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London 2012: Chris Hoy and Laura Trott
make it Britain’s golden Games
Scottish cyclist surpasses Sir Steve Redgrave in last Olympic race,
while 20-year-old Trott bags second gold in velodrome Page 2

London 2012: Alistair and Jonny Brownlee
take triathlon gold and bronze
Alistair Brownlee won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon with
his younger brother Jonny taking bronze after a time penalty
Page 3

London 2012 sees Britain bask in its most
golden glow since 1908
A triumph of funding, management and performance is largely
responsible for our stunning and extraordinary Olympic success
Page 4

Taoufik Makhloufi                            Team GB’s Carl Hester                        Olympics 2012: Brazil           Eoin Morgan thrives
wins Olympic gold                            determined to shed                           reach football final by         for England Lions
24 hours after                               dressage of elitist                          beating South Korea             against Australia A
disqualification Page 5                      image Page 7                                 Page 9                          Page 11

Tiger Woods insists                          London 2012: Sally                           London 2012: Fred
he can catch Jack                            Pearson’s dream                              Evans edges out Custio
Nicklaus in major                            comes true in 100m                           Clayton as Andrew
victories Page 6                             hurdles triumph Page 8                       Selby falls Page 10 © 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                                                                 Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

                                                                      German rider Maximilian Levy. The noise that greeted his
                                                                      success was immense even by the standards of the velodrome,
London 2012: Chris Hoy and Laura Trott                                where support for British competitors has been at its most
make it Britain’s golden Games                                        intense.
                                                                          So the track team left the premises having won seven gold
Scottish cyclist surpasses Sir Steve Redgrave                         medals from their 10 events, exactly matching their total in
in last Olympic race, while 20-year-old Trott                         Beijing even though cycling’s international governing body
                                                                      had changed the rules in an attempt to reduce the chances of
bags second gold in velodrome
                                                                      one nation dominating the competition. The officials removed
Richard Williams                                                      events in which Britain was strong and restricted each country
                                                                      to one competitor per event in order to avoid Hoy and Kenny
                                                                      meeting in the sprint final, as they did in Beijing.
                                                                          It made no difference, except to Britain’s total of lesser
                                                                      medals. This time there was only Pendleton’s silver and a
                                                                      bronze for Ed Clancy in the men’s omnium to put against the
                                                                      Beijing haul of three silvers and two bronze. But there is no
                                                                      longer any doubt that, to general bemusement within the sport,
                                                                      Britain has become the world’s No 1 cycling nation.
                                                                          You know you’re doing well at cycling when you beat the
                                                                      French, for whom it is a national sport. And you know you’re
                                                                      doing really well when they start accusing you of cheating,
                                                                      as they did this week. After a series of defeats at the hands
                                                                      of Britain in recent days, their technical director, Isabelle
                                                                      Gautheron, muttered about the home team’s aerodynamic disc
Chris Hoy won his sixth gold medal to become Britain’s most
                                                                      wheels, which she claimed were not the same as those used by
successful Olympian. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images
                                                                      other riders. Maybe, she suggested, the discs hid some sort of
Britain’s all-conquering track cyclists did not have the honour       speed-enhancing device, like a spring.
of winning the gold medal that took the home team past the                “The secret of our wheels,” Brailsford retorted, “is that
Beijing total of 19 on Tuesday. That went to the hitherto unsung      they’re round”. His reply appeared to be taken seriously by
dressage riders. But on their last day in the velodrome the           French journalists, who immediately started wondering how
cyclists did secure numbers 21 and 22, giving Britain the biggest     the British technicians had discovered a way to make bicycle
haul since the Games were first held in London – although, even       wheels more round.
with five days of competition to go, the 1908 total of 56 gold            Other French observers noted the British attention to detail,
medals is likely to remain out of reach.                              and the effectiveness with which the team’s managers had
    There were starring roles for two riders at opposite ends of      exploited their relatively generous financial resources. Some
their careers: the 36-year-old Sir Chris Hoy, winning the sixth       pointed to the low-necked skinsuits with more open necks, like
gold of his career in the keirin to surpass the total amassed         swimming gear, and to a new front-fork design, revealed on the
by Sir Steve Redgrave, and the 20-year-old Laura Trott, who           eve of the Games, too late for others to copy.
bagged a second gold of the 2012 Games in the omnium.                     “They always have new stuff,” the French sprinter Kevin
    The only disappointment came with the defeat of Victoria          Sireau complained. “We get it later.”
Pendleton in the women’s match sprint. The 31-year-old                    The gold rush in Beijing brought the cyclists to wider
defending champion went into sporting retirement with a               attention, and it came as the culmination of a plan devised 15
final defeat at the hands of her old rival Anna        years ago by Peter Keen, then British Cycling’s performance
Meares of Australia, after being deprived by the judges of a win      director. Keen’s strategy was refined by his successor, Dave
by a thousandth of a second in the first race of the best-of-three    Brailsford, who also set up Team Sky with the ambition of
series when she was seen to have strayed outside the red line         putting a British rider in the Tour de France winner’s yellow
which the leading rider must not cross in the closing stages.         jersey within five years. This summer the nation celebrated as
Meares won the second race convincingly to restrict a tearful         Bradley Wiggins hit that target two years ahead of schedule.
Pendleton to the silver medal.                                            Add last year’s world championship win for Mark Cavendish
    Hoy said farewell to the Olympic arena 12 years after his         and various other successes under his aegis, and the 48-year-
debut in Sydney, where he secured a silver medal in the               old Brailsford – born in Derby, brought up in Wales, and with
team sprint. A gold in Athens was followed by three more              an undistinguished riding career of his own — has a claim to
in Beijing, earning him a knighthood. Last Thursday he                be called the most successful team manager in the history of
was part of Britain’s winning trio in the team sprint, but on         British sport.
Monday he could only watch from the sidelines – and tweet                 Unlike Keen, who guided the career of Chris Boardman,
his congratulations – as his young friend and team mate Jason         Brailsford is not a coach. He is a meticulous organiser who hires
Kenny, selected ahead of him in the individual sprint, took the       talented coaches and encourages them to think imaginatively,
gold medal.                                                           searching for ideas from unrelated areas of sport and industry.
    Tuesday’s keirin represented the lion’s final roar, a victory         It was Brailsford who, four years ago, first dropped the key
taken in his classic style. With two of the six laps to go Hoy slid   phrase “aggregation of marginal gains” into a conversation
to the front of the field of half a dozen riders and produced         with the Guardian’s cycling correspondent, while attempting to
an extra kick on the final bend to dismiss the challenge of the © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

