Herald on Sunday Olympics reporter Andrew Alderson looks back on 10 talking points of the first week in London.
Joe Sullivan stands tall
What a way to celebrate a gold medal. The normally reserved Sullivan stood in the stern of the boat and surveyed Dorney Lake, the scene of his and Cohen's domination. He was like Lord Nelson overlooking Trafalgar Square. To put the effort in context, getting up in a rowing skiff ranks with pivoting on gymnastics' beam as a test of balance. Post-Sullivan, others attempted it. In Twitter parlance he was trending.
The Pom Poms
What has happened to BBC's television coverage? Once the benchmark for objectivity it has been littered with sickly Games patriotism. The directive must be cheerleading = ratings winner. The worst example? The women's triathlon coverage. The race produced the rarity of a photo finish. Where to next? A look at the photo? An analysis of the enthralling final scenes? No, an interview with fifth placed Brit Helen Jenkins. Dreadful.
A grateful absence of any haka
The rowers just keep going up in my estimation. Not only did they pick up three gold and two bronze medals at Dorney Lake, there was no haka in sight. They chose to preserve the sanctity of the Maori custom rather than using it as a cheap gimmick to roll out ad nauseam for celebrations. Leave it as the All Blacks challenge, not as a cringe default mechanism when a handshake would do the trick.
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Steak at the rowing function
Kim Lee and Ali Foers of the Cambridge-based catering company Gourmet Delicious deserve some credit for the rowing medals. They fed and watered the country's best oarspeople at the team's day house just up from the course. While their food was delicious, a special commendation has to be made to the steak. Those beasts did not die in vain. Medium cooked with the juices kept in... what a feed.
View from the eventing cross-country course
It made for an idyllic scene, reclining on the Greenwich Park grass at the cross-country with a half pint of bitter and a bacon baguette in easy reach and the London city skyline as the backdrop. The horsemanship was compelling for a public that roared its approval from tartan picnic rugs with wicker baskets spilling forth sandwiches and cakes. An inspired venue choice.
The Dorset coast produces outstanding lobsters... of the human kind. Presumably there's a trade embargo on sunscreen in this part of the world. The crispy redness on best-bitter cured British guts is a particular speciality. Provides a merry distraction when the sailing is not in full cry at the seaside. Their backs looked hot enough to fry a mixed grill on.
British love of queues
There is an obsession with orderly Noah's Ark (two by two) lines to get to anything. Patience is a well-practised virtue, be it queueing for trains, food or events. While some visitors clench their fists and grind their teeth in frustration, the average Brit is small talking about the weather and enjoying some welcome down time.
New Zealand's Mike Dawson qualified for the semifinals in the men's kayak slalom, despite the efforts of his Mum. He had a couple of two second time penalties from touching gates, one of which came on gate five where mum Kay was a judge. "I guess if there were any questions of bias they were ruled out there," Dawson laughed.
The cobblestones proved treacherous in sodden conditions. New Zealand's Kim Smith (15th) was hardly a fan but the marathon provided a showcase of London sights. The athletes weaved their way around landmarks like St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster and the Tower of London. The course included more than 90 turns and a longest straight of less than 800m. It was basically a 42.195km game of hide and seek.
Meet the Farahs
It's hard to remember a crowd erupting like the one which celebrated Mo Farah's victory in the 10,000m. The cacophony made the All Blacks World Cup final victory at Eden Park seem like the sort of polite applause you get at the opening of a civic building. Then Farah's family, his pregnant wife Tania and daughter Rihanna, were escorted onto the track to further roars of approval. A charming PR touch... hopefully the courtesy is extended to all winners, not just Brits.