Tag Archives: aquatics

Acquatics Centre transformation underway

Acquatics Centre transformation going swimmingly as seating is removed

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UPDATED:

01:10 GMT, 18 December 2012

It was the arena where Ellie Simmonds sped her way to two golds and where Michael Phelps swam to his 22nd Olympic medal.

But now the Aquatics Centre is transforming, as construction workers start to dismantle the seating on either side of the pool.

Downsizing: The transformation of the Aquatics Centre has begun (and below)

Downsizing: The transformation of the Aquatics Centre has begun (and below)

During the games it had the capacity to hold 17,500 spectators, but now the two temporary wings on the structure are to be removed, leaving room for 2,500.

Designed by Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Architecture prize winner, the centre was created in a way that would allow for the additional seating to be removed easily once it was no longer needed.

Diggers

Stripped bare

History: The building took three years to make and was designed by Zaha Hadid

The construction, which took three years to build, has moveable floors and can adjust depth to match ability in all three of its pools.

It will be run by Greenwich Leisure Limited and is anticipated to attract around 800,000 visitors from the local area per year.

Come on in: The new venue will be made 'welcoming'

Come on in: The new venue will be made 'welcoming'

The organisers have been determined to make the venue welcoming and family-friendly, adding a cafe and a creche for visitors.

They have also agreed to employ local workers, with over 250 jobs available once the centre opens in 2013.

The future of the Olympic stadium has yet to be decided.

Rio 2016 Olympics: Olympic Park plans unveiled

Roll on Rio: Stunning plans unveiled for Brazil 2016's Olympic Park – inspired by British designers who made London such a successThe park will be built on the
former Brazilian grand prix track in a striking triangular layout
spread over 300 acresMain Olympic
stadium is not at the park – athletics hosted at the Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange
Media centre to accommodate 20,000 journalists and the Olympic and Paralympic villages are also located in Park

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UPDATED:

07:19 GMT, 19 September 2012

Stretching out into the still blue lagoon waters, set against a backdrop of rugged mountains, these are the spectacular first images of how Rio de Janeiro's Olympic park will look in 2016.

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of the city have been revealed by the architects that won the contract to mastermind the project in London.

The waterfront park will be built on the former Brazilian grand prix track in a striking triangular layout spread over 300 acres.

Scroll down for video tour of designs

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Lighting up the world: Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Park will be located next to the water's edge in the Barra area of the the city. The park will be built on the
former Brazilian grand prix track in a striking triangular layout
spread over 300 acres

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Stunning site: The Olympic Park will host 15 Olympic sports and a 11 Paralympic competitions at 34 venues. Notable venues shown here are: 4. The Aquatics centre (top centre), 6. The hockey fields (centre of the plan) 7. The Velodrome (blue centre field), 14. Gymnatics (top right), 8,9,10. Main tennis arenas (bottom centre)

It will play host to 15 Olympic sports including swimming and hockey and a further 11 Paralympic competitions in 34 venues on the site, 18 of which are already operating.

It will also house a media centre to accommodate 20,000 journalists and the Olympic and Paralympic villages are also located in the Barra zone.

Unlike the London Games, the main Olympic stadium is not at the park – athletes will use the famous Brazil football stadium, the Maracana, which will also be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the Joco Havelange Stadium – home to the club side Botafogo.

Building work is well underway with the project said to be more straightforward than London because several venues are already on the site due to its former role in hosting the Pan American Games.

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Visionary: Bill Hanway, 51, who headed up International Architects Studio Aecom's bid
to win the design contract, looks over the plan. Building work underway with the
project said to be more straightforward than London because several
venues are already on the site due to its former role in hosting the Pan
American Games

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Flowing design: Cutting through the centre of the park is the Olympic Way which reflects the design of pavements across Brazil which show the merging of the darker waters of the Rio (river) Negro and the lighter waters of the Rio Solomons in the Amazon

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Big project: Mr Hanway looks over his designs. Unlike the London Games, the main Olympic
stadium is not at the park – athletes will use the famous Brazil
football stadium, the Maracana, which will also be the site of the
opening and closing ceremonies as well as the Joco Havelange Stadium –
home to the club side Botafogo

International Architects Studio
Aecom, based in Holborn, London, were also responsible for designing
London's much-heralded Olympic park in Stratford.

