The sporting week ahead (15/07/12)
That's it, next stop the Olympics. Britain's athletes head for Loughborough where they will be kitted out, the last staging post before their training camp in Portugal.
If all that reads like slightly flammed-up excitement it is because this is one of the quietest Sundays of the summer, a blip in this golden summer of sport.
Obviously it won't feel like that to rugby league fans, who will savour today's second Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final, between Warrington and Huddersfield. In golf, Francesco Molinari will be looking for a timely win in the Scottish Open ahead of this week's Open Championship.
Australia's swimmers have arrived and, as ever, will be talking themselves up. Expect all sorts of promises at their official media day in Manchester.
It is July and, to some, the Champions' League is already reaching the interesting stage, with Shamrock Rovers at home to FK Ekranus and The New Saints hosting Helsingborgs.
All over the country they are getting ready. The fencers are in Lea Valley, handballers at Loughborough and judo players in Dartford. For them, Stratford really is looming.
Cricket is entitled to feel short-changed this summer. Any other year England v South Africa, which starts today at The Oval, would receive top billing, but somehow it seems like an afterthought. Meanwhile, that great fixed point of the summer, the Open golf, will also have to muscle its way on to the stage at Lytham. He may be in poor form, but this course could be made for Rory McIlroy. Amazingly the last 11 majors have all been won by different golfers. Equally amazingly, nine of those have been first-time major champions. including the current run of six in a row — Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel, McIlroy himself and Darren Clarke. Those wanting to make it a round dozen might do worse than to put their money on Ricky Fowler.
Both British football teams, men and women, will be in action in Middlesbrough, facing Brazil and Sweden respectively.
One of the traditional pre-Olympic highlights – or should that be drylights? – is the IOC executive board meeting, where all the pampered emperors of the Movement pitch up for a chinwag. Trebles all round. In Germany, the F1 circus rolls on, oblivious to the gathering excitement here. This weekend its Hockenheim.
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