Sport by aimad2012


                           | pdf edition | Thursday August 9 2012                                                         Sport
                                                                                                                          Downloaded 00:00 GMT

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake progress
through to Olympic 200m final
Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake won their 200m semi-final races on
Wednesday to confirm their places in Thursday’s final Page 2

Sir Chris Hoy: UCI denied me chance to
race for more London 2012 gold
Sir Chris Hoy has hit out at the world cycling body’s one rider per
nation rule for track events at the London 2012 Games Page 3

London 2012: Tom Stalker stunned by
boxing defeat and waits on appeal
Team GB’s captain Tom Stalker was stunned by his narrow defeat
to a veteran Mongolian and is waiting on an appeal Page 4

London 2012: How                             USA’s Dream Team                             London 2012:                    London 2012: Allyson
Team GB’s Olympic                            move closer to                               Lawrence Clarke in              Felix wins 200m but
golds are more varied                        basketball destiny at                        surprise fourth place           Jeter grilling leaves
than USA’s Page 5                            Olympics Page 7                              in 110m hurdles Page 8          sour taste Page 11

Rory McIlroy says golf                       London 2012 Olympic                          London 2012: GB
technology is helping                        Games: 8 August                              cyclists must sustain
minors win majors                            - today’s highlights                         success, says Dave
Page 6                                       Page 8                                       Brailsford Page 9 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                       to be equally bogus. Later the Greek police found 30 boxes of
                                                                       steroids in his coach’s office. Kenteris was banned for two years.
Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake progress                                        Shawn Crawford won the 2004 gold medal, and was
through to Olympic 200m final                                          presented with the silver in Beijing four years later after
                                                                       Churandy Martina, of the Netherlands, and Wallace Spearmon
• Jamaican pair win their respective semi-                             of the US were disqualified from second and third places for
finals                                                                 running outside their lanes. Crawford later sent Martina his
                                                                       silver medal with a message saying: “I know this can’t replace
• Bolt on course to retain Olympic 100m
                                                                       the moment, but I want you to have this because I believe it’s
and 200m titles                                                        rightfully yours.” The gold, of course, had gone to Bolt, who
Richard Williams at the Olympic Stadium                                became the first man to win the two individual sprint titles
                                                                       while setting world records in each.
                                                                           Jamaica’s two top sprinters seemed to have made an
                                                                       adequate recovery from their celebrations at the weekend after
                                                                       finishing first and second in the 100m final on Sunday. Yohan
                                                                       Blake rocketed ahead in the first semi-final but significantly
                                                                       slowed up to finish in 20.01, beating Spearmon by a hundredth
                                                                       of a second. “A walk in the park,” he called it.
                                                                           Christophe Lemaitre, the great hope of French sprinting, was
                                                                       a further hundredth back in third. Two years ago he became the
                                                                       only man to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in the European
                                                                       championships and Wednesday night’s 20.03 was good enough
                                                                       to get the 22-year-old through to the final as one of the two
                                                                       fastest losers in the competition, along with Alex Quiñónez of
                                                                       Ecuador, who finished third in Bolt’s semi-final.
Yohan Blake won his 200m semi-final in a time of 20.01 at the
                                                                           The last of the semi-finals was won by Martina, who
London 2012 Olympics. Photograph: Ben Curtis/AP
                                                                       was born 28 years ago in Curaçao and has won titles at the
This is the one Usain Bolt always took seriously. The 200m,            Pan-American and South American Games as well as in the
the event he always believed was his. It’s the one for which,          European championships. He finished in 20.17, ahead of the
in Beijing, he bothered to tie up the laces of both his shoes,         22-year-old Warren Weir, a member, like Bolt and Blake, of the
keeping his foot on the throttle all the way to the finish line.       hugely successful Racers Track Club in Kingston. Christian
   It is also the one in which his start does not seem                 Malcolm, the Welsh runner who has been around long enough
significantly slower than those of his rivals. In the second of        to be described as ageless but is actually still only 33, finished
Wednesday night’s three semi-finals he appeared to be level            third, but his time of 20.51 was not good enough to take him
with Ademir Da Silva of Brazil, running in the lane outside            into a final in which he finished a surprised fifth in Beijing.
him, within half a dozen strides, and by the time he came off              Up to that point it had been a mixed evening for Jamaica.
the bend there was a big stretch of clear track between the            Richard Phillips fell painfully in the semi-final of the 110m
defending champion and the rest of the field.                          hurdles but the 22-year-old Hansle Parchment – a psychology
   He was able to enjoy the latter stages of the race in comfort,      student who comes from St Thomas – the mountainous parish
easing up on his way to a time of 20.18sec while keeping an eye        on the south-eastern tip of Jamaica where Paul Bogle led a
on his rivals’ progress on the big screen at the end of the home       group of former slaves in the bloodily suppressed Morant Bay
straight. Behind him came the 20-year-old Anaso Jobodwana of           rebellion in 1865, ending on the gallows but becoming one of
South Africa, taking the second automatic qualifying place for         the island’s seven official national heroes in the process – set
Thursday’s final.                                                      a new national record of 13.14sec on his way to winning the
   “It’s all about going through as easy as possible,” Bolt said.      bronze medal.
“This is my favourite event. I’m focused and I’m ready. The                Veronica Campbell-Brown, the reigning 200m champion,
track is fast and it’s going to be a good race. There are a lot of     was unable to defend her title, finishing fourth, while her
good competitors, a lot of people who could spoil the party.”          compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the winner of the gold
   The men’s 200m has been an incident-packed and                      medal in the 100m, took the silver behind Allyson Felix of the
occasionally lurid event in recent Olympics, on and off the            United States.
track. After a bout of food poisoning two weeks before the                 It has taken a while for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium
Games cost an enfeebled Michael Johnson, the odds-on                   disc jockey to recognise that Jamaican music ought to
favourite at the age of 24, a place in the 1992 final, the great man   play some part in the soundtrack to an evening of modern
turned up in his golden shoes in Atlanta and set a world record        international athletics, but on Wednesday night, between the
that would stand for 12 years, until Bolt finally lowered it.          first and second semi-finals, the penny finally dropped and
   In Sydney the gold medal was unexpectedly won by                    Desmond Dekker’s Israelites rang out, followed by the Specials
Konstantinos Kenteris of Greece, whose sudden emergence                version of A Message to You, Rudy. A little burst of Burning
provoked widespread suspicions. They were reinforced four              Spear or Maytals would not go amiss here in the coming days.
years later when he failed to defend the title in his home Games
after an extraordinary episode the day before the opening
ceremony involving a faked motorcycle accident on the way to a
drug test, followed by a week-long hospital stay that turned out © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page  G24 Sport                                                                    Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                      programme – which also involved evening up the number of
                                                                      women’s and men’s track events at five apiece – after Britain
Sir Chris Hoy: UCI denied me chance to                                also won seven track golds in 2008.
race for more London 2012 gold                                            Further success on the road in London, with Tour de France
                                                                      winner Bradley Wiggins winning the time trial, means Team
• Scot slams cycling body’s one rider per                             GB’s cyclist have never been more dominant.
nation rule                                                               “It’s immensely satisfying,” he said.
                                                                          “It didn’t really work out for the UCI in their attempt to
• UCI tried to manipulate medal table, says
                                                                      manipulate the medal table. To have the seven gold medals on
Hoy                                                                   the track and Bradley’s and the potentially more success with
Press Association                                                     the BMXers and mountain bikers, it has been fantastic.
                                                                          “I don’t think any of us really believed that we were going to
                                                                      emulate Beijing. we’ve been blown away by it.”
                                                                          After signing off his Olympic career, which began with gold
                                                                      in the 1km time trial at Athens in 2004, Hoy has called for the
                                                                      funding that has established Team GB’s dominance in the
                                                                      velodrome to remain.
                                                                          “Fifteen years ago the National Lottery funding started and
                                                                      that was the catalyst and starting point for the team,” he said.
                                                                          “Peter Keen had this vision for where cycling was going to go
                                                                      and we all thought he was mad initially when he had this dream
                                                                      to be the best team in the world. For someone like Laura [Trott,
                                                                      double gold medallist] she has only known the team as it is now
                                                                      but for the older riders like myself we remember it when it was
                                                                      run on a shoestring budget. That’s why we take so much pride
Sir Chris Hoy feels changes made by cycling’s world body
                                                                      in seeing how far it has come in a short space of time.”
restricted his racing options at the London 2012 Games.
Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
Sir Chris Hoy hit out at cycling’s world governing body on
Wednesday after he was denied the chance to compete for three
gold medals at the London Olympics. The 36-year-old capped a
remarkable Olympic career on Tuesday with his British record
sixth gold medal in a dramatic keirin race. It was Hoy’s second
gold of a hugely successful Olympics for Britain’s track cyclists
as they won seven of the 10 events in the velodrome.
    But 24 hours after the action wrapped up, Hoy revealed he
still harboured some frustration that he could not have added
further to his haul ofmedals. Hoy was overlooked for the men’s
sprint in favour of Jason Kenny – a decision vindicated by the
Bolton rider’s gold medal and one which the Scot had publicly
backed. Hoy, however, believes British Cycling’s bosses should
not have been forced to make the call before the Gamesdue to
a change in policy from the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Following Team GB’s dominance in Beijing four years ago the

