Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Rio Olympics reflections

Reflections on the Rio Olympics

It was a fabulous fortnight and the end result was that GB is the only nation to beat their medal haul in the Olympics after they host it with 67 medals (27 gold, 23 silver, 17 bronze) and defended over 12 of their titles. YIPPEE!!! Well done everyone.

There were lots of firsts including: first ever hockey gold (and others), first time 2nd in medals table, first ever trampoling medal, first woman to win four Olympic gold medals in total - Laura Trott (see pic below with fiancee Jason Kenny who won three golds); world records in cycling, swimming; Glover and Stanning unbeaten in 39 races going back over five years; fifth consecutive Olympic title in rowing - men's fours; first person to win eight Olympic medals - Bradley Wiggins; the women's team pursuit cycling record was broken THREE times during the course of the event in Rio by Great Britain Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Laura Trott; and many many more.

I think it's a credit to how inspired Brits were after the London Olympics to take up sport themselves but also how it inspired sponsors to fund our athletes in various sports to give them the resources to enable them to train and achieve this result!

Brits get no prize money - a medalist might gain the notice of potential sponsors to continue their training – the key word is ‘might’. It seems Jason Kenny has no sponsors other than national funding, despite now having six medals (hopefully he will now get the sponsorship he deserves). Unlike some countries who give money, apartments, cars, and sausages(!). One person after 2012 Olympics had a national holiday and a lighthouse named after him in Trinidad and Tobago!

Interestingly, the year we only got only gold (Atlanta in 1996) appears to have been the kick up the backside because the following year UK Sport was instigated and funding went up from £5m to £54 in a year. These days it is in the hundreds of millions – but well spent if it encourages people to go out and keep fit! 

Lump in the throat highlights included NZ and US athletes in the women’s 5000m who stopped to help each other after a fall and inspired the other to continue (see below), a British taekwondo athlete who missed out on gold in FINAL second and who was so distraught (but well done his opponent). Nick Skelton for winning gold at 58! Mo Farrah being tripped up but getting back up and winning and a selfie taken by North and South Korean athletes.

It was also heartwarming to hear how many of our athletes have overcome injuries, illness (one athlete was at death's door with a 5% chance of survival), asthma, bowel disease, and personal issues to get to the Games.

On top of this there was some debatable or severe judging in various sports and some boxing judges were even removed although it didn't change things for the poor athletes who were at the harsh end of their dodgy judging.

There were also a lot of other controversies including ethics of a poor country like Brazil undertaking the Olympics in the first place but also the Russian drugs scandal, sex scandals, arguments, and athletes who lied.

A friend said she thought sport was a gentleman's pursuit. I laughed and pointed out sport isn't gentlemanly when you consider so many of the sports involves punching someone in the head (boxing), wrestling you to the floor (wrestling/judo), kicking your body (taekwondo), hitting your ankles with a hockey stick (hockey), tackling you to the ground whilst running (rugby), tripping with you whilst running even if it is accidental (long distance running), firing a tennis ball and other items at your opponents body at lightning speed (tennis and other sports), drowning your fellow swimmers (long distance swimming/triathlon/water polo), cutting in front of your opponents at high speed causing them to crash (cycling), cutting in front of your opponents and causing them to capsize (sailing),  stabbing them with a sword (fencing/modern pentathlon)....

Sad things - apart from all the controversies, was presenter Charlie Webster who was in a coma for a time after completing a 3000 mile bike ride to Rio for charity. Wishing her a good recovery. And possibly watching the end of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps at major events.

Amusing things included the Tongan flagbearer who came on with a hunky oiled chest! And the GB cyclists who had been told not to shave ‘down below’ to avoid saddle sores!

Here is a great review of how well we did with lots of fun graphics

And this one relates to medals by numbers 

I had fun with this Olympics – I put up bunting and had tablecloth/plates/and cups with GB flag, did teddy bear Olympics with my great niece (our opening ceremony below!), had gold, silver and bronze medal chocolates which I ate after each relevant win by a member of the GB team (had to go out and buy more gold medal chocs!).

Also had a great weekend with a friend who stayed over for the middle weekend – we had Olympics pot luck for dinner one night as we were too busy watching the tv to cook so it was whatever I had in the fridge!

And now it’s all over for another four years.

1 comment:

  1. And they displayed such sportsmanship and very much did GB proud. Awesome games!