Tag Archives: medallists

London 2012 Olympic medallist Anthony Ogogo signs with Golden Boy Promotions

Team GB ace Ogogo takes first step towards the big time by signing for Golden Boy Promotions

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UPDATED:

18:55 GMT, 27 December 2012

Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ogogo has become the first of Team GB's London 2012 fighters to switch to the professional ranks after signing a contract with Golden Boy Promotions.

In joining a stable headed by the retired Oscar De La Hoya, Ogogo, 24, could feature on bills in which Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Bernard Hopkins, Adrien Broner or Saul Alvarez are the main attraction and consequently enjoy a level of exposure many young professionals are unlikely to ever experience.

'I can't wait to get started,' said middleweight Ogogo of his decision to join Golden Boy, who recently revealed plans to enter the British boxing market. '2012 has been without doubt one of the greatest years of my life.

Turning pro: Anthony Ogogo is set to make his professional boxing debut in 2013

Turning pro: Anthony Ogogo is set to make his professional boxing debut in 2013

'To represent my country at a home Games was an incredible experience and the bronze medal I won will always be close to my heart.

'Following the Olympics I've been looking to the future and considering a number of options, and feel that the time is now right to turn professional with Golden Boy.'

Regardless of the difficulty many Olympic medallists have experienced in the professional ranks, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer is adamant Ogogo possesses the ability to be a significant success.

Battling for bronze: Ogogo was one of several Britons to impress at London 2012

Battling for bronze: Ogogo was one of several Britons to impress at London 2012

'Anthony Ogogo has everything you look for in a boxer,' Schaefer said.

'He can fight, he has style and charisma and he has amazing crossover potential. I have no doubt that Anthony has the skills in the ring and the personality outside of it to make him a global boxing star.'

Been there, done that: De La Hoya's Olympics success was followed by an illustrious pro career

Been there, done that: De La Hoya's Olympics success was followed by an illustrious pro career

Hannah Miley beats Ye Shiwen to gold in 400m medley at World Short-Course Championships and Lowe wins bronze

Miley beats Olympic champion Ye to win gold and Lowe bags bronze at World Short-Course Championships

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hannah Miley held off Olympic champion Ye Shiwen to claim Great Britain's first gold medal of the World Short-Course Championships when she won the 400 metres individual medley in Istanbul.

Ye was at the centre of the biggest controversy in the pool at the 2012 Olympics as her freestyle leg en route to victory in the eight-length event almost defied belief.

In London the Chinese teenager was just three hundredths of a second slower over the final 100m than Ryan Lochte, winner of the men's race.
Indeed her last 50m was faster than four in the men's final, including Lochte and Thiago Pereira, the gold and silver medallists.

Earlier Jemma Lowe won Britain's first medal at the event by finishing third in the 200
metres butterfly.

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Miley, fifth in London, had qualified fastest into the final, but predicted it would be a different race come the final, claiming the Chinese teenager was 'playing' in the heats.

Fourth after the butterfly and backstroke legs, Miley then produced a superb breaststroke to turn first going into the freestyle, 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye.

However, as expected, Ye came back and on her final 25m of 28.14 secs, the only sub 29-second last length in the field, she reeled Miley in.

The Scot, though, was breathing to her right where she could see her rival, whom she held off by 0.19s to win in a new championship record of four minutes 23.14 seconds, the fastest ever in a textile suit, bettering her own mark from the European Championship last month.

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

The 23-year-old 'was hanging on for dear life' and admitted the achievement had significance for both her and her father and coach Patrick, vindicating their approach after the Olympics.

Miley said: 'A lot of top athletes aren't here so for me I see it as an opportunity and any opportunity I see I try and take it.

'So for me I was aiming for it to be a confidence booster for both myself and my dad and what we are doing this season.

'Not only were we trying to chase placings, but also to do a really good time which I was really happy with.

'But the main thing is long-course (50m) swimming so I am really happy with what I've done, but for me I am not going to be happy with it until I can prove I can do it long course as well.

'Hindsight is a great thing and lots of people have cliches and I was genuinely was happy with that swim, but for me I probably wouldn't be the athlete I am standing here today doing those times if the Olympics hadn't have happened.'

