Friday, 27 July 2012


Fantasy Bob welcomes the Olympic Games – not the commercial overkill, the security hysteria, the self importance and venality of the apparatchiks and hangers on. To be honest he doesn’t really welcome the synchronised diving or the rhythmic gymnastics but if others take an interest in these peculiar pastimes, that is fine. He could do without Gary Lineker popping up every ten minutes on the TV set with his inane grin, but is mildly relieved that it won't be Adrian Chiles.

He is frankly fed up of the moaning and cynicism from the metropolitan media elite who seem to be in a tizz that London will be full of …well foreigners, and people in track suits, on the Tube.  They are panicking that it will be difficult to get to Starbucks.  Have they no gratitude for the totality of the nation’s resources being siphoned into the city?  Money that could have provided facilities and coaching for kids who still do not get 2 hours PE a week in schools across the country.  Too late - so let's get on with it.

Let the Games begin.  FB hopes they are a sporting triumph – he doesn’t really care about who tops the medal table.  He hopes that there are astounding performances that confirm that, even in these dark and anxious days, the human spirit can triumph. 

FB is unlikely to pay much attention outside the athletics events. An accidental look at the beach volleyball may be unavoidable (for research purposes) and he will try to see what Lords look like, desecrated to form an archery stadium.  But athletics is the pinnacle and the cynosure. 

Although GB is the reigning Olympic cricket champion having beaten France in 1900 in the only time cricket graced the Games, this title will not be defended this year.  While Cricinfo published recently this interesting article aboutcricketers who have participated in the Olympics, it is impossible to select an Olympic Cricket XI. 

The nearest FB can get is his Golden XI drawn from British medallists at the last 11 Olympiads. FB has tried to identify a hero from the athletics events.  Victories in the high tech events are less inspiring.  But in some years Britain did not get gold on the track or the field, so an alternative had to be found. In some years there was only one contender.  Nevertheless, he is sure all of his selections are capable cricketers, some would seem to be fast between the wickets and have good throwing arms at least.  FB recalls being inspired by each of these exceptional performances.

1968 – Mexico – David Hemery – 400m hurdles

1972 – Munich – Mary Peters – Pentathlon

1976 – Montreal - there was no GB athletics gold medallist - so FB selects swimmer David Wilkie – 200m breaststroke

1980 – Moscow - Alan Wells – 100m

1984 – LA – Daley Thompson – decathlon

1988 – Seoul – there was no GB athletics gold medallist – but Steve Redgrave won the second of his 5 golds in the coxless pairs with Andy Holmes

1992 – Barcelona – Sally Gunnell – 400m hurdles

1996 – Atlanta - there was no GB athletics gold medallist -  Britain’s only gold in the whole event was Steve Redgrave and Mathew Pinsent

2000 – Sydney – Denise Lewis – Heptathlon

2004 – Athens – Kelly Holmes, 800m and 1500m

2008 – Beijing – Christine Ohoruogu – 400m 

Bread and circuses? Bring them on.

No comments:

Post a Comment