explain the team’s philosophy of making small improvements
add up to a significant gain in performance. On Tuesday he
could be heard patiently going through it again on breakfast
                                                                     London 2012: Alistair and Jonny
TV, itemising some of the details to which the team pay special      Brownlee take triathlon gold and bronze
attention, such as the electrically heated “hot pants” that kept
the leg muscles of Hoy and Pendleton warm between the races,         • Alistair shreds field to win Olympic
inspired by Formula One’s tyre warmers.                              triathlon by 11 seconds
    Later he was to be seen in his usual position at the centre
                                                                     • Jonny Brownlee overcomes time penalty
of the velodrome, the lights glinting off his shaved head as he
swivelled constantly to watch his riders circulating around the
                                                                     to take bronze
track. He was delighted by the success of Trott, who was born        Robert Booth in Hyde Park
in Harlow, 20 miles from the Olympic Park, and who set an
example for her seniors to follow. Trott’s rampaging head-to-
head victory over Sarah Hammer in the 500m time trial gave
her victory in the six-event omnium, cycling’s equivalent of the
    To anyone under the impression that winning now comes
easily to Britain’s track cyclists, Pendleton’s defeat provided a
    For a few seconds in her first race against Meares, who she
beat in the Beijing final, track cycling became a contact sport as
the two riders hurtled towards the finish line, elbow banging
against elbow. The outcome meant that Pendleton was denied
the third gold medal that would have made her Britain’s most
decorated female Olympian.
                                                                     Britain’s Alistair Brownlee celebrates with the Union flag while
    Instead the first British female bike racer to pose for
                                                                     crossing the finish line to win the men’s triathlon. Photograph:
the covers of men’s magazines and to exploit her looks in
                                                                     Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images
advertisements for beauty products leaves a sport into which
she was coaxed by an ambitious father and with which she             Alistair Brownlee won Team GB’s 19th gold medal of the
always had an ambivalent relationship.                               London 2012 Games on Tuesday lunchtime, absolutely
    And so silence fell over the velodrome, which will not           dominating a gruelling triathlon in Hyde Park.
reopen for business until 2013. A curvaceous £93m masterpiece,           The 24-year-old world champion won the three-stage event
surely representing the best pound-for-pound value of                in a time of 1hr 45min 25sec in front of huge crowds who packed
the entire London Olympics project, it will be the home to           the banks of the Serpentine and the fields of the royal park.
generations of young riders inspired by what they have seen in           His victory, yet another for a Yorkshire athlete
the past week. Hoy and Pendleton may be gone, but theirs is a        p/39gdk , brought Great Britain’s gold haul for 2012 level with
genuine legacy .                                      Beijing in 2008.
                                                                         Jonny Brownlee, Alistair’s 22-year old brother, finished in
                                                                     third place to take bronze. He had to take a 15-second penalty

                                                                     after the third lap of the run after mounting his bike a fraction
                                                                     too early after the 1.5km swim.
                                                                         He came out of the penalty 27 seconds behind the silver
                                                                     medallist, Spain’s Javier Gómez, so it probably made no
                                                                     difference to the placings.
                                                                         Alistair Brownlee, considered the most dominant triathlete
                                                                     in the sport’s 38-year history, crossed the line to huge cheers 11
  From Beirut to Big Brother,                                        seconds ahead of Gómez.
  Murdoch to Millionaire,                                                As he entered the finishing line he picked up a Union flag and

  discuss the hot topics in the                                      walked over the line to huge cheers. A big smile spread across
                                                                     his face and he lay on the floor to recover.
  media on not one, but two blogs                                        Earlier this year his participation in the London Games

  Organ Grinder and Greenslade                                       looked in doubt when he tore his achilles tendon and he ran
                                                                     only one major race this year.                                                  Gómez pushed Alistair Brownlee hard throughout and
  organgrinder/                                                      stayed with the winner until the final lap, but the winner’s race
                                                                     was masterful and aggressive. He was in the leading group from                                              the moment the competitors turned around the first buoy in the
  greenslade/                                                        1.5km open water swim and set the pace, along with his brother
                                                                     and Team GB’s third athlete, Stuart Hayes, in the 43km bike ride
                                                                     around Hyde Park and past Buckingham Palace.
                                                                         Hayes, not Britain’s third-best triathlete, was selected to
                                                                     support the Brownlees as a “domestique” to some controversy, © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

