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Thu Apr 17 08:42:26 SAST 2014

And that's all, folks, for now

Archie Henderson | 13 August, 2012 07:130 Comments

IT'S been an uplifting fortnight.

And that doesn't mean just Behdad Salimikordasiabi.

If this hasn't been the best Olympics ever, it's definitely been the best Olympics in London.

The 1948 London Games were the Ration Olympics in the wake of World War 2. The London Games of 1908 are now remembered only for Reggie Walker winning our first gold medal (10.8sec in the 100m, if you must know).

At those 1908 Games motorboating was an event. That has since been replaced by showboating.

The thing about an Olympics is that we end up watching stuff we'd never usually watch. Ki Bo Bae was a good reason to take in the women's archery at Lord's. Even synchronised swimming, much derided before the Games, has emerged as more than just a nice smile underwater. It requires, as we have been told, great upper-body strength to propel yourself out of a pool, feet first and in a straight line while twirling around at the same time.

The individual dressage at Greenwich was memorable as much for the music as for the horses.

The Dutch rider's selection ranged from Magnificent Seven, through Live and Let Die to The Great Escape. We would not have been surprised if the horse had turned into Steve McQueen's motorcycle and leapt across the barbed wire. The British woman rider and her mount danced to Land of Hope and Glory - and won.

There have also been an array of characters you would find nowhere else in sport. From Sarah Attar, running last in her heat of the 800m but given a standing ovation because she was the first Saudi Arabian woman ever to compete at an Olympic Games, to Logan Campbell, a taekwondo Kiwi who paid for his trip with profits from his brothel. He was knocked out in the first round, which just goes to show the gods of Olympus don't smile on whatever the male equivalent of a madam might be.

Everyone has an Olympic favourite. I have two, and they are both in-house.

Our man David Isaacson has been delivering gold-medal performances daily. If you think it's easy being the only man reporting on an Olympic Games for seven different newspapers, who all think they can do it better, try the decathlon, followed by a spot of weightlifting, open-water swimming and a marathon thrown in - on a single day. And he's doing it all without any illegal stimulants.

Ross Tucker is the other. He's our find of the Games. The rest of us hacks can write about how Usain Bolt won the 100m gold medal, but only Ross can tell you why.

And if you're still wondering about the reference to Behdad Salimikordasiabi in the second paragraph, he's the 22-year-old Iran big fella who's now entitled to call himself the strongest man in the world.

Salimikordasiabi is the type of bloke you'd want by your side when you're moving house. Salimi, for short, became the 2012 Olympic gold medallist in the plus-105kg category with a 208kg snatch and a 247kg clean and jerk for a total of 455kg. He could carry a fridge upstairs without even blinking.

It's not just a question of strength either. There's an ugly elegance to how his hips, shoulders, hands and knees all work to a rhythm to get the load above his head - and the agony of waiting for the judges' approval before he can let it all go again.

And now it's all over. We didn't win the 12 medals Gideon Sam had giddily predicted, but we did okay, and the best of all was that Yorkshire won more gold medals than the Aussies!

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And that's all, folks, for now

For Commenters Consideration | Please stick to the subject matter
Thu Apr 17 08:42:27 SAST 2014 ::