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HIGHS AND LOWS

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7 August 2012

I’m not sure how I feel after day four. For many of our athletes yesterday turned out to be the end of their participation in the Games. Obviously emotion was high, questions were to be answered and ultimately four years of preparation were over.  With such a large team of athletes and this being an Olympic Games, you expect a mix of highs and lows within the team. I guess yesterday was just the consequences of the reality of the situation and what most other athletics nations have been dealing with for the first three days.  It is just that Team GB has not had any days like this yet.  We have been riding high and not wanting it to end!

It was such a shame to see Michael Rimmer (Rimski as I call him) to exit in the heats of the 800m. He is such a phenomenal talent but has not had the easiest couple of years with injuries. It was awesome to see him have a world-class season in 2010 and I hope he can keep the faith and belief that all his talent will come into fruition again. I believe in you Rimsky!! In stark contrast, Osagie is having a fantastic 2012 and has proved himself time and time again all season long. I hope he can put in a good show in the semis tomorrow.

The women’s 1500m girls were out in force weren’t they? I timed my swim session perfectly this morning to finish just in time so I could watch them on the television in the changing rooms. Usually such a calm person, I found myself giving evil glances to the other women who insisted on drying their hair whilst the action was going on. Watching most of it without commentary, it didn’t matter. I thought all three girls acquitted themselves really well and have all met some personal goals there that will help them out in the semis. 

It was great for the sport in Britain that we had three representatives in the men’s discus event. In actual fact we had four A standard athletes this year (Carl Myerscough also) so obviously expectation was high that we could get a competitor in the final. And so it turned out to be Lawrence who made the cut and seemed slightly happy about it. Massive understatement!  I’m sure the TV crews wish he wasn’t quite as happy as I saw one of their small cameras in the circle take a kicking!  Lawrence has not been in the sport that long and whilst we can’t expect him to reach his potential here in London, I really hope he learns a lot for the rest of his career.

Another athlete in the same situation as Lawrence is my mate Holly B. A mediocre hurdler and javelin thrower (sorry Holly but it’s true) she went to a taster session of pole vault an few years ago and realised she had a knack for it.  Her knack got her into the Olympic final, aged just 20 years, and although I know she was hoping for much more, I think she will look back and realise that she didn’t disgrace herself with a sixth position finish. I’ve got a feeling this young lady will come to dominate the event in the next few years. I am sure you haven’t heard it here first! Holly did have a great end to her evening though when her boyfriend, Paul, proposed to her and she accepted. 

Perri must have felt like she was taking part in the hokey cokey tonight as she narrowly missed out on a place in the final, only to benefit from another competitors disqualification that meant she could take a fastest losers spot.  Having happily accepted that lifeline, the Czech competitor was then reinstated meaning Perri misses out again on a place in the final. In tonight’s semi she just didn’t look her usual self, which was such a shame to see. As with Lawrence and Holly, I am sure Rio will be on her mind already.

I have left Dai until the end as I have been putting off accepting that this great athlete was not able to add the Olympic title to all his other accolades. OK – after the semis two days ago it was always in doubt whether he could claim the actual title but I still had faith in him that he could secure a medal. They say fourth is the worst position to come but I have been in that position before and believe me it is still better than fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. What I admire about Dai is that he never makes excuses. He tells it how it is! I have to admit when I saw him in South Africa over the winter recovering from knee surgery and running two and a half minute 400m reps I did feel concerned. I didn’t think he had a hope in hell’s chance of being fit to contest the games. What he has been through and what he has achieved is only to be marveled at.  He definitely is team captain material.

So I am ending reflecting on what could have been, but still with plenty of optimism that we have some quality athletes in our team that will still go on to achieve great things, even if it is not at these games.