UCI, among other alterations to the Olympic programme, opted
to restrict each nation to one rider in the sprint race – which Hoy
won in China.
    The Scot has previously been outspoken on the matter but
after an Olympics which has been marked by memorable inter-
country battles – such as between Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and
Yohan Blake on the track and Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps             Compare and buy
of USA in the pool – he was moved to make his feelings heard
again. “We knew there was only one rider per nation. It was
                                                                        Use our free independent
disappointing not just for us but also for the other nations and        comparison services to switch
for the fans,” he said. “I think they missed out on a number of
top-class competitors in a number of the events.
                                                                        suppliers and save money on
    “Can you imagine a 100m final with only one Jamaican or             all your household bills.
American runner? Anyway, it happened and we dealt with it     
and I think we dealt with it well.”
    Hoy also claimed that Britain’s track cycling success had           compareandbuy
undermined a perceived bid by the UCI to “manipulate” the
medal table. The UCI shuffled the events on the Olympic © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                      Luke Campbell, welter Fred Evans, middleweight Anthony
                                                                      Ogogo and super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua.
London 2012: Tom Stalker stunned by                                       What a contrast to the USA, who have won more medals
boxing defeat and waits on appeal                                     than any country in a century of Olympic boxing but will
                                                                      on Thursday night rely on their lone survivor, the teenage
• Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg sees off                                    middleweight Claressa Shields, to prevent these Games being a
Team GB captain                                                       total wipeout.
                                                                          Shields thrashed Marina Volnova 29-15, forcing two standing
• Veteran Mongolian given the verdict
                                                                      counts, a performance that put the Kazakh’s earlier win over
23–22                                                                 Savannah Marshall in context. The American will be pumped up
Kevin Mitchell at the ExCeL                                           for the final against Russia’s No2 Nadezda Torlopova, who came
                                                                      from behind to beat Li Jinzi of China 12-10.
                                                                          Some things in amateur boxing change more slowly than
                                                                      the US’s decline. The sport’s international governing body
                                                                      night cancelled a press conference scheduled for afternoon,
                                                                      an unfortunate backdrop to the lingering grumbles about
                                                                      scoring and refereeing. It has not been as bad as some Olympics
                                                                      and world championships, but there have been enough ugly
                                                                      headlines to cast a flickering shadow over what has generally
                                                                      been a very good tournament.
                                                                          Meanwhile, Ireland’s hopes of medals, after the euphoria
                                                                      created earlier by Katie Taylor (with more ear-shattering drama
                                                                      to come), held fast in the evening when the light-flyweight
                                                                      Paddy Barnes boxed superbly to see off the dangerous Indian
                                                                      Devendro Laishram 23-18.
Tom Stalker, right, looks dejected after losing to Mongolia’s
                                                                          Barnes was calm under sustained pressure, reading the
Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg. Photograph: Steven Paston/
                                                                      over-hand right swings of his opponent more often than not,
Action Images
                                                                      and imposing himself with eye-catching bursts. Laishram, his
Tom Stalker stormed out of the Olympics, a punch or two shy           country’s last representative in the tournament after Mary
of a bronze medal and with a face filled with indignation, after      Kom last to Taylor in the afternoon session, danced off the pace
losing his middleweight quarter-final by a point to a Mongolian       towards the end, presuming he had done enough to overturn
opponent whose name he almost certainly could not spell but           a seven-point deficit. It was a curious and costly mistake, but
whose boxing he looked to have deciphered well enough after           it did not stop the Indian coach Blas Fernandez complaining
nine minutes.                                                         afterwards. “The referee was very poor. We deserved to get a
    It was a bitter blow for the Great Britain team captain, who      medal.”
left the ring with barely a nod to his conqueror and disappeared          Laishram ceded two points to Barnes for using his head
into the changing rooms without comment. The judges saw               in the second round and got them back in the third when the
a desperately tight contest 23-22 in favour of Munkh-Erdene           referee penalised the Irishman for holding. So there ought to be
Uranchimeg, a veteran boxing in his third Olympics, but not for       few complaints about the officiating this time.
the first time the raucous new army of boxing fans at the packed          Barnes fights the excellent Chinese No1 seed Shimming Zou
ExCel arena rained boos on the officials. Team GB have appealed       in the semi-finals and is not without hope on this showing.
the decision.                                                         “Bronze medals are for losers,” Barnes said. “I am fighting a guy
    There was not a lot more in it than the final score, although     in the next fight who beat me 15-0 in Beijing,” adding with a
Stalker, after an even first round, finished strongly enough in       nice touch of self-deprecation, “Our plan is to score a point.”
the third to haul back the score from 13-14 after two rounds.             It was a tough night to find a laugh.
“He’s inconsolable,” said the trainer Dave Alloway. “We are all
devastated. He came so close to winning a medal. He could not
have done more. It was a marked improvement on his last fight.
He tried really hard, giving everything to lead this team. He was

