Tag Archives: modern

Avoiding All Blacks a bonus, but Australia and Wales will leave England drained – World Cup draw comment

Avoiding All Blacks a bonus, but punishing group phase against Aussies and Wales will leave England drained

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UPDATED:

16:41 GMT, 3 December 2012

The only good thing about the draw for England and Wales is that they avoided the mighty All Blacks. Otherwise it’s a pairing no one wanted so early in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Just to add spice to the pool. England and Wales will also have to tackle Australia, whose weakened team have just beaten both this autumn.

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Three years to go: England captain Chris Robshaw and head coach Stuart Lancaster were at the draw

No wonder Stuart Lancaster and Warren Gatland smiled through gritted teeth when the draw was made today in London.

Teams expect one hard game in a World Cup pool but not two. The bumps and bruises to body and mind might leave all three thoroughly drained.

Only the top two will go forward to the quarter-finals, so one of the three big crowd pullers is going to miss out which will give organisers, eager to fill the vaults of the International Rugby Board, logistical nightmares.

Elsewhere, the draw was kind to the other home countries. Scotland can see a path to a quarter-final berth if they beat Samoa, irrespective of how they go against South Africa in Pool B.

Group phase: England will face Wales and Australia in the initial exchanges

Group phase: England will face Wales and Australia in the initial exchanges

Group phase: England will face Wales and Australia in the initial exchanges

Ireland will also be reasonably pleased though they must overcome at least Italy to escape from Pool D even if they are overpowered by France.

The happiest group at the draw in London’s Tate Modern will be the All Blacks.

They may have had their unbeaten run ruined by England on Saturday, but they will be heading home knowing they have an excellent draw for the 2015 shindig.

The All Blacks have been paired alongside Argentina and Tonga. Unless they start a slide not known in their history, the men in black will start the tournament in three years’ time as favourites.

Swan song: England ended the autumn internationals with a stunning win over New Zealand at Twickenham

Swan song: England ended the autumn internationals with a stunning win over New Zealand at Twickenham

Swan song: England ended the autumn internationals with a stunning win over New Zealand at Twickenham

Nicklas Bendtner on Arsenal, Juventus and art – exclusive

From pants to paintings! The renaissance of Nicklas Bendtner as the on-loan Juventus striker speaks exclusively to Sportsmail

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 19 November 2012

Not too long ago Nicklas Bendtner was paying 80,000 for a pair of green underpants, so it's refreshing to discover the more sophisticated way he has found to spend his money.

From his favourite Damien Hirst painting to the three sculptures he has added to his growing collection, Bendtner has developed a passion for modern art.

Considering some of his antics during an eight-year career in England, some people could be forgiven for struggling to accept the colourful and at times controversial Arsenal striker as a Renaissance Man now he has moved to Italy on loan for the season with Juventus.

Italian job: Bendtner is spending the season on loan at Juventus

Italian job: Bendtner is spending the season on loan at Juventus

But sitting in a cafe close to his apartment in an upmarket area of Turin, cradling a double expresso, 24-year-old Bendtner certainly looks and sounds the part.

'Some of my friends in London are in the art world and they introduced me to it slowly,' he says.

'There are always new things happening in that world, new artists coming up, so it's something you can never get tired of if you understand what I mean. The new thing I like are the graffiti artists, I think they're quite interesting.

Moving on: It seems unlikely that the Denmark international will play for Arsenal again

Moving on: It seems unlikely that the Denmark international will play for Arsenal again

'I have seven paintings and three sculptures which I'm really proud of. My favourite is probably the first one I bought which is the Damien Hirst. I love it. I can look at it all day long. It represents me in sort of a way because I can see something of me in it. That keeps me looking at it and finding new things. 'It's nice when you get to know a person and find a new depth to them. Each time you meet there's something new and interesting cropping up.'

The painting is particularly significant to Bendtner because he believes people stopped looking for anything new in him a long time ago.

'I got a bit stuck in England,' he says. 'At times I felt I was misunderstood and people had sort of boxed me off.

