Olympic links: 14 June, 2013


Jonny Wilkinson and Spain rugby sevens team

England rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson interrupted his holiday to coach the Spanish women’s sevens team for an afternoon, ahead of their World Cup – see ‘Rugby Sevens’ below.

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Archery
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Naomi Folkard and Ashe Morgan reached the semi-finals of the mixed team event at the World Cup in Turkey, a good result for them, while Folkard lost to Russia’s Ksenia Perova in the last 32 of the women’s individual event. Results here.

Athletics
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Jamaican officials have handed their lone wildcard in the World Championships 100m to Yohan Blake, meaning Usain Bolt will have to go through trials to get there. He’ll probably make it.

Bolt won the 200m at last night’s Oslo Diamond League, taking 19.79 seconds – the year’s fastest time – in a race lacking any real challenger. American-born GB sprinter Tiffany Porter won the women’s 100m and GB’s Shara Proctor led the women’s long jump from start to finish. Here’s the British Athletics round-up.

Bolt, by the way, made his usual understated entrance:

Perri Shakes-Drayton, new GB captain for the European Team Championships: “I think I’m a natural leader. People might say I’m bossy but I’m just being helpful!” Shakes-Drayton was second over 200m in Oslo last night.

A good interview with pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale, putting her sixth-place finish at London 2012 into context and explaining how a superb 4.87m result just before the Games may have done her more harm than good in terms of expectation management, plus looking ahead to her future.

Jess Ennis-Hill is now set to make her outdoor heptathlon comeback in Estonia, having pulled out of recent events with a minor injury.

Hurdler Andy Turner, sidelined by a persistent Achilles injury that looks likely to keep him out for most of the year, insists his career is not over.

Yohan Blake explains cricket to Maurice Greene, then drops this on the Eurosport TV crew: “To tell you the truth, Maurice, I wanted to go to the States for one reason: white girls.”

Basketball
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Britain’s men will play Puerto Rico in a EuroBasket warm-up at the Olympic Park’s Copper Box in August. (“But wait, EuroBasket starts this weekend!” I hear you say. The women’s and men’s events are separate. The women’s event is indeed beginning on Saturday in France; the men’s EuroBasket is in Slovenia in September.)

Bobsleigh
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A nice video introduction to the GB four-man team, who will be at least an outside shot for a medal at Sochi next year, so it’s worth you watching this for a couple of minutes.

Boxing
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An interim chairman for the British Amateur Boxing Association has been appointed following the earlier ousting of Derek Mapp, which was the culmination of what would elsewhere be referred to as a clusterf- anyway, it’s Richard Thomas, the chief executive of Amateur Boxing Scotland. He’s unlikely to get the gig full-time because UK Sport, who will appoint the permanent successor to Mapp, has specified it needs to be someone currently not affiliated with any of the home nations governing bodies.

Canoeing
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Greek sprint canoeist Andreas Kiligaridis has died after a week in a coma. World governing body the ICF says medical tests revealed he was suffering from “an aggressive form of leukaemia”. Kiligaridis, 37, was found unconscious by a team-mate in a Polish hotel last week, ahead of a race. A veteran of the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Games, he leaves behind his wife and two children.

Cycling
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Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead are the headline names for this year’s British national road race championships, coming up later this month in Scotland. There is no Nicole Cooke (who’s retired) for the first time since 2001, and Emma Pooley is also absent while working on her PhD.

Not being in the UK to witness the London Nocturne, I hadn’t been aware that Hannah Barnes had pushed Laura Trott to a photo finish for victory in last weekend’s race. Now it seems not only was there a photo finish but Barnes narrowly beat the double Olympic champion, only to be demoted to second place for “celebrating while close to riders who were being lapped”. Barnes is not thrilled:

“The photo finish shows that I won,” she told BBC Sport. “But there’s some kind of regulation that you can’t take both arms off handlebars to win, which is crazy because every single cyclist does that when they win a race. I don’t think it’s over. If it stands that I stay second after taking my hands of the bars then so be it. It’s a bit annoying and I’m probably never going to do it again.”

Organisers pointed to the regulations which give discretion to impose penalties, warnings or fines and that riders “who ride dangerously shall be liable to disqualification”. But Barnes pointed to Sir Bradley Wiggins raising his arms in celebration several metres before he crossed the line in last year’s Tour de France to become the first British rider to take the yellow jersey.

Alex Dowsett, having won a stage at the Giro d’Italia for his new Movistar team, wants a slot at next year’s Tour de France.

An email interview with Brian Cookson, the British candidate going up against Pat McQuaid for the UCI presidency. Interesting enough, but fairly short on specifics.

Diving
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Yesterday was Tom Daley’s last day at school.

Doping
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Jamaican 400m runner Dominique Blake has been given a six-year ban for a second doping offence.

Equestrian
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Here’s the live leaderboard for the four-star Luhmuehlen event over the next few days.

Gymnastics
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Latest Beth Tweddle news: there is no Beth Tweddle news.

Hockey (field)
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An overview of the 18-woman squad selected by Jason Lee for the World League semi-final (confusingly, a series of games rather than just one semi-final). Also useful as a reminder of a few of the London 2012 stars who have subsequently retired, e.g. goalkeeper Beth Storry and Crista “runs-with-lions” Cullen.

