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                           | pdf edition | Monday August 6 2012                                                           Sport
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London 2012: Jason Kenny wins men’s
Olympic sprint gold for Team GB
Jason Kenny beat France’s Grégory Baugé 2-0 to win gold in the
men’s team sprint at the velodrome for Team GB Page 2



Kevin Pietersen warns that Lord’s Test
could be his last for England
England’s Kevin Pietersen said at Headingley that next week’s third
Test against South Africa could be his final Test appearance Page 3



London 2012: Nick Skelton leads Team GB
to gold in team showjumping
Great Britain have added to their gold-medal haul following victory
in the team showjumping event at Greenwich Park Page 4




Beth Tweddle finally                         London 2012: Yelena                          London 2012: Boxer              London 2012: USA reach
achieves Olympic medal                       Isinbaeva loses pole                         Anthony Ogogo is                women’s football final
with bronze on bars                          vault title to Jennifer                      through to the Olympics         with dramatic win over
Page 5                                       Suhr Page 7                                  semi-final Page 9               Canada Page 11

London 2012: Quartet                         Alistair Brownlee nearly                     Olympics 2012: Team
provide a glorious                           had Olympic hopes                            GB edges towards best
starburst of British                         sunk by man from the                         medal haul in 104 years
failure Page 6                               council Page 8                               Page 9




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                                   guardian.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                    Monday August 6 2012               23:00 GMT

                                                                     Baugé pushing Kenny as high as he could while remaining in the
                                                                     sprinter’s lane – but on the finish straight the Frenchman clearly
London 2012: Jason Kenny wins men’s                                  knew he had no answer.
Olympic sprint gold for Team GB                                          The pair returned a quarter of an hour later for the second
                                                                     match, when Kenny drew the lead slot. Bauge shadowed him
• Kenny records 2-0 victory over France’s                            all the way, shimmying up and down the track to put him off.
Grégory Baugé                                                        Critically, when the Frenchman began his run before the bell,
                                                                     Kenny shut him off coming into the home straight, then led out
• 24-year-old has now won three gold
                                                                     through the final banking, depriving Baugé of any height on the
medals in two Games                                                  track. Baugé ran at him down the back straight and closed but
William Fotheringham at the velodrome                                Kenny found the legs to hold him off at half a bike’s length. His
                                                                     victory means Great Britain remain on course to take a possible
                                                                     eight gold medals from 10 events inside the velodrome.
                                                                         The bronze medal match was fought out between
                                                                     the Australian Shane Perkins and the surprise find of the
                                                                     tournament, the Trinidadian Njisane Phillip, a distinctive figure
                                                                     with his goatee beard and a fearlessly aggressive competitor.
                                                                     Philip is mentored by the former British team sprinter Jamie
                                                                     Staff and is the kind of rider the UCI are trying to encourage
                                                                     by imposing a one rider per nation rule, albeit at the cost of
                                                                     depriving the tournament of a wealth of strong entrants.
                                                                     Phillip’s fourth place matched the best ever for a rider from
                                                                     Trinidad; another fourth in the kilometre for Gene Samuel in
                                                                     1984.
                                                                         Earlier, Victoria Pendleton maintained her chance of
Jason Kenny won gold in the London 2012 men’s sprint cycling
                                                                     defending her women’s sprint title after she won through
event at the velodrome. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty
                                                                     to Tuesday’s semi-finals with two straightforward rides
Images
                                                                     against the Belarussian Olga Panarina. Pendleton has looked
Selecting Jason Kenny ahead of the defending champion, Sir           untroubled throughout the tournament so far and could well
Chris Hoy, for the men’s match sprint was the most courageous        face Anna Meares in the final after the Australian made it
decision Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton had to take in the         through to the final four as well.
build-up to London 2012, and their call paid rich dividends here
when Kenny overcame the Frenchman Grégory Baugé for the
gold medal in the most prestigious solo men’s title. Kenny now
boasts three gold medals and a silver from two Games, but his
rise up the pantheon of British Olympians has been achieved
without a hint of public notoriety.
    The 24-year-old’s status as the stealth champion of British
cycling – compared to the cover stars Hoy, Pendleton and




                                                                       *
Wiggins – looked set to change after the coaches made their
unexpected call in early June and it will certainly change now.
Kenny was selected because he has a proven record of rising
to the occasion for major championships and because it was
believed that his youth would enable him to recover more
quickly than Hoy between matches in a tournament where the
first two legs in the final were separated by only 15 minutes.
    Kenny had twice faced Baugé in finals in the last 18 months:
                                                                       From Beirut to Big Brother,
he had been crowned world champion in 2011 after Baugé was             Murdoch to Millionaire,
stripped of the title for infringing the rules over declaring his
whereabouts for random drug testing, but had never actually
                                                                       discuss the hot topics in the
beaten the Frenchman in a sprint before. The pair fought out           media on not one, but two blogs
a close battle at the world championships in Melbourne, with
Kenny adopting the unorthodox tactic of going for a long
                                                                       Organ Grinder and Greenslade
sprint when a match down in the final, in the hope of tiring           blogs.guardian.co.uk/
the Frenchman. He won the match but the gold medal went to
Baugé after the referees ruled that the Englishman had strayed
                                                                       organgrinder/
off his line.                                                          blogs.guardian.co.uk/
    Baugé drew the lead slot in the first match of this final, and     greenslade/
had no option but to keep Kenny high on the banking. The
Frenchman led out from the banking as the bell rang, but Kenny
overhauled him down the back straight, before the pair fought
it out shoulder to shoulder though the final banking – with
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page 3 G24 Sport                                                                       Monday August 6 2012                23:00 GMT