one point, from a medal, one punch, one shot.”
    Still, there is no reason to believe that some of the remaining
four bronze and one silver these excellent Great Britain boxers
have gathered over the past couple of days might not yet glitter
more brightly.                                                          The Guardian digital edition
    Stalker, who happily volunteers that boxing saved him from          Read the Guardian on the web exactly the
a life less edifying, knew Uranchimeg was a tough nut to crack
                                                                        way it was printed.
but held his nerve under sustained pressure. He moved well,
clipping his opponent with neat southpaw hooks and opening
                                                                        With award-winning Guardian
up impressively in the last minute.                                     photography accessible from anywhere in
    Local attention now switches to the survivors. The ever-            the world.
smiling flyweight Nicola Adams is through to Thursday’s final 
and guaranteed silver, while the semi-finals await the bantam © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                     through to the next Games in Rio. UK Sport, the body
                                                                     responsible for investing £312m of Lottery and exchequer
London 2012: How Team GB’s Olympic                                   funding into Olympic sports since 2008, has resolved to
golds are more varied than USA’s                                     broaden the spread of sports able to win medals.
                                                                         It will target its investment according to its ruthless “no
Britain’s 22 gold medals have so far come                            compromise” funding formula. That means sports unlikely to
in 10 different sports, while the 541-strong                         win medals over the next two Games will see their funding cut
                                                                     but those able to prove they are capable of making the podium
team have won 48 medals in 14 sports
                                                                     could get an even bigger slice of the available money.
Owen Gibson                                                              Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s chief executive, told the Guardian
                                                                     that the fact that medals had been achieved across more sports
                                                                     than at any Games since 1908 proved its formula was working.
                                                                     She said it had enabled sports that have not traditionally won
                                                                     medals to learn from those such as sailing and rowing that have.
                                                                         “The mission 2012 approach has really helped because there
                                                                     is a lot more learning between sports than before. There has
                                                                     been some really good sharing across sports and a collective
                                                                     ambition to do well,” Nicholl said. “We knew the ambition
                                                                     had to be to increase the number of sports in return for the
                                                                     increased funding they received.”
                                                                         She picked out hockey and triathlon as two sports that had
                                                                     delivered in London as a result and said the silver medal in
                                                                     the men’s team gymnastics underlined its impact on minority
                                                                     sports. UK Sport invested around £550m of Lottery and
Team GB have won gold medals in sports such as equestrian,
                                                                     exchequer funding in British sport over the Beijing and London
athletics, rowing and track cycling. Photograph: guardian.
                                                                     cycles and is keen to preserve the same level of support for the
                                                                     next four years.
Great Britain has won more gold medals in different sports than          If funding is preserved at or slightly below the current level,
any country bar China – and has even bettered the USA’s total at     UK Sport has vowed to target a medal total in Rio de Janeiro
London 2012. With the host nation standing third in the overall      that would ensure Great Britain becomes the first host in recent
medal table, it suggests investment in expanding the breadth of      years not to experience a drop-off after its own Games.
sports capable of achieving medals is paying off.                        Nicholl accepted the gold rush in London would make it
    While the sports that powered Britain’s surge up the medal       tough, but said it could be achieved.
table in Beijing have all delivered again in London, a host of           Lord Moynihan, the BOA chairman, said that a
new disciplines have joined them. Their success has meant            comprehensive review of funding for British sport should
Britain’s Olympic gold medals have come across 10 sports, while      follow the Olympic Games, followed by a long-term
the USA’s greater total number of golds have been spread across      commitment at elite and grassroots levels. “These athletes
nine different sporting disciplines.                                 have inspired a generation, we have to translate that inspiration
    At the Greenwich Park equestrian arena, Team GB this             into participation. We have to look carefully at the delivery
week won their first ever dressage gold and their first team         mechanisms across sport,” he said.
showjumping gold since 1952. And at the Lee Valley white-                “And we must come away from these Games with committed
water rafting course, Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie secured          funding to enable participation and excellence to build from
Britain’s first ever canoe slalom gold, in the C2 class.             here and not to go backwards. We need a really detailed review
    While the 22 gold medals have come in 10 different sports,       at all levels.”
the 541-strong team has won 48 medals in 14 sports in total. The         Moynihan said that politicians “owed it to the athletes” to
tally has taken the team past the 19 golds and 47 overall won        ensure that funding levels were maintained. “A strong financial
in Beijing, making it the most successful showing by a British       platform doesn’t deliver medals but it provides the springboard
team since 1908. They have also achieved the British Olympic         for an athlete with outstanding talent to provide their best,” he
Association’s aim of winning “more medals in more sports than        said.
in over a century”. Already, Britain has won gold in athletics,          Team GB’s chef de mission, Andy Hunt, said the focus for the