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Lowe secured Britain's first medal in Istanbul as she won bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The 22-year-old swam from lane one after qualifying seventh, meaning she had no idea of how the expected leaders were faring.

However, that had little bearing on the Swansea ITC swimmer who touched in two minutes 3.19 seconds. It was also a national record for Lowe, who lowered her own 2010 mark, the Briton leading after 150m before being overtaken by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and 2012 Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang.

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

Lowe said: 'I'm really pleased with that. I didn't know what to expect after this morning when I was in that slow heat by myself and I just scraped into the final.

'Because I have won a medal previously at world short course I was really determined to get up there, so I just gave it my very best tonight and I can't believe how it worked out.'

There was no such satisfaction for Michael Jamieson, the Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist.

The Glaswegian was thoroughly frustrated, despite setting a new personal best of 58.56s in the 100m breaststroke.

He said: 'It's the same old story on the 100 – I just can't keep up with the bigger guys.

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

'It's frustrating – it's the fastest I have ever been but I am getting to the stage with the 200m that if I am ever going to improve then my 100 needs to come down.'

That was in contrast to Georgia Davies, another Swansea ITC swimmer, who set a personal best of 57.41s to qualify third for the 100m backstroke final.

Lizzie Simmonds was 10th in 58.34s, although her focus is on the 200m since her move to Bath ITC.

Jessica Ennis wins Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award

Golden girl Ennis caps stellar 2012 by winning Sportswoman of the Year award

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UPDATED:

09:38 GMT, 9 November 2012

Jessica Ennis has added the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year award to her haul of accolades from a memorable 2012.

The 26-year-old won heptathlon gold at the London Olympics this summer, setting three personal bests and a British record of 6,995 points along the way.

Fellow Olympic gold medallists Katherine Grainger and Jade Jones also picked up awards at the ceremony, as did Paralympic champions Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds.

Iconic moment: Ennis crosses the line to win her final event - the 800m - before showing off her gold medal

Iconic moment: Ennis crosses the line to win her final event – the 800m – before showing off her gold medal

Iconic moment: Ennis crosses the line to win he final event - the 800m - before showing of her gold medal in London

Iconic moment: Ennis crosses the line to win her final event - the 800m - before showing off her gold medal

Golden girl: Ennis collects her medal

Golden girl: Ennis collects her medal

'It’s an incredible honour considering the amazing performances we’ve had this year from British women,' Ennis told BBC Sport.

'It’s so nice, once you’ve done all the hard work and you’ve achieved, to be awarded with these amazing awards that people have voted for.

'It’s a real honour and Sports Personality [BBC Sports Personality of the Year] is definitely going to be a big one too. It’s going to be a surprise on the night I think but a great evening.'

Ennis, from Sheffield, joins a list of previous winners that includes fellow athletes Paula Radcliffe, Denis Lewis and Dame Kelly Holmes as well as last year's winner, 2011 world taekwondo champion Sarah Stevenson.

Grainger – who finally won Olympic rowing gold alongside Anna Watkins in the double sculls having collected silver on three consecutive occasions previously – was named Olympian of the Year.

Jones, who won Britain's first Olympic taekwondo gold medal at the age of just 19, was voted young Olympian of the Year, while cyclist Storey won Paralympian of the Year and swimmer Simmonds young Paralympian of the Year.

British rower Grainger, a three-time Olympic silver medallist before she triumphed with Anna Watkins in the women’s double sculls in London, was voted Olympian of the Year.

Good things come to those who wait: Grainger (left) celebrates with Watkins

Good things come to those who wait: Grainger (left) celebrates with Watkins

Storey was named Paralympian of the Year after she equalled the British record for modern Paralympic victories when she took her fourth gold of the Games and 11th overall.

Jones, 19, who claimed Britain’s first Olympic taekwondo gold medal, was voted Young Olympian of the Year, while Ellie Simmonds, who won two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Paralympic Games this summer, was named Young Paralympian of the Year.

Goldrush: Simmonds (above) and Storey (below) were both outstanding during the Paralympics

Goldrush: Simmonds (above) and Storey (below) were both outstanding during the Paralympics

Goldrush: Simmonds (above) and Storey (below) were both outstanding during the Paralympics

Of the record 65 medals won by Team GB at London 2012, 25 were won by women, and at the Paralympics female competitors won 19 of 34 British golds.