Bill
Hanway, 51, who led Aecom's Rio bid to win the contract said: 'It is
very exciting. It will show off the best of Brazilian architecture in a
magnificent setting.

'This
is the first Olympics in South America and Rio is the most beautiful
city in the world and we have tried to reflect the beauty and spirit of
the place in our masterplan.'

Explaining
how it will differ from the London park, Hanway added: 'London was very
complex because of the old industry and network of canals. Rio is more
straightforward in that it is flat and already partially developed.

'But
our approach has been very similar, especially with regards to leaving a
legacy and in using Brazilian architects in the same way

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

All smiles: Hanway stands over the model. Venues such as the velodrome and aquatics
centre are already at the site, requiring only minor conversions to
bring them up to standard to host the Games. And unlike London, the park
will also host the Olympic tennis

British
architects were used in London. That is something that was key in
London and Eduardo (Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio) was keen to do the
same.

'We are already
talking about some interesting ideas of converting some of the temporary
venues into public buildings, like schools after the games. That is
really exciting.'

Hanway said one of the main challenges facing Rio was public transport. The city of six million people has just two metro lines.

'The
authorities are working on the transport and are extending the lines
out to the park. The good thing for us, is a lot of the upgrades will be
done in time for the World Cup in 2014,' he said.

Venues
such as the velodrome and aquatics centre are already at the site,
requiring only minor conversions to bring them up to standard to host
the Games. And unlike London, the park will also host the Olympic
tennis.

The images also show how the park will appear in 'legacy mode' after the Games when the temporary venues have been removed.

Barra
da Tijuca, known as Barra by locals, is situated in the south west of
Rio. It is known for its pristine Atlantic beaches and lush greenery.

Outside
of Barra, the neighbourhood of Copacabana, famous for its long stretch
of white beach, will host the rowing, sailing, canoeing and beach
volleyball.

A separate zone
in the Deodoro area of the city will host other competitions including
modern pentathlon, shooting, equestrian, cycling and fencing.

Designs for the complex in the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood of Rio have been revealed by the architects that won the contract

Legacy: It is hoped that after The Games some of the temporary venues can be converted into public
buildings, like schools. One of the main challenges facing Rio is public transport – the city of six million people has just two metro lines

International Architects Studio Aecom, based in London was also responsible for designing London's much-heralded Olympic park in Stratford

Good track record: International Architects Studio Aecom, based in Holborn London which was chosen to design the Rio site, was also
responsible for creating London's much-heralded Olympic park in
Stratford

VIDEO: The Rio de Janeiro Olympic Park design

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So proud to be a Brit! Sun sets on gold summer and sport is the winner

So proud to be a Brit! Sun sets on gold summer and sport is the winner

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 9 September 2012

Champion: Sarah Story

Champion: Sarah Story

As you wake up on Monday morning, wondering how life can ever be the same without the Olympic and Paralympic flames burning in a corner of east London, just watch out for shards on the floor.

The Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics promised the Games would smash the glass ceiling regarding people's perceptions of disability sport. Eleven days later, that ceiling lies in pieces.

This was the summer that Britain re-ignited its love affair with sport.

It has not mattered whether it was
Olympic or Paralympic sport as long as it was great sport; sport that
made you scream at your television screen or trek across the country to
sit in a stadium and feel part of it all.

The sold-out stadiums and the hordes of people queuing to watch a
morning session of Paralympic athletics all helped to make the London
Games the best yet, but it was the action going on inside these
amphitheatres that provided the real breakthrough.

'It was absolutely crazy,' said Jonnie Peacock, who heard 80,000 people
chanting his name before he won gold in the T44 100 metres.

