London 2012 Day 3: Divers Fall Without Style

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20120730-224836.jpg Most days at the Olympics involving British athletes involve large amounts of emotional turmoil, and usually one ends up with no nails and more grey hair. Today was no different. It was a bit like watching sport, only worse. Every athlete, every event, every venue has a story, and every detail about the chlorine content of the water adds colour and texture to the oil painting that is an Olympic event. The story of the day was no doubt the performance of Tom Daley and his partner Pete Waterfield in the 10m platform synchronised diving. After three dives, the two most opposite looking men in the world led the field, with the immaculate Chinese a mere two points behind them. Disaster struck in the fourth round, when performing a reverse three-and-half somersault dive, Waterfield’s timing was marginally off, his entry was untidy, and the pair scored just 71 points, 20 fewer than the Chinese duo before them on the same dive. With that, their shot at gold was gone, and in fact they finished in fourth: surely the worst position in the world in the Olympics. It was heartbreaking as the crowd grew meeker and meeker in the fantastic Aquatic Centre. However, both will have a second chance in the individual event, so all may be forgotten in a few days time, but Waterfield, whose best hope was certainly the synchro, may be haunted by his error for some time. The evening however, saw the surprise of the Games so far for Team GB. The men’s gymnastics team, having qualified for their first final in 80 years, won a remarkable bronze medal. In fact, for about five minutes, we were celebrating a silver medal, after the final Japanese competitor fell off the pommel horse, relegating his team to 4th. However, an appeal was launched, and the fall was reclassified as a “dismount”, and Japan were pushed up to second. Nevertheless, the Brits were delighted with a shock medal, especially given the relative inexperience of most of the team, led by Beijing medallist Louis Smith, who qualified for the individual pommel horse in 1st, and may become Britain’s first ever double medallist in gymnastics. Elsewhere Disappointment continued in the pool as Liam Tancock and Gemma Spofforth both finished fifth in their respective 100m backstroke finals, but there was some homegrown success as Lithuania’s Rute Meilutyte, who is at school and trains in Plymouth, won gold in the 100m breaststroke, at the staggering age of just fifteen. Her reaction interview is lovely. In rowing, GB’s men’s eight, four, lightweight double sculls, and women’s double and quadruple sculls all made it through to their finals, meaning that Eton Dorney could be a real gold mine for the British team over the coming week. Other successes for the Brits included the men’s hockey team, who beat Argentina 4-1, and the performances of Laura Robson and Heather Watson, who both made it through to the second round at Wimbledon. Tomorrow’s Stories Today The last day of July could very well be the first day of gold for Great Britain tomorrow. David Florence goes in the canoe slalom semi-final at 13:30, with the final at 15:06. He is a former silver medallist, and world number 1. He’s also Scottish, and an Edinburgh schoolboy. Plenty to shout about. Aside from the canoeing, the 3-day eventers reach their final day, with the team in silver medal position, and several of the riders are in the hunt for individual medals. Finally, can Britain break their medal drought in the pool? Caitlin McClatchey qualified fifth fastest for the 200m final, and Hannah Miley goes in 200m IM. Whatever you do, don’t go to work. I won’t be…

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  1. […] In the afternoon, Ed Clancy secured a bronze medal in the omnium, the all-round cycling competition, and Britain’s Louis Smith and Max Whitlock competed in the men’s pommel horse. In a sport where GB are not traditionally strong, it says a lot about the feeling in the team that there was palpable disappointment when the two men took silver and bronze, and not a gold for Smith. To be fair, he finished with the exact same score as the champion, Kristian Berki, and lost because the Hungarian’s execution score was higher, while Smith’s difficulty was higher. That probably hurts, especially after the bronze-to-silver-to-bronze experience of the team… […]

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