but he played his part. The brothers started well in the swim            At the transition into the 10km run the group stayed
as the 56 competitors plunged into the chilly Serpentine. They        together, but the Brownlees slipped on their running shoes
chose pontoon positions at the opposite end to Gómez, the             fast and set off in third and fourth places and they hit the front
double world champion.                                                immediately with Gómez tucked in behind them as they passed
    Gómez stormed ahead forming an arrow-head formation               the Diana Memorial.
with France’s David Hauss and Laurent Vidal and Russia’s                 By the third lap of four the leading three were 25 seconds
Dmitry Polyanskiy, all in the top 10 qualifiers. Alistair and Jonny   ahead of the next fastest runner, but then Jonny Brownlee
Brownlee tucked into a separate group 50m north, and after the        started to struggle with the pace his brother and Gómez were
first turn around the yellow inflatable buoy, the toughest part       setting.
of the swim where the field bunched tightly and bruisingly, the          Gómez versus Alistair Brownlee would be the gold medal
Brownlees were just five metres off the pace swimming joint           race. Then on the south shore of the Serpentine Alistair tried
fifth, stroke for stroke alongside each other as they have done       to stretch his lead over the Spaniard, but he would not allow
so often in training.                                                 him to go and kept him within a couple of seconds. By the end,
    Jonny Brownlee climbed out of the Serpentine fourth behind        Gómez faded and Brownlee could walk the final yards across
the Slovakian Richard Varga who finished the swim in 16.56m,          the line.
ahead of Gómez and the Italian Alessandro Fabian.
    Alistair Brownlee was sixth, just eight seconds behind, and
they ran quickly through the transition, peeling off their wet        London 2012 sees Britain bask in its
suits and running barefoot onto their bikes to which their shoes      most golden glow since 1908
were already attached.
    Setting off at a searing pace down South Carriage Drive
towards Hyde Park Corner, five of the world’s best triathletes
                                                                      A triumph of funding, management and
formed a breakaway group with Jonny Brownlee making the               performance is largely responsible for
pace first down Constitution Hill towards Buckingham Palace in        our stunning and extraordinary Olympic
front of heaving crowds.                                              success
    With him were Gómez, Varga, Fabian and his brother Alistair.
                                                                      Barney Ronay
The pace immediately appeared to take its toll as Canada’s
Simon Whitfield, the 2004 Olympic champion and silver
medallist in Beijing, lost his footing on his bike and collided
with the Costa Rican Leonardo Chacon, taking both men
crashing down.
    By the second lap the leading group stretched to an
18-second lead over the chasing pack, which included the
defending champion from Germany, Jan Frodeno, and Hayes.
    By the third lap as the field powered through the Wellington
Arch, the gap was down to just five seconds, showing just how
hard it is on this flat Olympic course to create a decisive lead on
the bikes.
    When the groups converged, the Team GB strategy kicked in
as Hayes immediately hit the front, driving the pace and Alistair
Brownlee leant forward and urged him to go for it. Hayes              Triathlete Alistair Brownlee won the gold medal that equalled
stepped up the speed in the aggressive way the Brownlees              the modern Olympic record. Photograph: Tom Jenkins
planned to race.
                                                                      Do not adjust your medal table: this really is happening.
    But now Frodeno and other threats were back in a leading
                                                                      Beleaguered by security blather, troubled at times by its own
group that numbered 22. As the Brownlees completed their
                                                                      unfathomable ticket regime, the London 2012 Olympic Games
third lap, the British riders were first second and third, and
                                                                      has now delivered gloriously and unanswerably where it really
slowed the pace slightly to conserve legs for the run while
remaining positioned to cover any breakaways.
                                                                          Gold medals on Tuesday afternoon in triathlon, dressage and
    Then news came through that Jonny had received a 15-
                                                                      – you again? – cycling, took Britain’s medal table tally decisively
second penalty for mounting his bike too early at the transition,
                                                                      past the 19 golds achieved in Beijing four years ago. It is the
sparking tactical discussions among the Team GB athletes as
                                                                      best British gold medal tally at any Olympics since London’s
they led the race into Hyde Park Corner.
                                                                      White City Games in 1908, when deer shooting and the tug of
    It was becoming clear that the medals would be decided in
                                                                      war were among the medals on offer. To give a more telling
the run, during which Jonny Brownlee would have to take the
                                                                      perspective on a vertiginous achievement, as recently as the
penalty. As the leading group passed the main stadium on the
                                                                      1996 Atlanta Games, Britain won just a single gold – in rowing.
hour mark Alistair glided through in eighth pace, keeping the
                                                                          After a weekend of giddily received track and field success,
pressure off the pedals, preserving his legs.
                                                                      the start of the Games’ final week had already brought a reprise
    Then on the next lap, pulling up Constitution Hill, Alistair
                                                                      of that rather disorientating golden glow. Monday’s equine
Brownlee hammered the pedals down and made a breakaway
                                                                      and cycle-based exploits had left the gold tally just one short
to sap his competitors legs ahead of the run and they duly
                                                                      of Beijing’s intoxicatingly grand haul overnight. Such are
followed him closing the gap in less than a minute.
                                                                      Team GB’s current riches that the card for Tuesday’s Olympic © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page 5 G24 Sport                                                                  Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