'The crowd made it come alive. No athlete comes back thinking, “I didn't enjoy that, it was scary”.

'I was so proud to be British and so proud to have that crowd behind me.'

Just as the Olympic cynics were bowled over by wave after wave of British success a month ago, the achievements of home-grown athletes have played a vital part in the Paralympics' success.

It is why 50million was invested in our Paralympic team over the past four years.

It's all well and good putting on the best party the world has ever seen, but it's no good if someone else turns up and drinks the bar dry.

The atmosphere in the Aquatics Centre reached levels of hysteria we did not see at the Olympics as the hosts won seven gold medals, 16 silvers and 16 bronze.

Sensation: Gold medalist Jonnie Peacock

Sensation: Gold medalist Jonnie Peacock

Every member of the Para-equestrian team won a gold medal, although Lee Pearson could not match the three titles he won at three previous Games, and we had two triple gold medallists – Natasha Baker and Sophie Christiansen.

Athletics went from producing two golds in 2008 to 11 in 2012.

Britain won two medals in sailing for the first time since the sport was introduced to the Paralympics in 2000 and, although they did not match the feats of Beijing, the track cycling team still comfortably topped the medal table.

We didn't have it all our own way, however.

Paralympics GB surpassed their target of 103 medals by winning 120 but won fewer gold medals than four years ago in Beijing: 34 as opposed to 42.

It pushed Great Britain down to third in the medals table, meaning they missed their aim of finishing second because they were overtaken by Russia.

Staggering: Ellie Simmonds

Staggering: Ellie Simmonds

'We are third in the medal table, which does rankle just a tad,' said Penny Briscoe, Paralympics GB's deputy chef de mission.

'But we are ahead of all our closest competitors in terms of total medals won.

'More sports have delivered medals than ever before and we've taken medals in a quarter of all events held.'

Genuine stars such as David Weir and Sarah Storey have broken records for their staggering levels of success, winning four gold medals each, but, perhaps even better, the Games have uncovered a new breed of British talent.

Athletes like Peacock, 19; double Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, 20 – who dominated in the T34 100m and 200m – and 15-year-old Josef Craig, who broke the world record twice on his way to winning gold in the S7 400m freestyle.

Then there is Ellie Simmonds: still only 17 but already a grand dame of British sport with four golds, a silver and bronze from two Paralympic Games.

These exciting youngsters have excelled performing in front of packed arenas. They will want even more now.

Star: David Weir

Star: David Weir

Whether the public's love affair with Paralympic sport will endure is a question we can answer only in five or 10 years' time, but perhaps there is even better to come from British athletes in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Peter Eriksson, UK Athletics' Paralympics head coach, said: 'I always wanted to stay until 2016 because the first thing I said when I got here, in an interview which I got in trouble for, was the best performance from this team will come then.

'I believe that still about 2016.

'Why move down from the top of the Premier League to the third division It's not fun.'

The Closing Ceremony on Sunday night was a 'festival of flame' and London certainly has had a slightly giddy festival feel over the past six weeks.

That flame has done strange things to people, prompting grown men to dress up in red, white and blue and many of us to consider sport, and particularly Paralympic sport, in a very different way.

'I've been banging on about it for years,' said Weir.

'And it's about time that we get some recognition because we are super-humans and we are phenomenal athletes.

'I'm just honoured to see that Paralympic sport has got recognition like it should do.'

Consider that ceiling smashed.

Ellie Simmonds through to S6 100 metres freestyle final

Simmonds on target to win fourth medal after booking spot in S6 100m freestyle final

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UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 8 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds put a disrupted build-up to her final day at the Aquatics Centre behind her as she launched her bid for a fourth medal of the Paralympics in the S6 100 metres freestyle.

The 17-year-old has already claimed two golds and one bronze medal at the Aquatics Centre and this morning she went through second fastest behind Victoria Arlen in one minute 16.68 seconds.

The American equalled her own world record of 1min 14.74secs as she headed the field by 1.94secs.

Feel the fourth: Simmonds has already won two golds and a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games

Feel the fourth: Simmonds has already won two golds and a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games

Simmonds' task has been aided by the
withdrawal of S6 50m free champion Mirjam de Koning-Peper but she was
just glad to have negotiated this morning's heats.

Simmonds said: 'I had a rubbish lead-up to this one: I couldn't sleep at all last night.

'I've been quite emotional, I don't
know why. But I am enjoying it, I think that is what I am going to get
out of tonight – enjoy today and it's the last day.

'I've had the best time of my life so far so I am just enjoying it all now.'

The Swansea-based swimmer added:
'It's the end but I've had so many amazing swims and stuff but I am
quite an emotional person so it comes out.

'I think it is going to be a really tough race.

'It's going to be so tough but I am just going to go out there and enjoy myself.

'I've got two gold medals, I've got
world records, got a bronze medal. 'Amazing achievement – I am just
going to go out and enjoy it.'

Arlen, second behind Simmonds in the 400m freestyle, added: 'This is my last race and I'm fired up and ready to go. I love the 100 and I'm just going to go all out in the final.

'It's been a rollercoaster of emotions after everything that has happened in the last month, and even the last six months with my health. To have three medals in my first big meeting, it's something I never would have expected. I feel really great and I'm really enjoying it.

'It's tough but I love racing Ellie. It's great and she's a sweetheart. It's sometimes hard when people are cheering against you, but it's really an energetic crowd and it pushes us all on.'

The 17-year-old had to endure being on the verge of being excluded from the Games on the eve of London 2012 before a reprieve by the International Paralympic Committee.

She said: 'The reclassification comes with the sport and I really respect the IPC and their whole programme. It is what it is, but here I am swimming and doing a lot better than I ever would have expected.'

London Paralympics 2012: Ellie Simmonds gets bronze in S6 50m freestyle

Another medal for Simmonds as swimming star gets bronze in S6 50m freestyle final

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UPDATED:

18:36 GMT, 4 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds won her third medal of the Games as she snatched a bronze in the S6 50m freestyle.

The 17-year-old admitted in the morning she was running purely on adrenalin and had found the heat 'a killer'.

However, on Tuesday night she returned to finish third in 36.11secs behind Mirjam de Koning-Peper and Victoria Arlen.

Winners: (left-right) Silver medallist Victoria Arlen, gold medallist Marjam de Koning-Peper and bronze medallist Ellie Simmonds (and below)

Winners: (left-right) Silver medallist Victoria Arlen, gold medallist Marjam de Koning-Peper and bronze medallist Ellie Simmonds (and below)

Simmonds with her bronze

Simmonds was delighted and surprised by her bronze.

She told Channel 4: 'I'm so happy. I'm
really chuffed to get a bronze medal, I can't believe it – I was only
looking to get a PB.

'It's just going so well for me. I'm going to go back and prepare and look forward to racing my 100.'

Pleased with that: Ellie Simmonds celebrates her bronze

Pleased with that: Ellie Simmonds celebrates her bronze

Congratulations: Simmonds hugs silver winner Victoria Arlen

Congratulations: Simmonds hugs silver winner Victoria Arlen

Simmonds ready to go

Winning grin: Simmonds after coming third

Before and after: Simmonds before hitting the water and after emerging as the bronze winner

Simmonds returned to her accommodation after the heats where she had a massage and physio as well as a two-hour sleep before returning to the Aquatics Centre rested.

She was taken aback by her performance, saying: 'A massive surprise really.

'This is my fourth best event and I was going in fourth so to come out with a bronze medal…

'I was actually going for a personal best but I think a bronze medal actually overtakes a personal best in the Paralympic Games.

'I am just so happy and to be on the medal podium again on my fourth event and it will definitely help for my 100.'

The medals continued to come with Steph Millward claiming silver in the S9 400m freestyle.

It was a third medal of the meet for the 30-year-old who trains alongside Simmonds under Billy Pye at Swansea.

