Rio 2016

Saturday, August 6th, 2016 03:10 pm
tourmaline: (olympics)
I managed to stay up until almost 3am last night, to the end of the athlete's parade. I'd TiVo'd the opening ceremony but having seen highlights of what I missed I don't think I'm going to be watching it. Hazel Irvine did the same Ouagadougou joke as she did during the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Have been watching some of the live coverage today - cycling, with the men's road race, which I stuck with for so long because Rio is absolutely beautiful. Much of the cycling was along a coastal road, with plenty of views of a lush blue sea, wonderful waves crashing on the beach. I'm now watching the rowing, the Serbian men's pair fell in the water but they must be rescued by now because it's the women's double sculls with Katherine Grainger and Victoria Thornley, Grainger in her fifth Olympics.

Fly The Flag

Sunday, June 19th, 2016 07:45 pm
tourmaline: (ISS)
So for Tim Peake's landing yesterday, there was no Stargazing Live special as so many of us had hoped. Instead, there was live coverage (mostly the NASA TV feed) on the BBC News channel, which had the usual experts (Libby Jackson from UKSA, Professor Lucie Green from UCL) along with BBC science correspondents who knew what they were talking about, and general studio presenters who didn't. So glad all went so well, there was a BBC guy who was practically interviewing Tim Peake on the Kazakh steppe. Yuri Malenchenko was sitting bolt upright early on like the seasoned space traveller he is, but Tim Kopra looked a bit wobbly for a while but he seemed to be getting his bearings OK eventually.

Having this on the news rather than a dedicated programme meant the news headlines ticker was on screen almost the whole time, so all the stuff about the man who murdered the MP Jo Cox was there. I can't believe what a nightmare that was. I've met a few people through work, my age and younger, and you know immediately they're a future MP for a left-leaning party, and they'll be a very good one, just like Jo Cox.

My friend and I took a little break from the usual work routine on Thursday morning to watch the Aviva Women's Tour go past along the main road near our business park. I had read about this early in the year, and my friend wanted a photo to illustrate a staff newsletter article she was writing about the Cycle To Work scheme. I took my flag and was cheering and yelling as they went past - it was still quite early in the race so they were all in a big bunch. Sadly we didn't get on the TV highlights, they went straight from the start in Atherstone to the part just after us when they went through the University of Warwick campus. But it was so exciting seeing all the build-up, the police motorbikes, the race marshal motorbikes, and the support cars going past, all waving at us, and us waving back. There wasn't many of us along that stretch of road, but there was lots of TV coverage of other stretches of road where there were lots of schoolkids cheering and waving flags. I was only going to watch the highlights once but I'm going to keep them now, as there are lots of sights I recognise, and I'll always remember being out there, even if it was only for a short time.
tourmaline: (Paralympics)
We had a change to the routine at work this afternoon, as a bunch of us in my team attended a lecture given in memory of our late Chief Executive, who died a year ago. It was held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and luckily a colleague volunteered to drive - as we ended up travelling through a few underpasses in Birmingham city centre and down Broad Street, I was quite relieved. The Botanical Gardens were very nice, although we didn't get to see a great deal, it was clear there's plenty to see on a more general visit.

The guest speaker was Karen Darke, winner of a silver medal at the Paralympics in the hand cycling time trial, and was fourth (fractionally behind team-mate Rachel Morris, they crossed the line joining hands & registered the same time) in the H1-3 road race. She talked about her life and career, about mountaineering both before and after she broke her spine, and about getting involved in paracycling and making the team for London 2012. While I didn't get to meet her properly (nor did I get to meet our late CEO's father or sister, nor some of the other people in attendance I would've liked to) I did see her Paralympic medal up close:

Karen Darke's Paralympic Silver Medal

It's very heavy! I guess for people like Sarah Storey who won several medals, all the training for their sport gives them the serious neck & shoulder muscles necessary to wear multiple medals at once for more than a minute.

