The big news in China is all about reigning 110m Hurdles Champion Liu Xiang, who pulled out of the hurdles here due to a foot injury. Apparently half of China is sad for him; half thinks he is a choker. What a disgrace. Thank God we live in a nation that never puts the boots into a star going through a rough time...
On an unrelated matter, I saw Jana Pittman on Sunrise this morning. She thinks Sally McLellan can win a medal tonight. Here's hoping so. I would stay up to watch it, but I think I will be better off waiting for Channel 7 to show me the event in slo-motion with some pre-Bobby Brown Whitney Houston playing in the background.
This is how bad Channel 7 has made the Olympics - Today Tonight just did a segment on great Olympic moments. They showed Derek Redmond and I switched channels. Maybe it had something to do with having Peter Gabriel singing Don't Give Up in the background, or just the fact the fact the journo referred to Redmond as "the favourite for the 400m"; instead of "outside chance for a medal", still you can always trust Channel 7 to not think reality is good enough).
Big night of sport coming up. But I am greatly peeved to discover Australia doesn't have a team in the Madison cycling event. In Athens, Stuart O'Grady and Graeme Brown won Gold, and yet 4 years later we can't even muster up 2 kids on Malvern Stars to go round and defend the title? Damn it, if they had let me know I would've got my old 1977 Dragster out of my parent's shed and hooked a plane over to China. Just what the hell are you doing Cycling Australia???! It's all very well to throw up your arms and say "oh those damn British, how did they get so good?" But of you're not even going to bother entering anyone in the race, why the hell should we bother???!!!!
I am thisclose from using the words "my" "tax" and "dollars" in a sentence...
Mostly I'm upset because the Madison is such a bizarre fun event to watch, and now nothing will be able to stop Channel 7 from showing gymnastics ad infinitum.
Over at the Bird's Nest, I'm ready to settle in for a big night of montages. First up for Gold is the Men's High Jump. Now this is a field event, so vision of me in the shower belting out Nessun Dorma has got more hope of getting a viewing on Channel 7.
The High Jump is one of those events that seems to have reached a peak WR-wise. What would win Gold 20 years ago, would still be good now. In 1996, Charles Austin won with a jump of 2.39m, and that would be best in the world this year. My pick for Gold? Andrev Sinov over defending champion Stefan Holm.
The men's Discus Final is also on. I haven't been really into the Discus since man mountain Lars Riedel called it quits, and the big upset was world leading Iranian Ehsan Hadidi not making it through to the final, I would go with the Pole, Piotr Malachowski, mostly because I once knew a guy called Piotr, and he could have snapped my leg off and used it as a tooth pick, and I figure the name has something to do with it, but I must go with Virgilius Alekna to make it three Olympic title in a row (and that would be a moment).
The women's 400m will be won by Sanya Richards (put your superannuation on it - have I ever led you wrong? ahem).
The women's 100m Hurdles - Lolo Jones looks set to become the Gold medallist (expect a plethora of girls named Lolo to be born soon... or maybe not). I'm going to go out on a long limb and say Sally McLellan will do no worse than 4th.
The men's 1,500m is the last event of the night, and is severely lacking in big names. The best in the world this year, Kenyan Shedrack and Komen aren't even in the field (flubbed it at the Kenyan trials); but my tip is another Kenya - Kipruto Kiprop. He looked great in the heats and semi; and I just don't like Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain or Mehdi Baala of France (yes I have 1500m runners I like and dislike!).
7:54pm: The Opals are slaughtering the Czech Republic at the moment. Here's why I love the internet: you can find out how the Opals put on their uniforms. The answer? Apparently there are studs on the shoulders. The uniform was also in espn's competition to be the worst uniform in sport. It lost in the quarter finals.
Men's 3m springboard diving finals are up tonight, with perennial medal chance Robert Newbery doing the piking and twisting. His wife, Chantelle (gold medallist from Athens), only came 14th in the women's 3m springboard on Saturday. I completely missed it. Oh well, I'll get over it.
Here's a newsflash - about an hour ago Anna Meares, who earlier this year broke her neck in an crash in a race, qualified for the final of the women's sprint. If she wins, its going straight to the top of the list of story's of the games. I mean she broke her neck and comes back to win!!! All she has to do is beat the British Victoria Pendleton.
The final is on in 1 minute; but don't worry Channel 7 will cross over to it just as soon as they have finished editing the montage. (I'm thinking Mariah Carey singing Hero).
8:30pm:Yes!!!!!!!!! Channel 7 have gone from the gymnastics to the cycling.
8:38pm: Meares gave the English woman too big a head start in the first heat. Pendleton is the world champion, so it's a tough ask.
Whenever I watch men's gymnastics, my shoulders start to ache. Incredibly a 16yo German in in the lead in the men's parallel bars. He is single-handedly trying to bring down my argument on the merits of men's gymnastics over women's.
Some celebrity agent this morning predicted Michael Phelps will be a billionaire. Here's my prediction: in two months during the baseball world series and as the college football season starts and while everyone is gearing up for the next NBA season you could go to America and ask 10 random people in the street and maybe 1 of them will say, "oh yeah, he's that guy who won all those medals in the watchyacallthem Lympics".
In a year's time, more Australians will know his name than Americans. He could win every gold in the pool, but it isn't going to change the fact that he doesn't play basketball, NFL or baseball (and this just in, he ain't an oil painting).
Basketballer Lebron James, who made $40.5 million in the last year will earn more in a month than Phelps will in a year. (Unless you think millions of American kids are going to ditch their sneakers for speedos)
9:02pm:Anna Meares up for the second heat. Go you good thing!
Nope - Pendleton too good. But what an effort by Meares. Geez, it'd be hard for anyone in the team to complain about an interrupted preparation and look her in the eye...
I'm saying it right here; right now - gymnastics is rigged in favour of the home nation. (yep I really blew the lid off that scandal didn't I?)
Well that's it for me tonight. I feel like I've been up late watching sport since Wimbledon. Time to watch some of it from the couch instead in front of a computer! (Just did a time comparison - it's 10:30pm EST, in London at the moment it's 1:30pm; so this time in 4 year's time we'll be watching afternoon events. To watch the track finals at say 10pm it'll be 7am in eastern Australia... not too bad really; so in 4 year's time it'll be lots of early to bed, early to rise).