Elsewhere, the Young Sportswoman of the Year award was shared by tennis duo Heather Watson and Laura Robson, while Olympic team pursuit gold medallists Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell took the Team of the Year award.

London 2012 Olympics chiefs told athletes to cash in

Olympic chiefs told athletes to cash in on glory and charge 10,000 for appearances

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UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 3 November 2012

Champion shooter Peter Wilson has revealed how Britain’s gold medallists at London 2012 were advised by their Olympic bosses to cash in on their fame by charging up to 10,000 a time for personal appearances.

Wilson, 26, took the gold for Britain in the double trap shooting and was the self-confessed ‘party animal’ of Team GB.

Now, three months on from topping the podium in a sport widely regarded as one of the ‘fringe’ events of the Olympics, Wilson says the response to his success has been ‘insane’.

Champion: Great Britain's Peter Wilson with his gold medal

Champion: Great Britain's Peter Wilson with his gold medal

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‘I’d never earned anything from shooting beyond around 9,000 a year from UK Sport in Lottery grants. Double trap is not exactly high profile, so I’ve never had a deal with Nike or anything like that or had commercial contracts.

‘But Team GB athletes were advised in the run-up to the Games that if we won medals we shouldn’t sell ourselves short afterwards, that we must make the most of the opportunity. There was a letter from the British Olympic Association saying that you could ask for something like 10,000 per event if you won gold and different amounts for silver and bronze.

‘I thought at the time “My God, you can’t charge that”. Except that you can and I’ve got an agent now who handles it all.’

Prior to the Games, Wilson, who still lives at his family’s Dorset farm, survived on his Lottery money plus expenses for travelling to competitions.

The BOA letter which urged medallists to make the most of their fame was, in fact, an annexe document to the Team GB athletes’ agreement. It advised on what winners might earn from involvement in a BOA appearance scheme in association with their commercial partners.

Wilson added: ‘I’m not saying I’m getting 10,000 every time I do anything now. I’ve done lots of charity things and I’d never ask for a penny for them. But the opportunities have been amazing. Winning gold at a home Games is a once in a lifetime thing and I’m going to make the most of it.’

Wilson says life has been a ‘blur’ since his triumph in August at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, a non-stop series of charity functions, award shows, corporate gigs and TV appearances, including Alan Titchmarch’s show, A Question of Sport and a secret project to be screened over Christmas.

He will also be at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show next month, along with his father, Charles, who had a moment of fame himself when, during live TV coverage of his son’s victory, he shouted: ‘Peter, remember me I’m your dad.’

Wilson was invited to the film premiere of The Sweeney but skipped that to go to another function with Prince Harry (‘A really lovely bloke and a really level-headed chap,’ according to Wilson).

Perks: Wilson meets Prime Minister David Cameron after his success

Perks: Wilson meets Prime Minister David Cameron after his success

He has also met musician Myleene Klass (‘That was cool’) and actor Christopher Biggins (‘Brilliant guy, so interesting’) among umpteen other celebrities.

But another appointment in the near future will definitely be for free when Wilson attends the opening of an exhibition by his artist girlfriend of three years, Michelle McCullagh.

He will soon be visiting Dubai to see his coach and mentor, the millionaire Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Hasher Al Maktoum, who won the double trap Olympic gold in 2004 and paired up with Wilson ‘over a coffee and a handshake’ at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Maktoum, who coaches Wilson for free, is recovering from heart surgery. ‘He’s just had a pacemaker fitted in America,’ said Wilson. ‘During the Olympics, I joked that I almost killed him off with the tension!’

Wilson does not hesitate for a second when asked to recall his most satisfying moment since winning gold.

‘You’re going to say, “Shut up Wilson, that’s too corny” but this is true,’ he said. ‘It was visiting the children’s ward at Dorchester Hospital not long after I won. There were all these kids with serious illnesses, and it was a privilege to be there. And I just thought “I am so bloody lucky”. And I’ve thought that every day since.’

Marathon man Mo

Mo Farah is the ‘dream participant’ the organisers of the London Marathon want as their marquee name for the men’s race in 2014 — with an appearance fee of around 250,000 likely to be part of any deal.