That's pants: Bendtner was fined 80,000 by UEFA for this celebration at Euro 2012

That's pants: Bendtner was fined 80,000 by UEFA for this celebration at Euro 2012

'Everyone will have an opinion of me but very few know what I'm like. A lot of things have been written about me and taken out of proportion. Nicklas said this, Nicklas said that. No matter how many times I try to clear it up, people never seem to let it go. That's what I mean by the painting.

'I felt it was important to come to a new country and get a new start; get my career going again. 'Italy has such great romance. it's very beautiful. They have an art fair in Venice which is amazing, and Florence. They have so many great painters – not that I'll be able to afford them in my lifetime.'

This could come across as pretentious but it doesn't. Bendtner is polite, engaging and genuinely passionate about his art. Not many footballers would invite you up to their apartment to show off a painting.

Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner

Struggle: Bendtner failed to impress at Arsenal before being shipped out on a season-long loan to Sunderland

Ironically, one of the streets leading to it is called Via Arsenale. His time in North London was punctuated by loan spells at Birmingham then last season at Sunderland, and it now seems unlikely that he will play for the Gunners again.

Bendtner's Arsenal career went into decline following a serious car crash in September 2009 when his Aston Martin collided with a tree on the way to training. The incident led to a persistent groin injury that later required surgery and loss of form. It also caused the fun-loving Dane to re-assess his lifestyle.

'It set me back a huge deal,' he admits. 'When I finally got over that I was still part of Arsenal but not as I was before.

Slow start: Bendtner missed the first five games after arriving in Turin a little overweight

Slow start: Bendtner missed the first five games after arriving in Turin a little overweight

'Everything just hit me at once. I went through a complete transition and changed everything in my life after that.

'I'm still young but when I was younger I maybe didn't think about what I had, what a big deal it was, and what you could do if you really put your mind to it.

'Yes that [drinking and parties] was part of it. There are other aspects which are a bit more personal that I don't want to get into.'

Bendtner's tempestuous relationship with Baroness Caroline Luel-Brockdorff – they were dubbed Denmark's Posh and Becks – was one of the casualties. It did, however, produce their baby son Nicholas, and fatherhood has also played its part in altering his outlook on the world. He is in the process of launching a new charity, Rich Without Money, in aid of children with terminal diseases.

Dutch of class: The Denmark ace can sympathise with Van Persie after joining Manchester United

Dutch of class: The Denmark ace can sympathise with Van Persie after joining Manchester United

'When you experience the birth of your child, it's amazing what happens,' he says. 'You change in your way of thinking.

'If you draw a circle and put arrows out there saying “this is in your life, and this is what you really need” there is actually very little you need to be happy.

'It's always been something I wanted but I probably wasn't as prepared as I thought I was. This last year it's just started to happen.'

It would be fair to say that is not a completely changed man, however. Less than a year ago Bendtner felt compelled to issue a public apology following a series of off-the-field scrapes. And then, of course, there were those green underpants.

They caused a bit of a stir at Euro 2012 when he hitched down his shorts after scoring a second goal against Portugal to reveal the name of a well-known Irish bookmaker. The company reimbursed him for the 80,000 fine from UEFA but could do nothing about a one-match ban.

Nor have Bendtner's opinions mellowed with age. He is still typically forthright about the club he left behind now and the departures of other Arsenal players like Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song. If Sunderland could be seen as a step down after Arsenal, then Juventus certainly are not.

'I don't have a bad word to say about Arsenal but if you had to compare the trophies then Juventus are like Manchester United,' he says.

Arty impression: Bendtner doesn't have a bad word to say about Arsenal

Arty impression: Bendtner doesn't have a bad word to say about Arsenal

'You feel it's maybe even a bigger step than Arsenal. 'I thought it would be good for me to come here to a big club with big expectations, sort of how it was at Arsenal when I first went there. With all the tradition, if you can make it here and score goals then you can make it anywhere.

'Arsenal have sold off a lot of stars and not replaced them whereas Juventus would not sell one star without bringing in another straightaway. That's what has kept them on top of the pile.

Exclusive: The Dane was speaking to Sportsmail

Exclusive: The Dane was speaking to Sportsmail

'From what I'm hearing, some of the players left because they didn't feel Arsenal still had the same ambitions as they did.