canoe slalom, road and track cycling, equestrian, rowing,            remainder of the Games remained ensuring that athletes were
sailing, shooting, tennis and the triathlon.                         in a position to win as many medals as possible. “It has been an
    Given that Britain can still claim a first gold medal of these   extraordinary 12 days of sport and I’m massively proud of what
Games in boxing, open-water swimming, diving, hockey, BMX            Team GB has achieved so far. We’re not done yet.
and taekwondo there is a good chance that they will still be             “We still have athletes who have not competed yet, [and] we
ahead of the USA on the measure by the closing ceremony.             want their experience to be the same as every other athlete who
Taking medals of all hues into account, Great Britain and            has gone on to. It is superb where we’re up to, [but] the time for
the USA are neck and neck – both have recorded medals in             celebrating is after every athlete is done. Right now it is about
14 sports.                                                           making sure they have every chance of success.”
    The spread of success will further strengthen the hand of
British officials looking to ensure that the huge investment
in British Olympic sport in the run up to London is continued © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                     Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                       a grade to this point, I’d probably give it a B. There is still a lot
                                                                       of golf to play but I’m very happy with some of the golf that I’ve
Rory McIlroy says golf technology is                                   played this year.”
helping minors win majors                                                 At Kiawah Island, McIlroy believes the rare use of paspalum
                                                                       grass on the greens could work to his advantage. McIlroy,
• ‘That’s why you see so many more guys                                Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson regularly
winning these days’                                                    encounter that strain, which is said to be sticky and Velcro-like,
                                                                       as members of Jack Nicklaus’s Bear’s Club in Florida.
• Northern Irishman hopes paspalum grass
                                                                          “We practise on paspalum all the time,” McIlroy explained.
will give him edge                                                     “For myself, Luke, Keegan and Dustin, it’s something we are
Ewan Murray at Kiawah Island                                           quite used to. It’s something I have spoken to Luke about,
                                                                       something that the guys who are members of the Bear’s Club
                                                                       might have an advantage because we are used to how it reacts.
                                                                       We practise on that stuff on our off weeks, so it’s actually quite
                                                                          Hope for McIlroy can be traced to the 2010 US PGA at
                                                                       Whistling Straits, also designed by Pete Dye, the creator of
                                                                       Kiawah, at which he tied for third. Johnson was famously
                                                                       leading by a shot with a hole to play but incurred a penalty
                                                                       shot for grounding his club in a sandy patch which was
                                                                       controversially deemed to be a bunker.
                                                                          McIlroy insists he has been more irked at not featuring near
                                                                       the summit of major leaderboards since winning last year’s US
                                                                       Open than his failure to swiftly claim a second win in one of
                                                                       golf’s biggest events. “I’ve hopefully got 25 more years to try
Rory McIlroy believes the majors are becoming a level playing
                                                                       and win major championships,” he added.
field. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images
                                                                          “I’m disappointed that I have not contended since. That’s
Rory McIlroy has risked courting controversy on the eve of             been the disappointing thing. I haven’t given myself even
the US PGA Championship by claiming improved technology                a chance. I was in a good position at the Masters going into
has played a key part in allowing what he described as “lesser         Saturday, shot a bad third round there and sort of blew myself
players” to win major titles.                                          out of contention. It would be great just to give myself a chance
    McIlroy is one of a group of 16 different professionals to win     this week, get into contention and just feel that buzz again of
the past 16 majors. The Northern Irishman aside, within that           getting into contention in a major and remembering how it
number have been several surprise champions.                           feels.” The past 16 majors have produced 16 different winners
    Ernie Els offered an outspoken analysis of that situation last        2012 Open Ernie Els SA
month by claiming people were winning “who could never have               2012 US Open Webb Simpson US
done so 20 years ago”. Older champions, such as Gary Player,              2012 Masters Bubba Watson US
have vehemently stated that technology must be curbed to                  2011 US PGA Keegan Bradley US
stop players at the top of the game hitting the ball as far as they       2011 Open Darren Clarke NI
currently can.                                                            2011 US Open Rory McIlroy NI
    McIlroy, whose honesty in public is one of his most                   2011 Masters Charl Schwartzel SA
endearing qualities, said: “I’m just happy to be part of that             2010 US PGA Martin Kaymer Ger
group of 16. I think the reason it is like this, fields are much          2010 Open Louis Oosthuizen SA
deeper. Partly because the guys have just got better and have             2010 US Open Graeme McDowell NI
worked hard; they are putting more into the game physically,              2010 Masters Phil Mickelson US
mentally, practice, technical, everything.                                2009 US PGA YE Yang Kor
    “But I think one of the big things is the technology. I think 25      2009 Open Stewart Cink US
years ago you had the really good players that could play with            2009 US Open Lucas Glover US
basically anything and nowadays the technology lets maybe                 2009 Masters Angel Cabrera Arg
some of the lesser players catch up with the better players. And          2008 US PGA Padraig Harrington Ire
I think that’s why you see so many more guys winning these

