Olympic Diary: Days 1 and 2

In fact this Olympic Diary also includes Days -1 and -2 as the football kicked off before the Opening Ceremony.

The action kicked off two days before the official opening with the GB women meeting New Zealand in Cardiff. A reasonable crowd saw GB win 1-0 thanks to a free kick.

The GB men’s football team were held to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford by a very hard-tackling Senegal team. Craig Bellamy scored in the first half but the Africans claimed a deserved equaliser ten minutes from time.

In the archery qualification at Lord’s the South Korean officially classed as blind in one eye  set a new world record.

DAY 1

Britain’s big hope on the first full day of competition was Mark Cavendish in the cycling road race. Despite having a strong team to support him, a lack of help from other nations in the peloton meant that the British couldn’t pull back a group of 33 riders that got away an hour from the finish. Aleksandr Vinokourov won the race.

The big clash in the pool was expected to be Ryan Lochte against Michael Phelps in the 400 metres Individual Medley. However, Phelps only qualified in 8th and never looked like winning in the final. Lochte took the gold. GB’s big hope was for Hannah Miley in the women’s equivalent. She swam well but the event had stepped up a level since her silver at the 2011 world championships and 16 year old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen blew the field away with an astonishing last 100m freestyle to break the world record.

China had taken the first gold of the games in the shooting and it seems that they won’t lose that place for the rest of the games.

In the fencing Italy took a clean sweep of the medals in the women’s foil although Valentina Vezzali’s bid to make history by winning a fourth successive gold ended with a bronze.

The British men qualified for the final of the team gymnastics competition for the first time since 1924.

GB’s women beat Cameroon to make sure of a place in the quarter-finals of the football.

DAY 2

GB won its first medal of the Games when Lizzie Armitstead won a silver in the women’s cycling road race. She got away in a group of four an hour from the finish. This was reduced to three when an American punctured. In driving rain the three stayed over 30 seconds clear but in a sprint finish Armitstead had to settle for second behind Holland’s Marianne Vos, the favourite for the race, who had finished second in the last five world championships.

GB’s second medal of the day came from Rebecca Adlington who swam a faster time than her winning effort in the 400m freestyle in Beijing but found two better this time around. France’s Camille Muffat won but Adlington was delighted with her performance.

There were two more world records in the pool.  Dana Vollmer of the USA in the 100m butterfly and Cameron van den Burgh of South Africa in the 100m breaststroke. The combined forces of Lochte and Phelps were unable to win gold for the USA in the 4x100m freestyle relay as France took their second gold of the evening. GB hadn’t qualified for the final after resting one of their best swimmers in the heats. A bad decision when you are going to be pushed to qualify fielding your best team.

The British women gymnasts qualified impressively for the team final but the outstanding US gymnast Jordyn Wieber was denied a place in the individual final because of the stupid rule that only allows two gymnasts from each country through.  Wieber was the fourth highest scorer but was only the third best American and missed out.

The GB men’s football team won their first match since forming again with a win over the UAE. The GB women’s hockey team beat Japan 4-0 in their first game but captain Kate Walsh suffers an injury to her jaw after being hit by a hockey stick.

Ben Ainslie, going for a fourth gold medal in a row, lies second after the opening two races of his campaign in the sailing at Weymouth.

The 3 day eventers are third after the dressage stage.

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