'I can't blame people for wanting to go to United or Barcelona. Robin has been brilliant since he's been at United. He was the main man as soon as Cesc left. He became captain and took the responsibility. Everybody could see he had that ability at Arsenal and now he's improved because he probably thought he could get better at United.

'I feel that if I was still there I would be able to compete for a place. Despite what happened to me it's still a great club and I still feel for some people there. I wouldn't say that I can never ever go back but at the moment it's not on my mind.'

Some might say that Bendtner was fortunate to join the Italian champions after a spell at Sunderland that brought eight goals in 28 games. Juve's sporting director Giuseppe Marotta even admitted that he was not their first choice target, and he missed the first five games after arriving in Turin a little overweight.

But as the Italians prepare to meet Chelsea at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night, Bendtner is back in shape and happy again.

'I've settled in quite well,' he says. 'The hardest thing has been that none of the coaches apart from one speak any English so it's been difficult for me to communicate with the staff and the players.

'I have a teacher but I'm getting a new one because we didn't get on – she didn't speak English or Italian very well!

'I've never trained so hard in my life. It's a very different set-up to England. Here they like you to come in every day. It's just the Italian way, not just Juventus, and something you adapt to.

'Since coming here I've literally had two days off in two months, and I've spent them with family.'

He might have new interests in life but Bendtner is still prepared to suffer for his art.

United States Grand Prix to stage F1 race after glowing report

US Grand Prix given green light as F1 race director Whiting hails 'first-class' track

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 26 September 2012

The Circuit of the Americas has been given the green light to stage this year's United States Grand Prix.

FIA technical delegate and race director Charlie Whiting conducted a 60-day inspection of the venue that is due to host the race in Austin, Texas, from November 16-18.

Whiting has declared the 5.5km (3.4-mile) track and the pit and paddock buildings as 'fantastic', and had no hesitation in awarding COTA 'Grade One' status that now allows it to stage grand prix.

Yanks very much: The Grand Prix of Americas has been given the green light

Yanks very much: The Grand Prix of Americas has been given the green light

'Everything I've seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that's been made since the last time I was here is amazing,' said Whiting in a COTA statement.

'The guys have done an awesome job – it really is quite fantastic! It's built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I've absolutely no complaints whatsoever.'

Whiting believes the drivers, in particular, will be impressed given the possibilities available for overtaking, and which are crucial for entertaining an American audience.

Debut: The race is scheduled for November 18

Debut: The race is scheduled for November 18

Whiting added: 'There are three or four corners that are very likely to see overtaking.

'You'll see the turns have been designed so that they're extremely wide and the apex is very short.

'It's a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I'm very confident it will work well.

'And turn one is awesome! It's the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.'

Whiting will conduct one final inspection on the Monday before the race to ensure completion of the remaining ongoing landscaping and painting projects.

Sam Allardyce says West Ham need Olympic Stadium move to be as big as Manchester United or Arsenal

West Ham could be as big as Man United or Arsenal! Allardyce urges Olympic Stadium move

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UPDATED:

18:21 GMT, 16 August 2012

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes a move to the Olympic Stadium could help them grow to the size of Manchester United and Arsenal.

The Hammers are vying to take over the Stratford venue that was built to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Its future has long been the subject of debate, with West Ham initially denied tenancy last October following a legal dispute involving Tottenham and Leyton Orient.

Home Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to play in the Olympic stadium

Home Sam Allardyce wants West Ham to play in the Olympic stadium

Allardyce hopes West Ham will takeover the stadium after London 2012 and believes it could take the club to a new level.

'When you see the atmosphere created in that arena then I think you would dream of walking out there, like you did at Wembley,' Allardyce said.

'Every footballer's dream is to walk out at Wembley and I think when you've got a venue of that size [it would be the same].

'All the players look forward to playing at Old Trafford and at the Emirates.

Plans: Allardyce wants a big future for the Hammers

Plans: Allardyce wants a big future for the Hammers

'Not quite so much these days at Liverpool or Everton because they're old stadiums now.

'But Manchester United is now almost completely redeveloped and has 75,000, while the Emirates is one hell of a place when it is full.

'We could be that size in a brand new stadium, with that atmosphere.

