, defeating Detelin Dalakliev in the quarter-finals. 945 Kate Walsh, Team GB’s women’s hockey captain, reveals that the titanium plate she had inserted in her jaw after fracturing it in the match against Japan has been playing havoc with Olympic security scanners. 946 The head of the BOA, Lord Moynihan, warns that the success of London 2012 could be squandered if Government funding dries up. 947 Paul Deighton, chief executive of Locog, says that, following complaints, the volume will be turned down on the music being used in the stadium. DAY 10: 6.8.12 948 Yorkshire separatists are galvanised by the success of the county’s athletes, pointing out that their four golds so far would place them above Japan and Australia in the medals table. 949 Yorkshire goes on to climb to as high as seventh place, prompting the tourism board to
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print a map of medallists. 950 The Sydney Daily Telegraph does the opposite, adding New Zealand’s medals to its own modest haul to lift “Aus Zealand” to ninth in the table. 951 Morrissey shares his views on Olympic-mania: “Has England ever been so foul with patriotism?” he asks. 952 US judoka Nicholas Delpopolo is expelled from the Games after failing a cannabis test. He blames baked goods that he ate which contained the drug before he travelled to London. 953 After a nail-biting “jump-off” against the Netherlands, Britain wins its first showjumping gold for 60 years in the team event. 954 The team – Nick Skelton (54), Peter Charles (52), Ben Maher (29) and Scott Brash (26) – win when Charles completes a clear final round. 955 This prompts Skelton to kiss Clare Balding during his interview. 956 It was Skelton’s sixth Olympics. Twelve years earlier, he had broken his neck in a fall. 957 He also has a hip replacement. 958 Peter Charles had also suffered a bad fall, in 2006, rupturing his spinal sheath and breaking three vertebrae. 959 Charles had ridden for Ireland. 960 The aptly named Scott Brash says: “I really hope this win improves my pulling power with women.” 961 Two days later, he admits it has not. 962 At 54, Skelton is the oldest Briton to win Olympic gold. 963 But he is still a decade short of challenging the oldest ever Olympic champion, Sweden’s Oscar Swahn, who won shooting gold in 1912, aged 64. 964 Meanwhile, Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu is the oldest Olympian for more than a century. 965 The 71-year-old says he will not compete in Rio, not because of his age but rather that of his horse. 966 Nineteen-year-old Kirani James, of Grenada, wins athletics gold with the fastest 400m ever run in Britain.
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967 His winning time, 43.94sec, comes close to Michael Johnson’s 13-year-old world record of 43.18. 968 It is Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal. 969 It also propels Grenada, a nation of 100,000 people, to the top of the unofficial medals-per-capita table. 970 On this basis, Morocco – land of Hicham El Guerroudj and Said Aouita – comes last. 971 This may have something to do with two top Moroccan runners – Amine Laalou and Mariem Alaoui Selsouli – being banned after failing dope tests on the eve of the Games. 972 Five other athletes have been excluded for doping offences so far. 973 They are Victoria Baranova (Russian track cyclist), Hysen Pulaku (Albanian weightlifter), Tameka Williams (Saint Kitts Nevis sprinter), Luiza Galiulina (Uzbek gymnast), and Nicholas Delpopolo (US judoka). 974 Kirani James’s victory puts an end to a US winning streak of seven consecutive Olympic golds in the 400m. 975 This is also the first Olympic 400m final in 92 years – apart from the boycott-affected 1980 Games – in which the US did not win a medal of any kind. 976 In the same race, Jonathan and Kevin Borlée, identical twins from Belgium, finish fifth and sixth, 0.02 seconds apart. 977 In a rare moment of agreement, President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney join calls for US athletes to be relieved from their current obligation to pay income tax on the notional value of the Olympic medals they win. 978 Bulgarian medal hope Vania Stambolova stumbles over in her 400m hurdles heat and does not finish. 979 US rower Henrik Rummel denies reports that he was “visibly excited” in the medal ceremony for the coxless fours. 980 After a disastrous first two throws, Team GB’s Lawrence Okoye comes good to qualify for the discus final, and delights spectators with a spectacular, roaring, jumping celebration. 981 Perri Shakes-Drayton, a local girl, briefly makes it into the 400m hurdles final after a Czech competitor is disqualified. But the ruling is overturned. 982 Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi is expelled from the Games for not trying in the 800m. The assumption is that he is saving himself for the 1,500m. He is later reinstated.