                                                                      which he had not heard. “I hope this will not be a distraction
                                                                      before the next Test,” he said, displaying a rare, blind
Kevin Pietersen warns that Lord’s Test                                optimism. “He is an unbelievable player in great form. Team
could be his last for England                                         unity has been outstanding over the last three years and will
                                                                      continue to be so.”
• Rumours growing over his rift with                                      Pietersen ended his limited-overs career for England when
England management                                                    he announced his surprise retirement from the shorter formats
                                                                      of international cricket, at the age of 31, earlier this summer.
• Pietersen hits out over ‘leaks’ in one-day
                                                                      However, in almost the same breath he said he would “love to
negotiations                                                          play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket” and
Vic Marks at Headingley                                               admitted he was in talks with the ECB to reverse his decision to
                                                                      quit.
                                                                          Pietersen has since claimed England’s international
                                                                      schedule, which played a major part in his decision to retire
                                                                      from limited-overs internationals, was still a major obstacle to
                                                                      any return. He had initially wanted to call time only on 50-over
                                                                      cricket and carry on in Twenty20 but the terms of ECB central
                                                                      contracts prevent players picking and choosing their formats.
                                                                          All this overshadowed an unusual day, which was enlivened
                                                                      by Graeme Smith’s declaration, which left England with a target
                                                                      of 253 from 39 overs. It was a steep task but for a while England
                                                                      were tempted. Smith explained South Africa’s tactics.
                                                                          “We decided at tea to face five more overs and then to go out
                                                                      and bowl. England took the game to us, which is what we hoped
                                                                      they would do. We were one wicket away from putting them
England’s Kevin Pietersen awaits the presentations after the
                                                                      under real pressure.” He then left with a cheery smile, unlike
second Test against South Africa at Headingley. Photograph:
                                                                      Strauss. On the pitch England just about had the measure of
Philip Brown/Reuters
                                                                      South Africa in this match. Off it they seem to be struggling.
Seldom has a man of the match looked so glum. Kevin Pietersen             Strauss inadvertently paid tribute to Pietersen when he
at the end of a long, long day, which ended with England and          explained why his team-mate had opened the second innings
South Africa drawing via an unusual route, was inevitably the         with Alastair Cook. “We felt it was worth having a go at it,” he
centre of attention for reasons that will not delight the England     said.
management.                                                               “We sent in KP, who’s obviously in outstanding form, to set
    After the game Pietersen was invited by Jonathan Agnew on         things in action but once Matt Prior got out it was probably time
the BBC’s Test Match Special to deny whispers that next week’s        to shut up shop. It was a bit of a tall chase in the first place but it
Lord’s Test against South Africa might be his last. “I can’t give     was certainly worth having a go.”
any assurances, no. I love playing Test cricket for England. But          Strauss said he had no regrets. “We just felt that, if we let KP
there are obstacles in the way,” he said.                             have a go, and then consolidate if he got out early, and then look
    By the time he reached the post-match press conference an         at it a bit more and then try and get it into a Twenty20 situation
unsmiling Pietersen was determined to be more discreet. But he        towards the back end .�.�. “ It nearly worked.
is not good at that. “Maybe it [the Lord’s Test] will be my last,”
he said. “We will talk after the next Test. Anything is possible.”
    Unsurprisingly he was pressed about an obvious rift between
him and the England management. “You’ll find out more soon
enough. The saddest part is that there are spectators out there
who love watching me play.” It would be “a huge shame” if
he did not continue playing Test cricket. “It’s tough being me




                                                                        *
playing for England,” he said.
    He did his best to keep his differences to himself. “It’s
absolutely not about money,” he said without giving any
indication of the precise nature of a relationship with the
England and Wales Cricket Board and possibly some of the
players in the dressing room that is so in decline that it could be
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    Next to the press room was a stern-faced Andrew Strauss,
who declined to say anything about Pietersen’s comments,
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                            guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                      Monday August 6 2012               23:00 GMT