'It would be awesome to walk a team out on that pitch and say “this is West Ham's new home and the creation of what could possibly be a new modern history hopefully”.'

London Olympics 2012: Watch BBC highlights of day 16

Watch BBC video highlights from day 16 of the Olympics

PUBLISHED:

06:09 GMT, 13 August 2012

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UPDATED:

06:09 GMT, 13 August 2012

The London 2012 Olympics ended with a bang as Britain secured another gold – through super heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua.

Freddie Evans picked up a silver in the welterweight competition and just when we thought it was all over, Samantha Murray sneaked in a cheeky silver in the women's modern pentathlon.

Elsewhere, the Dream Team beat Spain in the men's basketball final while France's men successfully defended their handball title.

And to round everything off, a spectacular closing ceremony – filled with music, from Madness to Jessie J, Muse to Fatboy Slim.

What's more, we got a taste of things to come in Rio. Here's to the next four years going by very quickly indeed.

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Olympics 2012: Martin Samuel: Real Team GB is all of us

The real Team GB is all of us – let the Olympics be a game-changer

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 12 August 2012

The judges had it level. And for a brief moment there was a ripple of fear, discernible even in the darkness of ExCeL South Arena 2.

Anthony Joshua stood on the blue canvas, proud, yet momentarily frozen. He was the best man, everybody could see that; but the numbers in boxing don’t always add up. So we waited.

But when it came, the excitement in the voice gave the decision away long before the words were out of the announcer’s mouth.

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Fitting end: Anthony Joshua provided the perfect end for Great Britain and this great Olympic Games

Those calling the action in this corner of east London are locals. Danny O’Sullivan from Dagenham, Mik Basi, born in the borough of Newham. They knew what this Games meant; they knew what it would mean to finish with a British super-heavyweight champion, too.

‘The winner on countback, in the blue corner, Anthony Joshua,’ the revelation echoed and the place erupted.

There was joy at the immediacy of the moment, but deeper feeling, too. All knew this was the perfect end.

People were still running and jumping in the modern pentathlon, volleyball and basketball finals were taking place, water polo and handball contests were drawing to a close. But this was the one; the one we wanted, the one with cachet.

This was Lennox Lewis, Joe Frazier and Teofilo Stevenson. Olympic heavyweight champion. Look at the names, check the history. This was the finish London deserved. A great finish. A big finish. A big man, doing a big thing.

It is over. The Dream Team fly back today and the dream goes with them. It was nice while it lasted, London the centre of the world, rising to the occasion, delivering, inspiring, as we were promised.

Inspired: Fittingly, Joshua was joined by former Olympic champions Lennox Lewis and Audley Harrison

Inspired: Fittingly, Joshua was joined by former Olympic champions Lennox Lewis and Audley Harrison

Yet before the stadium gave the Games its showbusiness send-off on Sunday night, the sight of Joshua, the 22-year-old son of Nigerian parents from Finchley, north London, encapsulated what this wonderful celebration has been about.

He first set foot in a gym four years ago and his coaches put his rise down to good character and hard work. Always listens. First in, last out. Joshua mouthed the words to the anthem in the slightly self-conscious way that seems to be a British trait, then fell silent as those in the arena took over.

He bit his golden souvenir for the photographers as the PA played Heroes, a song about a doomed couple attempting to defect from East Berlin, incongruously reinvented as a sporting anthem.

Still, it doesn’t matter, because David Bowie is British, too. And if you haven’t worked out by now that we’ve got the best bands and have had for 50 years, you really haven’t been listening to the soundtrack, either.

On Sunday, it was as if the public were trying to catch every last ray of sunshine from a very special time, as they lined the marathon course, 10 deep or more in places. Every two strides hung a Union Flag, even though this was no homecoming parade. Marathon medal winners for Great Britain can be counted on one hand. No golds, and the last podium finish was Charles Spedding’s bronze in 1984. It did not matter.

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

Feel good factor: The British public have been riding the crest of a wave throughout there triumphant Games

The flags were to celebrate us, as much as them. To show pride in what we had achieved, as a nation, as people. This was our marathon, too, our epic journey.

