Archived entries for Olympics

London Prepares: Hockey

6th May 2012, The Riverbank Arena

The Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament test event at the Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park concluded on Sunday on 6th May in front of a near capacity crowd with the Great Britain women’s team beating Argentina 2-0 to win Gold in front of the raucous home crowd. Continue reading…

GB Football Team: Tug of War

In Tom Bodell’s latest piece on the GB Football Team he looks at the tug-of-war developing over the selection of players.

The Olympic Games are not far off now and suddenly the prospect of a Team GB competing in the football seems a lot more real. Yesterday, 24th April, saw Stuart Pearce & Hope Powell’s charges take a large step towards kick off with the respective groups being drawn. Last week saw Pearce whittle his pool of players down to 80, and in three weeks time we will know exactly who will be representing these Isles this summer. Continue reading…

Three Lions on a Shirt

England fan and academic Mark Perryman writes about how the England shirt could be the most appropriate national dress of an inclusive, progressive society and how a public holiday on St George’s Day, an English National Anthem and an England Football Team in the Olympics would all also be welcome.

Footballing Identity

‘Fuck off you racist, gypo cunts.’  Bulgaria vs England, 2 September 2011

It’s around the 70th minute in England’s well-deserved 3-0 victory over Bulgaria at Sofia’s Stadion Vasil Levski stadium. Tiresome and predictable, a bunch of the locals, wannabe hooligans, lose interest in their side going down to a heavyish defeat and resort instead to winding up our players. Not the catcalls and banter we’re more used to back home but richly offensive monkey grunts and gestures. In a split second the enjoyment of an England win turns to a collective fury at the way the likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott and debutant Chris Smalling are being singled out for abuse simply because of the colour of their skins.

This is an angry English, mainly white, mob, pumped up with Three Lions on our chest patriotism yet knowing precisely the nature of the offence being committed against our own is racism. Of course the contradictions in that anger matter: the anti-Roma prejudice, the sexism and the physical violence which would surely have erupted if the segregation between us and them hadn’t been maintained. But the reality of that anger directed at others’ racism should not be lightly discounted either. Continue reading…

The Olympic Park Run

Ten days ago James Dickens was amongst the first thousand people to run on the new athletics track in a public event at the Olympic Stadium, Stratford. He shares his experience as part of The Substantive’s series of writing on the London Olympics.

Back in the dim and distant past (July last year), I entered a ballot to run the 2012 National Lottery Olympic Run. I didn’t think much of it at the time. I run a bit and enter my fair share of races. A few friends had applied and I thought it would be nice to do it together. October came around and low and behold, I received an email saying my application had been successful. I rang my friends and none of them had got a place. It seemed this race was in quite high demand and I had dropped very lucky. Continue reading…

GB Football Team: Stuart Pearce?

The circus that is the England national side came to town last week, led by ringmaster Stuart Pearce, the unfortunate man charged with the thankless task of stopping Wayne Rooney putting his head in a lions mouth, or something like that.

Since the 3-2 defeat by the Netherlands, Pearce has been sidelined somewhat, forced out to manage the coconut shy with most punters paying their money to pelt a handful of wooden balls at his stylish new side-parting.

The gist of that metaphor is that Pearce has been hit by a barrage of criticism since taking charge of England in a caretaker capacity last week. The criticisms levelled at him have, by and large, been accurate and fair. However, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Pearce in the Wembley dug-out as he leads the Team GB men’s side this summer at London 2012. Continue reading…

London Prepares: Track Cycling

Saturday 18 February 2012

The test events ahead of London 2012 are essential, and for the Track Cycling at the new Olympic Velodrome, the maiden event was the fourth leg of this season’s World Cup, which arguably now has a greater depth of quality than the Games itself due to the disappointing change in Olympic rules that will limit individual events to just one rider per country.

That means some of the best cyclists in the World will not be competing in their best events and there was an early reminder of that in a long Saturday daytime session when Victoria Pendleton set the pace early on in the Women’s individual Sprint, which had a mammoth field of 47 competitors in the qualifying heats. The previous night Pendleton and British team mate Jess Varnish won the Gold in the Team Sprint and broke a World Record representing Team GB, indicating the pace of the new track, made from Siberian pine. Of course, in the Olympics, only one of them will now be able to compete in the Individual race.

Continue reading…

GB Football Team: Context

Tom Bodell kicks off the first in his series looking at the GB Football Team, 2012.

The Olympics and football don’t exactly go hand in hand; you only need to look at the farcical way in which the Olympic Stadium row has been handled so far or the fact the football is the only discipline not to be sold out. However, there will be a team GB representing us at the Games for the first time since 1972 when the International Olympic Committee relaxed the rules, allowing professionals to compete at the tournament. Continue reading…

London Prepares: Gymnastics

12 January 2012, The o2

As a former gymnast – well, at age of 5 I made the squad before cruelly having to relocate with my family to a place not so conducive to following Olympic dreams – I attended the ‘London Prepares’ Artistic Gymnastics with anticipation. It didn’t disappoint. Part of a series of events to put the London 2012 Olympic venues through their paces, it wasn’t just the o2 arena that was being put to the test this Thursday night; for the British Men’s Gymnastic team this event was their last chance to secure a full compliment for the home games. After a poor performance in the World Championships in Tokyo – they missed out on the top 8 – the pressure was on. To qualify they needed to finish as one of the top 4 teams. Continue reading…

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