                                                                       Britain had the advantage, though with only the best three
                                                                       scores counting, the gold was by no means guaranteed.
London 2012: Nick Skelton leads Team                                       Scott Brash, the 26-year-old tyro of the British team who in
GB to gold in team showjumping                                         the regulation round had jumped a superb clear, this time had
                                                                       a fence down, but the third Dutch rider, Marc Houtzager, failed
• Triumph achieved after tie-breaking                                 to capitalise and also had four faults. That meant Peter Charles,
jump-off with Netherlands                                              the 52-year-old who has represented Ireland as well as Britain
                                                                       during his long career, had only to jump a clear to secure gold,
• Great Britain’s first showjumping gold
                                                                       and best of all didn’t have to go too fast — a steady clear would
medal since 1952                                                       win it.
Stephen Moss at Greenwich Park                                             Charles has had a wretched week — he said later that in
                                                                       earlier rounds the noise of the crowd had spooked his horse,
                                                                       Vindicat — and he had already been eliminated from the
                                                                       individual competition, which will be decided on Wednesday.
                                                                       But Charles wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip, and his
                                                                       horse was by now getting used to the fervour of the crowd.
                                                                       Drawing on all his experience, he put in a faultless round. The
                                                                       stadium erupted with pleasure and relief. Britain’s long wait for
                                                                       showjumping gold was over.
                                                                           The Dutch hid their disappointment well. “That was good
                                                                       sport,” said one of their riders to his British opposite number in
                                                                       the unsaddling area next to the arena after the jump-off. Asked
                                                                       later whether it was a gold lost or a silver won, the Dutch team
                                                                       were unanimous that it was the latter. But they will know they
                                                                       had one hand on the gold and failed to hold on.
Nick Skelton rides Big Star during the third qualifying stage of
                                                                           Later the 54-year-old Skelton, who has been a key member
the individual jumping event at Greenwich Park. Photograph:
                                                                       of British teams for more than 30 years, was so eager to collect
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
                                                                       his medal that he tried to jump on the podium before the medal
Scenes of crowd hysteria are becoming routine at these                 ceremony had begun, and had to be pulled back by laughing
Olympics, but on Monday they moved south of the river as               team-mates.
Britain won its first showjumping gold since 1952. In all those            That was one of several delightful moments as the teams
years when the sport was a fixture on evening television, starry       unwound after the drama of the jump-off. Charles showed his
British teams were thwarted, but here a largely unsung quartet         medal to his horse, who looked baffled and would clearly have
scooped gold after a dramatic jump-off against the Netherlands.        preferred a carrot. And the lap of honour around the arena on
    For the veteran Nick Skelton, who at 54 is competing in his        horseback — hard hats off to be waved to the crowd — became
sixth Olympics, it was especially sweet. “It means everything          increasingly frantic until Maher called a halt, worrying that
to win this. We lost it, we won it, we lost it, and finally we         the horses would injure themselves ahead of Wednesday’s
won it back,” he said, reflecting on two topsy-turvy rounds of         individual competition.
jumping. “I’ve waited a long time, been to a lot of Games, made            The British team had been written off by some ahead of the
a lot of mistakes, but you couldn’t do it in a better place than       Games, so this victory was all the sweeter. “You’ll never win
London. This has to be my greatest moment.”                            anything if you’re negative,” said Maher. “The whole team was
    Skelton paid tribute to the fans who packed the Greenwich          positive from the time it was picked, and we always thought we
Park arena. “Without this crowd we could never have done               had a chance.”
it. People said that riding in an Olympics at home would add               Barbs were directed against fellow showjumper Robert
pressure, but it was totally the opposite. It was just brilliant. We   Smith, son of the redoubtable Harvey, who last April had
had to get stuck in to the jump-off. I said to the guys we needed      rubbished the British team as mediocrities lacking top-class
to go out there and win it. I’ve waited 54 years for this, so you      horse power. “What would you say to Robert Smith now?” the
can certainly say it was a long time coming. I’ve had a few            team were asked. “What do you think?” said Charles. “We did
misses in my time, but finally we got there.”                          well with a mediocre bunch,” added Skelton.
    Britain and the Netherlands were tied on eight faults after            Skelton, the unquestioned team leader, is now well placed to
the regulation round of jumping, with overnight leaders Saudi          add individual gold to this collective triumph, and his team-
Arabia relegated to third place — the bronze medal was reward          mates were backing him to do it. “We have the best rider in
for the huge investment they have made in the sport over the           the world in Nick Skelton,” said Charles. Skelton himself was
past three years. The British and Dutch then went into a jump-         a little cagier about his prospects. “Anything can happen,” he
off against the clock over a shortened course. Suddenly the            said. “He’s [Big Star’s] been impeccable this week, so fingers
crowd, which had been so noisy that the announcer frequently           crossed. But there will be a lot of good riders [competing on
had to shush them, could hardly breathe.                               Wednesday].”
    Skelton, a rock throughout the competition on Big Star,                The individual competition can wait, though. On Monday
jumped clear in a fast time, just as he had in the first round of      night, as dusk began to settle over Greenwich, the cheers for
jumping, but Dutch rider Jur Vrieling also went clear, albeit in       the gold medal winners were still ringing out. Showjumpers,
a slightly slower time. Ben Maher then added another clear for         who work hard and play hard, know how to party. And this
Britain, while the second Dutch rider had two fences down.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Monday August 6 2012               23:00 GMT