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983 A travel company reports a 48 per cent increase in the number of people taking bicycles on holidays overseas. 984 Two water polo referees are stood down after disallowing what appeared to be a legitimate goal in Spain’s defeat by Croatia. 985 Dai Greene, Team GB captain and reigning world champion, is devastated by his failure to win a medal in the 400m hurdles. 986 Having narrowly qualified for the final, he falls behind early and, despite a late rally, can come only fourth. 987 Félix Sánchez, of the Dominican Republic, wins gold, regaining the title he won in Athens in 2004. 988 On the medal podium, he wins another gold for crying. The tearful 34-year-old produces a picture of him with his late grandmother, who died on the first day of the Beijing Games, and kisses it. 989 Dai Greene describes himself as “tired and shocked” at the result. 990 But the Welsh runner’s time is quicker than his winning time in last year’s world championships. 991 Jason Kenny beats arch-rival Gregory Baugé, of France, 2-0 in the final of the individual men’s cycle sprint, winning his third Olympic gold. 992 Kenny, 24, admits he was motivated in part by a desire to justify his selection ahead of Sir Chris Hoy. 993 After Hoy and Kenny contested the final in Beijing (Hoy won), cycling authorities limited teams to one rider each in the event, and Kenny was chosen as Britain’s representative. 994 “Brilliant, just brilliant,” tweets Sir Chris Hoy. “So pleased for Jason!” 995 In the subsequent press conference, Baugé questions Kenny at length about how his performance has improved so much. 996 The remarks – which hint at but do not allege some kind of malpractice – echo those of the director of France’s cycling team, Isabelle Gautheron, who suggests darkly that Team GB have been “hiding their wheels a lot”. 997 Dave Brailsford, the Team GB coach, later reveals that he may have helped fuel French paranoia by joking in an interview with L’Equipe that his cyclists used bikes with “special round wheels”.
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998 David Cameron later enters the debate, telling BBC Radio 2 he had been “virtually accused of cheating” in an interview with a French media outlet. 999 “We’ve got a system that seems to be delivering,” he added. “It’s driving the French mad.” 1000 Sir Chris Hoy’s father, Martin, says: “You’ve got to upset someone. It might as well be the French.” 1001 Michael Phelps weighs into the peeing-in-the-pool debate: “I think everybody pees in the pool. It’s kind of a normal for swimmers.” 1002 German diver Stephan Feck makes a splash on YouTube with a back-flop in the men’s 3m springboard. 1003 In her third Olympic Games, Beth Tweddle finally wins a medal, with a bronze on the uneven bars. 1004 The 27-year-old becomes the first British woman to win a medal in a solo Olympic gymnastics event since 1928. 1005 A three-times world champion, Tweddle, from Cheshire, is considered old by gymnastics standards. 1006 She bursts into tears when she sees her parents in the stand, waving the Union Jack that they gave her when she won her first bronze medal, in the 2002 world championships. 1007 “I’ve got every other title to my name and this was the one thing that was missing,” says Tweddle.”I tried to say that it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d walked away without it, but I would have been devastated tonight with no medal.” 1008 For much of the previous few months, Tweddle had slept at night with her injured knee in a £3,500 ice machine. 1009 Tweddle’s father, Jerry, is asked by the BBC what he has been doing in the build-up to the Olympics. He says: “I’ve been laying a patio.” 1010 Holly Bleasdale’s hopes of a medal in the pole vault come to nothing. 1011 Struggling with the wind and the pressure of the occasion, she is distraught to come sixth, with a jump well below her personal best. 1012 “I’m just heartbroken with how it went,” she says. 1013 Her mood is improved when her boyfriend proposes.
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1014 “Epic day,” she tweets. 1015 Jennifer Suhr, of the US, takes the pole vault gold . 1016 Yelena Isinbayeva, the great Russian world record-holder and multiple gold-winner, finishes third. 1017 Isinbayeva is a legend in her sport. But spectators at these Games may remember her most for the moments she spent in between jumps, huddled on the ground beneath a duvet taken from the Athletes’ Village. 1018 This self-coccooning habit may explain a remark that Isinbayeva later makes to Russian TV: “If you leave the Olympic village, you get the impression that nothing is happening. Many people do not understand what the Olympics are…” 1019 The Wall Street Journal calculates that, in addition to winning the third most gold medals, GB has finished last more often than any other nation. 1020 David Cameron says London is “open for business” after retailers blame warnings about congestion for hitting trade. Restaurants say takings are down by 40 per cent. 1021 Meanwhile at the Olympic Park, the Westfield shopping centre restricts opening hours due to overcrowding. 1022 Usain Bolt is awarded his 100m gold medal on the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. 1023 Canada and the USA contest what many commentators call the greatest ever women’s football match, which ends 4-3 after an injury-time winner sends the US into the final. 1024 A photo of Rubé* Limardo travelling on the Tube from the fencing venue with Venezuela’s first gold medal in 44 years goes viral. 1025 So, a bit later, does a shot of Rwandan athletes waiting for a bus. 1026 British former boxer Chris Eubank, who is coaching the Angolan boxing team, is furious after heavyweight Tumba Silva is disqualified for missing a weigh-in. 1027 Antonio Monteiro, head of the Angolan Olympic team, blames Eubank, calling him a “plonker”. 1028 Two Israeli ?ags and one for Palestine are reportedly removed from balconies in the Athletes’ Village on the advice of counter-terrorism of?cers. 1029 Rafalca, a horse, makes its debut at the dressage event, watched by owner Ann Romney, who rides as part of her therapy for multiple sclerosis. It is later eliminated in the second round.
