Enough of the screaming roars of London 2012 crowds. All is silent and reverential at the Copper Box in Stratford’s Olympic Park.
The venue for Olympic handball is now hosting goalball, played by blind Paralympians or those with partial sight.
Blindfolded to ensure all players have equal (dis)ability, the three players on each side defend a goal 1.3m high and 9m wide.
Goals are scored by rolling the ball at high speeds of up to 60kms an hour. Players defending their goals prostrate themselves across the court to prevent shots going into their net.
All of which requires silence from the crowd so that the players can hear the ball charging towards them. Read more >>
Bernie Ecclestone breezed into the Olympic Park on Saturday afternoon. Given that Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee, had shown up at last month’s British grand prix, it would have seemed unreasonable for the Formula One impresario not to return the compliment.
Accompanied by his Brazilian fiancé Fabiana, Mr Ecclestone made for the media centre, so it didn’t take long for a swarm of reporters and cameramen to surround him with questions about what he thought of the whole Olympic circus. Read more >>
There is something of a kerfuffle among certain media commentators about the use of music to entertain spectators in the Olympic stadium at the athletics events.
Music has been a pretty constant feature of these games – from Danny Boyle’s history tour of Britpop in the opening ceremony to the sound systems in use in the Olympic Park and in venues.
The issue is that the stadium DJs are busily pumping out musical rhythms during races, not just in between them. This is dividing opinion between the purists who believe the sporting action is being devalued and others whose argument is: what’s wrong with helping staid old athletics reach a wider audience? Read more >>
Bradley Wiggins celebrates winning the gold medal on August 1 (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/GettyImages)
While Britain wallows in the wonder of Bradley Wiggins, a hat-tip (or even a doff of the helmet) should be conferred on Peter Keen, the man who a decade ago set about to revive the fortunes of British cycling.
Mr Keen created Britain’s high performance cycling programme around Manchester’s velodrome, before passing on the baton to British Cycling’s performance director Dave Brailsford.
Wiggins came under his wing in the late 90s, a very different creature to the other budding 17 and 18 year-olds in his charge, Mr Keen recalls.
“He was completely immersed in cycling. It is all he wanted to read about and study, whereas many of his contemporaries wouldn’t have had that level of fascination and focus,” Mr Keen says.
The Wiggins riding style has barely changed over the years: “He was almost too aware of how he would look and flow on the bike.” Read more >>
Ye Shiwen after the podium ceremony of the women's 200m individual medley final on July 31. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/GettyImages)
Say what you wish about Ye Shiwen, but the Chinese swimmer whose exploits have dominated talk in the early days of the games gave a remarkably polished performance at her press conference on Tuesday night.
A packed room listened intently on headphones to the translation of her answers to repeated questions about her thoughts and reaction to the storm of controversy about whether or not she is “clean”.
The press conference lasted about 20 minutes, and although a US swimmer shared the stage with her, pretty much all the questions were directed at the Chinese girl.
Ye is 16 years old, but came across as a veteran rather than a novice. No coaches, no minders, came between her and the media. That may not sound out of the ordinary, but four years ago at the Beijing Olympics they hovered around the press conferences to shield and protect the Chinese athletes, particularly the younger ones, from awkward probing by the media. Read more >>
Roger Blitz reports on the ‘Olympic squaddies’, whose khaki uniforms are now as familiar around the games venues as the logo and livery of London 2012. Read more >>
One person rather anxious about whether the Queen’s show-stopping acting debut in the opening ceremony would go down a storm with the British public was the head of state herself.
That much can be gleaned from Boris Johnson’s account of a conversation the London mayor had with “The Actress” the morning after the world saw her play herself opposite Daniel Craig’s James Bond in a film sequence for the ceremony. Read more >>
Jacques Rogge (L) arrives with Princess Anne at the Opening Ceremony of the IOC at the Royal Opera House on July 23. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)
With a goodly number of crown princes, princesses, sheikhs and counts in its ranks, the International Olympic Committee is not a club inclined to cut corners.
The presence in London of the 109 IOC members, led by president Jacques Rogge, is quickly coming under the kind of scrutiny they presumably knew they were in for seven years ago when they decided, narrowly, to stage the 2012 Olympics in London rather than Paris.
The grandeur of their five-star residence in the Park Lane Hilton, complete with security cordon, set the tone for the criticism they can probably expect to encounter on a regular basis during the games. Read more >>