The Olympic pick was swung in anger and hit The Welcome Stranger Nugget in Beijing at the Games of the 29th Olympiad yesterday. Suddenly that elusive gold rush was a medal tally reality. Into The Green and Gold Hall of Heroes wandered Emma Snowsill making the horrors of the tri-athlon look great fun.
Then at Fushan Bay double gold in the 470s. Don’t ask! Not a clue! Not interested! The 470 tubs could be built out of paddle pop sticks with tooth picks lashed together to make a mast and a knotted hankie run up to catch the air off the South China seas. One of the crew may have to be in the water the whole time catching bream for bonus points. Honestly who cares? All the nation knows is these tubs delivered gold.
Australia’s medal tally has seen off the challenge of the Shaky Isles but we are locked in a death struggle with Great Britain. The old foe are one ahead of us on the table of glory. Cocky Lord Coe’s crowd are going silly, getting ahead of themselves, raving about how it is the overall medal count of gold, silver and bronze that matters. Everyone else in the world knows losing starts with silver.
When the news filtered through from the far flung venues that the gold rush was on there were Australian grins erupting around the Village. We came to these games thinking the S bend and a quick power flush was all we could hope for, but suddenly we are walking with that “What are you looking at!” gait again.
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While it was a golden day there were green and gold duds. The track treadle team made no progress overnight. The Cyclones are glum looking at a 2008 total medal wipe out. The team pursuit lost to… wait for it… are you sitting down… New Zealand!!
Anna Meares, in the individual sprint, has the weight and hopes of a proud pedalling nation resting on her shoulders. She throws the leg over later today. Cycling freaks imagine this. In Athens, Australia snared five gold, two silver and two bronze. Guess which nation has mustered that attractive medal tally in Beijing, Great @#%# ing Britain. Read it and weep!
Our team is changing its name to The Pillowing Pushovers. The Pushovers have carded their worst result in 28 years. This takes us back to the very bleak days of Moscow where half the world did not show up.
Elsewhere our nags were poleaxed in the Team Jump final with Peter McMahon breaking a collarbone. This was a set back before the off. “Lucky” Pete’s conveyance, Genoa threw a shoe and had to be re-shod. During a hasty warm up McMahon was tipped off and suddenly our team was just three. “Leaping” Laurie Lever lost one point. Edwina Alexander cleared all the furniture with a stunning round. But Matt Williams overcooked his horse, Leconte, in the warm up, resulting in both jump and time penalties. Leconte was always suspect at this level of competition. The horse could not step up. Suddenly, horsewise, we were looking for redemption in London…
Our water polo stars The Sea Cucumbers have powdered. The Hockeyroos dipped out again. The K4 blokes finished last. Mercifully the women went straight through to the final. Our Opal Killers are into a quarter final against Czech Republic and on track to murder team USA for gold. The Sea Slugs are getting wet in the water polo. In the Bird’s nest our 100 meters hurdles psychic Sally McMahon has had a powerful premonition of gold. And the second week opens the door on synchronised swimming. Go Girls!
Mad Monday went off! The pictures form The Regent Hotel, The Speedo blast and Club Bud are wild. It was incredible to see the tension of the last four years disappear in a few seconds. Some of our biggest names still have not gone to bed. They are total rubble, literally fully sick! As part of Mad Monday meltdown, “Lethal” Leisel Jones, one the real characters of 2008, suggested Beijing has turned on “the best games ever’. That is from someone who has seen a few five ringed stinks and knows the glistening highs and glum lows.
His excellency, Jaun Antonio Samaranch, supported our gold medal breaststroker’s thoughts unofficially describing “the unfolding Asian drama as officially the best games ever”. His Excellency believes these games are “heaps better than Sydney”, his words not mine. On The 7.30 Report last night our first Lord of the Olympics Kevan Gosper maintained that China had delivered “the best games ever” through savagely clenched molars.
Incidentally Juan is one of the Olympic family who has big wraps on our chef de mission John Coates. Juan thinks our chef is ready for work at the big table upstairs on the central committee of the IOC. The IOC has learnt so much about how to run the show by simply bringing the international school sports carnival to the Asian big smoke.
Behind the scenes, Australian commentators in all mediums have done a tremendous job in muggy conditions. Channel Seven has unfairly has copped the sharp end of an unfair critical avalanche. Not everyone can be pleased all the time. Seven’s well rehearsed routine hardly varies. Given that the games go “live”, Seven can not go back and do it again. Their coverage is neither better or worse than Barcelona, Atlanta or Athens.
Bruce and Sandy have been superb touch. This has been Bruce’s finest hour. At the Cube he sensibly toned the act down letting Duncan Armstrong pour on the fruit. Duncan can see an Australian tilt coming even in events that do not feature the bobbing yellow bonnet. Big Dunc has spent the last six months in the swimmers’ LZR suits. He knows the great stories and tells them the way they should be told.
There was a recent kerfuffle recently when 2GB radio star Ray Hadley suggested that Bruce had re-called parts of 4 by 200m relay to amp it up for The Nightly News. This outrageous suggestion was quickly nipped in the bud by Seven’s Olympics boss, Saul Shtein, who said asking Bruce to arc it up for a second take would be like asking “Rembrandt to redo a painting”. That sets the over-rated rubbish knocked by the Dutch master and Seven’s Beijing coverage into proper perspective. Saul with those few words has confirmed what everyone is thinking — that Bruce is knocking up a masterpiece every time the red light goes on.
It is widely acknowledged across China that Australian sports callers state the bleeding obvious better than any other commentators in the world. When it comes to a cliche, we may only understand three or four, but by golly our top names make them sound fresh every time.
Hopefully the green and gold Olympic pick can hit another nugget today and keep us fourth. Germany, Russia, South Korea and Japan are getting very close. Their hot breath is on our collar. Day 11 is the time the Australian pedal needs to be pressed to the gold metal.