competition almost felt like a race within a race, a sprint for the   consigned to taking a silver medal in the final race of her career.
wire to claim that historic 20th gold medal.                          As she bowed in tears to all sides of the Velodrome there was,
    In the event it was the triathlete Alistair Brownlee who          however, the consolation of departing as arguably the greatest
won the gold that equalled the modern record           British sportswoman ever, with her swag-bag of nine world
, taking first place in Hyde Park ahead of his brother Johnny.        championships and two Olympic gold medals.
It was a fitting triumph at these Games, an event staged in the          The obvious question, as Britain’s sports fans peer,
heart of London in front of 200,000 ticketed and unticketed           replete, down the Olympic medal table, waving to the lowly
spectators, and taking in one of the few open active green            powerhouses of Germany and Australia, is how exactly did all
spaces in the heart of this cramped and burdened, but still           this happen? As ever, the main reason is money, combined with
seethingly sport-centric city. Brownlee’s was a hugely popular        a perfect storm of youthful talent in the right disciplines. It is
19th gold after an awesome display of endurance athletics             no coincidence that improvement began almost immediately
by the 24-year-old Yorkshireman. Despite slowing slightly to          after Lottery funding was first introduced into Olympic sport
bask in the applause his time for the 10,000 metres was just          a year after the single-gold Olympics of Atlanta. At the Sydney
80 seconds down on Mo Farah’s gold-medal winning effort               Games in 2000 Britain won 11 golds, as they did again in Athens
in Stratford on Saturday. Mind you, Brownlee had just swum            in 2004. Then came Beijing, on the back of £235m investment in
1500m and cycled a marathon.                                          infrastructure and training over a four-year cycle.
    And then all eyes turned to the Velodrome at the Olympic             The numbers have been similar here. Combined with the
Park, that gorgeous piece of urban sporting design with its           stunning results of London 2012 it amounts to a very public
flipped-pancake roof and alluring coil of lacquered pine track.       triumph of funding, management and performance. For now
It is the most striking emblem of the reinvigoration of British       the vexatious issues of legacy and the continuing sale of school
Olympic sport. With newly enthroned two-wheel royalty                 sports fields can wait just a little bit. It has, after seven years of
Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton both in action in the            rather fraught Olympic preparation, been an extraordinarily
afternoon there would surely be no more fitting stage for the         golden six days.
cracking of the 20-gold barrier.
    Except it didn’t turn out like that. Instead, three miles south
in the shadow of the Queen’s house in Greenwich Park it was           Taoufik Makhloufi wins Olympic gold
the British dressage team who surged through to take the              24 hours after disqualification
decisive gold. There are those who will suggest dressage, an
affair of immaculately top-hatted sideways galloping, might
not represent the most fitting symbol of an Olympic sporting
                                                                      • Algerian had been thrown out for not
legacy. They might perhaps even opine that the likelihood             trying in 800m
that the streets of Britain will now be thronged with boys and        • Makhloufi romps clear of the chasing
girls parading their show-horses up and down the kerbs until          pack to win 1500m
teatime is remote. But this was a genuinely fine achievement, a
                                                                      Robert Kitson at the Olympic Stadium
first ever gold in this most exacting of horse-based disciplines.
    It is a common misconception that equine sports are only for
the posh, the landed and the horsey, but many of the best riders
are everyday people. The gold-winning dressage team featured
the daughter of a German billionaire, a former farmhand from
Sark and a woman from Enfield. Greenwich has been perhaps
the most picturesque venue at these Olympics, a park designed
for Henry VIII to hunt deer. There was a sense of jubilee-ish
pageantry to the celebrations afterwards, with Princess Anne,
who really does seem to have been lucky with her ticket
application at these Games, leading the cheers.
    It was then time for the astonishingly accomplished British
cycling team to begin putting clear water between London 2012
and the best efforts of four years ago. By 5.40pm there was a
21st rendition of the new dual national anthem — God Save The         Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria wins gold in the men’s 1500m.
Queen followed by David Bowie’s impossibly moving Heroes              Photograph: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
– at the Velodrome as Laura Trott won gold in the Omnium.
                                                                      It would make a decent HM Bateman cartoon: The Man Who
This was a brilliantly nerveless victory for Trott, who beat the
                                                                      Won Olympic Gold After Being Thrown Out For Not Trying.
American Sarah Hammer in the final pursuit, a hugely popular
                                                                      Actually, it is a good story on all sorts of levels. Barely 24 hours
second gold in London for the 20-year-old from Essex, who was
                                                                      after he was excluded from the Games for what many saw as a
born with a collapsed lung, later diagnosed with asthma, and
                                                                      lack of moral fibre, Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi won the men’s
who took up cycling on the advice of her doctor.
                                                                      1500m title at an almost embarrassing canter. Idle perceptions
    Once again the world had turned a peculiar shade of British
                                                                      have rarely been confounded so swiftly and utterly.
gold, the texture of Olympic sport so bizarrely altered at these
                                                                          Those Chinese badminton players chucked out for
Games that it was almost a shock when Victoria Pendleton was
                                                                      deliberately underperforming last week will wonder afresh
beaten by Australia’s Anna Meares in the final of the women’s
                                                                      whether the rules are being applied entirely evenly across the
sprint shortly after Trott’s medal ceremony. Pendleton was
                                                                      board. Unlike them, Makloufi was reprieved by the authorities © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                 
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having initially been excluded from the Olympics for making           missing out on the greatest day of his life because of an opaque
only a cursory effort in Monday’s 800m heat, raising all kinds of     “rule” which seems open to question on a number of levels. Did
conflicting questions.                                                Usain Bolt try his hardest in the 200m heats? It mattered not
    The International Association of Athletics Federations had        because he still finished first. If the cardinal sin is actively trying
initially taken a dim view of the Algerian’s 800m performance,        not to win, where does that leave, say, “joke” bowling in cricket
in which he jogged barely 150m before opting to drop out and          to try to set up a declaration?
wander back across the infield. “The referee considered he had            The British sprint canoeist Richard Jefferies finished a
not provided a bona fide effort and decided to exclude him from       distant last in his 1000m single canoe semi-final on Monday,
participation in all further events in the competition,” said an      admitting he was saving himself for his 200m C1 sprint later
IAAF statement.                                                       this week. No one claimed that was disgraceful or demanded
    Locog, however, later released a statement confirming the         his expulsion. Makhloufi, if we are being brutally honest, was
disqualification had been revoked after a medical certificate         simply attempting to improve his chances of winning the one
was supplied by a local doctor suggesting he had a knee               that really mattered to him. To say he has had the last laugh
problem. Makhloufi had clearly not wanted to race in the 800m,        would be an understatement.
particularly after qualifying impressively for the 1,500m final.
His judgment, which had looked distinctly suspect, suddenly
appears sharper than anyone else’s.                                   Tiger Woods insists he can catch Jack
    He was certainly trying this time, going off fastest and          Nicklaus in major victories
muscling his way past fellow runners on two or three occasions
to ensure he remained in the leading bunch. Then, with one lap
to go, he took off like a bullet, laying waste the field from 200m
                                                                      • American without major win for four
out to win comfortably in 3min 34.08sec. Leonel Manzano               years
of the United States won the silver in a time of 3:47.79, with        • He hopes barren run can end in US PGA
Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider taking bronze. The defending              this weekend
Olympic champion, Asbel Kiprop, was prominent in the early
                                                                      Ewan Murray at Kiawah Island
stages but finished last after suffering a hamstring problem.
    Not surprisingly, the former double Olympic 1500m
champion Seb Coe rightly described it as “a funny race”. The
rest of the field either got it tactically wrong or had been lulled
into a false sense of security. “I’m really surprised as to why
those guys let it run at such a slow pace when they knew that
Makhloufi had such a strong finish,” said Coe. “They played
into his hands.”
    And the knee problem? Let’s just say it didn’t look life-
threatening. Not since the West Indian opener Gordon
Greenidge, who used to develop a limp as a prelude to hitting
the ball even harder than he did when fully fit, has an injury
appeared to have such a positive effect on the supposed
patient. Given he did not so much as rub it when he pulled out
on Monday, it is a highly unusual medical case. “Every person         Tiger Woods practises at Kiawah Island for this week’s latest
who wins a race forgets about his aches and pains,” retorted          major. Photograph: Mathieu Belanger/Reuters
Makhloufi airily. “I was told that competing might be a bit
                                                                      He may be in the midst of preparations for the tournament
dangerous for me. Being thrown out did not have a huge affect
                                                                      nicknamed “Glory’s last shot” but Tiger Woods has insisted
on my morale. Following the medical test it was proven I was
                                                                      time remains firmly on his side as he strives to match or better
suffering from a knee injury and I was allowed to compete.”
                                                                      Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major titles.
    Back in the champion’s birthplace, Souk Ahras, in the north
                                                                          Woods sits four adrift of Nicklaus in major wins and the
of Algeria, they will not care about such technicalities. The
                                                                      36-year-old is without a victory in one of golf’s biggest events
word “ahra” translates as lion, a reference to the Barbary lions
                                                                      since the 2008 US Open. The former world No1’s quest to end
which lurked in the neighbouring forests until their extinction
                                                                      that barren run continues at this week’s US PGA Championship,
in 1930. There is also a track record of 1500m success in the
                                                                      which begins in South Carolina on Thursday.
country, Noureddine Morceli having also won gold in the same
                                                                          On Tuesday Woods made it clear he still has Nicklaus in his
event in Atlanta in 1996. “Anyone would dream of following
                                                                      sights but he is prepared to take the long run at his ambition. “I
Morceli,” said his successor. “I’m very happy to have won and
                                                                      figure it’s going to take a career,” Woods said. “It’s going to take
all Algerians will be too.”
                                                                      a long time. Jack didn’t finish his run until he was 46, so if you
    Those raising eyebrows at his sharp improvement this year,
                                                                      go by that timetable, I have 10 more years. Four more majors is a
during which he has shaved 2.5sec off his personal best, were
                                                                      lot but I’ve got plenty of time. With the training regimes that we
also given short shrift, with a new coach and huge dedication
                                                                      have now and seeing other guys play well, you can get on the
being cited as the crucial factors: “For seven months I have not
                                                                      right golf course and contend. We can play late in our careers
seen my family. They’ve only been able to see me in TV. I’ve
                                                                      because of our training and also getting the right golf course.
been working hard since I was 15.”
                                                                          “There’s so many guys with a chance to win. The margin is
    The fact remains, nevertheless, that he came close to
                                                                      getting smaller. The scores between the leader and the guy who © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                  
Page  G24 Sport                                                               Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

