Category Archives: Sport

Rio 2016

So the Summer Olympics are over for another 4 years – although we still have the Paralympics (and Winter Olympics) to look forward to.

Medal tableIt has been a very successful one for Team GB in terms of medals won. Britain is the 1st country ever to win more medals in a Games following a home Games with 67 medals beating 65 from London 2012. We had success in the usual sports like Cycling and Rowing but also in sports we were not expected to win like Javelin and Trampoline. Team GB won more medals in different sports than any other country – I believe 15 different sports.

As a result of the success, we finished 2nd in the medal table – although you could argue China underperformed and not doing well in sports they usually are good at like gymnastics and swimming. Chances are though, it will be much tougher in Tokyo 2020 to do as well when its likely China will do better, Russia may do better (who knows!) and Japan will probably do better with it being a home Olympics for them.

Mo FarahThere were many moments I enjoyed, some involving Team GB and some others. Of course watching Usain Bolt win all the golds and do the “Triple Triple” was amazing. It was great to see Brazil win the football. It was great seeing Mo Farah win 2 medals – just amazing.

Speaking of Usain Bolt, he seems like he’s good at everything – and not just his ability to pick up woman. He appears to type of person good at all sports – and if you believe what you read, maybe with no that much training (apparently has never run a mile, just eats loads of chicken nuggets) – but I digress, what I was going to say is that it turns out he’s good at throwing the javelin. There was a video showing him throw it 56 metres. Of course nothing compared to actual javelin throwers but as a comparison, Ashton Eaton who won the decathlon threw javelin just under 60 metres.

I loved how great we did at cycling – living in Manchester, it feels a bit more special being close to the “medal factory. Also the Brownlee brothers wining gold and silver. Its incredible their dominance in the triathlon – they’re on another level. Nick Skelton winning gold and was oldest medal winning in Rio and oldest Brit in a century – and special mention to his horse who I think is called Big Star(?). Nick is 43 years older than Ren Qian, the youngest medal winning in Rio, who , to make you feel old (maybe) was born this century and has won an Olympic gold medal. So many other great moments that I have forgot.

HockeyHockey

Arguably the best was the women’s hockey and the Team GB women. I sort of got into it and took more of an interest after London 2012. And similar to women’s football, the women in hockey always seem to give 100% – unlike the men’s football team in particular. In Rio 2016, the Team GB women were unbeaten winning 8 games out of 8. It was literally blood, sweat and tears. In the semi final, I couple players went off after getting hit in head/face. You know its a tough sport when they stop play to wash the blood off the pitch – and she came back on the pitch later on in match!

The final of the women’s hockey was almost fitting with how it went. Netherlands were the better team in normal time but Team GB didn’t give up and it went to penalties. And then sudden death penalties – such drama. It was a great performance by all but special mention to keeper Maddie Hinch.

Football

It was a shame there was no Team GB Football team, not for the men or women but the organisations couldn’t come to an agreement or something like that. Although if we did have football team in Olympics, hopefully we would have reacted better than Hope Solo did when US lost. She called the Sweden team “cowards” – although she did say afterwards she was a bad loser (no sh*t). But also in that game, just before a penalty she delayed the kick to change gloves. Everyone thought it was just time wasting and trying to put off Swedish player. Poor sportsmanship. Sweden of course went on to win.

(UPDATE: Hope Solo has been suspended from US national team for 6 months. It was also reported some of her team mates including Alex Morgan, were not happy with her comments about Sweden).

neymarAs I mentioned earlier though, it was great to see the Brazil Men’s football team win. In a place like Brazil where football is so big, it was perfect. Made even more perfect with Neymar scoring the winning penalty. It didn’t start well for them – I think after 2 games they had no won and scored no goals. Worked out OK in the end!

But disappointment

There was disappointment for Team GB, it wasn’t all good. It was a shame for Tom Daley to not get into the final. He may not be the best in the world but had a chance for a medal in the individual event. I would have loved Jess Ennis-Hill to win gold. It all came down to the last event in a way and “losing” by a few seconds. Although the woman who won, Nafissatou Thiam, did brilliant and was actually a well deserved win.