Narrow: The race was a tight affair

Narrow: The race was a tight affair

Millward was never out of the medal
positions, going from third to second at the halfway stage, a place she
never relinquished as she touched in 4:40.01, a European record.

The race was won by South African Natalie du Toit who claimed her third successive title.

Amy Marren, aged only 14, was fourth with Lauren Steadman, Simmonds' room-mate, sixth.

Millward told Channel 4: 'Two silvers
and a bronze. It's fantastic, that's really good. I'm so impressed with
that race, actually.

'I knew that Natalie du Toit was going to be going at a ridiculous speed so it was good.'

Of Marren, she said: 'I'm quite proud because she's a youngster so there's someone coming after me which is fantastic.'

London Paralympics 2012: Jessica-Jane Applegate wins S14 200m freestyle gold

Swimmer Applegate reaps gold reward for superb S14 200m freestyle performance

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 2 September 2012

Jessica-Jane Applegate swam a perfectly controlled race to claim ParalympicsGB's third gold medal in the pool with victory in the S14 200 metres freestyle.

Applegate, who turned 16 less than a fortnight ago, had qualified fastest after breaking her own British record in the morning.

On Sunday night she was fourth at the halfway stage before making a move on the third length and was in the bronze medal position with 50m to go.

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) of Great Britain celebrates with silver medallist Taylor Corry of Australia

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) of Great Britain celebrates with silver medallist Taylor Corry of Australia

The City of Norwich swimmer then produced a storming final length to overhaul her rivals and was pulling further ahead when she touched in two minutes 12.63 seconds.

Applegate had an operation on her foot a month ago putting her participation in doubt. Not only did she compete but her time was a Paralympic record.

'I'm just so happy,' she told Channel 4. 'It means so much. I just want to thank my mum and my family and everyone who's supported me. I'm on cloud nine at the moment.'

Pure delight: Applegate said she was on cloud nine

Pure delight: Applegate said she was on cloud nine

Asked how she came back to win, she said: 'I really have no idea.'

Victory sees Applegate join Ellie Simmonds and Jonathan Fox as Britain's gold medallists at the Aquatics Centre, her medal the 13th claimed so far by the home swimmers.

Applegate, who had already come fourth in the 100m backstroke, added: 'I am ecstatic, I really didn't think I could do something like that.

'At the last turn I could see how far ahead they were and I knew I had to give everything I had. It was my last race so I knew it didn't matter if I collapsed at the bottom of the pool, it's fine.'

In full flow: Applegate's medal was the 13th claimed by the home swimmers

In full flow: Applegate's medal was the 13th claimed by the home swimmers

In the men's equivalent, Daniel Pepper and Ben Procter finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Pepper and Procter had qualified fourth and fifth prompting hopes of gatecrashing the podium.

However, the pace was blistering and
resulted in Jon Margeir Sverrisson setting a new world record of
1:59.62, with the first three men all dipping under two minutes.

Procter, third in the 2010 World
Championships, started the better of the two Britons and was third at
halfway with Pepper in seventh.

However, Procter could not maintain
his pace and found the field overtaking him as he finished in 2:03.30
with Pepper 0.03secs ahead.

London 2012 Paralympics: Jonathan Fox wins swimming gold

Britain's Paralympic medal rush continues as Fox swims to 100m backstroke gold

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UPDATED:

18:51 GMT, 30 August 2012

Jonathan Fox became Great Britain's first Paralympic champion in the pool at London 2012 after he won a thrilling S7 100 metres backstroke race at the Aquatics Centre.

The 21-year-old had lowered his own world record this morning in the heats, dipping under 1min 10secs for the first time.

Effectively, the race was a duel between Fox and Yevheniy Bohodayko with the Briton appearing to have sealed victory by the 75m mark.

Champion: Jonathan Fox Britain celebrates after winning gold in the 100m backstroke

Champion: Jonathan Fox Britain celebrates after winning gold in the 100m backstroke

However, the Ukrainian came back with every stroke but Fox held him off to touch in one minute 10.46 seconds to upgrade his silver medal from Beijing.

