London Olympics 2012: The ecstasy
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. My beautiful boy
The surprise victory of South African swimmer Chad Le Clos, who beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly, was celebrated by no one more than his father, Bert, who found his emotions tumbling out in an interview with the BBC's Clare Balding that was full of exclamation marks. "Unbelievable! Indescribable! He's the most beautiful boy you'll ever meet in your life!"
2. Thrown in the water
After months of hype and hope, Britain's diving poster boy, 18-year-old Tom Daley, shows his delight at being thrown into the pool in celebration by his team-mates after winning bronze in the 10m platform on Saturday. "It was an awesome moment," he said.
3. Last but still triumphant
Sarah Attar was more than half a minute slower than the rest of the field in her 800m heat but her performance, clothed from head to toe, was a triumph. The student was the first woman to represent Saudi Arabia in track and field at the Olympics.
4. Draped in the flag
The decision by Scot Andy Murray to wrap himself in a Union Flag after beating Roger Federer to tennis gold at Wimbledon, excited much comment, not least from believers in maintaining the Union, who suggested the sight might be making Alex Salmond weep into his whisky.
Katherine Copeland can clearly be seen mouthing the words "We've won the Olympics!" to her rowing partner Sophie Hosking after the pair triumphed in the lightweight double sculls. Her next comment was even better: "We're going to be on a stamp!"
6. In memory
After securing silver in the under-78kg judo – Britain's first Olympic judo medal for 12 years – Gemma Gibbons looked upwards and mouthed the words "I love you, mum." Her mother died from leukaemia when Gemma was 17.
7. Going wild
German discus gold medallist Robert Harting, a 6ft 7in man-mountain, tore off his shirt when he won, grabbed a German flag and began running over the hurdles, to the delight of the crowd. Later he got plastered and lost his Olympic accreditation.
8. Making a splash
Canoeist Etienne Stott leaps back into the water after taking gold with Tim Baillie in the slalom at the Lee Valley course for a wet celebration with fellow Britons David Florence and Richard Hounslow, who won silver.
9. Real gold
Nicola Adams, the girl from the "school of hard knocks" in Leeds with the brightest of smiles, salutes a delirious crowd after becoming the first female Olympic boxing champion.
10. Record smiles
Seventeen-year-old American swimmer Missy Franklin, who picked up a third gold medal as she smashed the world record for the 200m backstroke, shows she possesses not only Olympic talent, but perfect gnashers.
Kenya's David Rudisha broke his 800m world record by a tenth of a second, clocking 1:40.90.
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