Marathon man Mo Farah could be tempted by the London race

Marathon man Mo Farah could be tempted by the London race

Farah, 29, won double Olympic gold at London 2012 in the 10,000m and 5,000m and his coach, Alberto Salazar, says he could run the 10km and marathon double at the Rio Games. A debut marathon in London in 17 months’ time is possible — if the price is right.

Kauto spared racing’s grisly secret

Kauto Star’s retirement may have been greeted by a flood of tributes to the horse that won the Gold Cup twice and the King George VI Chase five times but animal rights groups claim most racehorses meet a far more grisly end than the privileged dotage that awaits the 12-year-old gelding.

Many racehorses are killed in Britain then sold for human consumption abroad, in Belgium and Italy particularly.

Kauto Star’s retirement followed Classic winner Frankel being sent to stud with the expectation that he would earn 100 million in fees.

But official figures compiled by the British Horseracing Authority show that 1,127 thoroughbreds left racing and were slaughtered in abattoirs last year.

Over and out: Kauto Star has been retired from racing

Over and out: Kauto Star has been retired from racing

Dene Stansall, a spokesman for Animal Aid, said: ‘The shame of the industry is that nobody much cares about the fate of the bread and butter animals. Thousands are going to abattoirs and being turned into meat and we know that other animals are being shot in their stables and the meat given to the local hunt for their hounds.’

Grace Muir, whose Heros charity found homes for 84 of the estimated 7,500 horses that left Britain’s racing industry last year, claims many horses are killed each year when they stop being economically viable. Muir said: ‘It’s not something they [horse racing’s authorities] want to voice but I’m sure it happens.’

SPOTY plans a secret

Clare Balding, Gary Lineker and Sue Barker, the big-hitting BBC trio who will present the Sports Personality of the Year show, took a nocturnal helicopter flight over London last week to film footage for the programme, to be screened on December 16.

Sources claim the trip was part of plans to feature the presenters in a parody of of Danny Boyle’s ‘James Bond meets the Queen’ sequence from the Olympics opening ceremony. The Beeb are tight-lipped, saying they want ‘to save surprises for the big night’.

Jack Laugher denied hat-trick in Australia

Laugher denied hat-trick in Australia as teen star settles for second place

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UPDATED:

09:47 GMT, 11 October 2012

Jack Laugher narrowly missed out on securing a hat-trick of titles at the World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide.

The 17-year-old Olympian was beaten into second place by China's Peng Jianfeng in the boys one-metre springboard.

Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling then also grabbed second in the girls 3m synchro to continue Great Britain's impressive meet and leave them second in the medal table.

Not to be: Jack Laugher (left) missed out on a hat-trick Down Under

Not to be: Jack Laugher (left) missed out on a hat-trick Down Under

Laugher won the 3m springboard and the 3m synchro, alongside Tom Daley, on the opening two days of competition but missed his penultimate reverse two-and-a-half somersaults to deny him a third gold in the South Australian capital.

Laugher's silver medal meant he finished a remarkable junior career with four youth world titles after he won the 3m and 1m lower age group springboard events in Tucson two years ago.

The Ripon diver has been touted as a future senior world champion by American diving legend Greg Louganis and has established himself inside the world's top 10 in the past 12 months despite a horror London Olympics that saw him crash out in the first round of the 3m springboard.

'I guess 4 junior world titles is what I'll have to settle on 😛 haha! I'm so happy :),' Laugher wrote on his Twitter page.

Great Britain remained only behind diving superpower China on the medal table after City of Leeds duo Blagg and Starling won their silver medal in the girls synchro.

Starling won Team GB's first ever girls world junior medal on Wednesday, when she took bronze in the 3m springboard, and went one better as she teamed with Blagg in competition for the first time in six years.

The pairing scored 278.70 to finish nine points behind gold medallists Zheng Qulin and Liu Jiao from China.

City of Sheffield's Ross Haslam just missed out on adding another medal to Team GB's tally. The 15-year-old finished fourth in the lower age group 'B' category 10m platform.

Roberto Mancini visits cycling velodrome in Manchester

Gold standard: City look to emulate success of cycling as Mancini meets Brailsford

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 4 October 2012

Manchester City will be champions of the Barclays Premier League for the next eight months, at least. Interestingly, though, they are not even the most successful sporting team in their own postcode.

Six hundred yards or so across a dual carriageway from City’s Etihad Stadium stands the National Cycling Centre. Home to the team that delivered eight Olympic gold medals and, of course, a Tour de France winner in the last three months, Manchester’s velodrome really is the classic centre of excellence.

Years ago — when he was still plotting British Cycling’s route to the top of the world — performance director Dave Brailsford met Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to ask his advice on building a successful team.

On your bike! Dave Brailsford with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

On your bike! Dave Brailsford with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

‘Get rid of the b******s’, was Ferguson’s blunt — and not to mention pertinent — reply.

On Thursday afternoon it was City manager Roberto Mancini’s turn to drink tea and swap ideas with the man without whom Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins might still be searching for the vital ingredients that turn good athletes into gold medallists.

Having heard Mancini was coming, Wiggins hung around after training to meet him. Sadly, the Italian was slightly delayed and the Tour de France winner had somewhere else to be.

Mancini and Brailsford, however, spent two hours talking sport, physiology and man management as members of the successful GB team rode relentlessly around the indoor track that is their home.

‘Football can certainly learn from this sport,’ said Mancini.

‘Every time I watch the Tour de France on the television I say this is very difficult because only one gets the glory but the other 10 are part of the team but don’t get the yellow jersey. To manage that is not easy. In football we all get a medal if we win.

‘Every manager is human so I will try to change the attitude of a player if I feel it is not good for my club or the team.

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

‘But we need a contribution from everyone — this is the most important thing.

‘It doesn’t matter who scores the winning goal. Football should understand that sometimes.’

A keen cyclist since he was a child, Mancini regularly rides his sky blue 'Manchester City' bike the half-hour journey from his Cheshire home to the club’s training ground.

He declined the offer of a spin around the velodrome, perhaps not surprising given the elite nature of the company.

Looking rather more relaxed than he had during the tension of the previous night’s Champions League 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund, Mancini’s challenge this season is not too different to that which faced Brailsford after Team GB delivered eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — namely how to do it all again next time.

Brailsford said: ‘In certain respects we’re in the same boat. They won the league and we won the Tour de France. That’s a bit more similar than the Olympics.

‘But pressure is only something in your mind. You can’t buy a tin of pressure. It’s not tangible, it’s not real, it’s only something you allow to exist in your mind if you entertain it.

‘I decided way before London that I wasn’t going to entertain pressure. Focus on the process and not the outcome. Pressure’s only going to come if you think the outcome’s going to go wrong. In each race, or in each match, you’re going to have the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of competition, which I think is different from the long, overall view.

Gold rush: Philip Hindes shows off his gold medal at the velodrome

Gold rush: Philip Hindes shows off his gold medal at the velodrome

Sign him up! Mancini poses with a Team Sky cycling jersey

Sign him up! Mancini poses with a Team Sky cycling jersey

‘If you let yourself think, “Holy Moly, what if we lose” then it’s going to compromise what you’re doing now.

‘If you keep focusing on making sure you’re getting the process right, the outcome will look after itself. You are going there, there will be a race, you will win or lose. Be the best you can be.’

Brailsford admits he looked on with interest as Mancini wrestled with the Carlos Tevez issue a year ago.

‘It soon became clear that there was one guy in charge and one guy only,’ he said. ‘He was the boss and he was the manager. It was impressive.’

For his part, Mancini watched and wondered how Brailsford motivates his athletes to complete circuit after circuit of often tedious riding when he sometimes finds it hard to keep Mario Balotelli occupied for more than 10 minutes.

Asked if Balotelli could benefit from the sports psychologists employed by cycling, Mancini smiled and said: 'Mario would need two.'

He also offered the opinion that football is still ‘too far behind’ other sports in the science of preparation. Overall, it was clear this was a valuable exercise for both men.

Mancini suggested Brailsford could one day work in football. ‘Why not’ the City boss said. ‘Things like this have happened before in Italian football.’

Brailsford, though, has other dreams to fulfil before he leaves a team that carries his personality and his stamp in every way.

‘I would not rule out switching sports,’ he said. ‘But I have unfinished business in cycling. I am still on a voyage of discovery.’