is tied 70th is sometimes 10 shots or less, which is amazing. It
seems like that at every tour event, which wasn’t always the
case; that gap would be 14, 15 shots.”
                                                                    Team GB’s Carl Hester determined to
    Woods has won three times already this year on the PGA          shed dressage of elitist image
Tour and tied for third at last month’s Open Championship and
the American former world No1 believes he is making headway         Rider from Sark believes Britain’s Olympic
towards securing victory in a major. “I was there at the US Open    gold medal – its first ever – can take sport to
after two days and I was right there with a chance at the Open,”
                                                                    new level
Woods recalled. “Things have progressed but, still, not winning
a major championship doesn’t feel very good.                        Stephen Moss
    “In the last couple of years, my game was not where it is at
now. This year I have won three times and it has been a pretty
good year. I’ve been there with a chance to win a few more. It’s
been totally different; physically my game is way different than
what it was last year.”
    Woods did concede that claiming majors is tougher now
than a decade ago, when he was the holder of both the Masters
and US Open. “There are more players with a chance now,” he
added. “The fields are much more deep than they used to be.”
    In keeping with his long-term outlook, Woods reiterated
his hopes of being part of a United States team at the 2016
Olympics. Golf will return to the Games in Rio. “I hopefully will
have been able to qualify at that point in time,” said Woods.
“It’ll be exciting to be able to represent our country like that,
                                                                    Carl Hester learned to ride on bareback donkey in Sark. ‘My
go down to Brazil and do something that hasn’t been there
                                                                    parents aren’t horsey – they can’t stand horses, actully,’ he
in a long time. We would want to represent our country and,
                                                                    says. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
whatever country we are from, represent it well.”
                                                                    The painting of a postbox in honour of Carl Hester’s win,
                                                                    alongside Laura Bechtolsheimer and Charlotte Dujardin, in the
                                                                    team dressage at Greenwich Park on Tuesday is going to be a
                                                                    little more complicated than for other contestants.
                                                                        Hester comes from Sark in the Channel Islands, where the
                                                                    Royal Mail’s writ does not run. But Guernsey Post, which is
                                                                    responsible for postal services on the island, has said it will
                                                                    follow the Royal Mail’s lead and paint Sark’s only postbox
                                                                    – currently blue – the appropriately celebratory colour.
                                                                        Hester’s background is very unusual. He learned to ride on
                                                                    Sark, which has no cars, by riding on donkeys, and insists that
                                                                    his success gives the lie to the assertion that dressage is an
                                                                    inherently elitist sport. His argument is significant because, if
                                                                    dressage is to build a legacy from winning gold at Greenwich, it
                                                                    will need to recast its image.
                                                                        “My parents aren’t horsey – they can’t stand horses,
                                                                    actually,” he said after receiving his medal, “so that makes it