    In recent years, a string of courses – including Augusta
National – have been lengthened or adapted in a bid to counter
advancements in ball and club technology. McIlroy’s comments
are especially notable given his relative youth.
    McIlroy has the winning of a second major in mind as the
championship starts in South Carolina on Thursday. The 23-
                                                                         Fantasy League Classic
year-old expressed frustration with his game at the Open last            Manage a squad of 16 players and a budget
month but showed glimpses of a return to form when finishing             of £75 million. £75,000 worth of prizes to
tied fifth at last weekend’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational. “I feel       be won in weekly, monthly and overall
like I’m playing pretty well,” he said. “If I had to give my season © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                 
Page  G24 Sport                                                                  Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                   entourage-heft and helicopter-quotient they make the Premier
                                                                   League-era England football team look disappointingly prim
USA’s Dream Team move closer to                                    and self-abasing.
basketball destiny at Olympics                                         Australia, though, were worthy opponents, and the
                                                                   early exchanges brought a high-class rat-a-tat of competing
USA will play Argentina in the semi-final                          assaults on the basket. The USA have been a little rattled here
at London 2012 and are closing on a 14th                           by the occasional porousness of their defence, fingered pre-
                                                                   tournament as a notable strength of this very physical team.
basketball gold after beating Australia 119-
                                                                   Plus there was the unexpected scare at the hands of Lithuania
86                                                                 in their previous match. Australia were duly quick out of the
Barney Ronay at North Greenwich Arena                              blocks, drawing level at 12-12 with five minutes gone in the first
                                                                   quarter as the US were penalised for some rough-housing. It
                                                                   was always going to be hard to sustain. By the end of the second
                                                                   quarter the gulf not just in skill-levels but in the striking athletic
                                                                   grace of these elite NBA players was evident as the USA opened
                                                                   up a decisive-looking 56-42 lead.
                                                                       Still there was a sense of restraint about the reigning gold
                                                                   medallists, and for all the reserves of talent on that gilded
                                                                   bench it is clearly not easy being Team USA. Beneath all this
                                                                   there lurks at all times the threat of the Goliath possibility,
                                                                   the potential disaster of defeat. For the neutral it is a quietly
                                                                   thrilling prospect. What could be more Olympian than seeing
                                                                   this juggernaut felled by some hopeful Balkan minnow or,
                                                                   here, the eager Australians? It was this burden of sporting
                                                                   superpower-dom that led to the big bang of NBA player
USA’s LeBron James scores past the Australian forward Mark
                                                                   participation at the Olympics for the first time in 1992. Albeit it
Worthington. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
                                                                   hasn’t all been plain sailing since.
It was, in the end, a performance of fitful dreaminess from the        A bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics led to a refocusing of
USA basketball team as they first subdued and then ultimately      attention, a sense that the splendour of this American macro-
overwhelmed an eager Australia on the way to a 119-86 victory      sport must never be dimmed by such humiliation again. And it
at the North Greenwich Arena. The USA will now play Argentina      is now a familiar fixture of the Olympic experience, the four-
in the Olympic semi-finals, and will approach their preordained    yearly descent from the clouds of these brooding demi-gods of
assault on a 14th Olympic gold medal heartened by the ease         the spotlit court.
with which, when required, they were able to explode into              But is it really Olympic? There remains for many a reluctance
decisive scoring streaks here. At times there were gasps from a    to embrace these great basketballers as great Olympians, no
full-house crowd at the high-speed execution of these dunking      doubt driven by the NBA’s absolute polar opposition to the
deities as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and, at the last, Kobe    notion of amateurism that still hovers vaguely about these
Bryant, produced moments of thrillingly creative athleticism       Games like the unhappy spectre of some departed relative.
close to the hoop.                                                 There is professional sport: and then, veering up into the
    It had seemed fitting that for the Olympic knockout stages     clouds, there is NBA basketball-dom with its attendant
these A-list sporting personages should be relocated from          multimillion dollar contracts, its periphery of solid gold shoes
the pre-fab disappointment of the basketball arena, with its       and fur-lined helicopters.
dimpled white roof reminiscent in texture of a giant human             On the other hand this is simply the way of elite sport now.
heel recently released from half a day spent inside a verruca      Never mind the celebrity gloss, these are athletes who have,
sock.                                                              in the main, risen from genuinely humble beginnings through
    From the start there were huge rolling cheers around           a combination of grand talent and unrelenting dedication. It
this splendid, steeply-banked arena as the USA team came           is rare to find a fellow athlete anything less than delighted to
gambolling out like invading superheroes in their brilliant        share a Games with them, recognition of the peerless talent in
white shell-suit jackets. Flags rippled, chants of “Yoo-Ess-Ay!”   those hallowed squeaky boots.
resounded, and it was hard not to succumb to the chill of event-       They were made to work, though. In the third quarter
glamour that attaches itself to this collection of gracefully      Australia rallied, pulling the gap back to just five points thanks
loping über-athletes.                                              to a hot scoring streak from Pat Mills. Again the USA surged as
    There is a peculiar burden attached to being the USA           required, Deron Williams stacking up the points in the fourth
basketball team, a pressure not just to win, but to win with       quarter to re-claim an ultimately comfortable cushion.
a fitting grandiosity. These are after all the most dazzlingly
celebrified, giddily well-remunerated group of people present
at these Games, a distinction that probably also takes in the
competing massed ranks of the British royal family. For the
unaccustomed observer it is easy to become a little hung
up in the peripheral numbers. This 12-man US team has a
combined worth of $600m, equivalent to the entire GDP of
Samoa. Together they own at least 200 cars. Frankly, in terms of © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

