London Olympics 2012: The agony
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Monday 13 August 2012
1. Head in hands
Britain's young sprinting hope Adam Gemili shows his misery after messing up the baton exchange in the 4x100m semi-final, thus depriving Team GB of a place in the final. British teams have now been cursed by botched baton handoffs in five of the last six major championships.
2. So annoying
Victoria Pendleton is consoled after she and Jess Varnish miss out on a ride-off for Olympic gold in the Velodrome in agonising fashion, being relegated by officials for a takeover infringement. It was all the more disappointing because they had set a world record in the two-woman, two-lap event in qualifying.
3. Hopping home
Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang fell and was injured at the first hurdle of his 110m heat, making this the second consecutive Olympics in which he has failed to finish (he also pulled up injured in Beijing, with the hopes of the home nation resting on his shoulders). He started to hobble off down the tunnel, but in a sudden act of defiance he returned to the track and hopped the rest of the race on his good leg, bypassing the hurdles except for the last, which he kissed.
4. finishing regardless
Turkish middle-distance runner Merve Aydin was injured at the end of the first lap of her heat of the women's 800m race in the Olympic Stadium, but continued around the track for the second lap to finish, in tears and in obvious agony, to huge cheers from the crowd.
5. Choking back tears
British judo medal hope Euan Burton was inconsolable after being abruptly beaten in his event by Canadian Antoine Valois-Fortier at the ExCel. He said: "I came in feeling one million per cent that I could win the tournament and that I was in the best shape of my life. But that is judo."
Hockey player Jonathan Clarke reflects on the 9-2 drubbing the British men's hockey team had just received from the Dutch in the men's hockey semi-final, after a good run in the group stages. The Netherlands lost to Germany in the final, and Britain missed out on bronze medal against Australia.
American rider Brooke Crain, 19, takes a spectacular tumble in a seeding race on the BMX course, but in spite of lying motionless on the track for nearly a minute, and later nursing sore ribs, she went on to compete in the final, finishing eighth.
Russian gymnasts look on horrified as their colleague Ksenia Afanasyeva, the world champion, makes a mistake in the floor exercise of the women's gymnastics, thus depriving the team of a gold medal. The event was won by the USA.
Fencer Shin A-lam of South Korea sits down in tears on the fencing piste and refuses to move for an hour when she loses the epee semi-final to German Britta Heidemann, after a dispute over timing with the judges. The crowd were on her side, thinking she should have won.
Despite being the merest fraction away from a gold medal in the lightweight double sculls, British rowers Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase were so devastated at winning only silver that they not only broke down in tears, they reduced BBC interviewer John Inverdale to tears as well, live on air.
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