                                                                    even more ridiculous that I’ve ended up on this route. The three
                                                                    of us come from totally different backgrounds. It’s amazing I
                                                                    learned to balance and ride on a bareback donkey; Charlotte
                                                                    came through the showing world [riding ponies in shows]; and
                                                                    Laura did everything across all the equestrian disciplines before
                                                                    she took up dressage.”
  Compare and buy                                                       Hester and Dujardin come from unmoneyed backgrounds,
                                                                    but Bechtolsheimer is the German-born granddaughter of a
  Use our free independent                                          multimillionaire who made his fortune in property, and her
  comparison services to switch                                     father has made a huge investment in the sport. Nonetheless,

  suppliers and save money on                                       Hester insisted it was hard work, not money that got him and
                                                                    his team-mates to the top.
  all your household bills.                                             “I grew up on Sark, the most ridiculously small island,” he                                             said. “I left home at 16, said I wanted to go to England and do
                                                                    horses, and worked as a groom for many, many years. There’s
  compareandbuy                                                     a story up here that any kid could aspire to. You have to have
                                                                    the right opportunities and you have to find your way, but the
                                                                    obvious answer is that hard work and dedication paid off for all © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                               Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

three of us.”
   Hester believes the gold – Britain’s first ever dressage medal
after decades of domination by Germany and the Netherlands
                                                                    London 2012: Sally Pearson’s dream
– can take the sport in the UK to a new level. “It’s shot it into   comes true in 100m hurdles triumph
a different league,” he said. But the sport has work to do to
shake off its moneyed, top-hatted image. Ann Romney’s               • Sally Pearson wins Australia’s fourth gold
ownership of the dressage horse Rafalca, which was eliminated       of Games
from the individual competition at Greenwich after posting
                                                                    • Defending champion Dawn Harper
a disappointing score, has caused difficulties for her husband
Mitt, the Republican presidential hopeful.
                                                                    beaten into second
   The Democrats have used the horse as a stick with which to       Andy Bull at the Olympic Stadium
beat him, forcing him to distance himself from his wife’s hobby,
and US comedians have had a field day with what is widely seen
as a sport that enshrines wealth and privilege.
   Satirist Stephen Colbert mocked claims made by Rafalca’s
rider, Jan Ebeling, that dressage was not exclusively a sport
for the well-heeled. “It’s something you can do with a normal
budget,” said Colbert. “Yeah, it’s really all about budgeting.
You cut out a couple of lattes a week. By the end of the month,
you’ve got yourself a $3m Dutch warmblood.”
   Claire Shand of the British Equestrian Federation said
dressage’s reputation as the preserve of the wealthy was
undeserved. “Dressage is accessible,” she argued. “You don’t
have to throw yourself over massive fences, and you don’t need
a big, expensive horse to do it. Winning here will be amazing for
                                                                    Sally Pearson celebrates after winning the gold medal in the
the sport.”
                                                                    100m hurdles. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images
                                                                    For an agonising moment no one knew who had won the
                                                                    women’s 100m hurdles. On the other side of the world, millions
                                                                    of Australians leaned forward on the edge of their seats, waiting
                                                                    for the results to flash up on the screen. And at last they came:
                                                                    first, and the gold, to Sally Pearson, in an Olympic record of
                                                                    12.35sec. It was only Australia’s fourth gold of the Games.
                                                                    Pearson collapsed to the track, ecstatic. USA’s Dawn Harper,
                                                                    the deposed champion, had the good grace to clap her hands in
                                                                    appreciation of her rival.
                                                                        It was Harper’s dip for the line that caused that all that
                                                                    discomfort down under. She had been a yard behind Pearson
                                                                    coming off the final hurdle, but closed as they came up to
                                                                    the line. She dipped, Pearson did not, and it almost cost the
                                                                    Australian. The gap between them was just 0.02. “When I
                                                                    crossed the line I thought, ‘Darn it, I think I may have got her’,”
                                                                    Harper said, “and then when I saw her collapse to the ground I
                                                                    thought, ‘Darn it’ again, ‘she’s happy, so she must have won’.”

                                                                        Harper was a little less polite about her USA rival Lolo Jones,
                                                                    whose good looks and blunt words attract an awful lot of
                                                                    attention. “I feel like I kind of shut some people up,” she said. “
                                                                    You got to talk about Dawn a little bit.”
                                                                        Jones was back in fourth. Kellie Wells was third and, like
                                                                    Harper, she ran a personal best. Pearson came perilously close
  The Guardian digital edition                                      to losing, which would have been a serious shock given that she

  Read the Guardian on the web                                      had won 32 races in a row until she lost to Wells at Crystal Palace
                                                                    three weeks ago. That, she said, had been a welcome wake-up
  exactly the way it was printed.                                   call. “It’s been a dream of mine for 12 years since I watched
  With award-winning Guardian                                       Cathy Freeman take gold in Sydney,” Pearson said, still amazed
                                                                    at what she had just done. “I saw that, and I was like ‘I want it’.”
  photography accessible from                                       Now she has it.
  anywhere in the world.                                                One dream made, another dashed. That is how it goes at the
                                                                    Olympic Games. In the morning session Liu Xiang, the 2004                                     Olympic champion, crashed into the first hurdle of the men’s
                                                                    110m heats and tumbled to the track. It brought back sickening
                                                                    memories of the moment four years ago, when, billed as the © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                                 Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

face of the Games, he withdrew from the event after taking his        Ji Dong-won and Kim Hyun-sung, and should have led before
place on the blocks. Then, the shock of it silenced the stadium       Neymar, Oscar and Leandro found their imperious rhythm.
and stunned a nation. This time, in a wonderful if eccentric              Kim Hyun-sung had a back-post header hacked clear by
display of grit, Xiang got back up, tucked his injured right leg up   Sandro after a fine turn in the area by Nam Tae-hee and was
underneath him, and hopped all the way to the finish.                 put through by a lovely chip from Ji. A brave header beyond
   Great Britain’s Andy Turner helped him across the line.            the Brazil goalkeeper, Gabriel, lacked the pace to cross the line
“What Liu Xiang did today reflected the true Olympic spirit,”         and prompted an equally courageous effort by the Sunderland
said Feng Shuyong, the performance director of the Chinese            striker only for Thiago Silva to intervene. Ji began impressively
team. “Winning is not so important, participation is what             and was close to finding the top corner with an audacious drive
matters.”                                                             from 35 yards. Once Brazil had withstood the early pressure,
                                                                      however, they took complete control and South Korea wilted
                                                                      before the quality of the opposition attack. “We blew the early
Olympics 2012: Brazil reach football                                  chances and we tired,” said their coach Hong Myung Bo, his
final by beating South Korea                                          side having played 120 minutes against Team GB on Saturday.
                                                                          Oscar, Chelsea’s new £25m recruit, has shown a fine
                                                                      understanding with Neymar throughout the tournament and
South Korea 0-3 Brazil                                                the pair were involved in the majority of the chances that fell
Andy Hunter at Old Trafford                                           to Brazil from midway through the first half onwards. Leandro
                                                                      twice went close before Neymar found Oscar and, after an
                                                                      unchallenged run across the Korean area, he rolled a perfectly
                                                                      weighted pass into Romulo, who beat Lee Bum-young inside his
                                                                      near post too easily. In fairness to the keeper, he had injured a
                                                                      knee moments earlier when colliding with Leandro to block a
                                                                      poor back-pass.
                                                                          Ji shot inches over from another ambitious attempt on the
                                                                      stroke of half-time but there was no concerted response from
                                                                      South Korea and the tie was effectively ended when Leandro
                                                                      doubled Brazil’s lead early in the second half. Neymar was the
                                                                      architect, playing an incisive one-two with Marcelo into the
                                                                      area, and though Brazil’s left-back missed the cut-back it fell
                                                                      invitingly for the unmarked striker to tuck away.
                                                                          Leandro’s second, Brazil’s third, was a clinical touch of
Brazil’s Leandro Damiao, left, celebrates with Marcelo after
                                                                      improvisation into the bottom corner after Oscar and Neymar,
scoring his first goal in their Olympic football semi-final
                                                                      of course, had weaved their way through the Korean defence
against South Korea at Old Trafford. Photograph: Jon Super/AP
                                                                      once more. They ultimately progressed to Wembley with a
Brazil have never won Olympic gold, a failing that pains a proud      stroll.
football nation and has prompted the team’s coach, Mano
Menezes, to label this tournament “The London Project”, but

a glorious chance to break new ground awaits at Wembley on
Saturday having swept aside South Korea in the semi-final.
   Menezes’ side, inspired by the mesmerising Neymar, the
polished Oscar and the potent Leandro Damião, cruised into
Saturday’s final against Mexico – 3-1 victors over Japan
p/39t4e – with a performance that doubled as an emphatic
riposte to accusations in the Brazilian media of not taking             Eat right
the Olympics seriously enough. Angered, they cancelled an
open training session for on the eve of the semi-final. They
                                                                        Join the Guardian’s health and
also punished South Korea by taking their goal tally to 15 in           dieting club, Eat Right and
five matches and demonstrated they possess the pedigree to
improve on the silver medals from Los Angeles in 1984 and
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Seoul in 1988.                                                          healthy eating plan from just
   “It is 24 years since Brazil were last in the Olympic final
and that shows it is not easy to get there,” Menezes said. “We
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have always had quality players but we have also faced a lot of         includes shopping lists, menus,
quality and it shows the merits of this team that it has reached
the final. But it is only the final. There is one more step to go.”
                                                                        expert advice and 24 hour
   Brazil arrived in the semi-final with a 100% record and their        support to help you achieve
forward line gelling perfectly, justification for taking umbrage        your health and fitness goals.
to criticism back home, but South Korea were not initially
overawed by their opponents or the occasion. They took the    
game to the favourites, a decision justified by a vulnerable
Brazilian defence and the movement of the Korean front pair of © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                              Wednesday August 8 2012 05:00 GMT

