Natalie Haynes: No one can steal the thunder from Wiggo

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The Independent Online

Record-breaking gold-medal wins are all well and good. But Bradley Wiggins hasn't had things all his own way. The poor man came out of the gym earlier this week to find his kit had been pinched. The Foxhills Hotel in Surrey, where Team GB's cyclists are camped, suggested that "cycling fever" was to blame, and that "an over-zealous fan has scored a fantastic London 2012 souvenir".

You'll note the use of the word "scored" to convey "stolen", presumably because they don't want their hotel to be linked in the public mind with thieves. No such worries beset Wiggins, though, who tweeted: "Watch your kit at the Foxhills spa … there is a tea-leaf about." I think this summarises exactly what I like about him: a man who uses a spa and Cockney rhyming slang in a single sentence. I call that a win.

I like badminton, because it is one of the few racquet sports I have ever played with even the tiniest degree of success. But it is the laughing stock of this year's Olympics. The early rounds of the badminton are no longer a knock-out system, like the tennis, which means the incentive to win each match is considerably reduced. The new "group stage" system led to the extraordinary sight of China and South Korea serving into the net on Tuesday because they both wanted to lose their matches to avoid playing tough pairs in the next stage. Now eight players in the women's doubles have been disqualified. The disqualification has proved controversial because it raises the question of whether wanting to lose is the same as cheating. Perhaps it isn't, but if spectators are paying to watch a match, then the players surely have an obligation to try and win it. Sport is entertainment, after all.

It has sometimes been hard to remember what Olympic spirit is: the athletes and the sport have too often got lost beneath corporate self-interest.

But that was before Helen Glover and Heather Stanning wiped the lake with the competition in the rowing. It was a big moment for British spectators, because it was our first gold medal. But it was also a great story: no British women had ever won rowing gold before.

In their moment of triumph, before returning to shore, they kept waving their weary arms in delight. The cameras pulled back, to show who they were waving at: all the volunteers who have helped everyone out all week. That would be the Olympic spirit right there.

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