After the talk, we all had tea and cakes (ie coffee, a little sandwich and two little cakes in my case). The plan is for this to be an annual lecture event, and in a bigger venue next year as there were lots of people who really wanted to attend but had prior arrangements. I think today it got off to an excellent start.
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (olympics watercolour)
More medals, and we're just managing to stay ahead of Russia overall. Unfortunately the much-heralded Shanaze Reade crashed out of the BMX race, leaving the Games not with a gold medal but a badly damaged hand. But we have had some successes:

Gold - Canoeing - Tim Brabants, men's K1 1000m

Silver - Modern Pentathlon - Heather Fell

Bronze - Boxing - David Price, super-heavyweight

Bronze - Boxing - Tony Jeffries, light-heavyweight

James DeGale has made the finals of the middleweight boxing, so that's at least another silver to come. And I'm wondering if anything will come of the controversy over some of the Chinese women gymnasts - if it does come to medals being stripped, that could see Beth Tweddle being moved up from 4th place on the bars. We shall see.

It doesn't stop

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 06:46 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (olympics watercolour)
Four more gold medals for Team GB today! Plus a couple of silvers too:

Gold - Sailing - Paul Goodison, Laser class

Gold - Cycling - women's sprint - Victoria Pendleton

Gold - Cycling - men's sprint - Chris Hoy

Gold - Athletics - women's 400m - Christine Ohuruogu

Silver - Cycling - men's sprint - Jason Kenny

Silver - Athletics - men's high jump - Germaine Mason

It's been announced that the velodrome at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be named after Chris Hoy following his three gold medals - and he's the first Brit for 100 years to win three golds in a single Games. Similarly, an about-to-be-refurbished swimming centre in Mansfield will be renamed in Rebecca Adlington's honour when it reopens (it's the pool where she began swimming as a child).

And we've still got a lead over Australia in the overall medals table:


Let's see how long that will last! I can't believe there's only five days left, it's all gone so quickly.

And more...

Monday, August 18th, 2008 08:31 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (olympics watercolour)
Another gold (Cycling, men's team pursuit) and another silver (Sailing, men's 470 class) today. Narrowly missed out on a bronze in the gymnastics as Beth Tweddle came fourth on the uneven bars - with a score higher than when she won gold at the World championshops a couple of years ago.

This means that Team GB are in third place overall in the medals again, after falling to fourth behind Australia for a little while earlier today. And we've beaten our gold medal haul from Sydney 2000, which is regarded as our flagship achievement in the modern Olympics. We've still got some excellent chances to medal further - in athletics, plus more in cycling and sailing, and we're guaranteed a medal of some colour in boxing.

All the newspaper front pages today were covered with athletes in red, white & blue with gold medals. And inside, lots of articles about how awesome Team GB are, particularly when compared to the solitary gold medal won at Atlanta in 1996. Plenty of "Where did it all go right?" speculation, and talk about how it bodes well for hosting the Olympics in 2012. And it's not over yet ♥

Super Saturday

Saturday, August 16th, 2008 02:56 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (olympics watercolour)
Now, let's see if I can remember them all....

Gold - Swimming - Rebecca Adlington, 800m freestyle

Gold - Rowing - Men's coxless four

Gold - Cycling - Bradley Wiggins, individual pursuit

Gold - Cycling - Chris Hoy, keirin

Silver - Cycling - Ross Edgar, keirin

Bronze - Cycling - Steven Burke, individual pursuit

Bronze - Rowing - Men's double sculls

Bronze - Rowing - Women's double sculls

Yep, that's it for today. Sailing has been postponed until tomorrow due to an absence of wind, but we're guaranteed medals in the Finn and the Yngling. Also, tomorrow's women's pursuit in the cycling is an all-British affair, so another gold and silver to come. One of the riders is Rebecca Romero, who won silver in Athens as part of the rowing quad sculls.

A Gold!

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 01:35 pm
tourmaline: total solar eclipse, from a photo by NASA (olympics watercolour)
WhoooooHoooooo!!!!! Team GB's first Gold!!! Nicole Cooke in the Cycling Road Race.

The medals for Beijing 2008 are particularly beautiful, they have Chinese jade inlaid into them: