Saturday, August 4, 2012

Some more Olympic photos

First of all, congratulations to Andy Murray on reaching his second 'Wimbledon final' in the space of a month.  It's been said that Bradley Wiggins is already a shoo-in for Sports Personality of the Year, and that may well be true, but a Murray gold might yet make things interesting in December.

Secondly, commiserations to the badminton players who were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose their matches.  I for one don't think they did anything wrong.  'Cheating' in my book is drug-taking, bribing officials, tampering with your opponents' food, etc, etc.  There's a fundamental difference between cheating and tactical astuteness.  An obvious comparison can be made with another Olympic sport, curling, in which an accepted and celebrated part of tactical play is that you generally don't attempt to score at all unless you can score more than one, in order to retain last stone advantage.  Pretty much ever curler on the planet would be serving a lifetime ban if the 'not giving of your best efforts' principle had been literally applied to their own sport.

Meanwhile, I've been back to Hampden twice more for the Olympic football - last Saturday for two women's first round matches, and yesterday for the women's quarter-final between Sweden and France, which was the last game in the event to be played in Glasgow.  My abiding memory from last Saturday will be of standing near to the pitch in the run-up to the North Korea v France match, as the rain lashed down rather majestically, and as Set Fire to the Rain by Adele blared out from the loudspeakers.  I briefly made eye contact with a woman who may have been the North Korean assistant coach, and I kept thinking how odd it was to be so close to some real-life North Koreans - they're so rarely allowed to travel, after all.

As for yesterday, two highlights (other than the game itself!) stood out.  The first was the wee girl who spotted that most of the players from one team (Sweden) had blonde hair and that most of the players from the other team (France) had dark hair, and quickly decided that she wanted the blondes to win.  You see, Duncan?  The Olympics isn't about nations, it's about hair colour and nout else.  Then, on the way back to the train station, I could have sworn that I'd got myself stuck behind la famille Baker.  A boy asked his dad if it would be OK to kill an intruder with a bow and arrow, to which the dad basically replied by telling him not to be so silly - simply stabbing the guy with the arrow would get the job done far more efficiently.  The conversation took an even more educational turn as I discovered that skeletal remains from medieval societies have demonstrated that it is highly inadvisable to encourage young children to take up archery, in case one of their arms ends up being overdeveloped in comparison to the other.  You learn something new every day.

As this will be my last batch of Olympic photos, I might as well chuck in a couple of 'bonuses' (I use the word in the loosest sense).  I took some pictures of the Olympic torch relay as it passed through Glasgow and Edinburgh back in June, but I was too embarrassed to post them at the time because, as you'll see, the one thing I seemed utterly incapable of getting a clear picture of was the torch itself!  It went past too quickly in Glasgow, and in Edinburgh the batteries in my camera ran out at the crucial moment.  However, you can just about spot it in the Glasgow photos if you look very, very closely.

There are also some snaps of the free concerts that took place in the Merchant City on match days, to give people the chance to hear some live music either before or after their trip to Hampden.  A good idea in theory, but unfortunately not many people turned up - location was probably the problem.  I felt a bit sorry for the acts, some of whom were very good.  I didn't manage to catch many names, although one I did pick out was La Suite Bizarre, who were brilliant in a barking mad sort of way.

As ever, click on any picture to enlarge.


  1. Thanks for the photos James.

    One thing that strikes me about the Hampden pics, apart from the fact that none of the matches was what one would describe as "well attended", was the utter pointlessness of trying to make us take our national flag down and banning the waving of it given that unless the place was packed, or the IOC decided to repaint to seats, the flag was always going to be pretty much in evidence.

  2. "or the IOC decided to repaint to seat"

    Given that they made two stadiums change their names for sponsorship reasons, it was always a possibility!