And like distance running, anybody who claims it was easy is lying. Funding an Olympics in adversity, winning hearts and minds at a time of global crisis and uncertainty, made this one of the most testing undertakings of the modern era.

It could have been an epic failure; a different kind of watershed, a moment when the people turned their backs on the concept of overblown sporting contests. This could have been the Olympics of rejection.

Instead, as the people pressed into crash barriers for extra closeness to the athletes, craned from the back for a marginally improved view, jostled to take their last sip from this fountain of youth, there was no doubt London had pulled it off.

The people had embraced every aspect of what was laid before them, triumph and disaster, tears of joy and pain. If it could have been Mo Farah at the head of the marathon strand, they would have loved it even more. But not much more.

They were no longer seeing flags or nationalities, just people; people doing extraordinary things; taking their bodies to the limit. And those watching were at their limit, too. They had wrung every drop out of this until there was nothing left. Like the runners as they crossed the line in The Mall, they had given their all.

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Everyone's invited: The vibrant colours created by the national flags of every country has made London glow

Yet now the real work starts. For this is just the beginning. It cannot be that Britain is only great when the circus is in town. We cannot need 9billion of Government money and Usain Bolt to keep us amused.

No couple get to be on permanent honeymoon. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, that has to be the legacy. Not an addiction to gold medals, Sir Chris Hoy or adrenaline.

Britain must learn to love itself without some poor soul having to slog 25 laps of the Olympic track every Saturday night.

A gold medal alone is not evidence of a worthwhile society. East Germany won plenty and the Stasi files reveal how. China are second in the medal table but you wouldn’t want to swap cultures. If all we take from this is bragging rights over Germany and Australia, it is an opportunity missed.

What changes from here is us, is this place. These islands. The way we feel about them, about each other.

So if this descends into an argument about whether the London Games were a British or multicultural success we will have betrayed the mission.

It is a triumph for both, for who we were, for what we are. For politeness, for helpfulness, for inclusivity. For so many simple things that make the world a nice place; for saying please and thank you, for letting people off the train first, for giving up your seat, for offering assistance to a visitor who looks a little lost. And does that change because Michael Phelps is no longer in town It wouldn’t say much for us if it did.

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

A brighter future: Britain must bottle the feelings they've had and carry it with them into the future

On Saturday, the football season starts. So what will be different Start this revolution in your seat. With you: the man in row G. Are mums still fair game Sisters, wives, colours, races And if you give it out, what do you expect

Is there not a correlation between athletes who treat people with respect and the respect afforded to athletes by people Unless cycling has gained 100,000 dedicated regulars who have never shown their faces before, we must presume many attending the Velodrome also go to football at weekends.

So if a British hero, Victoria Pendleton, can lose a gold medal in controversial circumstances and the achievement of the Australian victor not be derided, how can a player not even take a throw-in in the Premier League without abuse

Oh, it’s ambitious, this plan. Yet what is the point of this Olympic experience if it is not a game-changing event What is the point if a person who feels inspired to be kind on a Javelin train home from the stadium on Sunday night is the same surly ball of resentment commuting to work on Monday morning

We seek so much from these Games. Playing fields, school sport, a healthier nation, long-term athletic reward, but the greatest gift would be the most basic.

Remember how you felt when Mo kicked for home, whether in the stadium or around a television set, garner that positivity and bottle it. We are better together. We are better united. You want legacy The real Team GB is us.

London 2012 Olympics modern pentathlon: Samantha Murray wins silver

Murray helps Team GB end Olympics smiling with modern pentathlon silver

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UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 12 August 2012

Samantha Murray delighted Team GB fans by claiming a silver medal in the women's modern pentathlon as the London Olympics drew to a close.

Murray was an outside shot to win in the discipline which involves fencing, swimming, showjumping and shooting and running in a combined event.

She was in fourth place before the combined event finale, but overhauled Yane Marques and Amelie Caze to finish second behind Laura Asadauskaite.

More to follow.