is a celebration where the champagne has been on ice for six        Russians and the explosive American, Douglas, who had just
decades.                                                            been crowned all-around champion. Besides which Tweddle, at
                                                                    27, was seven years older than her nearest competitor.
                                                                        Happily she is imperturbable – a “cool cat”, as Louis Smith
Beth Tweddle finally achieves Olympic                               has it. Of the skills she has passed on to the next generation of
medal with bronze on bars                                           British gymnasts, every team-mate, male and female, speaks of
                                                                    her relentless good nature, even when things are not going well.
                                                                        Her ability to handle herself under pressure was evident
• The 27-year-old completes international                           here, where the crowd noise was so extreme she could not
medal collection                                                    hear her coach’s last words of advice before she took to the
• Russia’s Aliya Mustafina takes gold at                           apparatus.
London 2012                                                             After He had posted a score of 15.933 with an exhibition
                                                                    as intricate as her leotard, Tweddle chose to rely on the least
Emma John at North Greenwich Arena
                                                                    difficult of her three competition routines, the same that had
                                                                    made her unbeaten in qualification.
                                                                        Her danger-laden combinations included her signature skill,
                                                                    the Tweddle, a high-risk release move in which she catches the
                                                                    bar with her hands crossed, and she sped between the bars in
                                                                    a flurry of transitions – half the time without even being able
                                                                    to see where her hands needed to land. Team-mate Hannah
                                                                    Whelan, who Tweddle had primed to issue instructions to
                                                                    “keep calm”, was the only voice she could hear from the crowd.
                                                                        It was the “double double” – a new dismount added to
                                                                    impress the judges – that cost Tweddle in the end, a step
                                                                    backwards as she landed it earning her an all-important
                                                                    deduction. Her 15.916 – 0.2 off her qualifying score – put
                                                                    her in second but Mustafina of Russia then put in a flawless
Beth Tweddle during her Olympic bronze medal-winning                display to go first. Tweddle’s chance for a medal rested on the
routine at the North Greenwich Arena. Photograph: Mike              performance of Douglas, the 16 year old prodigy known as the
Blake/Reuters                                                       flying squirrel for the way she flings herself between the bars.
                                                                    Douglas needed more than 15.916 to push Tweddle out. She did
Beth Tweddle finally won the prize she has been waiting 12
                                                                    not get it.
years for yesterday as she took bronze in the uneven bars final.
                                                                        The result caps the best fortnight that British gymnastics has
The result meant everything to Tweddle, the best gymnast
                                                                    experienced. Just over a week ago Britain held three Olympics
Britain has produced: after three world championships she
                                                                    medals from gymnastics’ 116-year involvement in the Games. In
completed her collection, and her epic career, with an Olympic
                                                                    10 electrifying days that haul has been more than doubled.
medal, the first ever by a female gymnast.
                                                                        The men and women between them can now boast four
    Tweddle had said beforehand that it did not matter what
                                                                    medals at this Games, surpassing their targets (they had hoped
colour she won here as long as she went one better than the
                                                                    for one or two), not to mention the British women’s best placing
agonising fourth place she achieved in Beijing. The smallest of
                                                                    in 84 years in the team final. And while Thomas could not live
mistakes – a step backwards on her dismount – put the gold out
                                                                    up to Tweddle’s achievements – he finished last in the men’s
of reach and there followed a nerve-racking wait as Tweddle
                                                                    vault final after “sitting” his second vault, a delicate term for
watched the final two competitors – Aliya Mustafina and Gabby
                                                                    landing on one’s bottom – it could not dim an ever brightening
Douglas – to see if she would maintain a position in the top
                                                                    outlook for British gymnastics.
three.
    “It’s the best feeling,” said Tweddle, still clutching her
victory flowers. “A lot of people are already saying, ‘You’re not
disappointed? You took a step, it could have been gold.’ But not




                                                                      *
in the slightest. I can walk away with the medal in my pocket
and it’s the one that finishes my career.”
    The importance of that achievement could be seen as
Tweddle, normally a resolutely dry-eyed athlete, misted over
as she caught her mother Anne’s eye in the stands. Her parents        The Guardian digital edition
had managed to swap their seats, at the last minute, to be able       Read the Guardian on the web
to watch from a position right in front of the bars.
    Tweddle admitted afterwards it had been hard to keep
                                                                      exactly the way it was printed.
herself focused while her team-mates who had already                  With award-winning Guardian
finished their competitions were “chilling out in the flat,           photography accessible from
acting like students actually”. She needed all her composure
                                                                      anywhere in the world.
here, competing in what must be the strongest field to have
contested an apparatus final. It included China’s defending           guardian.co.uk/digitaledition
champion, the supreme technician, He Kexin, two balletic
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                     guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Monday August 6 2012               23:00 GMT

