Tag Archives: buckingham

Jessica Ennis" training venue Don Valley Stadium to be demolished

So much for the legacy! Ennis' training venue Don Valley Stadium to be demolished in cost-cutting measure

/13 is unsustainable as the stadium is running at a loss.

Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Ennis trains at the stadium. She was also discovered at the stadium when she went to a summer holidays athletics club when she was 10.

After her triumph in August, some people called for the Don Valley Stadium to be renamed in her honour. It is also home to the City of Sheffield Athletics Club.

Preparation: Ennis used Don Valley Stadium as a training venue

Preparation: Ennis used Don Valley Stadium as a training venue

Yesterday, after she received her CBE at Buckingham Palace, Ennis said: 'I've some amazing memories.

'I started my athletics career there. Having that iconic stadium in my home city is incredible.

'And to lose that would be such a shame for future athletes coming through. So I hope that the right decision's made.'

Double blow: Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello lost his full-time job with UK Atheltics

Double blow: Ennis' coach Toni Minichiello lost his full-time job with UK Atheltics

The council said it subsidises every visit by more than 5 and it requires major repair and maintenance work – totalling around 1.6 million.

It has proposed the reopening of the track at the smaller Woodbourn Road Stadium nearby.

The 25,000-seat stadium, which was a temporary home to Rotherham United for four seasons, was built as the centrepiece of a 147 million construction programme when Sheffield hosted the 1991 World Student Games.

Jessica Ennis and Sir Dave Brailsford were among a number of British Olympians honoured by the Queen

Ennis, Rutherford, Adams and Rowsell lead the Olympic honours list while cycling boss Brailsford becomes a knight at the Palace

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Honoured: Jessica Ennis (second from left) Greg Rutherford (centre) and Nicola Adams (second from right) pose with Beefeaters after being honoured by the Queen for their heroics during London 2012

Honoured: Jessica Ennis (above, right) receives her CBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and poses before entering (below)

Honoured: Jessica Ennis (above, right) receives her CBE medal from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and poses before entering (below)

Jessica Ennis

Pride: Ennis shows off her newly awarded CBE

Pride: Ennis shows off her newly awarded CBE

Today’s ceremony will see honours go to a collection of athletes who became household names with their achievements as part of Team GB.

Greg Rutherford, 26, who landed a gold in the long jump, spoke of his excitement at being awarded the MBE. He said: 'I am very excited and very nervous as well.

Knighted: British Cycling performance director and head of Team Sky Sir David Brailsford (right) receives his knighthood from the Queen

Knighted: British Cycling performance director and head of Team Sky Sir David Brailsford (above, right) receives his knighthood from the Queen and stands with his family before entering the Palace (below)

Sir David Brailsford

'It’s not every day you get to do something like this and meet the Queen. The heart’s racing a bit.

'You dream of doing well at an Olympics, especially a home Olympics, and then the things that come along after that are just absolutely out of this world.

'I don’t think truly you can imagine these sorts of things happening and being awarded by the Queen. It really is just extraordinary.'

Sportsmail's own: Joanna Rowsell speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

Sportsmail's own: Joanna Rowsell speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

MBE: Sportsmail columnist Joanna Rowsell (right) speaks with the Queen after becoming a Member of the British Empire

Greg Rutherford

Nicola Adams

Collecting more medals Long jumper Greg Rutherford (left) and boxer Nicola Adams each picked up an MBE

Boxing gold medal winner Nicola Adams, 30, is also being awarded an MBE.

The flyweight, who outclassed China’s Ren Cancan to win, said: 'I’m over the moon, really excited.'

Wearing Kurt Geiger shoes and a black Phillip Lim jacket, she added: 'It isn’t every day you get to come to the palace and receive the MBE.

Sealed with a handshake: Double Olympic champion Jason Kenny collects his OBE

Sealed with a handshake: Double Olympic champion Jason Kenny collects his OBE

'I am over the moon and can’t believe I’m receiving this today.'

Double 2012 cycling champion Jason Kenny, 24, is to collected his OBE with team-mate and team pursuit gold medallist Joanna Rowsell, 24.

Ecstatic: Sir David shows his emotions while chatting to the Queen

Ecstatic: Sir David shows his emotions while chatting to the Queen

British Cycling performance director and principal of Team Sky, David Brailsford, will receive his knighthood.