Delight: Samantha Murray ended up winning silver

Delight: Samantha Murray ended up winning silver

London 2012 Olympics: LIVE – final day including LeBron James

LIVE: Olympics – follow all the action on the final day as it happens

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UPDATED:

07:25 GMT, 12 August 2012

You can keep track of all the latest news, views and pictures from the Olympic Park and beyond with our live coverage. This is your ultimate guide to all the action as it unfolds during London 2012…

OLYMPICS ESSENTIALS

Sport-by-sport schedule

Live results and stats

Medals table

Latest picture gallery

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

8.15: The big stories just keep coming at the Olympics. Mo Farah topped the race of his life last Saturday by repeating the trick yesterday evening to win gold in the 5000m.

As the sporting action inside the Olympic Stadium came to a close, the 29-year-old made British sporting history.

8.10: And give this event a chance. I found it slow going yesterday but the suspense built as it progressed.

After the fencing is 200m swimming and even some horse riding.

But the drama comes at the end of the day when the combined events of shooting and running crown the champion.

At these Games, the women's event will be the last gold medal – so keep an eye on it.

8.05: And the early birds are already out in the modern pentathlon.

The fencing has begun at the Copper Box, where Britain has representation in Mhairi Spence and Samantha Murray.

Just to clear a few things up there are 36 competitors in all, with each one facing each other in a round robin format.

Each fencing bout is one minute long and the first to score a hit wins. If neither score a hit then both pentathletes lose the bout.

8:00: So sadly here we are, the last day of London 2012 and the final act of what has been a highly successful Olympic Games.

I admit I had my doubts, but these Games have gone far and beyond my expectations.

But now is not the time for reflection – we still have loads of action to get through before London 2012 really ends – and there may be a couple more British medals too…

Plunge: Tom Daley celebrates his bronze

Plunge: Tom Daley celebrates his bronze

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 Olympics 2012: 10 vivid Games memories Neil Wilson

Murder and magic… my Olympic story: Our veteran of 19 Games recalls 10 vivid memories

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 24 July 2012

Masked evil: A hooded Palestinian terrorist on the balcony of the Israeli quarters

Masked evil: A hooded Palestinian terrorist on the balcony of the Israeli quarters

MUNICH — Sept 5, 1972

Security was not tight at the Athletes’ Village in Munich, as the Palestinian terrorists had discovered four hours earlier. I ran into the Village, wearing a British tracksuit hastily ‘borrowed’ from an athlete’s husband still asleep on the couch in my media apartment. The armed guard, seeing an Olympic accreditation card dangling round my neck, waved me through an open gateway, assuming I was an athlete returning from a morning run. Minutes later the village was shut to outsiders.

The only information I had from my London office was that someone had been killed, thought at that time to be a chef. I spent the next 13 hours in an upper floor of the Italian team quarters overlooking 31 Connellystrasse where the Israeli athletes had been taken hostage, communicating what I could see on the internal phone to a colleague in the media village who filed it on to London.

MONTREAL — 1976

Hard
to believe but the controversy of those Games was in modern pentathlon.
Boris Onischenko — ‘Dis-honest-Chenko’ as Fleet Street named the Soviet
— rigged a device in his fencing epee which registered hits when he
pressed a button. British veteran Jim Fox spotted something was up and
asked for the weapon to be examined. With the game up, Soviet officials
rushed their man out of the country but poor Fox was left devastated.

None
of Fleet Street’s finest had been present — the five-day event was
given little coverage and the fencing section none — and when they
arrived hot foot after news spread, they demanded a press conference.
The competition was stopped, Fox was called to account for himself and,
unsurprisingly, returned to one of his worst days, winning only 23 of
his 55 contests. Fortunately, two younger team-mates kept GB in
contention and all three ran a blinder on day five to win Britain’s
first gold in the sport. Years later Fox said: ‘It took an experienced
idiot like me nearly to lose the medal.’

MONTREAL — 1976

No beating around the bush: Jim Rosenthal

No beating around the bush: Jim Rosenthal

Only since Moscow have the press been excluded from the Athletes' Village. Before that we could wander into the British block at will. I conducted several interviews with British athletes seated on their beds. Jim Rosenthal, then covering for the string of BBC local radio stations, had a unique method of obtaining interviews for local consumption. He would stand at the door of the British block and intercept anybody passing in a GB track suit or blazer with three questions: ‘Who are you, what do you do and where do you come from’

TEST EVENT, MOSCOW — 1979

One year out from the Games, before the infamous boycott threatened, the world’s media descended on Moscow to view the test event, the Spartakiad. The basement bar in our hotel was an evening mecca for one and all in a city short on nightlife but for those not staying there transport home after the witching hour was a nightmare.