                                                                     columnist Bobby White in astonishing form, not so much
                                                                     blocking shots left right and centre as simply blocking any shots
London 2012: Quartet provide a glorious                              at all, such is the hapless lot of the handball goalkeeper. We will
starburst of British failure                                         rock you, the crowd chanted, close to sporting delirium, but
                                                                     Team GB was already being rocked. A rocking was undoubtedly
Great Britain teams in handball, basketball,                        in progress. Whither handball now? Could this really be the
volleyball and water polo have savoured                              end of this surge of unexpected momentum? Let’s hope not. To
                                                                     paraphrase Whit Stillman, handball is surely too great and too
defeat without dishonour
                                                                     much fun to be gone forever.
Barney Ronay                                                             Six miles across town at Earls Court, the first and perhaps
                                                                     last British men’s Olympic volleyball team were underway in
                                                                     their own final dead rubber. This cobbled together odd-job
                                                                     of part-timers were sure of a rapturous reception from the
                                                                     temporary stands but volleyball too faces a fraught Olympic
                                                                     future.
                                                                         If the men’s team has an ad hoc feel, the women’s team are
                                                                     the stuff of a stirring Hollywood underdogs movie script. They
                                                                     lost their funding before the Games but decided to soldier on
                                                                     in self-sustaining fashion, organising charity bike rides and the
                                                                     like. Both teams exit with heads held high but also beneath
                                                                     a pall of uncertainty. Who needs them now, all Olympic duty
                                                                     done?
                                                                         If nothing else, those involved have an unforgettable story
                                                                     to tell. Perhaps, fertilised by Olympic exposure, volleyball can
China’s Zhaoxu Zhang (right) watches as teammate Li Yi gets
                                                                     rise from the leisure centre floor and leap for the strip-lights.
control of the ball past Great Britain’s Nate Reinking in the
                                                                     For now defeat by Argentina was a fifth Olympic shellacking for
second half of Britain’s winning swansong. Photograph: Larry
                                                                     these estimable conscripts of the block and smash.
W. Smith/EPA
                                                                         And still they came. At the Stratford basketball arena there
After the gold rush here was a harvest of a different kind for       was a similar sense of ending, albeit perhaps not of a full stop. In
Great Britain’s Olympians. With the entire home Olympic              the event, with the exit gate looming, Team GB’s basketballers
experience threatening to turn rather giddily medal-coloured         produced the best result in modern British basketball history, a
in the glow of an improbable weekend of athletic success, there      90-58 tournament thrashing of China. The greatest result, that
was something resembling a rush for the exits on Monday              is, in the past seven years, before which Britain did not have a
afternoon as four British teams left their home Olympics within      men’s team at all, astonishingly given the global reach of the
the space of an hour and a half – and not just these Olympics but    sport. A decent showing at the European Championship finally
perhaps even all Olympics. For the rag-tag brigades of Team GB       persuaded the International Basketball Federation to dole out
handball, basketball, volleyball and water polo it may be not so     a host nation slot at these Games, coupled of course with the
much au revoir as adieu after seven years and several million        presence of the wonderful Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls, who
pounds in the making, followed by one short week in bloom.           has been on board as team leader all along.
    This was a glorious star-burst of British failure, defeat            Deng it was who led GB to victory inside what is known
without dishonour from this estimable quartet of part-timers.        locally as The Marshmallow, a large disposable arena that
By 5.00pm the hand-ballers had gone. Minutes later the               resembles, from a distance, a giant screwed up ball of paper,
volleyballers were done too. At 6.20 it was the turn of the          and which is due to be dismantled after the Paralympic Games
basketballers to trudge off into Olympic hiatus, just as water       and shipped off to Rio. If the atmosphere inside the more
polo began its own final goodbye 500 metres away. On Saturday        cavernous Crumpled-Ball-Of-Paper lacked the Box’s fevered
this correspondent had witnessed in the flesh five British           handballisms, this is perhaps understandable. This is not
Olympic gold medal performances. Here was the flip-side, a           Dodgeball, an Underdog Tale. It is instead a toehold for a major
rat-a-tat of Olympic evictions, with handball kicking off the        global industry, one that is like football rather slumming it here.
reverse-golden run at the Copper Box where Team GB faced             There were loud, if not unconstrained, cheers as GB moved to
Iceland in the final match of an infectious Olympic week.            72-48 in the final quarter. And at the end there was a protracted
    Handball was established in Britain only six years ago, a        musketeer-style hand grab from Team GB and some tears too as
direct response to impending Olympic-dom. It is a brilliant          the players walked off. This team will be back, albeit shorn of its
sport, though, a cross between basketball and five-a-side            Games-bound gloss. The Olympic adventure may yet even turn
football that revolves around its array of bravura close-in          out to be a high watermark for Britain’s basketballers.
finishes: the pile-driver, the slot to the corner, even the cheeky       Even as they departed, three sides of Great Britain’s
dink, the palm-Pirlo. On Sunday the Duchess of Cambridge             quadruple Olympic eviction already complete, the water polo
had popped into the changing rooms to congratulate Britain’s         team were under way half a kilometre across the park, another
women after their match against Croatia (they lost all five). And    dead-rubber appearance for Britain”s minor sport legions and
here every seat was full again as the players emerged for their      an uphill task against the mid-table Montenegrins. Technically
own glorious moribund farewell.                                      Britain are the third most successful Olympic water polo nation
    As Britain’s men edged into the lead early on to vast roars      of all time, though they have not actually sent a team to an
inside the Box, anything seemed possible, with the Guardian
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Monday August 6 2012               23:00 GMT