                                                                        The 18-year-old switch-hitter from Cienfuegos beat the
                                                                    Welsh No2 seed, 16-11, and will cause the promising young
London 2012: Fred Evans edges out                                   Irishman Michael Conlan all sorts of problems in the semi-finals
Custio Clayton as Andrew Selby falls                                on Friday.
                                                                        Conlan, who squeezed past the busy Frenchman Nordine
• Fortunate Fred Evans wins on countback                            Oubaali 22-18, probably benefited as much from the kind regard
• Cuba’s Robeisy Ramírez beats Andrew                               of the judges as Selby failed to do, and, not for the first time
                                                                    in this tournament, the scoring confounded a packed ExCeL
Kevin Mitchell at The ExCeL                                             But Selby had no complaints about his defeat. “He was
                                                                    the better man on the day,” he conceded. “I threw more
                                                                    combinations and was letting my shots go but he was just
                                                                    getting me before I got my hands up.”
                                                                        He said he had not made his mind up about following his
                                                                    brother, Lee, into the professional ranks. “I’ll see what Robert
                                                                    McCracken [the team’s performance director] wants me to do. If
                                                                    he wants me to go to Brazil [in 2016] or he thinks there’s more I
                                                                    can learn, I’ll stay on.”
                                                                        Ramírez, who resembles a young Floyd Mayweather Jr with
                                                                    his smooth movement and electric speed, said: “I knew the
                                                                    crowd would be hostile. I just had to prepare myself.”
                                                                        Selby learnt plenty from a fighter who clearly is destined for
                                                                    stardom, and he might reflect on those moments when, after a
                                                                    succession of energetic flurries to head and body, he left himself
Fred Evans, right, throws a punch at Custio Clayton in his
                                                                    open to the eye-catching assaults by the dazzling Cuban,
Olympic quarter-final victory. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
                                                                    especially in the second round, which went heavily against him.
Fred Evans might well be the most entertaining character in this        The expression “keep your hat on” ought to be written inside
Great Britain boxing team but he toyed flippantly with fate to      Conlan’s headguard, because it caused the sixth seed no end of
the point of near-disaster before squeaking into the semi-finals    grief in his win over Oubaali.
on a countback against the muscular Canadian welterweight               Conlan did well to share the first round 5-5, and spent much
Custio Clayton.                                                     of the three minutes trying to readjust his ill-fitting hat as the
   Cheek is one thing, complacency another. He will be allowed      Frenchman picked him off with hooks. They were level at 12-12
no such luxury in Friday’s semi-final against the Ukrainian No1     after two rounds and again the scoring was generous in Conlan’s
seed, Taras Shelestyuk, who also went through on a countback,       favour. Only a frantic finish earned the Belfast boxer the verdict;
putting out the distraught Frenchman Alexis Vastine after the       he will need to perform with more composure against Ramírez.
scores finished at 18-18. That was a genuinely close contest,           Conlan said later: “I’ve beaten him three times before but
whatever the histrionics afterwards of Vastine, who belted the      he still hits hard. He is a come forward fighter and I had to push
corner post before storming out of the arena, comforted by          him back. It did work in the end. I had to be patient and keep
prolonged booing from the alleged cogniscenti.                      my cool instead of losing it.
   The Welshman, meanwhile, should have danced his way                  “I thought I was behind when I came back to the corner
to a comfortable victory after taking the first round 7-2 with a    [after round one]. My coaches told me I had a second chance.
nice mixture of composure and aggression, punishing Clayton’s       I was happy for that and I think it changed the fight. Maybe he
clumsy lunges. Evans’s concentration lapsed in the second and       should have been up.”
he took a couple of unnecessary long right hands to the head as         So, some night: Irish luck, French resignation, Cuban genius
his rejuvenated opponent got back into the contest to trail 10-8.   and surprises from the Welsh.
   The third was untidy and close, 6-4 in the Canadian’s favour
for a 14-14 score, readjusted after inspection of the complete
scoring cards of all five judges, rather than the median three
from each round.

   “I was really confident after that first round and I kind of
dropped off the pace a bit,” Evans said. “That allowed him to
come back into the game, which was disappointing. I thought I
was one or two points ahead.
   “I think I’m in good enough form to make it a gold. I need to      Fantasy League Classic
up my game a bit for the next fight. He’s the world champion. If
                                                                      Manage a squad of 16 players and a budget
I do that, I don’t see why not.”
   There was no reprieve for Evans’s fellow-Welshman Andrew
                                                                      of £75 million. £75,000 worth of prizes to
Selby.                                                                be won in weekly, monthly and overall
   Reputations count for a lot in Olympic boxing, and no              competitions. Beat your nearest and
country is more revered than Cuba, whose teenage flyweight            dearest in a friends league.
prodigy Robeisy Ramírez showed enough of his considerable   
talent to tip Selby out of the Olympics just short of a medal. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            

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