It was solved on one occasion for Britain’s chief athletics coach Frank Dick by a journalist friend pressing wads of roubles into the fist of the driver of a 56-seater coach parked outside which persuaded him to drive Dick in solitary splendour back to his hotel. The panic an hour later when the massed personnel of a US TV company found their booked transport to their studios missing was a Pythonesque moment.

MOSCOW — 1980

Never was tighter security imposed upon the media at an Olympic Games than in Moscow. Hundreds were accommodated in a single gigantic hotel, the Rossiya, then the world’s largest with more than 3,000 rooms. Entry was permitted only to the accredited and only through one door and airport-style X-ray machines.

Cold War paranoia affected some so much they turned televisions in their rooms to the wall in case they were being filmed. All felt cut off from the real world, an impression brought home when two Dutch journalists, seeking a night on the town, asked the stony-faced doorman where they would find the nearest nightclub. ‘Helsinki,’ he replied.

SEOUL — 1987

There are times when you cannot report what you see and hear because you are in a privileged position. Chatham House rules, the lobby writers call those moments. It happened to me when I was asked to represent the British media on a British Olympic Association recce of the Games venues one year out. Travelling with us was one of Princess Anne’s police bodyguards.

The detail he demanded of bemused Koreans went far beyond the need for her security. ‘Where is the nearest toilet’ he asked at the hockey venue. Why did he need to know ‘If she asks and I don’t know, it’s me who’s in the khazi,’ he replied.

US TRIALS, INDIANAPOLIS — 1988

The US media were never fond of Carl Lewis. Too calculating, too fond of himself. But he would go out of his way for the British, recognising probably that Europe was where his bread was most thickly buttered. Three of us approached his manager, Joe Douglas, when we arrived in Indianapolis for a British-only interview with Lewis and he promised we would have it when the Trials ended.

On the final afternoon, with still nothing arranged, we sought out Joe. ‘He’s has to do a dope test first, then he’s seeing his mother and then he’s flying by a private jet to appear on the David Letterman Show. But somewhere he’ll fit you in.’ The call came mid-evening to meet him at midnight in a restaurant in a shopping mall where he would be eating with his sister Carol. He talked to us on every possible subject for two hours and then went straight to the airport.

Busted: Ben Johnson breaks from the pack during the 100m final in Seoul

Busted: Ben Johnson breaks from the pack during the 100m final in Seoul

SEOUL — Sept 27, 1988, 2am

The news that Ben Johnson had given a positive test reached the media village as a drinks party was winding down. That day’s work was long done and the next was a scheduled rest day in the Olympic Stadium, so the worst case scenario had seemed a nasty hangover. Instead, as lights came on across the media tower blocks and word spread, the eight-hour time difference meant a new day’s work was beginning for the same day’s paper.

The Mail’s heroine of the hour, incredibly, was Carol Thatcher, daughter of the Prime Minister and guest at the party, who tore sheets from columnist Ian Wooldridge’s typewriter after he wrote every second paragraph of a lengthy opinion piece and dictated his words to copy-takers in London against the imminent deadline. /07/24/article-0-033846DD000005DC-625_634x448.jpg” width=”634″ height=”448″ alt=”Return to the ice: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean took bronze in Lillehammer” class=”blkBorder” />

Return to the ice: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean took bronze in Lillehammer

ATLANTA — 1996

Security was tight, and tighter still after a bomb in downtown Atlanta. Official media buses to the main press centre involved lengthy checks through X-ray machines but the Mail team, staying in an upmarket hotel reserved for officials, found that the bigwigs’ buses took a short cut where there were no checks.

All worked splendidly for a week until we boasted of our dodge in the bar one night. A Sunday newspaper back home revealed the flaw as an example of weak security that led to the bomb blast and, surprise, surprise, the Mail team were sent to join the long queues.