Olympics in 52 years. Again this is a labour of love for amateur     not bothered,’ but it doesn’t work with me.”
players corralled into an Olympic presence. Warmly received,             For many years Isinbaeva was a machine for breaking
roundly defeated and out of their home Games at the first            world records. Eight years ago in Athens she set a new mark
hurdle, Team GB water polo were at least in ample company on         of 4.91 metres, following it in Beijing with 5.05m, a height she
Monday evening.                                                      improved a year later, during an IAAF Diamond League meeting
                                                                     in Zurich, to 5.06, which is where it still stands. Since returning
                                                                     to competition last season after a break induced by exhaustion
London 2012: Yelena Isinbaeva loses                                  and staleness, she has jumped no higher than 4.75 outdoors,
pole vault title to Jennifer Suhr                                    although lifting her indoor mark to 5.01
                                                                         On a cool, breezy night that had the vaulters relying on
                                                                     their coaches for a signal that the wind had dropped, three
• American wins gold medal on countback                             competitors started off at a height of 4.30 and five more joined
• Russian caught out with late entry bluff                           in at 4.45, including Bleasdale.
Richard Williams at the Olympic Stadium                                  It proved too much for three of them, and Bleasdale needed
                                                                     all three vaults to move on to 4.55, the cue for the remaining
                                                                     trio of vaulters, including Isinbaeva, to make their appearance.
                                                                         It is not hard to imagine the Russian getting up a lot of noses,
                                                                     particularly those of her rivals, not least because she natters
                                                                     away to herself while preparing to vault like a contestant in an
                                                                     All-Russia High-Speed Summarise Tolstoy competition, and
                                                                     elaborately coats the grip of her pole with a black, graphite-
                                                                     like substance before each vault (the others use chalk). She
                                                                     grazed the bar lightly with her first vault and elected to move
                                                                     straight up to the next height. One imagines she barely noticed
                                                                     Bleasdale missing with all three attempts at 4.55, the English
                                                                     record holder flushed with disappointment and giving way to
                                                                     tears as she made her way over to be consoled by her French
                                                                     coach, Julien Raffalli-Ebezant, although sixth place in her first
Elena Isinbaeva is disappointed after missing a vault at the         Olympics for a young woman who took up pole vaulting only
London 2012 Olympic Games. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/              four years ago is nothing but encouraging.
Getty Images                                                             “I struggled to cope with the conditions,” Bleasdale said. “I
Yelena Isinbaeva may look like a supermodel but she has the          only get a minute (to vault) and if the wind stays in my face that
mind of a poker player. If she could win without needing even        whole minute I can only look at him Julien and hope he’s going
to turn over her cards, that would be just perfect. Last night,      to tell me to go. I’ve gone in the last 10 seconds, and I’ve never
trying to become the first woman in Olympic history to win a         done that before. My lack of experience in big championships
track and field event gold medal in three successive Games, she      means it wasn’t the best of conditions to deal with, but I’ll learn
was unable to bluff her way out of what turned out to be a poor      from it.”
hand.                                                                    Among the contenders, the stakes were starting to rise. Jenn
    The ritual of the pole vault involves the competitors            Suhr, the silver medal winner in Beijing, where her clearance
choosing to enter the competition at the height that suits their     at 4.81 made her the second highest vaulter of all time, cleared
purposes. You can go in early and warm up gradually, building        4.70, as did Yarisley Silva of Cuba, the current Pan-American
your confidence as you proceed, or you can leave it late and         Games champion, and Isinbaeva herself, whose marvellous late
blitz the opposition. Guess which tactic the princess of the pole    thrust and twist sent her sailing over the bar. Silke Spiegelburg,
prefers.                                                             the German record holder, elected to sit that one out, returning
    It is Isinbaeva’s habit to while away the time lying on the      at 4.75.
track, swaddled in a hoodie and a variety of blankets and                Other events taking place on the track and a series of medal
towels against the evening chill in the canopied area where the      ceremonies – including those for the men’s and women’s 100
vaulters wait to do their thing, strongly resembling someone         metres – constantly interrupted the vaulters, which was hardly
spending the night in a shop doorway. Twice an Olympic               ideal on a chilly night. All four remaining contestants failed at
champion and with 28 world records to her name, she appears          the first time of asking at the new height before Suhr and Silva
to pay no attention to anything going on around her.                 cleared it at the second attempt (“Hi-ho, Silva,” the stadium
    While the others are making their early attempts, working        announcer chortled as the Cuban set a new national record),
up towards the altitude at which the medals will be won, the 30-     while a distraught Spiegelburg went out. Isinbaeva missed
year-old from Volgograd waits to strike once the bar has been        twice and moved straight to 4.80, where the surviving trio
raised to a level that is worth the bother of uncoiling her limbs    would fight it out.
before taking her place on the runway.                                   All three missed – and Isinbaeva, having skipped two jumps
    When Holly Bleasdale looks at her, the British champion          at lower levels, had run out of chances, making her exit from
doesn’t much like what she sees. “Isinbaeva comes into a             the competition with a smile, a shrug and a little wave. No gold
competition really late, tries to psych everyone out,” the           medal, then, let alone a world record; those days are gone,
20-year-old from Chorley said on the eve of last night’s             probably for good. Where once she soared above her rivals, now
competition. “It’s her plan. She wants us to say, ‘Oh, look, she’s   she has been pulled back into their clutches. A remarkable reign

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                        guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Monday August 6 2012                23:00 GMT

is over, and the sight of the Russian accepting a bronze medal     from the council came round and asked if I had planning
inTuesday’s ceremony promises to be a strange and poignant         permission,” said Brownlee. “Apparently the pool has to be
one.                                                               under 50% of the size of your garden and he was arguing it was
    Head to head, then, to the finish between the tall, 30-year-   over that.”
old American and the shorter, stockier 25-year-old Cuban. Both        Luckily at that point, Malcolm Brown, the Olympic
missed twice, Stuhr taking the gold medal on a countback:          Performance Manager for British Triathlon, arrived and
an anti-climax for the large crowd. Not the way, you felt, that    managed to persuade the official not to take things further. “I
Isinbaeva would have done it.                                      came into the house just as the man from the council was just
                                                                   leaving shaking his head,” he said. “We managed to persuade
                                                                   him the measurements he had taken were just slightly out.
Alistair Brownlee nearly had Olympic                               Consequently it didn’t require planning permission.”
hopes sunk by man from the council                                    Brownlee added: “The pool is 16ft in length. It’s got a jet in it
                                                                   so you can swim or run against the current. I spent three weeks
                                                                   in a cast and another week when I couldn’t ride a bike. So it was
Triathlete built swimming pool and                                 a month without cycling. The pool made a huge difference.”
underwater treadmill — which was nearly                               Brownlee’s recovery from injury has been slow, but in his
closed down after neighbour complained                             one full-length triathlon this season, in Kitzbühel, he beat all
                                                                   his major rivals, including his brother Jonny to victory. He goes
Sean Ingle
                                                                   into Tuesday’s race in Hyde Park as a strong favourite having
                                                                   won 12 of the 15 world series races he has entered since 2009.
                                                                   However he faces stiff competition from his brother, who
                                                                   has finished in the top three in his last 13 races at elite level
                                                                   – winning six of them.
                                                                      “He was a bit of a nightmare when he was injured,” said
                                                                   Jonny Brownlee. “When I saw him in March, I never thought
                                                                   he’d get to the position he is now. Back then he was depressed.
                                                                   He’d put a bit of weight on. He was different. But once he
                                                                   started training I knew he’d get back quickly.”