Amateur Boxing Association in talks with AIBA to set up World Series of Boxing London franchise

Olympic heroes could delay pro plans after World Series of Boxing talks

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UPDATED:

12:16 GMT, 24 September 2012

The British Amateur Boxing Association has confirmed it is in talks with world governing body AIBA to set up a London-based franchise in the World Series of Boxing.

The global team event kicks off its third season in November and a prospective London team was provisionally included in Sunday's draw, where it was placed in a six-strong Group B.

BABA chairman Derek Mapp said: 'We have always been supportive of the ideals that underpin WSB. We recognise its potential to deliver alternative career options for young boxers and are keen to pursue this opportunity.'

Career opportunities: Boxers like Anthony Joshua (right) could have new routes

Career opportunities: Boxers like Anthony Joshua (right) could have new routes

The move could provide Great Britain's Olympic medal winners with a financial alternative to turning professional, with all WSB boxers, whilst becoming centrally contracted to the organisation, receiving individual offers.

Six Irish boxers have already been drafted for next season's competition, while Olympic silver medallists John Joe Nevin and Ken Egan have previously competed for teams in Paris and Miami respectively.

No British boxers have entered the draft stage yet, and there is no guarantee that they would fight for a prospective London team, as all franchises are run as strictly international entities.

Too soon Amir Khan went pro early

Too soon Amir Khan went pro early

But such a move could produce some relatively lucrative deals for medallists, in particular super-heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, who is yet to declare his plans beyond the end of his existing GB contract in March.

Great Britain have been wary of committing their fighters to the competition in the past, citing schedule concerns in the build-up to London 2012, and the financial implications of launching a franchise.

But officials are aware a WSB team could both convince some top stars to stay amateur and boost hopes of a bigger contingent of qualifiers for Rio 2016, with more qualifying places made available to WSB-contracted boxers.

London 2012 Olympics: Girlie Games – Laura Williamson

Success of Britain's wonder women have made London 2012 the girlie Games

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UPDATED:

22:18 GMT, 5 August 2012

At the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, Denise Lewis’s heptathlon bronze was the sole medal won by a British woman.

Just 16 years later, the time it took Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen to go from cradle to double Olympic champion, Britain’s sportswomen reached the halfway stage of London 2012 with 12 medals between them. Six of them are gold. This is fast turning into the girlie Games.

Jessica Ennis crossing the line to become the greatest all-round athlete in the world will surely become the enduring image of this Olympics. Victoria Pendleton’s stunning gold in the women’s keirin puts her among an elite group of females who have tasted Olympic success once and come back for more — but Pendleton is the only one to have done it on her own.

Medals of honour: In 1996, Denise Lewis was Britain's only female medal winner, but 16 years later the girls - like Lizzie Armitstead, Victoria Pendleton and Jess Ennis - are enjoying a golden Games

Medals of honour: In 1996, Denise Lewis was Britain's only female medal winner, but 16 years later the girls – like Lizzie Armitstead, Victoria Pendleton and Jess Ennis – are enjoying a golden Games

Lizzie Armitstead

Victoria Pendleton

Jessica Ennis

You wait 36 years for Britain’s first female gold medallists in rowing and then three boats come along at once. We go 12 years without seeing a medal in judo and then Gemma Gibbons and Karina Bryant furnish us with silver and bronze inside 24 hours.

Rebecca Adlington has never finished outside the medals in her four Olympic finals. Lizzie Armitstead saw the men miss out on road cycling glory but came within inches of gold. And we will claim Britain’s equestrian silver because four of the five team members were female.

These are extraordinary, unprecedented times for British sportswomen. You can’t begin to understand how much pleasure it gives me to write that; to know that young girls watching at home will feel it’s OK to run, jump, swim, cycle, row or throw someone to the ground in the pursuit of excellence.

That female athleticism is being celebrated and encouraged, not feared, mocked or indulged as a pastime that allows the woman in your life to eat an extra slice of pizza and still fit into her skinny jeans. Female athletes are not the sideshow but have equal billing; they matter just as much as the men.

Remember the debate last December, when no woman made it on to the 10-man shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year Those days seem long gone.

Better than ever: British women have made history on the water at Eton Dorney

Better than ever: British women have made history on the water at Eton Dorney

It seems trivial to even discuss that award when British Olympic gold medals are raining down on London, but it reared its head again this week.

Lewis, of all people, argued there should be two trophies for the male and female sports personalities of the year. I nearly fell off the sofa.

THEY SAID WHAT

It is nigh-on impossible to be an
expert in all 26 Olympic disciplines, but some journalists' questions
have brought a smile this week.

'How do you know who's won bronze in
the tennis' was my favourite, closely followed by 'Which pieces of
apparatus do gymnasts compete in during the all-round event'

'Er… all of them,' came the reply.

Her line of thinking went something like
this: one of our brilliant British sportswomen might miss out because
the awe-inspiring first British winner of the Tour de France and
four-time Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins happens to be male.

So we will just create another award for the girls. That’ll sort it. What a lot of patronising twaddle.

Britain’s sportswomen do not deserve to be demeaned by an award that might as well be called: ‘BBC female sports personality of the year (because you weren’t good enough to win the other one).’ Their achievements merit equal billing, particularly in Olympic year when the sports at which Britain’s women excel are given equivalent coverage.

It’s a public popularity contest and both Wiggins and Ennis would be worthy winners, regardless of their gender. Things have moved on since 1996 — and that is something that should be celebrated, not dressed up as a pretty sideshow.

… And this is what I've been doing this week

Gripped as Britain’s gymnasts won their first bronze for 100 years in the team event on Monday, then interviewing Louis Smith in a sound booth as he charged his phone and tried to make sense of it all. ‘Olympic fever baby, it’s gets you,’ he said. He’s right…

He's got the fever: Louis Smith may have been disappointed by his bronze, but he's loved the Olympics

He's got the fever: Louis Smith may have been disappointed by his bronze, but he's loved the Olympics

Feeling disappointed as Britain’s first female Olympic football team’s campaign ended in the quarter-finals. They provided magical moments and merited the support and coverage, but I can’t help thinking real success, a medal, was needed to send the sport into orbit…

Considering a career as a counsellor. The four-year Olympic cycle makes winning and losing so much more emotional; not only for the athletes, but for their families, too. There have been many hugs and tears of joy and frustration over the past seven days.

Performance of the week

There have been so many. Gemma Gibbons’s surprise silver in the women’s judo -78kg category – with a broken thumb – was a highlight, but it’s got to be Jessica Ennis’s blistering 100m hurdles in her bid for heptathlon gold. Pressure What pressure

Hungary 17 Great Britain 6: Men"s waterpolo team see Olympic dream ended

Hungary 17 Great Britain 6: Men's waterpolo team see Olympic dream ended

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UPDATED:

20:14 GMT, 4 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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Great Britain were dumped out of the men's water polo tournament by Olympic champions Hungary.

The nine-time gold medallists ran riot as they continued their quest to win their fourth consecutive title.

Hungary bossed the game from start to finish, showing their strength in depth with 10 of their 11 outfield players getting on the scoresheet.

Undone: Hungary's Norbert Hosnyanszky is challenged by Britain's Craig Figes during their win

Undone: Hungary's Norbert Hosnyanszky is challenged by Britain's Craig Figes during their win

Great Britain are rock bottom of Group B having lost all four of their matches, with a game against in-form Montenegro still to come.

Hungary were off the mark within two minutes and doubled their tally from the five-metre penalty line shortly afterwards.

The home crowd erupted as Alex Parsonage flashed a shot goalwards but the 27-year-old from Dudley had hit the side-netting.

Hungary fired in three more goals before Team GB's supporters could cheer again.

Winning feeling: Hungary head coach Denes Kemeny reacts as he watches his side beat Britain

Winning feeling: Hungary head coach Denes Kemeny reacts as he watches his side beat Britain

Centre-forward Adam Scholefield managed to get the better of his defender and found the back of the net from close range.

The Hungarian team scored another goal before the end of the first period to make it 6-1, but it could have been more if goalkeeper Matt Holland had not made some great saves.

Great Britain performed much better in the second quarter, only narrowly losing the period by a single goal.

Again Hungary started strongly, bagging the first goal of the quarter. But Ciaran James pegged one back for the home team as he slotted the ball home from the wing during a man-up situation.

