Chris Hewett: Gold, silver, bronze and a handful of lead... my London 2012 medal moments
The critic without a ticket's roll of honour
More than 300 gold medals were presented to the deserving – and, in a tiny minority of instances, the undeserving – over the 19 days of Olympic competition, so another eight will not make much difference either way. Here, for better or worse, is the Critic Without A Ticket Roll of Honour (judging panel: one sad man, sitting on his sofa and talking to himself).
The Ron Pickering "You Know What I Meant" Moment
We have waited almost 40 years for an athletics commentator to match the late Ron Pickering as a master of the unintended double entendre. Pickering's flash (so to speak) of genius in 1976 – "And now Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class" – remains a classic of the genre, but Paul Dickenson's contribution during the heats of the men's 4x400m relay was truly exceptional. "What a run by Jack Green," he screamed ecstatically after seeing the British runner's third leg (no pun intended). "I can't wait to get hold of his split."
The Jeremy Kyle Life-Coaching Award
If your sporting life is in crisis and you find yourself in urgent need of advice, sensitively delivered by a highly trained counsellor with a PhD in motivational guidance, you might do well to avoid the BBC radio presenter Colin Murray, a Marshall amplifier in human form, and his fellow cod psychologist Kriss Akabusi, the one-time international track athlete. "Be the bigger man," they yelled in unison at the runner Kim Collins, who had freely given of his time to explain why he would not be hanging around for the sprint relay after being kicked out of the individual event for the heinous crime of visiting his wife. Somehow, Collins found the strength of will to reject their sledgehammer patronisation. "I did not come to London to watch the 100m on television," he told them as he headed for the airport.
The British Empire Memorial Decoration
Could Charlotte Dujardin, the heroine of the dressage arena, possibly have been more patriotic in her choice of soundtrack as she piaffed and pirouetted her way to the top of the podium last Thursday? "Ooohhh, this music," panted Michael Tucker, the broadcaster-in-chief of the horsey set, in what amounted to an equestrian version of "yes… yes… yesss!" The chimes of Big Ben, the pomp and circumstance of Elgar, a note or two of Sir Paul McCartney… Charlotte did the nation proud. Shame about her surname.
The Robin Cowling True Grit Garland
For those of you who have forgotten –or, more likely, never knew in the first place – Robin Cowling was the England prop forward who played the entire second half of a Five Nations match against France with a dislocated shoulder: not much fun at the best of times; no fun at all when your scrummaging opponent is Robert Paparemborde, the "bear of the Pyrenees". We can safely say that Manteo Mitchell, the American athlete who completed his 4x400m relay lap in even time despite breaking his leg on the way round, is cut from the same cloth. Will he now move on to the triple jump? He already has a world-class hop.
The British Bankers' Association Daylight Robbery Jackpot
A big thank you to our sponsors for allowing us to honour those boxing judges who made such a magnificent contribution to ensuring that the Olympic fight programme lived down to its long-established reputation for dodgy dealing. There were many examples of contestants being fleeced – one per session, on average – and, even on finals night, those charged with making a fair and honest decision turned a blind eye to what should have been blindingly obvious. Two blind eyes, in most cases. After losing a fight he patently won, the French welterweight Alexis Vastine said: "This is politics, not sport." Shocking, if not remotely surprising.
The Watership Down Rabbit In The Headlights Trophy
If the boxing judges struggled to see their hands in front of their faces, spare a thought for the Great Britain men's hockey team, who were run over by something they barely saw coming. Back in 1988, just as Sean Kerly and company were securing gold with a third and final goal in Seoul, the commentator Barry Davies delivered his keynote address: "Where, oh where, were the Germans? And frankly, who cares?" Almost a quarter of a century on, he must have been tempted to repeat the line, with one or two minor adjustments. "Where, oh where, are the British?" he might have asked as our brave boys, humiliated to within an inch of their lives, conceded a ninth goal to the Netherlands. "Frankly, I'm past caring."
The Anthony Perkins Mad Staring Eyes Prize
There is one candidate, and one only. Step forward, Ben Ainslie, quite the scariest sailor seen in British waters since Ivar the Boneless floated into view aboard his Viking longship in the year 865. "I'm angry, and you really don't want to make me angry," he said, chillingly, after a public spat with his bitter rival Jonas Hogh-Christensen, who, by the happiest of ironies, happened to be a Scandinavian. British history might have unfolded very differently if the Norsemen of old had encountered someone like Ainslie fine-tuning his skills in a coracle somewhere off the east coast. Would we now be talking about Ivar the Headless?
And finally, the big one:
The Critic Without A Ticket Bouquet for Ultimate Performance goes to…
Mo Farah. Or should that be Jessica Ennis? Or Usain Bolt? Or Katherine Grainger? Or Michael Phelps? Hell, it's hard to choose between them. So we'll go for Bradley Wiggins instead: high achiever, outstanding populariser and brilliant bloke rolled into one. Who could ask for more?
Ainslie is quite the scariest sailor seen in british waters since viking ivar the boneless in 865
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