Alistair Brownlee built an underwater treadmill to aid with his
recovery after injury. Photograph: Ernst Wukits/AFP/Getty
Images
Few can match Alistair Brownlee, the favourite for Tuesday’s




                                                                     *
men’s triathlon, when it comes to the demands of the 1500m
swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run. But earlier this year a
“little man from the council” nearly achieved what the world’s
fittest athletes have struggled to do – knock the Briton’s gold
medal hopes off course.
    After tearing a tendon in January, Brownlee installed a
swimming pool with an underwater treadmill in his garden in
Horsforth, Yorkshire, to help him continue training. Given the
                                                                     Eat right
pool was facing the main road, he soon became something of a         Join the Guardian’s health and
local curiosity. But one neighbour was unhappy with the size of      dieting club, Eat Right and
the pool and contacted the council to complain.
    Brownlee, who is the reigning world champion, said: “When        we’ll design you a personalised
I tore my Achilles I thought ‘this is the Olympics coming up         healthy eating plan from just
I’m going to have to do something special to get myself in
shape as quickly as I can.’ I was doing aqua jogging in a public
                                                                     £2.99 a week. Membership
pool in public sessions with kids jumping on my head and old         includes shopping lists, menus,
grannies telling me I shouldn’t be there. I was thinking: ‘This
is ridiculous, I’m going to the Olympics in six months!’ So I
                                                                     expert advice and 24 hour
decided to get a pool of my own and put it in the garden.”           support to help you achieve
    It took Brownlee’s triathlon friends and team-mates a week
to dig a hole big enough to fit the pool and, having spent three
                                                                     your health and fitness goals.
weeks with his foot in a cast, Brownlee was keen to build up his     guardian.co.uk/eatright
fitness.
    “The neighbours all claimed to be all right with it but
someone put a complaint in and one day some little man

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Monday August 6 2012              23:00 GMT


London 2012: Boxer Anthony Ogogo is                                  Olympics 2012: Team GB edges towards
through to the Olympics semi-final                                   best medal haul in 104 years

• Middleweight will face Brazilian Esquiva                           Showjumpers win final, Jason Kenny adds
Florentino                                                           more gold to velodrome tally and Beth
• British fighter impressively defeats Stefan                        Tweddle scores gymnastics bronze
Hartel                                                               Owen Gibson, Olympics editor
Kevin Mitchell at the ExCeL




                                                                     Elizabeth Tweddle wins bronze in the women’s uneven bars
Great Britain’s Anthony Ogogo, left, beat Germany’s Stefan           final during the London 2012 Olympic Games competition.
Hartel to reach the semi-final of the Middleweight tournament        Photograph: Rolf Vennenbernd/EPA
at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Photograph: Nick Potts/            London 2012’s motto is “inspire a generation”, with a heavy
PA                                                                   emphasis on youth. But on Monday a 54-year-old with a hip
London middleweight Anthony Ogogo is through to the                  replacement led Great Britain to a first showjumping gold in
Olympic semi-finals against the flashy Brazilian Esquiva             60 years, while Beth Tweddle became the oldest homegrown
Florentino after an impressive 15-10 win over the hard-hitting       gymnast to win a medal since 1948.
German Stefan Hartel.                                                    After gorging on sporting success over the weekend the
    Florentino, the fourth seed, won with style and power            medals kept coming, including more success in the velodrome,
against the Hungarian Zoltan Harcsa, 14-10.                          as the home nation closed in on its best performance in more
    No doubt the Great Britain boxer will be the underdog, as        than a century.
he often is -before proving his doubters wrong. He has beaten            It is 104 years since Great Britain won more than 19 gold
injury and scepticism before, but this will be the biggest test of   medals. With six days they have now notched up 18 golds
his career.                                                          – already just one behind the total for the Beijing Games four
    Even though Ogogo had eliminated the world No 1 Ievgen           years ago – and 40 medals in total.
Khytrov on a double countback and panel decision, he was the             If the weekend had been about the gold rush in the blue
outsider against Hartel, who beat Ireland’s world No 3 Darren        riband track and field events in the main stadium and the drama
O’Neill 19-12 to reach last night’s quarter-final.                   of Usain Bolt winning the 100m, then the focus on Monday was
    Ogogo boxed sensibly behind a tight guard and, quicker to        once again on sports that receive a huge boost in profile once
the punch, took the contest away from Hartel, who became             every four years and must seek to capitalise.
desperate when he trailed by four points going into the last             Although not the oldest Briton to win a gold medal – that
round. Ogogo made him pay near the finish with a big left hook       accolade stands with Joshua “Jerry” Milner, who was 61 when
and right to the temple to seal the result and make safe a bronze    he won the men’s 1,000 yard free rifle gold in 1908 – Nick
at least.                                                            Skelton, whose showjumping career has spanned four decades,
                                                                     had travelled to six previous Olympics but until had never won
                                                                     a medal. That all changed when he and teammates Ben Maher,