Hungary scored another four before the end of the period but Great Britain also got on the scoresheet with goals from Jake Vincent, Rob Parker and Parsonage.

The score at the end of the first half was 11-5 to Hungary.

Britain were dominated in the third quarter as Hungary fired four unanswered goals past the hosts to take the score to 15-5.

Captain Craig Figes netted with a long distance shot to open the scoring in the fourth quarter, but Hungary responded by netting two more themselves.

Tamas Kasas and Norbert Madaras bagged hat-tricks for the Olympic champions, while captain Peter Biros, Gergely Kiss and Norbert Hosnyanszky each scored a brace.

Tamas Varga, Daniel Varga, Denes Varga, Marton Szivos and Adam Steinmetz netted one apiece

London 2012 Olympics water polo: Team GB men 7 USA 13

Team GB 7 USA 13: Men's water polo flops sink to third successive defeat

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UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 2 August 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Great Britain sunk to a third successive defeat in the men's water polo tournament against the USA.

A terrible start left Team GB floundering 7-0 down with less than 10 minutes played, but they fought back bravely to ensure they were not embarrassed by the Beijing silver medallists.

A 100 per cent record puts the USA at the top of Group B, while the home side remain rooted to the bottom of the table with three defeats in three.

Making a splash: Britain's Rob Parker attempts to block American Jeff Powers

Making a splash: Britain's Rob Parker attempts to block American Jeff Powers

The Americans were too hot to handle in the opening quarter, powering their way to a 5-0 lead by the end of the period.

Their captain Tony Azevedo scored a hat-trick within the first four minutes, and Shea Bucknor and John Mann netted two more.

Great Britain did have opportunities, but they failed to capitalise on two man-ups, and missed the chanced to score after a defensive mix-up left their opponents outnumbered at the back.

The USA started the second quarter as they left off, netting another two goals.

Then came the moment the partisan crowd of 5,000 had been waiting for as Rob Parker, 24, from Cheltenham, found the top right corner with a long-range thunderbolt to open the Team GB account.

Captain Craig Figes, 33, from Bristol, clattered the woodwork for the second time in the match before the USA scored another.

On the attack: America's Peter Hudnut gets his shot off on the Great Britain goal

On the attack: America's Peter Hudnut gets his shot off on the Great Britain goal

Parker rose again to fire home a second – this time into the left corner – to the joy of the home crowd.

Great Britain suffered a blow as centre-back Joe O'Regan, 21, from Oldham, found himself collecting a third major foul, meaning he could take no further part in the game.

With just 12 seconds left in the first half, Ciaran James, 21, from Bristol, shot low into the bottom corner to score a third for Great Britain, levelling the score for the quarter at 3-3.

But the USA still held their five-goal margin and went into the half-time break 8-3 up. The Americans' first-half tally could have been more had Team GB goalkeeper Ed Scott, 24, from Leeds, not pulled off some great saves.

Team spirit: Britain put in a brave performance but it wasn't enough to avoid their third straight defeat in the pool

Team spirit: Britain put in a brave performance but it wasn't enough to avoid their third straight defeat in the pool

Another Azevedo man-up goal increased the USA's goal cushion in the third period, but Team GB centre-back Jake Vincent, 23, from Solihull, then found the back of the net with a strong shot from distance, before James got his second a minute later from a man-up.

The USA struck again from a power-play, but Figes found the back of the net in the very last second of the period to clinch the quarter by one goal, and take the teams into the final period at 10-6.

Ryan Bailey scored from a penalty for the USA in the fourth, and another from a man-up situation, before Jeff Powers squeezed a shot past Scott.

Sink or swim: Craig Figes passes the ball under pressure from America's John Mann

Sink or swim: Craig Figes passes the ball under pressure from America's John Mann

Team GB scored the final goal of the match as Parker converted a man-up to claim his hat-trick.

During the period Vincent was also excluded for three majors, and the Great Britain bench looked visibly frustrated with some of the refereeing decisions.

Azevedo scored four in total for the USA, as Bailey netted a hat-trick and Shea scored twice.

Peter Varellas, Powers, Adam Wright and Mann each scored one. Parker scored three for Great Britain, while James netted two and Figes and Vincent each scored one.