After leaving the water, Fox played to the crowd who were ecstatic.

He said: 'It was a good time – 1:10 – I thought I was going to pip the world record again.

'I am very happy I got a gold medal.

'In the final it's all about getting that gold medal around your neck which I have done so I am really happy.'

The Plymouth-born swimmer realised how close his rival was getting in the final metres and admitted it became a struggle.

Making a splash: Fox swims to victory in the backstroke finalMaking a splash: Fox swims to victory in the backstroke final

Making a splash: Fox swims to victory in the backstroke final

He said: 'When I turned at 50 I was feeling good but the last 25 my legs blew up.

'You are always thinking in the back of your mind 'I can see the guy in lane five coming back' and you are dying inside and you just want to finish it'

'I just stuck to it and hit the wall fast.'

Of his celebrations where his inner showman emerged, whipping up the crowd in all parts of the venue, Fox said: 'It comes once every four years and you just want to stop time for a second and feel the atmosphere.'

I can't look! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watches Fox win gold

I can't look! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, watches Fox win gold

London 2012 Paralympics: Ten British hopes

Brit special! Ten home hopes going for gold at the London Paralympics

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 28 August 2012

The Great Britain team is expecting a stunning medal haul at the London 2012 Olympics. Here, Sportsmail guides you through the top 10 athletes to watch.

JON-ALLAN BUTTERWORTH – CYCLING

Lost an arm in Iraq while serving with the RAF five years ago, but 26-year-old is now a double world champion and world record-holder in the C5 individual time trial. Outspoken, but can he back up his words with his performance

ELLIE SIMMONDS – SWIMMING

The darling of the Beijing Games when she was just 13, Simmonds – now 24 – aims to defend her 100m and 400m freestyle titles and add medals in the 50m freestyle and 200m individual medley. Set the first world record in the Aquatics Centre in March.

Going for gold: Ellie Simmonds returns to the pool in London

Going for gold: Ellie Simmonds returns to the pool in London

NATHAN MILGATE – SHOOTING

World No 1 in the R1 men's 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event and world recordholder in the Mixed R3-10m Air Rifle Prone SH1. The 25-year-old's battle with room-mate and friend Matt Skelhon – a defending champion – promises to be a fascinating one.

IAN SAGAR – WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL

Played in pro ranks in Spain for two years before coming home to focus on 2012 with Paralympics GB. The 30-year-old broke his back in 1999 in a moped accident and got into the sport when working as a rep for a wheelchair company.

MARTINE WRIGHT – SITTING VOLLEYBALL

The day after London won the right to host the Games, Wright was pulled from the wreckage of a Tube train at Aldgate after the 7/7 bombings. She lost both legs and 80 per cent of her blood. Now, the brave 39-year-old is an inaugural member of this team.

Recovery: Martine Wright lost both legs in the London bombings

Recovery: Martine Wright lost both legs in the London bombings

DANIELLE BROWN – ARCHERY

Won gold in the team compound event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, following on from her individual gold in Beijing two years earlier. The 24-year-old has a first-class honours degree in law and is a three-time world champion. 'I'm not here for the T-shirt,' she says.

SHELLY WOODS – ATHLETICS

Has a busy schedule. Like fellow wheelchair racer David Weir, the 26-year-old will compete in the T54 800m, 1500m, 5,000m and marathon, covering more than 35 miles as she targets four medals to add to her Beijing bronze and silver.

TOM AGGAR ROWING

'Mr Invincible' has never experienced defeat since making his debut in the international ranks in 2007. The former rugby player, 28, has won four world titles and a Paralympic gold in the single sculls. Few would bet against him adding another title at Eton Dorney.

Brit special: Tom Aggar is the reigning world champion

Brit special: Tom Aggar is the reigning world champion

RICHARD WHITEHEAD ATHLETICS

World record holder for leg amputees in the marathon and halfmarathon. But there is no marathon for his category at these Games, so the 36-year-old is running the T42 100m and 200m instead.