                                                                  400m hurdles race.

London 2012 Olympic Games: 8 August                               In pictures
                                                                     As Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton bid an emotional
— today’s highlights                                              farewell to their Olympic careers, here’s a look back at the tears
                                                                  and triumphs of the past week.
Britain’s Nicola Adams reached the                                What’s on tomorrow
flyweight boxing final but women’s hockey                           Swimming: 12noon at Hyde Park
team lost to Argentina in the semi-finals                           Keri-Anne Payne won silver in the gruelling women’s 10k
All of today’s action — as it happened                            open water marathon in Beijing.
                                                                    Boxing: 4.30pm at the ExCel Arena
                                                                    The first ever Olympic medal given to a female boxer will be
                                                                  awarded after the flyweight final.
                                                                    Men’s 200m final: 8.55pm at the Olympic Stadium
                                                                    For all the hype surrounding Usain Bolt’s 100m demolition in
                                                                  China, this event is actually the Jamaican’s favourite.

                                                                  London 2012: Lawrence Clarke in
                                                                  surprise fourth place in 110m hurdles

                                                                  • American Aries Merritt wins gold
                                                                  • Mo Farah aims for second gold in 5,000m
Nicola Adams, right, in action against India’s Mary Kom.
Photograph: Joe Toth/ Joe Toth/BPI/Corbis                         Anna Kessel at the Olympic Stadium

Please note all times are in BST (EDT+5)
Canoeing: 9.30am at Eton Dorney
   Disappointment for Team GB as Tim Brabants finished last in the final of the 1,000m kayak. Eric Veras
Larsen of Norway got the gold.
Athletics: 10am at Olympic Stadium
    Britain’s Mo Farah came third in a tough 5000m heat, making
it through to Saturday’s final . Daniel Awde ran
a great 100m as the decathlon got under way, recording a new
personal best of 10.71sec, but later pulled out with an injury.
Sophie Hitchon broke the British record with a hammer throw
of 71.98m.
                                                                  Lawrence Clarke (right) dips for the line in the final of the
Boxing: 1.45pm at the ExCeL                                       Olympics 110m hurdles to finish fourth. Photograph: Graeme
   Nicola Adams defeated India’s Mary Kom to       Robertson/Graeme Robertson/NOPP
reach the 51kg final.
                                                                  Sporting a gentleman’s wristwatch on his left arm, Charles
Hockey: 3.30pm at the Riverbank Arena                             Somerset Lawrence Clarke stormed his way to fourth place
   Argentina ended Team GB women hockey team’s golden             in a world-class 110m hurdles final, the first global final of his
dream with a semi-final victory , while New        career. The 22-year-old attended Eton school, is related to the
Zealand beat Netherlands .                         Roosevelt family and is heir to a baronetcy, and he dipped
Women’s 400m hurdles: 8.45pm at the Olympic                       perfectly on the line to clinch a place just outside the medals in
Stadium                                                           a time of 13.39sec.
  Natalya Antyukh won gold for Russia, before sinking to her          The Commonwealth bronze medallist, coached by Malcolm
knees after the finish-line and sobbing uncontrollably.           Arnold alongside the world 400m hurdles champion Dai
                                                                  Greene, came into these Games ranked 20th in the world: to
Women’s 200m: 9pm at the Olympic Stadium
                                                                  finish fourth exceeded all expectations. “I can’t believe it,” he
  American Allyson Felix won ahead of Shelly-
                                                                  said. “If you’d have said you were going to make the semi-final
Ann Fraser-Pryce.
                                                                  I would have taken that. To come fourth in the Olympic Games,
Beach volleyball: 9pm at Horse Guards Parade                      it’s hard to put it into words. I’m on such a high, but I’m just so
   USA pair beat fellow Americans for Olympic      knackered. I feel like I’m about to pass out. It’s the most surreal
beach volleyball gold.                                            feeling. When I crossed the line the crowd went nuts.”
Fun Olympic facts                                                     Clarke set a personal best of 13.31 in the semi-final, keeping
• The women’s hammer weighs 4kg, it must be swung                 his cool as hurdles clattered to the left and right of him, to nail
vigorously and is, aptly, the average weight of a domestic cat.   the last of eight qualifying places for the final. But against a
• 76.2: Height of the 10 hurdles in centimetres in a women’s      world-class field that included both current and former world © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                                      Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