Hockey (ice)
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NBC, which has a considerable stake in this story, says time is running out for a deal between the NHL and IOC to allow the league’s players to take part in Sochi 2014.

As mentioned earlier in the week, yesterday saw Team GB defenceman Danny Meyers giving Finnish F1 driver Valtteri Bottas an ice hockey education. F1 reporter Lee McKenzie tagged along – all three are in the photo below. See the timeline of the GB ice hockey Twitter account for more.

London 2012
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The number of British people taking part in sport has fallen by 200,000 in the latest set of Sport England figures. This is the sort of thing which triggers doom-laden headlines about lost Olympic legacy and so on, but the small print explains that Britain’s cold winter probably had a sizeable hand in that dip. Football, golf, rugby and cricket were the big losers, whereas swimming, basketball and boxing (indoor sports while it’s nippy out) saw a decent increase. Snowsport had the second-largest increase, which seems good evidence for the weather theory.

There’s a positive spin on the figures from athletics’ point of view here: “There was a 25% increase in athletics participation following the 2012 Games, which has been credited in part to Britain’s unprecedented success on the famed ‘Super Saturday’, which saw Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford all win gold medals at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.”

If you actually want to inspect the full figures for yourself – a number of media outlets felt it unnecessary to link to the actual data – you can download everything here. Interestingly, when you look at changes in participation since 2005 (pdf), table tennis has one of the largest percentage increases. Fewer Britons swim, ride horses, play squash or play football now than in 2005. Not that many sports have posted an increase. (Field hockey must be a bit disappointed that, in the past year, fewer people took part than in 2005.)

Oscar Pistorius
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I keep wondering why he has his own category in these links, but then on reflection it’s hard to know where else to put Olympic-and-Paralympic murder suspect news. Pistorius has been left off the South African team for the IPC World Championships (i.e. disability sport’s athletics Worlds), which is as expected.

Rowing
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Some changes to the GB team ahead of the Eton Dorney World Cup.

Rugby sevens
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Good for Jonny Wilkinson, who took time out of his holiday in Mallorca to help coach the Spanish women’s rugby sevens team ahead of their World Cup – even trying to run his whole session in Spanish.

Sailing
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London 2012 medallists Nick Dempsey (silver) and Bryony Shaw (bronze) won the windsurfing titles at the Sail for Gold regatta. There was a GB one-two-three in the Nacra 17 class, which is new for Rio 2016. Bear in mind that this year’s event was considered reasonably low-key by some sailors and much of the field in most classes was British, so you can’t read too much into the results – there’s a full round-up here.

Shooting
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GB’s Steven Scott went out at the semi-final stage of the double trap World Cup in Cyprus, won by London 2012 bronze medallist Vasily Mosin of Russia. Men’s and women’s skeet are still to come this weekend.

Ski jump
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Ski jump summer training with US world champion Sarah Hendrickson. A few useful bits of info in here for anyone who wants to understand more about the sport.

Snowboarding
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GB snowboard cross athlete Zoe Gillings on her “iffy history” with the Olympics – given major injuries before Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010 – and her ambitions this time around.

Speed skating
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Did a US speed skating coach tell a Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist to sabotage his rival’s skates? Both parties are up in front of the world governing body’s disciplinary commission to explain themselves.

Swimming
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GB swimmer Dan Sliwinski is back after 12 months out with a shoulder injury, which took away his chance of competing at London 2012. In an interesting throwaway line further down the piece, his mum Christine says: “He didn’t get the support and rehab he should have done after the operation – that has probably held him back by six months.”

Triathlon
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The European Championships take place in Turkey this weekend – here’s the ITU’s preview. No Brownlees but watch out for fellow Briton Non Stanford, who is in fine form and has a good chance in the women’s race.

Non-Olympic
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Rule changes for an extreme Alaskan mountain race, a year after a first-time competitor went missing. He still hasn’t been found.

This BBC feature on the secret life of cats is remarkable for several reasons. First, it’s quite cool – 10 cats, cameras and GPS attached to them, tracked over a 24-hour period in the same small village. Who doesn’t want to look at that?

But second, there are some hidden gems in here. For starters, one of the cats is a hermaphrodite. The feature mentions this quite casually but, I don’t know about you, this is the first hermaphrodite cat I’ve come across. The cat is named “Hermie”. Nice touch there from the owners.

Orlando is where it’s at, though. Orlando is the fourth cat in. Each cat has a piece of catcam video you can watch, and Orlando’s was initially – enigmatically – entitled “Orlando has a nasty experience”. It’s only 30 seconds long, so give it a watch. Turn the sound up, too. Maybe invite some work colleagues over to watch it, perhaps your boss even, because after all the BBC has given you no clue as to what you’re about to see…

(The BBC spoilt this by subsequently changing the title to “Orlando is sick”, which is entirely accurate but removes the element of surprise from discovering that you’re watching a cat puke up from the cat’s own perspective.)

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Written by Ollie Williams

Ollie has covered four Olympic Games for BBC Sport on TV, radio and web, and is the owner of Frontier Sports. More about Ollie >>

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