HEATHER FREDERIKSEN SWIMMING

Won four medals in Beijing, including gold in the 100m backstroke, but 26-year-old has since served a six-month ban after testing positive for a raised level of Salbutamol following an asthma attack at the 2009 Europeans.

London 2012 Olympics: David Svoboda wins men"s modern pentathlon

Svoboda banishes Beijing heartache by winning men's modern pentathlon

PUBLISHED:

18:59 GMT, 11 August 2012

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UPDATED:

19:23 GMT, 11 August 2012

Czech David Svoboda won gold in the
men's modern pentathlon as British duo Nick Woodbridge and Sam Weale
could only finish 10th and 13th.

The home pair went into the final
event, the combined run and shoot, in the top 10 but they could not make
up ground on the leaders in front of a huge crowd at Greenwich Park.

Olympic champion: David Svoboda savours triumph

Olympic champion: David Svoboda savours triumph

Svoboda, who saw his Beijing hopes dashed when his horse fell on him during the show jumping, went into the combined event in first place and overhauled China's Cao Zhongrong on the final one-kilometre run while Adam Marosi of Hungary won bronze.

Woodbridge's 10th place matched the finish of Weale in Beijing, which was the best by a British man for 16 years.

In the first event of the day, the fencing, Woodbridge and Weale both finished with 17 wins from 35 fencing bouts at the Copper Box, which was a little below par, for Woodbridge in particular.

The world number nine was on top form to start with, winning his first five bouts and at one stage topping the leaderboard, but he tailed off rather and had to settle for joint 13th.

The format in pentathlon involves each of the 36 men fighting each other in one-minute bouts, with one hit enough for victory.

Below par: Nick Woodbridge (left)

Below par: Nick Woodbridge (left)

Weale's morning progressed in the opposite way to his team-mate's, with the 30-year-old losing seven of his first nine bouts but recovering to finish in the top half of the field.

Next up was the 200 metres freestyle swim at the Aquatics Centre, which is one of Woodbridge's best events, and his time of one minute 57.32 seconds was the second fastest of the day and enough to move him up to eighth place.

Weale swum his fastest time of the year, 2min 03.40sec, while the event was won by Egypt's Amro El Geziry, who broke his own Olympic record with a time of 1min 55.70sec.

Svoboda was the leading athlete in the fencing, the Czech equalling the Olympic record with 26 victories for 1024 points.

The show jumping is often a game changer, with the athletes drawing their horses at random and having only 20 minutes to acquaint themselves with their animal.

Woodbridge and Weale both performed well to keep themselves in contention, knocking down one fence apiece, although Woodbridge did rack up quite a few time faults.

His score of 1156 was enough to lift him into seventh place, while Weale was ninth after accumulating 1176 points, the seventh best ride of the day.

Hungarian duo Robert Kasza and Marosi both managed clear rounds, as did Italy's European champion Riccardo De Luca.

London 2012 Olympics: Diving: Tom Daley hoping to beat Qiu Bo

Tom must breach the Great Wall: China's Bo stands in the way of Daley's bid for diving glory after scraping through qualifiers

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 10 August 2012

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You wouldn't blame Tom Daley if, before he headed to the Aquatics Centre on Saturday for the semi-final and final of the 10m platform, he took a few minutes to relax, close his eyes and remind himself that the impossible is possible.

He could recall the 2009 World Diving Championships in Rome, for example. Going into the sixth and final dive, a then 15-year-old Daley trailed Chinese pair Qiu Bo and Zhou Luxin.

But then the unthinkable happened – the Chinese cracked, Luxin slightly off with his timing and Bo's entry so bad that he was given 79 points by the judges, 21 fewer than Daley.