  *
                                                                     29, Scott Brash, 26, and Peter Charles, 52, beat the Netherlands
                                                                     in a dramatic jumpoff – the sport’s equivalent of a penalty
                                                                     shootout.
                                                                         “I’m speechless – unbelievable. I’ve never seen crowds like
                                                                     this. The lads have done great. I’ve got a wonderful horse. It’s
  Fantasy League Classic                                             great for the country, great for our sport,” said Skelton, who is
  Manage a squad of 16 players and a budget                          yet to knock down a fence in three days of competition.
  of £75 million. £75,000 worth of prizes to                             The crowds who have thronged Greenwich Park for the
  be won in weekly, monthly and overall                              equestrian events had had to make do with silver rather than
  competitions. Beat your nearest and                                gold so far, with an eventing team featuring Zara Phillips
                                                                     coming closest. But amid delirious scenes at the 23,000-
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                    Monday August 6 2012              23:00 GMT

capacity, purpose-built arena at Greenwich Park – where the          Sanchez from the Dominican Republic.
announcer frequently had to tell the crowd to hush – the                 Holly Bleasdale, the 20-year-old pole vaulter who has
quartet took GB’s first medal of any colour in the sport for 28      come from nowhere to challenge the world’s best, looked
years.                                                               distraught as she too finished outside the medals. Despite huge
    The Netherlands could have won gold but failed to go clear       encouragement from the 80,000 crowd, she looked overawed
in their final round. Skelton, Maher, and Charles all went clear     as she failed to clear the bar at 4.55m, well short of her season’s
in the jumpoff with Charles – the least heralded of the quartet,     best of 4.71m, and appeared on the verge of tears afterwards.
and, like Skelton, another veteran at the age of 52 – riding the         Lord Coe, the London 2012 organising committee chairman,
climactic round to spark wild celebrations.                          paid tribute to the public for embracing the Olympics,
    Squeezing the equestrian events into a temporary arena           describing the Games as an “emotional rollercoaster. My
in Greenwich Park, a £42m decision made in the spirit of a           message is a massive thankyou to the people of this country.
compact Games that would leave no white elephants, has               Am I surprised? Probably not. Is it one of the most extraordinary
not been universally popular. But it is hard to deny the visual      things I’ve seen in my lifetime? Yes, it is,” he said.
impact of the vista, as multimillion pound horses compete                Contrasting the image presented by the Games with that on
in front of Inigo Jones’s Queen’s House. Skelton originally          show exactly a year ago, when the London riots coincided with
retired in 2001, having broken his neck the year before but was      a trip by 204 national Olympic committee members, Coe said:
back competing a year later. Last year, he had a hip replaced            “The world saw a very different London a year ago. It saw a
before returning to competition to win bronze at the European        London I didn’t recognise. What I’m seeing at the moment and
Championships.                                                       what they’re seeing is a London I do recognise.”
    Jason Kenny, picked ahead of Sir Chris Hoy to contest the            There was criticism, however, of the public live sites in
men’s sprint, also won gold in the tumultuous hothouse of the        London and throughout the country. The Commission for a
velodrome. He beat the French favourite and seven-time world         Sustainable London 2012, the organising committee’s official
champion Grégory Baugé, picking him off in the first of the          watchdog, said they were underused because people didn’t
best-of-three final, and leading from the front in the second.       realise they were free and there are strict restrictions regarding
    His success was yet another feather in the cap for the British   food and drink.
Cycling coaching team, led by performance director Dave                  A Locog spokeswoman said 2.2 million people had attended
Brailsford, who took the calculated gamble of picking Kenny          the big screen sites, with 350,000 on Sunday alone. Coe said a
ahead of Hoy.                                                        new survey showed almost nine in 10 members of the public
    Cycling’s international governing body changed the               were “very, very impressed” with the Games and three-quarters
rules after Britain’s dominance in Beijing, a move that many         thought it showed a good image of the UK to the world.
considered an attempt to stop them repeating the feat, so that
only one athlete could be entered in each individual event. But
roared on by the crowd, the Bolton-born cyclist recorded GB’s
fifth gold medal of the Games in the velodrome alone. There
could be more to come – Laura Trott leads the omnium and
Victoria Pendleton will compete for her second gold medal of
the Games in the women’s sprint.
    Kenny, who already had two gold medals to his name as part
of the successful team sprint team alongside Hoy in 2008 and
2012, beat the Scot to the sole individual sprint place in the
team following a long duel between the pair.
    “It’s amazing,” he said. “I hadn’t thought about it until the
last lap, then it suddenly dawned on me. It was quite the battle
to get here with Chris. I didn’t want to mess that one up.”




                                                                       *
    There was also an emotional bronze medal for Tweddle, the
27-year-old who has won three world championships but never
an Olympic medal, in the uneven bars. Her bronze capped the
sport’s best Games ever, doubling GB’s all-time medal tally to
six in 10 days.
    The women’s hockey team made it through to the semi-
finals and Nicola Adams was guaranteed at least a bronze and a         Are you getting the best deal on
place in history as the first female British boxer to win a medal      your mortgage?
at the Games after reaching the semi-finals in the flyweight
division. The men’s basketball team won their first match in the       Compare over 8500 mortgages
Olympics since 1958, beating China 90-58, too late to send them        online to find the best deal for
through the group stages but raising hopes there would be a
lasting legacy for the sport from the Games.                           you.
    There was less British success on the track where there had        guardian.co.uk/money/
been so much glory on Saturday night. Dai Greene, the world
400m hurdles champion and captain of the Team GB athletics
                                                                       compareandbuy
team, finished just outside the medals in fourth, behind Felix

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                       guardian.co.uk

				
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