Tuesday 7 August 2012


Not a lot has been happening here blog-wise or art-wise in the last week, with wall-to-wall Olympics and a break for a few days of holiday to celebrate my 77th birthday and my improving health.  These dramatic shadows at the Albert Dock in Liverpool caught my eye as we walked up to the Tate Gallery.

But this post is really about my take on the Olympics.

We are not sports enthusiasts, and we watch very little TV at any time, but even on our break we managed to catch some Olympic coverage, and back home have almost been glued to the set, including meals in front of the TV (not a thing we do very often).

This really has been a fantastic games.  The BBC coverage has been excellent, everything seems to be so marvellously well-organised and the atmosphere everywhere so happy.

Obviously we are so proud of Team GB and their efforts, whether they won or not, but have appreciated the performances of all the athletes whatever their country.

The outstanding thing about the coverage for me has been the high standard of the commentaries, and the discussion and analysis of the 'pundits' or 'analysts' - I'm not sure what their title is.

Claire Balding has been excellent throughout, so knowledgeable whatever the sport, and whether she is commentating or chairing the discussion sessions.

Michael Jackson (previous gold medal winner USA), Ian Thorpe (previous medal winner Australia) and Colin Jackson (previous gold medal winner GB) have been outstanding 'analysts' on the couch in the studio, really adding to the understanding and enjoyment of the games.  Such good choices by the BBC.

(Victoria Pendleton, Team GB, just on the TV now - why on earth are we so interested in the cycling?  And she's through to the final!  It's been compulsive watching).

But what is it makes a 'Great Athlete' - winning in one speciality, winning in one short but intensive race, or winning as one of a team in a sport like hockey or football?  

My take on this (pausing while Chris Hoy takes part in the men's Keiran heat, a word and race I never heard before, with a man on a funny little motorised bike leading them ..... and whew! Hoy is in to the finals).

As I was saying, my take on the 'Great, or Greatest, Athlete' is always influenced by the superb performances of the Pentathletes, Heptathletes and Decathletes.  Jessica Ennis winning the Gold in the Pentathlon was just so marvellous, seven events, in each of which she was worthy of an individual medal.

And today the Triathlon was mind-blowing, I just don't know how the athletes keep going, firstly a 1.5 kilometre outdoors swim in the (cold) Serpentine, then immediately on to their bicycles for a 40 kilometre race, then literally jumping out of their cycling shoes into running shoes for a 10 kilometre running race.

Every one of the competitors was fantastic, right down to the last man past the finish line, but Alistair Brownlee, Team GB, winning the Gold was unbelievable.  He ran the 6.2 miles without a pause, way out in the lead all the way.  As he approached the finish line a spectator handed him a Union Jack and he ran with this held above his head until shortly before the finish line and then slowed right down to a walk and strolled across the line. 

Now THERE is a great athlete!


  1. Cool shadows. The more we paint the more we see patterns and interesting shapes everywhere!
    Have a great week.

  2. Love those shadows! sounds like you are enjoying your birthday celebrations and pleased that you are enjoying the Olympics, they have been really special. From the opening ceremony onwards its been great to watch although I haven't seen much today. I put the Union Jack bunting out on Sunday after Andy Murray's Olympic Gold Medal win, such a joy to see him win x


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