In with a shout Tom Daley will compete in the 10m platform diving semi-final and final on Saturday

In with a shout Tom Daley will compete in the 10m platform diving semi-final and final on Saturday

The teenager from Plymouth became world champion. Now he needs hot favourite Bo to buckle under the pressure again in the 10m platform.

'If you hold your nerve and dive well and consistently then you are going to do well,' says Daley, whose preliminary round was last night.

'If you start worrying about what anyone else is doing and you start looking at other people, watching them, seeing what they are doing, then that is when it can start going wrong.

'Different divers handle pressure in different ways. I quite like pressure and it gives me that extra adrenaline and will to do it, but then the Chinese have been known not to do so well under pressure.

'The problem is that they are normally so far ahead by the time it gets pressurised. If you keep on their tail then that is when they start feeling pressure, like Rome 2009.

'On the last dive I scored 10s and Bo dived after me and didn't do his dive very well.

Good enough Daley will need to beat the impressive Qiu Bo if he is to take the gold

Good enough Daley will need to beat the impressive Qiu Bo if he is to take the gold

Good enough Daley will need to beat the impressive Qiu Bo if he is to take the gold

'But you just don't know. All divers feel pressure. I feel pressure, the Germans feel pressure, the Americans.'

Daley's form suggests he should be able to put Bo – who, at 19, is a year older than the Englishman – under pressure.

In the four FINA World Series meetings this year, the Plymouth teenager has finished second three times and first once.

Bo beat Daley in two of the four at which he turned up but this is the Olympics and the pressure will be on, especially as China have won six of the seven diving gold medals so far.

Being world and junior Olympic champion and the winner of the test event earlier this year only adds to the expectation.

Even staying close to Bo and claiming a medal would be deemed a great achievement when you consider their different training regimes, something Daley addressed earlier this year.

And that is before you take into consideration Daley's agony at losing his father, Rob, to a brain tumour last year.

'Qiu is like a robot,' said Daley. 'I train five hours a day, six days a week, which is a lot.

Man to beat: 19-yearr-old Bo is technically outstanding, and Daley knows he must be top of his game if he is to beat him

Man to beat: 19-yearr-old Bo is technically outstanding, and Daley knows he must be top of his game if he is to beat him

Man to beat: 19-yearr-old Bo is technically outstanding, and Daley knows he must be top of his game if he is to beat him

He has been the past few months, though, and will have struggled to do anything else since last week's agonising fourth-place finish in the synchro event with Pete Waterfield.

He is armed with an improved front four-and-a-half-somersault dive, the hardest there is and one he hopes will put him on the podium.

'The crucial thing is the front four-and-ahalf,' he added. 'That's No 4 for me in my routine, but for some others it is No 2 or No 3. I am going to keep the dive order I've been doing all year.

'I am not gong to change it going into the Olympics as it is the first time I have done it. For me it is about going in there making sure I do three solid dives before the four-and-a-half and then the four-and-a-half is the icing on the cake.

'I am aiming to get over 100 points on it as there aren't many divers that can do it. I've gone over 100 points on it four or five times this year but, if I get above 90, that makes it worth using.

It's not all about China: Matthew Mitchum of Australia is also standing in Daley's way

It's not all about China: Matthew Mitchum of Australia is also standing in Daley's way

'This year is the first year I have been comfortable with all my dives in competition.'

He will have to dive better than he did last night if he is to achieve that. After five of his six dives in the preliminary round, he was languishing in 16th place with only the top 18 qualifying for today's sem-final.

Another man standing between Daley and a medal is the current Olympic champion, Matthew Mitcham.

The Australian deserved huge praise for keeping the Chinese off the top of the podium in the event at their home Games in Beijing four years ago but he has struggled since.

Injuries have meant he has not made as much impact on the diving circuit as he would have wanted since 2008.

He is certainly determined to be noticed, though, criticising Daley for doing too much media work earlier this year, scaling the giant Olympic rings outside the Athletes' Village a few days before the Games and promising to dive naked off the 10m board if he successfully defends his title.

Daley's ever-increasing teenage fan base will be hoping he makes the same promise.