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1030.Her husband, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, has been criticised for appearing to belittle his wife’s exploits as he attempts to distance himself from a sport considered as elitist. “Ann’s the horse guy,” he told American breakfast TV. 1031 Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins are guests of honour at a small Stone Roses gig in Shoreditch. 1032 Asked to pose with his gold medal, Wiggins reveals that he has left it at home. So Ennis lends him hers. DAY 11: 7.8.12 1033 Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, brothers from West Yorkshire, take gold and bronze in the triathlon. 1034 Jonathan, the younger of the two, survives a 15-second time penalty for mounting his bike a fraction too early. 1035 Shortly after finishing, he collapses from exhaustion. 1036 The brothers share a house, and train together for 35 hours a week. 1037 They are so fresh-faced that they are regularly asked to produce ID when they try to buy alcohol. They hope their medals may change this. 1038 Alistair struggled with injury earlier this year. To help his recovery, he dug a huge hole in his back garden and built a swimming pool. 1039 Alistair’s time for the third part of the Olympic triathlon, the 10,000m run, was 29min 7 sec. This would have been a world record for the distance the last time London hosted the Games. 1040 If the Brownlees were a country, they would, at that point, have been joint 37th in the medals table. 1041 Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin take gold in the dressage – Britain’s first ever gold in the event. 1042 In the process, Hester sets a new Olympic record , only to have it broken shortly afterwards by Dujardin. 1043 Seven athletes from Cameroon – five boxers, a footballer and a swimmer – are reported missing. It is thought that they may be seeking asylum. 1044 The elusive Phillips Idowu confounds his critics, to a point, by turning up to take part in the triple jump.
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1045 Unfortunately, he is well below his world-championship-winning best, and fails to qualify. 1046 Liu Xiang, whose failure to finish his 110m hurdles heat in 2008 was one of the shocks of the Beijing Games, falls at the first hurdle in his heat. 1047 He eventually completes the course by hopping on his injured ankle, before being helped from the track by Team GB’s Andy Turner and Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez. 1048 Team GB’s Andy Pozzi fares little better. The 20-year-old lasts just 20 metres in his 110m hurdles debut before aggravating a hamstring injury. 1049 Chris Mears qualifies for the final of the 3m springboard dive. Three years ago, Mears was given a 5 per cent chance of survival after rupturing his spleen and losing five pints of blood during a diving competition. 1050 In the Velodrome, Laura Trott, 20, who has already won one gold in the team pursuit, wins another in the six-part omnium event. 1051 Trott is 5ft 4in and weighs 8st 3lb. 1052 She was born a month prematurely, with a collapsed lung. 1053 An asthma sufferer, she was encouraged to take up sport to help regulate her breathing. When her mother, who was trying to lose weight, took up cycling, Laura did the same. 1054 She also has a particularly high acid lining in her stomach, and often vomits after races. 1055 Trott is also spectacularly superstitious. Her equipment includes a lucky hairband and a lucky bracelet. 1056 She also insists on standing on a wet towel every morning, for luck. 1057 Trott, at 20 years and 102 days, is the youngest track cyclist ever to win gold at the Olympics. 1058 She joins an elite group of eight other British women who have won two Olympic gold medals. 1059 The others are Victoria Pendleton, Rebecca Adlington, Kelly Holmes, Charlotte Cooper and Edith Hannum (tennis), and Shirley Robinson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb (sailing). 1060 But only three – Holmes, Adlington and Trott – have won two at the same Games. 1061 Before the omnium, Trott promised her sister she would buy her a car if she won a second gold.