champions, the world record holder and this season’s world No1          know how much it takes out of you. I am definitely tired and I
ranked athlete, Aries Merritt, he had not been expected to make         think it showed out there. The legs didn’t feel great but that is
any impression on the top placings.                                     what happens. Hopefully I will recover well and look forward to
    “It hasn’t sunk in, I don’t think it ever will,” said Clarke, who   the final, forget about what I have done and rest up.”
started hurdling seriously only as a 19-year-old, a fact that he           In the hammer the 21-year-old Sophie Hitchon, who took up
blames on Eton’s emphasis on academic achievement.                      the event only five years ago after spending her teenage years as
    “The last four years have been remarkable, I can’t thank my         a ballet dancer, qualified for Friday’s final with a British record
coach enough – he took me from a 15.3 to 13.3, so that’s just           of 71.98m on her third and final attempt.
fantastic … I haven’t had that strength base that these guys have          Britain will have two competitors in the 1500m final after the
had and I need to be able to pick it up in the middle of the race       world silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey and the 21-year-old Laura
and hopefully over the next four years I’ll be able to do that.         Weightman, the latter coached by Steve Cram, both qualified for
Hopefully I’ll go to the world championships in Beijing in 2015         Friday’s final. Weightman took over a second off her personal
and see what that Olympic track was like and hopefully that will        best – dipping on the line to clinch a time of 4:02.99. Dobriskey,
set me up for 2016 in Rio.                                              the world silver medallist of 2007 who crashed out of last year’s
    “My dream is to win an Olympic gold and the peak age is             world championships in the first round with a hip injury that
26 to 30, so I’m four years off that in the next Olympics. This         required surgery, announced herself to be back in contention on
stadium in 2017 will hopefully be the place I’m targeting the           the global stage with a confident performance in her semi-final,
gold medal in the world championships.”                                 finishing fourth in a time of 4:05.35.
    Merritt, who has been in sensational form all season, set a            In the pole vault Steve Lewis sailed through to the final with
personal best to take Olympic gold in 12.92 into a headwind. His        just one jump, at 5.50m.
USA team-mate, the world champion Jason Richardson, took
silver in 13.04, while Hansle Parchment of Jamaica claimed
bronze in a national record of 13.12. The world record holder,          London 2012: GB cyclists must sustain
Dayron Robles of Cuba, pulled up short with a hamstring injury,         success, says Dave Brailsford
leaving Clarke to battle it out with the 2009 world champion,
Ryan Brathwaite, who finished fifth just 0.01 behind the Briton.
    Elsewhere there was disappointment for the British long
                                                                        The mastermind of Team GB’s record track
jumper Shara Proctor. Despite qualifying in pole position for           medal haul believes throwing money at
the final – nailing 6.83m with her first and only effort – and          cycling is no guarantee of future glory
being billed as a good chance to sneak a medal, the 23-year-old
                                                                        William Fotheringham
who hails from the tiny island of Anguilla struggled to fulfil her
promise on an evening when it really mattered. Under pressure
from the first round after recording a distance of just 6.55m
– well below the British record she set in July of 6.95m – Proctor
never seemed able to recover as the rest of the field grew in
strength. The two-times world champion Brittney Reese of the
USA set the standard with a gold medal-winning jump of 7.12 in
only the second round.
    In contrast, Proctor’s confidence took a battering – she
fouled her second attempt and landed just 6.37 with her third.
Kneeling in the sand, the expression on her face told of her
disappointment. Ahead of these Games Proctor had been full
of confidence after a sensational season in which she broke
the British indoor record three times, won bronze at the world
indoors, and then bettered Bev Kinch’s 1983 outdoor British             Dave Brailsford said the GB cycling team are like a family.
record with a standout performance at the Olympic trials. Sadly,        Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
though, it was not to be. Proctor finished ninth overall.               Putting logic ahead of emotion is what has driven Dave
    Mo Farah says his new status as 10,000m Olympic champion            Brailsford’s cyclists to dominance in the Velodrome, and
has made him a marked man after he was subjected to some                Brailsford has called for the response to Team GB’s record-
serious jostling in his 5,000m heat. “I am definitely a target,”        breaking medal haul to be guided by the same philosophy.
said the 29-year-old. “I am the Olympic champion over 10,000            Above all, the British Cycling Performance Director said that
metres. You just have to accept it. Hopefully the final won’t be        politicians should beware of the knee-jerk reaction of injecting
as rough because we won’t have so many guys. It was really              more cash without careful targeting.
rough. It was like being in the ring with [the British boxer]               “The worry now is that this is the classic situation where
Anthony Ogogo. As soon as they saw me, there was a lot of               everyone comes off this with a wave of emotion which will
barging and pushing.”                                                   drive people’s thinking,” said Brailsford. “That is flawed. We
    Farah finished third in his heat, in 13min 26sec – one of           need to look at how we can sustain success. It’s a huge political
the slower times of the round – and admitted he was weary               opportunity, but it’s not a simple matter of giving more money.
following his 10,000m win.                                              If we are using the money we have as effectively as possible,
    “By the time I got back it was a late night and there was a lot     then we can ask for more. It’s a cheap shot asking for more
of emotion. It is something I had never done before and now I           money.” © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                                    Thursday August 9 2012 00:00 GMT