Sir David led Britain to eight cycling gold medals for a second successive Olympics and Team Sky to an historic one-two in the Tour de France.

23 years own: Former England and Glamorgan cricketer Robert Croft was awarded an MBE

23 years own: Former England and Glamorgan cricketer Robert Croft was awarded an MBE

He receives his knighthood for services to cycling and the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Cricketer Robert Croft, who retired during the summer, will pick up his MBE following a 23-year career with England and Glamorgan.

Lukas Podolski shares London day-trip with Twitter followers

Learning London with Podolski: Arsenal star shares day trip around capital with fans

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 12 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:25 GMT, 13 February 2013

After joining Arsenal from Cologne last summer, Gunners fans soon took to Lukas Podolski who has quickly adapted to life in the Premier League.

It isn’t just on the pitch where the striker is settling in fast though, the German international has been just as keen to soak up the London atmosphere around him.

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Here we go: Lukas Podolski started his London tour by taking 'a real black cab' from the Highbury district

Stop seven: Lukas Podolski poses outside of Trafalgar Square

Stop nine: Podolski stops outside Buckingham Palace

Short trip: Podolski poses with a lion outside of Trafalgar Square before visiting Buckingham Palace, where after seeing the Royal Standard flag happily tweeted that 'the Queen is home!!!'

With Arsenal not due to play in the Champions League until next week, the 27-year-old used his spare time to go sight-seeing around the capital, including a trip to Trafalgar Square as well as nearby Buckingham Palace.

Podolski shared his day-trip around London with his Twitter followers under the hashtag #learninglondon showing his knowledge of where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married as well as recognising how the Queen was in residence.

Thumbs up: Lukas Podolski stops outside St Pauls

Stop five: Podolski tweets #weddingcakechurch

Thumbs up: Podolski gives his approval after visiting St Paul's Cathedral (left)

The German’s interest in learning about London comes just months after a video was released showing the striker taking rhyming slang lessons off former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour in a bid to help him to adapt to life in north London.

It seems to have worked so far as Podolski has been a regular feature at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 12 goals in 31 games.

Lukas Podolski's tour was the latest in a series of Learning London features the German international has filmed with Arsenal Media, available to watch on player.arsenal.com from the weekend.

Louis Smith and Pat Rice receive MBEs

Medals of honour: Team GB heroes Smith, Baker and Hosking and Arsenal legend Pat Rice given gongs by the Queen

team were today honoured at Buckingham Palace by the Queen.

Gymnast Louis Smith, who scooped silver on the pommel horse and bronze in the men's team competition, described being awarded the MBE as 'the proudest moment of his life', but risked being turned away when he showed up having forgot his invitation.

He tweeted: 'Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Member of the British Empire: Team GB gymnast Louis Smith is honoured by the Queen

Sophie Hosking

Pat Rice

Rowing and football: Sophie Hosking and Pat Rice's respective contributions were also honoured

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

Dressed to impress: Louis Smith MBE with Arlene Phillips CBE at Buckingham Palace

'Today is the day I become Louis Smith M.B.E ooooooo exciting times'

Natasha Baker, who was also honoured
for winning two gold medals in dressage at the Paralympics said the
occasion was 'absolutely incredible', but had earlier tweeted in a panic
over her fear of missing the ceremony.

Baker had been stuck in traffic on the M4 but eventually made it to Buckingham Palace on time. 'Stuck in traffic on M4 on my way to collect my #MBE . Any police around to give me an escort!' she tweeted.

Louis Smith

Britain's Natasha Baker

Olympians: Louis Smith and Natasha Baker were among Team GB's most impressive performers at the Games

'Tempted to get Jordan (scooter) out and drive to Buck Pal! Think she would be faster than this traffic! Don't think I'm going to get there!'

Sophie Hosking, winner of gold in lightweight women's double sculls, was presented with an MBE at the investiture ceremony.

Pat Rice

Rob McCracken

In their element: Pat Rice (centre) with the FA Cup won at Arsenal at his peak and boxing guru Rob McCracken

British Amateur Boxing Association performance director Rob McCracken, who overlooked a haul of five boxing medals at London 2012, also receives the MBE, as was former Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice, who spent 44 years at the club, winning seven trophies as a coach.

Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah will have to wait to be Dame and Sir – Des Kelly

After a year of plenty, Sir MoBot, Sir Andy and Dame Jess will have to wait their turn

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

The compilation of the honours list has always been something of a murky affair. The perception lingers that a nudge here, a wink there and a generous donation to the right account does no harm at all to one’s prospects of a knighthood.

Trot along to one of the Prime Minister’s barbecues in Buckinghamshire and the chances of the Queen pinning something on your lapel at Buckingham Palace a few months later also appear to improve somewhat.

Civil servants, politicians and bankers pick up gongs for doing little more than their day job, while, according to a report earlier this year by the Commons Public Administration Select Committee, it still remains the case that not enough ‘normal people’ are being recognised on the list.

Ben Ainslie

Bradley Wiggins

Sirs: Ben Ainslie (left) and Bradley Wiggins have been awarded knighthoods after their sporting successes

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But the relationship between sport and honours has always been more straightforward. It is essentially a meritocracy, stripped of politicking and intrigue. If you win, you are rewarded. Glories equal honour. Medals equal gongs. In fact, we don’t want our sports stars to be ‘normal’ at all.

The trouble this year is they were too extraordinary. The gold rush of a glorious Olympic summer where Team GB collected 29 gold medals led Downing Street to issue curmudgeonly briefings about how there would be an honours ‘cutback’ even before another 34 golds at the Paralympics.

Faced with the prospect of nearly half the audience at the Sports Personality Of The Year Awards being called Dame This or Sir That, the Prime Minister called a halt. As a result there is no Sir MoBot. No Sir Andy of Dunblane. No Dame Jessica of the Steel City, either.

In any other year, this illustrious trio would have been guaranteed the very highest accolades of the land for their inspirational performances.

They not only succeeded in their chosen fields, their golden glow was reflected across the nation as they brought the country together for moments of collective joy and patriotism, the intensity of which has rarely been seen before.

But on this occasion, they have had to drop down a rung or two, ‘victims’ of our incredible sporting success, if we dare use such a word in this context.

Mo Farah

Double gold: Mo Farah

Jessica Ennis

Poster girl: Jessica Ennis

Andy Murray

Main man: Andy Murray

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When Kelly Holmes took double gold on the track in Athens in 2004, she was made a Dame without argument. When Mo Farah achieved a similar feat in London this summer winning the 5,000m and 10,000m, he was handed a citation for a CBE instead.

Paralympian Sarah Storey is a Dame, but all-conquering wheelchair athlete David Weir is not named a knight, he has a CBE. There are only so many knights and dames a nation can accommodate, even on a special Olympic honours list. But it is not a snub to miss out and it would churlish to regard it as such.

Some of the sports stars not being called to the Palace this year have long careers ahead and there is time enough for knighthoods, honours and accolades. What might seem like a contradiction now can surely be addressed in lists ahead.

At least cycling has two knights of the road; Sir Dave Brailsford for his pursuit of excellence with the British team and Sir Bradley Wiggins, or Sir Wiggo as he will surely be known, for his historic Tour de France triumph and Olympic gold. There are two Sirs on the waves as well, with David Tanner, performance director of Britain’s rowing team and sailor Ben Ainslie collecting knighthoods.

But being a history-maker is not necessarily enough. When Andy Murray finally landed Britain’s first men’s Grand Slam tennis title in 76 years at the US Open during an era when men’s tennis is as strong as it has ever been, he still admitted it ‘would be a little rash’ to give him a knighthood. The committee agreed, handing him an OBE.

The idea that he has been denied,
though, is preposterous. Murray is 25. To make him Sir Andy at 25 would
be premature in the extreme. Fred Perry, Britain’s last great men’s
tennis champion, was never given an honour. However it is certainly a
far cry from the list of 2003 when Tim Henman was given an OBE just to
‘add interest’ to the list.

Making her mark: Sarah Storey was named a Dame in the New Year Honours list

Making her mark: Sarah Storey was named a Dame in the New Year Honours list

In truth, no athlete, sportsman or sportswoman competes with these ceremonial honours in mind. The distinction that truly counts is the medal hung around their neck on the podium or the trophy they receive at the climax to a tournament.

Sports stars receive honours enough, and most of them would happily cede their place on the list to a charity worker or a member of the Armed Forces if that were the choice. But as a nation we enjoy having sporting heroes and it is a fine problem to have too many for once.