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1062 Victoria Pendleton can manage only silver in her final cycle race, losing in the sprint to her arch-rival, the Australian Anna Meares. 1063 Pendleton’s cause is not helped by a disqualification in the first race of the best-of-three event. 1064 Afterwards, a tearful Pendleton pays tribute to a “very worthy winner”. 1065 She adds that she will never race on a bicycle again, even “if you pay me a million, billion pounds”. 1066 Meares says: “I’m glad I dyed my hair before the competition because I would have gone grey.” 1067 Sir Chris Hoy achieves a perfect end to his racing career by winning gold in the men’s keirin. 1068 Sir Chris, 37, weeps as he crosses the line, and as he is applauded by team-mates, and as he receives his medal, and as the national anthem is played. 1069 It is his second gold of the Games, and his sixth in all – making him, in terms of gold medals, the most successful British Olympian of all time. 1070 He plans to celebrate, he says, by “watching the Olympics on TV with a beer and a bowl of crisps”. 1071 Sir Steve Redgrave (who won gold in five successive Olympics from 1984 to 2000) is among the first to congratulate Sir Chris 1072 Redgrave, 50, claims – presumably in jest – to be planning a comeback. 1073 Altogether, Team GB has won seven of the 10 available cycling golds. 1074 No other nation has won more than one. 1075 The cycling squad’s haul of golds is equal to Australia’s in all sports combined. 1076 Australia’s sports minister admits defeat in her bet with Hugh Robertson about the medals table. 1077.”I have cheerfully conceded,” she says. “I think Great Britain will be exceeding our tally in gold medals.” 1078 Amidst all this excitement, Conrad Readman, a 49-year-old Essex “superfan” who had bought tickets for each day of the London Olympics, dies of a heart attack at the Velodrome.
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1079 Nick Dempsey, who narrowly missed out on a medal in the windsurfing in Beijing, wins silver in the same event in Weymouth. 1080 He pays tribute to the support of his wife, Sarah Ayton, who won gold in sailing in 2008 and 2004 but forwent the chance to compete in London. 1081 He adds that he would not have made a similar sacrifice himself. 1082 Windsurfing will now be dropped as an Olympic sport, to be replaced by kite-surfing for Rio 2016. 1083 In the Olympic stadium, Team GB’s Robbie Grabarz takes bronze in the high jump by clearing 2.29m. 1084 The 24-year-old is known for his laid-back approach to his sport. He often sleeps until just a few minutes before competing. 1085 Grabarz almost quit last year after his world ranking dropped to 44th, and he has admitted to having been “scared” to apply himself “100 per cent”. 1086 Grabarz says he is proud of his Polish ancestry. “I think it’s something innate in me that likes vodka.” 1087 Perhaps it is something to do with the high jump. The gold is taken by Ivan Ukhov, a Russian previously best-known for attempting to jump while drunk at a meeting in Lausanne in 2008. 1088 Earlier this year, Grabarz appeared naked on the cover of Attitude magazine, with only a Union Jack to cover his modesty. 1089 He has also tweeted a picture of himself in a similar pose in the Athletes’ Village. 1090 Other athletes who appeared in nude or nearly-nude photo shoots in the run-up to the Games include Victoria Pendleton, Phillips Idowu, Keri-Anne Payne (swimmer), Laura Bechtolsheimer and the men’s hockey team. 1091 A 42-year-old train cleaner, Gaspare Giarracco, is praised for trawling through rubbish bins to find two Games tickets that a mother and son had lost. 1092 Lord Lloyd-Webber reveals that takings for his West End shows have risen by a quarter since the Games began. 1093 Spandau Ballet’s 1983 hit “Gold” is reported to be enjoying a major sales boost, after being played countless times to celebrate Team GB triumphs. 1094 Rio Ferdinand tweets to Usain Bolt: “If you want that trial at Man Utd shout me. I’ll speak
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to the boss.” Bolt’s response appears to be positive. 1095 Chad le Clos trumps this by telling a reporter that he is going to be training with Chelsea the next day. 1096 In a rare success for Australia, Sally Pearson wins gold in the 100m hurdles. 1097 Andrew Osagie becomes the first Briton to reach the 800m final for 20 years. 1098 In the 1,500m final, Taoufik Makhloufi shows no signs of the “injury” that persuaded the authorities to reinstate him after his disqualification. 1099 He wins gold easily, in 3min 34.08sec. 1100.Steve Cram, on the BBC, says (controversially): “Where on earth did he get that from? He’s never done anything like that before in his career.” 1101 It is reported that, in the first full week, overseas visitors to London spent £450m on their credit cards: 8 per cent up on the previous year. 1102 France beat the Czech Republic by three points in the quarter-finals of the women’s basketball. 1103.One of the French players, Isabelle Yacoubou, then notices that her boyfriend, in the audience, is holding a placard saying: “Isa Yacoubou Will U Marry Me?” 1104 Her response? “I said: ‘Yes, yes, yes and yes.’” 1105 Robert Harting, of Germany, wins the discus – and, arguably, another gold for the most exuberant celebration. After ripping his shirt to pieces, he follows his lap of honour with an impromptu hurdling session, to the delight of spectators but not of officials. 1106 Later, he celebrates extravagantly on the MS Deutschland, a cruise liner being used as a base by German officials. 1107 By the end of the night, he has been robbed (apparently on the Tube) and has lost, among other things, a shoe, his German flag, his sports kit, and his accreditation to the Olympic Village. 1108 He is forced to sleep on the pavement. [ Click here for Part 2, 1109 - 2012 ]
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2012 things to remember the London Olympics by
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