As you know, August is Olympics and sport month on So So Gay. We have reported extensively on the action at London 2012. Now the dust has all settled on what will go down as the greatest Olympic Games ever, it’s time for So So Gay’s look back at some of the highlights and memorable moments of the games.
There was a slight sense of relief for many people at the end of the opening ceremony. Not only had it gone off without a hitch, but it was also outstanding. Universally praised in the national and international press, as well as here at So So Gay, there was nothing to worry about. The sneak preview given by director Danny Boyle to the public of a countryside setting and live animals gave nothing away of what was to happen next. The hills rolled back to reveal a passage through time starting with the Industrial Revolution moving on to the technical revolution. Tributes were paid along the way to the NHS, the Suffragettes, Tim Berners Lee and the best of the British music scene. The highlight of the ceremony and most memorable scene must be the sight of the Queen jumping out of a helicopter with Daniel Craig and into the stadium to officially open the games.
Arguably the greatest night ever for British athletics occurred on the middle Saturday of the games when Jess Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all took gold in the Olympic Stadium. After two energy-sapping days of competition, Jessica Ennis crossed the line in first place in the 800m, the final event of the heptathlon, to take the first of Team GB’s track and field medals at the games. It wasn’t just a medal though, it was gold and the look on her face showed how much it meant to her. During what has become a customary lap of honour for all participants in the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford was sat watching the other competitors take their turns in the long jump. He was already top and just had to wait to see if anyone could leap further than the 8.31m he had jumped in the fourth round. They couldn’t and therefore he secured Team GB’s second gold in a matter of minutes. Later that evening, Mo Farah took to the track and won the 10,000m event to polish off a golden night for Team GB. Joined on the track by his heavily pregnant wife and his daughter, the celebration of years of training that has seen him move to America to train could finally begin.
The gymnastics provided many memorable moments, not least the sight of Danell Layva in lycra and shorts with his legs wide open. What was most memorable though were some of the performances. Dutch gymnast, Epke Zonderland, performed a jaw-dropping routine on the men’s high bar which included plenty of gravity-defying flips and tricks to confirm his nickname of ‘The Flying Dutchman’. Team GB also had its most successful games ever in gymnastics with four medals. The men’s team of Max Whitlock, Louis Smith, Kristian Thomas, Sam Oldham and Dan Purvis took bronze, although for a few minutes it looked as though they were going to take the silver medal until Japan appealed the judge’s decision over their last performer. Bronze was still an excellent achievement for the team and made the prospect of medals in the individual events even more optimistic. The fans weren’t left disappointed either. Louis Smith and Max Whitlock took silver and bronze respectively on the pommel horse. At the age of 27, Beth Tweddle is considered a veteran in the sport of gymnastics and she is the most decorated British female gymnast ever, her trophy cabinet being full of European, World and Commonwealth medals but an Olympic medal had eluded her. The crowd roared when it was confirmed that she had finally won an Olympic medal after just missing out in Beijing.
Sarah Attar and Wojdan Shaherkani
Neither Attar nor Shaherkani stood a realistic chance of a medal in their respective events and neither will go down in the history books for fastest run or quickest Ippon but what will see them enter the history books is being the first female athletes to represent Saudi Arabia. The sound of the crowd in the Olympic Stadium as they realised they were watching history being made was incredible as Attar made her way down the finishing straight 43 seconds behind the winner of her heat. Both these women are inspirations and hopefully the first of many female athletes to come from Saudi Arabia.
In what was a tense night in the diving pool, Tom Daley put in an incredible performance to finish in third place. It was one of the performances of the games as Daley put behind him the difficulties of the last year to take his place on the podium to receive a bronze medal to match his body.
Tom Daley wasn’t the only diver to perform well in the diving pool. Chris Mears exceeded expectations by making it to the final of the Men’s 3m springboard event, eventually finishing in ninth place in a highly competitive field. His last dive scored over 100 points making him only one of two divers in the final to achieve that target, the other being the gold medallist Ilya Zakharov. The fact that only three years ago, Mears suffered a ruptured spleen whilst training in Australia and was given a 5% chance of surviving makes his ninth place finish even more astonishing.
After the success of the opening ceremony, there was a lot riding on the closing ceremony and it didn’t disappoint. Most of the rumours were true and the reunion of the Spice Girls (albeit for four minutes) had social networks in meltdown as gays across the world slammed it to the left and shook it to the right. Other highlights of the night included Brian May and Jessie J performing the Queen classic, ‘We Will Rock You’ and, rounding the night off, The Who. What made the night though were the athletes who all formed a mosh pit in the centre of the stadium and partied throughout the evening. Cameras caught them dancing, posing with each other for photographs and generally just having a great time and so they should after years of hard work came to an end.
All images courtesy of Team GB website.