Also, it was horrible for Lutalo Muhammad who literally came within a second of winning gold medal – I am sure you have heard about it and maybe seen his “post-match” interview. It was heartbreaking. Saw him in interview next day and although still gutted, he was at least able to smile.

Hamblin and D'AgostinoGreat sportsmanship

During Rio 2016, we also saw some great sportsmanship. For example Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin – who because of what happened got given award for show of sportsmanship. With 2km to go Hamblin tripped and accidentally knocked over D’Agostino. D’Agostino got up first but instead of carrying on, she checked Hamblin to make sure she was OK. Hamblin was on the floor and didn’t look like going anywhere – but Abbey told her basically to get up, this is the Olympics. They both carried on although D’Agostino was more injured – seriously it turned out with a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament but she still finished race. Hamblin waited for her at the end and they hugged.

And I want to mention Yohann Diniz. The poor guy who had “stomach problems” in the 50km walking event – but still carried on. I think one of his opponents stopped to actually check he was Ok when he was on the floor. The walking in the Olympics seems a brutal event. In some events, athletes almost make it look easy (sure its not). And after running 10k (Mo Farah) or a marathon or something like that they seem OK afterwards. In the walking, athletes all seem to collapse. Some people make fun of walking in Olympics but they speed they manage is amazing and the mental focus. Its incredible. The winner walked 50km in 3h40m! (A marathon is about 42km and although professional can do this in about 2h10, this is faster than most of us can run!).

There was another good moment when we say North Korea and South Korea athletes “getting on”. Two gymnast took a selfie. Nice moment –

Selfie

And also when Brazil’s Rafaela Silva won gold in the judo. She is from one of Rio’s poorest places, the place called City of God. She was disqualified in London 2012, called an embarrassment afterwards. So was sort of a fairytale story seeing her win in Rio 2016.

Negatives

But some negatives of the games including the booing from the crowd. It happens in football (and sort of other sports like tennis) but seems wrong in Olympic events. Nothing wrong with supporting someone from your country but seemed to go too far on occasion. The biggest incident of this was probably the pole vaulting and the booing of Renaud Lavillenie. He was booed during the final – eventually won by a Brazilian athlete. He was then booed during medal ceremony – not on! – the poor guy looked like he was about the cry. Actually, he pretty much did. Afterwards he did compare crowd to a Nazi crowd but apologised for that comparison and said it was said immediately after the medal ceremony.  He was consoled afterwards by Thiago Braz (who won gold) and Sergey Bubka (pole vault legend).

However, its sort of an end of an era – both for GB and sport as a whole. For Team GB, many legends of sport are retiring – or certainly Rio 2016 is their last Olympics. Athletes like Jess Ennis-Hill, Kate Richardson-Walsh, Bradley Wiggins are unlikely to be competing in Tokyo 2020. And we are not likely to see people like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt in Tokyo 2020. Incredible athletes who are almost super-human with what they have won and the records broken. We won’t get to see Phelps “death stare” again in an Olympics!

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However, its not all doom and gloom with some stars like gymnast Simone Biles and South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk who broke Michael Johnson’s 17 year old 400m world record.

Now, although the actual sport were very good, with great action, entertainment, results, achievements the actual running of Rio 2016 didn’t go totally smooth.

We already knew about problems like the dirty water and athletes told not to drink the water and some Team GB athletes talking about accommodation and things like toilets not flushing and the food being horrible.  And then we had things like the diving pool turning green, many empty seats (likely because tickets were very expensive), the whole Russia state sponsored doping “issue”, an official ticket touting. And then you had Ryan “douchebag/bro” Lochte – although thats not Brazil/Rio’s thought and feel sorry for them. Actually many people were sorry about him:

Sorry about Ryan Lochte

But its worth remembering that Ryan Lochte has always been a douchebag. But he probably doesn’t know because he’s so stupid:

And I also thought about how so much money was spent and how many people in Brazil are very poor and how money could be spent better. And that looks to be a problem now for the Paralympics with poor ticket sales and talk about some events may even be cancelled.

Dan Walker – star of Rio 2016? 😉

Away from the sport, did anyone else watch the BBC4 coverage? A lot of the coverage was with Dan Walker. Already a fan of his from watching him on things like MOTD, Football Focus, listening to him on radio but him on Copacabana beach and all the stuff happening was great. Probably most famous is Maria and the hen party. But also the bin men on the beach and the couple “reading a book”. 😉 Well done Dan!

So anyway, thank you Rio. Great job as always with the coverage BBC. And thank you to all the athletes
who took part. Apart from Ryan Lochte.

Winter Olympics – Sochi

So the Winter Olympics finished in Sochi about a week ago. The Winter Paralympics starts soon).

The Winter Olympics didn’t start off well. Actually, it was mainly before it actually got started with problems with things not being fixed and then in the opening ceremony when the 5th ring didn’t “open” properly. Sure you have seen it.

Anyway, when the actual sports started, there were some great moments. For Team GB it was the most successful since 1924. One Gold, one silver and 2 bronzes.

Some of my favourite moments:

Swiss cross country skier Dario Cologna won the gold in the men’s 15-kilometer skiathlon. He then waited 28 minutes to congratulate last-place finisher Roberto Carcelen of Peru at the finish line. This was Carcelen first Olympics and had only been skiing since 2005. Carcelen competed with a broken rib and finished 87th, 11 minutes after everyone else.

Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth helped Russian athlete Anton Gafarov, who had broken one of his skis during the Men’s Sprint Free Semifinals, replacing his ski.

In the snowboard cross, which is amazing, Pierre Vaultier of France won. Nothing particularly special about that but amazing considering he seriously injured his knee just 2 months before – his ACL. It takes a normal person 9-12 months before they are recovered and can walk again. Even a top athlete normally is out for 6-9 months.

American figure skater, Jeremy Abbott,  fell during his routine. Looked seriously injured. But carried out and got great response from crowd.

13fcb681424694b508adb2efa5faad2e_600x564Freestyle Skier, Sarah Burke, was remembered during the half pipe competition.  She was a pioneer in the halfpipe event but died in January 2012 following an accident during a practice.

Japanese ski jumper, Kasai, came in 2nd place. Amazingly, he first started ski jumping before some of his fellow competitors were born!

A special mention to Belarus. Did very well in the Winter Olympics.  In Sochi, Belarusian athletes won five golds and finished eighth in the medal count. Helped by biathlete Darya Domracheva who won three gold medals herself – she did better in Sochi than her entire nation had done at the five previous Winter Olympics.

ski-cross-photo-finishIf you know me, you will know that I think Snowboard Cross/Ski Cross is great. Exciting. Unpredictable. The final of the Mens ski cross had a 3 way photo finish. Places crossing the line while falling over.

Two sisters appearing on the podium together. Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada won – her sister Chloe Dufour-Lapointe  won silver in the women’s freestyle skiing moguls.

8 times where same country all on same podium – most ever ??

Holland – great at speed skating. 8 golds. All from speed skating

This was the first Winter Olympics were woman were allowed to compete in Ski Jumping.

Unluckiest athlete in the games. Elise Christie. Got penalties and DNF (Did not finish). Was very harsh.

Curling – everyone loves curling. Its like every winter olympics – gets more and more popular. Some great final shots by Team GB skips. Didnt quite happen in final for the men

Russian Ice Hockey team (Men) not doing well. Main one Putin wanted. Oh dear!

USA’s Men’s Hockey Team Beats Russia in an OT Shootout. Exciting stuff even though I was confused will the same player was taking multiple penalties! Apparently its allowed!

The obvious delight shown by Noelle Pikus-Pace when she won silver in the skeleton. She was so happy. On the podium, you could almost be mistaken that she had won gold.

Jenny Jones, won bronze in the womens snowboard slopestyle. During the BBC commentary, they got excited. Just a bit!! It was great.  Some sad people – 300 people – complained about it. They were in the commentary box with Jenny Jone’s friend and fellow snowboarder Aimee Fuller, who understandably with really excited. Seems like those 300 people won’t want boring robots commentating!

Jamaica in the bobsleigh. They didn’t win but just them being in Sochi was brilliant!

Sochi running out of pillows. Athletes “unexpectedly arrived”

The Winter Olympics starts today (opening ceremony soon) and I am sure you have all seen the stories about it not being ready. Dirty water, doors without door knobs, strange “sharing toilets”, toilets without flushes, manholes without covers, roads not being finished. All sorts!! Made more surprising by the fact that $51billion being spent – apparently more than all other Winter Olympics combined.

The latest story heard is that they are running out of pillows for the athletes in the Olympic Village. A notice was given to all volunteers. It was translated to this:

“ATTENTION, DEAR COLLEAGUES!

Due to an extreme shortage of pillows for athletes who unexpectedly arrived to Olympic Village in the mountains, there will be a transfer of pillows from all apartments to the storehouse on 2 February 2014. Please be understanding. We have to help the athletes out of this bind.”

I am hoping the bit about athletes “unexpectedly arrived” is something lost in translation – or maybe they arrived particularly early. (And hopefully not that they didn’t know when they were all arriving). Nothing would surprise me though after reading all these stories and seeing the photos coming out from Sochi.

Also, does that mean then top athletes, on possibly the biggest day (event) of their life, will be sleeping on some potentially sweaty, dirty old pillow!??!

Superbowl 2014

So it was the Superbowl on Sunday and as with the past few years, I decided to stay up late and watch it. I still don’t REALLY understand it but gradually learn a bit more as the years go by.

Who to support?

Since I know very little about American Football, I never know who to support. Last year I supposed the San Francisco 49s – because I have heard of them – probably because of Joe Montana.

Another year I supported New York Giants because I have been to New York. This year, after a bit of looking into it, I decided to support the Seattle Seahawks. Reasons including the fact its famous apparently for raining a lot (like Manchester). Plus Buzzfeed had an article on why should support the Seahawks.

Anyway, I clearly made the right choice! As I said don’t really understand it and its about 5 seconds of action then 5 minutes break but I know that Broncos were rubbish at defending – some laughable tackles and touchdowns (when running through the defence) always looks good!

Half time show

The half time show this year was Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I thought Bruno Mars was good. Some people were saying he was the wrong choice – not a big enough star – comparing to last year with Beyonce or previous years with Madonna or Prince. Bruno Mars has only been around about 3 years – his first album was released in October 2010.  He played his hits and got the crowd going.

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers only did one song.

Commercials/adverts

Another big part of the Superbowl are the commercials shown during the breaks. You can watch all of them on a Superbowl page on YouTube.  I thought this year, it wasn’t that good. Usually there are several really funny ones. There were some good ones but some really awful ones. The stand out one was the Bud Light “Epic Night” ad which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and Minka Kelly. Also liked the Dorito’s Time Machine one (sure I’ve seen that before few months ago??) and the Newcastle Brown Ale one with Anna Kendrick in it. Also the Budweiser Puppy Adoption one is so cute! Aww! I have linked to my favourite commercials below:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and Minka Kelly in Bud Light’s “Epic Night” (extended version)

Doritos Time Machine

Budweiser – Hero’s Welcome

Nice advert – but I particular like the song. Well the bit in the advert sang by Skylar Grey.

Budweiser – Puppy Love

Super cute. And another one where I like the song. (Passenger – Let It Go)

Honda – Hugfest

There are several different #Hugfest adverts out there. Have a look on YouTube. (Good because Bruce Willis has a reputation for being a bit “cold”).

RadioShack

Newcastle Brown Ale (Ft. Anna Kendrick)

The Full House guys in Dannon Oikos’ “The Spill”

Wimbledon: 7 is the magic number

It seems 7 really is the magic number in Wimbledon.

Andy Murray won Wimbledon last week. He was the first British man to win for 77 years. It was won on the 7th day of the 7th month. The last Brit to win a Grand Slaw (before Murray of course) was Virginia Wade in 1977. (She is now 67). Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic last Sunday – they were born 7 days apart in 1987. I think he also won on his 7th match point. (And I think Andy Murray broke Djokovic in the 7th game of each set).

In 1985, Boris Becker won Wimbledon. He was 17 and won on 7th July.