Who said the honours system was ever consistent, anyway Want the proof Some inherit a title because their father was made a Baronet, like Sir Mark Thatcher. And then there’s Sir Jimmy Savile. I could go on.

John Terry and Chelsea help Tickets for Troops charity celebrate milestone

Terry helps Chelsea celebrate milestone with Tickets for Troops charity

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UPDATED:

12:47 GMT, 23 November 2012

Chelsea captain John Terry joined up with Tickets for Troops to announce that the charity has distributed 300,000 free tickets in its three-year history.

The charity, which provides free tickets to members of the armed forces and those medically discharged since 2001, has also had over 115,000 servicemen and women register to make use of the service.

Just the ticket; Chelsea captain John Terry hands lifelong Blues fan Pte Tom Harding his gift

Just the ticket; Chelsea captain John Terry hands lifelong Blues fan Pte Tom Harding his gift

Charity patron: Terry chats with members of the armed forces after training at Cobham

Charity patron: Terry chats with members of the armed forces after training at Cobham

Since it was launched in 2009, the
charity has provided free tickets to service personnel for major events
including The Brit Awards, James Bond’s Skyfall premiere, the FA Cup final, England Internationals at Wembley, The Diamond Jubilee Concert
at Buckingham Palace and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Private Tom Harding of 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment and a lifelong Chelsea fan was allocated the 300,000th milestone ticket for Chelsea v Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Support: Chelsea have donated 50 tickets for every home fixture since the charity was set up in 2009

Support: Chelsea have donated 50 tickets for every home fixture since the charity was set up in 2009

As part of the celebrations Pte
Harding was invited by Chelsea to meet club captain Terry at their
Cobham training ground in Surrey. Terry presented Pte Harding with the
300,000th ticket for the weekend’s game which includes access for him
and a guest to the Executive Lounge at Stamford Bridge.

Terry, who is a Tickets For Troops
Patron said: ‘It’s an honour to have met Tom and I’m delighted to have
been able to present him with the 300,000th ticket on behalf of Tickets
for Troops. Tom and his colleagues in the forces are real heroes and I
and everyone at the club have nothing but respect for the sacrifices
they make on behalf of our country. It is wonderful that so many
organisations have supported this incredible scheme and such a
substantial number of tickets have been donated.’

Chelsea were a founder supporter of
Tickets For Troops and have donated 50 tickets for every home fixture
since the charity was set up in 2009.

Pte Harding said: ‘I can’t believe it. I’ve been a Chelsea fan all my life but often find it difficult to attend games because of the nature of my job. I never expected in a million years that I would get to meet the captain at the training ground, let alone in the same week have the opportunity and privilege to watch Chelsea take on Manchester City from the Stamford Bridge Executive Lounge.

‘I can’t thank Tickets For Troops and Chelsea enough for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Tickets For Troops does such a fantastic job in keeping spirits high amongst the all the Armed Forces and I hope they can continue to operate for many years to come.’

Visit the website: www.ticketsfortroops.org.uk

Hannah Macleod"s Olympic bronze medal as been returned

Hockey star Macleod's Olympic bronze medal is returned through the post… but still no sign of Partridge's

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UPDATED:

14:51 GMT, 26 October 2012

One of two Olympic bronze medals stolen from a London nightclub has been recovered, police said on Friday.

The medals, belonging to hockey player Hannah Macleod and rower Alex Partridge, were taken along with their TeamGB jackets as they partied after a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to celebrate the achievements of the 2012 athletes.

The Metropolitan Police said they had been alerted today that Macleod's medal had been posted anonymously to the England Hockey head office in Buckinghamshire.

Returned: Hockey player Hannah Macleod (right) has had her Olympic bronze medal anonymously returned, but rower Alex Partridge (left) is still missing his

Returned: Hockey player Hannah Macleod (right) has had her Olympic bronze medal anonymously returned, but rower Alex Partridge (left) is still missing his

A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers were holding on to the medal while they continue their inquiry but that they would reuniting Hannah with her medal shortly. She was being kept fully informed of developments.

The medals were taken after the pair joined fellow Olympians at the Mahiki nightclub in London's Mayfair.

Mr Partridge's jacket – minus his medal – was handed in to a north-west London police station on Thursday.

A 31-year-old man was arrested in connection with the thefts yesterday and bailed until November 23.

Proud: Macleod (right) with GB hockey teammate Anne Panter and their bronze medals

Proud: Macleod (right) with GB hockey teammate Anne Panter and their bronze medals

Detective Chief Inspector James Harman said: 'We are still looking to recover the second medal, and we stress that our inquiries remain active.

'Our appeals for information stand and I take this opportunity to reiterate them – if the public can help we ask them to do so.

'Alex's medal has yet to be traced, and he is understandably keen to be reunited with it as soon as possible.'

Macleod, 28, had asked via Twitter for whoever took the medal to post it back to the hockey headquarters at Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire.

Appeal: Macleod had called on the thief to do the right thing and return the medal anonymously

Appeal: Macleod had called on the thief to do the right thing and return the medal anonymously

On Wednesday she tweeted: 'I'm not after punishment. If you picked up a Bronze Olympic medal that isn't yours pls just send anonymously back to GB hockey-Bisham Abbey.'

She told the Sun that she had been scouring eBay to see if it was on the popular auction website.

'I want it back so much. I had a look on eBay in case it ends up there,' she told the newspaper.

'I've hardly slept since. I've just been standing by the phone, waiting for news.'

The athletes published a photo of a man captured on CCTV who they wished to talk to about the alleged thefts.

David James presented with MBE

James receives MBE at Buckingham Palace for services to football and charity

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UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 25 October 2012

David James was presented with an MBE on for services to football and charity on Thursday.

The former England goalkeeper, who now plays for League One AFC Bournemouth, received the accolade from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.

James, 42, has won 53 caps for his country and has played for Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Bristol City in a 23-year career.

Honour: David James was made an MBE for services to football and charity at Buckingham Palace

Honour: David James was made an MBE for services to football and charity at Buckingham Palace

David James is awarded his MBE by the Prince of Wales

David James receives his MBE from the Prince of Wales

Hold still! James receives his MBE from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace

The stopper is second on the Premier League's all-time appearance list, with over 500 matches, and holds the record for the most clean sheets with 173.

He has also been recgonised for his work with the David James Foundation, which helps communities in Malawi improve their food supply by farming the land they live on.

James is also involved with the Special Olympics Charity and Access Sport, which offers sports provision to deprived areas of the UK.

An unorthodox back four: James poses for a picture with some Buckingham Palace regulars

An unorthodox back four: James poses for a picture with some Buckingham Palace regulars

Receiving his award, James said: 'I am extremely honoured to be receiving an MBE today. It is not an award that one sets out to achieve, making me even more appreciative to those that put my name forward.

'I have had many years playing football, years that have given me tremendous enjoyment. They have also allowed me to get involved in many charitable campaigns, for this, I am very grateful.'

Olympic and Paralympic heroes honoured by Queen at Buckingham Palace

A right royal celebration! Olympic and Paralympic heroes honoured at Buckingham Palace

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 23 October 2012

David Cameron hailed Great Britain's incredible summer of sport as the Queen hosted a glittering Buckingham Palace event for Olympic and Paralympic heroes.

Sportsmen and women who won gold for the nation during the summer's extravaganza of sport were invited to the palace to mark their achievements.

The Prime Minister joined the athletes and senior figures like Lord Coe who helped make the Games a success at the palace, where the Queen celebrated their efforts with the Duke of Edinburgh, Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family.

Pleased to meet you: The Queen greet London 2012 hero David Weir

Pleased to meet you: The Queen greet London 2012 hero David Weir

Mr Cameron said: 'I think people will look back and just think, 'what an incredible summer' – success after success, medal after medal and the whole country putting on its very best face for the world.

'What matters now is that we maximise the momentum and the legacy following the Olympics and Paralympics.

'We had a cabinet meeting about that and Seb Coe was there, and we were talking about the physical legacy of East London, the important economic benefits we want, there's the sporting legacy carried through to Rio and school sport, there's also the legacy in terms of attitude to disabilities, which I think is a real chance of a step change in our country.'

Team GB began the summer's medal rush by winning 65 in total, including 29 golds, an achievement that was hailed as the athletes' 'greatest ever' performance by Andy Hunt, their chef de mission for London 2012.

Amongst the stars who delighted the home crowds and the world with podium-topping performances were heptathlete Jessica Ennis, cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and sailor Ben Ainslie and double gold-winning runner Mo Farah. The Paralympics saw Great Britain secure 120 medals, including 34 golds.

Heroes' welcome: Rowers Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James in royal company

Heroes' welcome: Rowers Andrew Triggs-Hodge, Pete Reed, Alex Gregory and Tom James in royal company

Gold standard: Anthony Ogogo greets Her Majesty during the event at Buckingham Palace

Gold standard: Anthony Ogogo greets Her Majesty during the event at Buckingham Palace

Memorable performances included wheelchair athlete David Weir winning four golds, swimmer Ellie Simmonds powering home to two victories in the pool while sprinter Jonnie Peacock lit up the stadium with his blistering win in the T44 100 metres.

Sarah Storey cemented her place in the history books by winning four golds on her bike, taking her to 11 titles overall in a Paralympic career as both a swimmer and cyclist.

She described the evening as 'just incredible', adding: 'It is just such an honour and we are all very privileged to be part of such an amazing team. To have the Queen throw a reception in our honour makes everything that has happened even more amazing.

'The British public has been so supportive over the Paralympics and it has captured everybody's imagination.'

A number of household names like Hoy, Farah and Ennis were missing due to other commitments but one well-known face was available in Zara Phillips, who won a team silver in the Olympic equestrian competition.

Guests sipped champagne, wine and apple juice but towards the end of the evening many politely declined a drink as they have already begun training in earnest.

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to Prime Minister David Cameron

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to Prime Minister David Cameron

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge was also in attendance and was seen chatting to The Prime Minister

A line-up of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have all won three or more golds met the royal party, who included the Duke of York and daughter Princess Beatrice, the Princess Royal, President of the British Olympic Association, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

They included three-time Olympic cycling champion Jason Kenny, who won two golds at London 2012, swimmer Simmonds, who now has a total of four Paralympic titles, plus cyclist Storey and wheelchair racer David Weir, who each won four golds.

Proudly wearing her three golds from London 2012, Para-equestrian rider Sophie Christiansen, who is now a five-time Paralympic champion, said she was very excited to see the Queen.

Christiansen said: 'She asked me whether I enjoyed the Games, which obviously were phenomenal.

'I just want to do it all again because now I know what it takes to win three gold medals. Perhaps I could ask the Queen if she will lend me a horse (for the Rio 2016 Paralympics).

'My current horse is called Rio and he is still in training, but he is 15 now. He would be too old for the next Games.'

Para-equestrian rider Lee Pearson, who won his tenth Paralympic gold medal at the Games along with a silver and bronze, met Kate who picked up his gold medal, won in the mixed team championship.

Exchanging memories: The Princess Royal - a medal winner herself - meets cyclist Laura Trott

Exchanging memories: The Princess Royal – a medal winner herself – meets cyclist Laura Trott

Centre of attention: The Earl of Wessex talks to athletes

Centre of attention: The Earl of Wessex talks to athletes

The Duchess revealed she has developed a passion for horses and is learning to ride. The horseman joked: 'Kate said she's learning to ride so I offered to give her some lessons.

'She held my medals and said how heavy they were, and asked if me if I'd been riding all my life.'

The Duchess moved on to meet Team GB's women's hockey players, who became a firm favourite of the royal.

Kate was a keen hockey player as a student and she enjoyed watched the national team win their Bronze medal in a game against New Zealand.

The royal stood amongst the group of 12 women and the party looked like old friends as they chatted away together.

Emily Maguire, from Glasgow, said afterwards: 'The Duchess just said how much she enjoyed watching our games. She's lovely, she's just so easy to talk to and because she herself played hockey she has a real connection to the sport.'

Medal of honour: Nicola Adams and Hannah Cockcroft share their memories with the Queen

Medal of honour: Nicola Adams and Hannah Cockcroft share their memories with the Queen

Royal

London 2012 Olympics: Des Kelly: Dominic King hopes to be king of the walk

Des Kelly's Olympic Daily: Dominic hopes to be king of the walk

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 10 August 2012


Walk on the wild side: Dominic King (left)

Walk on the wild side: Dominic King (left)

It's Saturday morning and an Englishman from Colchester is going for a walk. Nothing unusual about that, you might think. Sometimes a stretch of the legs and a bit of fresh air is what is needed on the way to the newsagents. It can do wonders for a hangover, too.

Dominic King plans to head along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, around the Victoria Memorial and then up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner, and then back again.

It is a pleasant stroll of a couple of kilometres, which he’ll do another 24 times at a speed of 14km an hour, which is faster than most people run.

‘Everything is within walking distance if you have the time,’ said comedian Stephen Wright. But King doesn’t have time. He is Britain’s sole Olympic representative in the strange, punishing and often forgotten sport of race walking.

The 29-year-old is hoping to do his country proud in the 50km event, the longest athletics challenge in the Games (the marathon is 42.195km). It is also one of the more mocked disciplines for the way competitors must swing their hips on a rolling gait to keep one foot on the ground at all times.

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The technique looks vaguely like a gang of men are attempting to deliver golf balls clutched between their buttocks for a bet.

I defy anyone not to watch it and think surely it would be easier to run A sentiment that prompted one commentator to say it reminded him of ‘a contest to see who could whisper the loudest’.

But race walking isn’t a joke. It’s a serious business and has been part of the Olympic schedule since 1904. King has been training in the Pyrenees for the London event and is Britain’s No 1.

In echoes of the Brownlee brothers’ triathlon relationship, Dominic trains with his twin brother Daniel, who also happens to be the British No 2.

But Daniel missed out on qualification and King says: ‘I feel like I’ll be doing London for both of us. He’s my training partner and best friend.

‘It would have been the cherry on the cake for my brother to qualify as well. But there’s always Rio in four years, and I’m confident we can both get there.’

Dominic is the first British walker to compete in an Olympic 50km event since Chris Maddocks 12 years ago in Sydney.

Oh brother: Dominic and Daniel King compete in the same event and train together, like British triathlon medal heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

Oh brother: Dominic and Daniel King compete in the same event and train together, like British triathlon medal heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

Although he was disqualified from the 20km at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, King finished sixth four years later.

‘I learnt big lessons from 2002,’ he says. ‘I let the emotions overcome me and went off too fast, and ended up being disqualified. I will make sure that this doesn’t happen again.’

He set his personal best this year of 4hr 6min 34sec, but will have to go faster if he wants to be among the medals. While the King twins are relatively unknown in Britain, on the continent race walking can lead to great fame, or — as one athlete found this week — infamy too.

Italian Alex Schwazer sobbed in self-pity and shame after being caught taking the banned blood boosting drug erythropoietin (EPO).

The Beijing gold medallist had been involved in campaigns promoting healthy eating and was sponsored by the police, but he was kicked out of the London Games on Monday when his dope test proved positive.

Schwazer confessed he felt pressured by ‘expectations that I had to dominate even more than before. I couldn’t say no’.

Intriguingly, he admitted he had consulted with Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor who also acted as a consulting physician for controversial cycling champion Lance Armstrong.

Disgraced: Former Olympic gold medal-winning walker Alex Schwazer

Disgraced: Former Olympic gold medal-winning walker Alex Schwazer

But Schwazer said he met with Ferrari ‘five or six times for technical advice’ about training, with the last contact in early 2011. He denied receiving the performance-enhancing drugs from Ferrari, who has been given a lifetime ban by the US Anti-Doping Agency and banished by the Italian Cycling Federation.

Schwazer, who lives with star figure skater Carolina Kostner, also revealed he had grown to hate race walking. ‘It was making me sick,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t stand the training any more. My girlfriend loves skating. I do the race work because I’m good at it, but I don’t like working at it.’

Schwazer may now have to hand back his gold medal from Beijing as his samples from 2008 are being re-tested.

But this is one scandal he will never be able to walk away from, even if he tries.

In his absence, Russia’s 25-year-old Sergey Bakulin is the favourite for gold, having become the youngest 50km world champion last year in a time of 3:41:24.

Win I’ve got a fat chance

I don't do breakfasts. I had my first morning tea and toast at the London Games on Friday and realised this is probably why I am not an all-conquering, multi-medal-winning Olympic legend.

The other night Usain Bolt spelled out what he had on the morning of his 100 metres victory: ‘I had plantain, some hash browns, and chicken wraps from McDonald’s — there were vegetables in there too, so don’t judge me.’ As if.

The American swimmer Michael Phelps, holder of more medals than any Olympian in history, starts the day with three fried-egg sandwiches, with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. A five-egg omelette, grits, three slices of French toast and three chocolate chip pancakes. Oh, and coffee.

They may be at the peak of human achievement now, but I can console myself with the fact that when they stop running and swimming, they should be hugely fat.