    Given the priority British Cycling has given to building           total team pursuiting, which meant no Tour de France. And if
its grass roots over recent years, it was no surprise to hear          you’re willing to make that kind of level of sacrifice, you’ll be
Brailsford call for a careful look at converting the nation’s          considered. If not, I think it’s implausible.”
newfound interest in sport into higher participation. “If we               The spirit within the track team is strong, as was exemplified
could collectively think how do we get retention, how do we            by one moment on Monday night, when Jo Rowsell and Dani
make it fun, how do we signpost people to make it very simple.         King could be seen “debriefing” Laura Trott as their team
‘I want to play beach volleyball, where do I go? OK, I go there.’      pursuit team-mate warmed down on the rollers after winning
And there’s a good coaching system, a good child protection            the elimination race en route to her gold medal in the omnium.
system in place, there are people running sport where parents          But Brailsford has always maintained that his team demands
feel confident that their kids can go there and they’re in good        intensity above the norm, making it an uncomfortable place to
hands.                                                                 be. That has not changed.
    “If you can get that nailed then that’s worth investment,              “Our team is not a fluffy group of people. We have our issues.
and that’s what we should be thinking of. Elite sport works            We are like a family in many respects. You do bicker, moan, and
in this country: it doesn’t need anything doing to it. We have         it’s hard to keep everyone together. But ultimately the team
a meritocratic system based on performance directors being             pulled it together when it really matters like it would do for a
given a high degree of autonomy. The BOA should do what they           family. But through that period, you’ve got times when you
do which is run this. UK Sport should issue the funding. Evolve        need to push people hard, to push people out of the comfort
it as you would anything. It’s the bit in the middle that needs        zone. I know from different personal experiences that unless
changing.”                                                             I’m frightened or scared or something, really concerned about
    Reflecting on his track team’s medal haul – which he believes      something . . . If I am, then I work really, really hard.”
represents an unprecedented conversion rate in any sport                   That feeling must have kicked in in the autumn of 2011,
– Brailsford said his team’s relatively low-key performances at        given that Brailsford took extreme measures such as sitting in
world championships from 2009-2011 had lulled the opposition           the stands at the Manchester Velodrome from 7am to observe as
into a false sense of security: “Let’s face it, we haven’t lit it up   the team pursuiters went through their boot camp in November
for four years. We weren’t dominating at the worlds as we had          and December. “One of them told me just now how they didn’t
done previously. All of a sudden they felt, OK, there’s a new          like it.” It clearly worked, and the rest was sporting history.
generation of young Aussie pursuiters coming through, there’s
the German sprinters etc.
    “And they got a lot of success, to be fair to them. It’s great
sitting here having done well at the Olympics, but I can assure
you there’s been track meetings in various parts of the world,
most of them grim, where it’s been absolutely excruciating to
stand in the middle of that track and watch other teams win and
perform better than we have.”
    He repeated that back in 2011, after the European
championships he had been “really, really worried” about the
team’s progress, and said that if one performance marked the
moment when the team laid the foundation stone of their

dominance here, it might be the men’s team pursuit final at the
world championship in Melbourne in April. “Melbourne was
the most important part of the cycle, we figured if we wanted
to deliver here we had to go and deliver a body blow to the
opposition, then build on that, set this performance up. The
team pursuiters won by a hundredth of a second, they were
dying in the last four laps, the Australians were coming back at         Mystified by mortgages?
them. The boost was incredible.”
    Both Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have said that
                                                                         Perplexes by pensions?
they would like to return to the British track squad for the Rio         Confused about your consumer
Games but in Brailsford’s view those hopes are vague and their
star status will offer them no guarantees. “I think if they both
want to do it, they’ve got to train hard to do it, because it won’t      Our experts are on hand to
be easy to get in that team in four years’ time and I think you’ve       answer all kinds of financial
got to get in on merit. We want the fastest guys for the job. If
they want to come and have a go, they can come and have a                and legal questions, so you
go but they’ll have to prepare properly and be one of the four           don’t need to be baffled any
    “Frankly, I think it would be very difficult to prepare. If you      more. Read their advice, or put
look at how Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh prepared to                a question to them, at
break the world record twice here, that took some doing. They
both rode the Giro, the start of the season was dedicated to the
World Cups and team pursuiting. They went from the Giro into © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              

To top