Farewell London

Tonight the baton will be passed by London to Rio, and the British capital will no longer be the current Olympic city. It scarcely feels like it was 4 years ago that Mrs P and I took our seats in the Olympic stadium in the revitalised east London borough chosen for the site of the games. It was a fabulous day and, though I may be biased, a fabulous four weeks of sports and entertainment. Continue reading “Farewell London”

The Olympic Dream

My favourite photo sharing site is about to launch their shiny new Commercial Licensing Marketplace. I know very little about the scheme, other than it will be a place for 500px photographers to sell their images. I know of it because I’ve been asked to allow 500px to license one of my photos. Sure. Why not. If there’s the chance of cash comin my way, I’m game. I’m surprised about their choice from amongst all my photos on the site. I declind to upload any release documents. I don’t have any. But I’m sure that the IOC are infamously tight when it comes to anything with an Olympic image on it. Or even a hint of an Olympic image. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes…

Screenshot_30

Mexican Olympics

The Olympics, Paralympics are over. Completely finished. No more turning on and off flames or waving Union Flags, or singing God Save the Queen, or pretending to sing the second verse of God Save the Queen, of which no one knows the words. It is over. But what a blast it was. Patriotism is something that has become controversial in some people’s eyes in recent years, with an accusing light shone (quite rightly) on the negative aspects of nationalism. But there’s nowt wrong with cheering on your band of brothers, and sisters, in a positive, competitive and sporting arena. And boy did we cheer.

Many great things have come out of the Olympics. Team GB won a bucket load of medals. The country had something to be happy about. The recession, austerity, murders and the impending implosion of the universe in general were all consigned to small columns buried deep in the back pages of newspapers. And Boris Johnson took a giant step towards becoming Prime Minister one day soon. You don’t know Boris? He’s the most brilliant, bumbling buffoon you could ever wish to see. A most loveable buffoon. Who tells it like he sees it. Sort of. His Team GB parade speech was great. His GQ speech better. And getting stuck on a zipline was no embarrassment. That’s the great thing about being a buffoon. There’s no such thing as a gaffe or awkward moment. Did you watch those videos? You might doubt my sincerity. But he’s definitely a PM in the making. Watch this space.

I cheered on the British team as loudly as anyone. In my rather reserved, not-very-loud manner. Except in the football. I cheered on Mexico. I would have cheered on Mexico even if they had come up against the British team. I cheered them on from the beginning. It turned out to be a great decision, given that they won gold.  I paid no attention to the British team whatsoever.  I’ve given up on England and Britain as far as national football is concerned. I still think it’s a disgrace that the English FA, and all other significant national FA’s didn’t simply resign from FIFA the moment that Qatar were awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup. But then the FA are, and have for a long time been, an utter disgrace. A shambles. A national embarrassment.

I can’t quite believe they picked Roy Hodgson to be England manager. It’s as unbelievable as FIFA ranking England the 3rd best team in the world, when quite clearly they are not deserving of a place even in the top ten. For the Olympics they chose Stuart Pearce. Who is everything wrong about English managers. Some would describe him as a safe pair of hands. I’d describe him as the same old ‘one foot in the grave’ sort of chap. He didn’t pick Beckham for the Olympics. It was, Pearce claimed, a decision he made based on form. Beckham has been knocking in 30 yard screamers for LA Galaxy all season. Instead he picked Ryan Giggs. Who can barely get through a match.

Pearce is an idiot. You might think his prior record qualifies him. He managed Manchester City, a club he took from high up in the Premier League to near relegation, setting records for low scoring. He then lead England youth teams to various humiliating thrashings in world tournaments. So it made complete sense to install him as Great Britains first manager in decades…

I’m beginning to digress. Anyway, the upshot is this. I’m going to go and live in Mexico someday soon. I’ll never be Mexican, no matter what any document says. But I want to engage in being at least a little Mexican from time to time. I remember in the 1980’s, British Asians got a hard time for supporting the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricket teams when they played England. Which was completely unfair. But still, it’s good to support your adopted country. And I have no problem in casting aside my home nation in favour of Mexico as far as international football is concerned. This is, it has to be said, my own way of protesting at the ineptitude of the English FA and the scam that is the England team. And I can be won back. But I don’t see that being likely in the foreseeable future. I make this pledge to Mexico – I will cheer on El Tri in Rio in two years time. Even if they play England.

As far as the Olympics are concerned though, I’ll stick with Team GB. One of the joys of having multiple allegiance is, of course, being able to pick and choose according to whim and current form! I’ll sign off my coverage of the London 2012 Olympics with one final video. One last blast of unashamedly brash patriotism. Courtesy of the Last Night of the Proms.

[youtube http://youtu.be/mB2ExggPg2w&w=500&h=315]

My Olympic Experience

The games are almost wrapped up and it’s time to wrap up my Olympic themed posts, with this final piece. Mrs P and I visited the Olympic stadium to watching running, jumping and throwing type events last Wednesday, and here’s a few of my thoughts on the venues  and legacy of London 2012.

First of all though, the entry to the park was as slick, quick and painless – not what we’d been told to be prepared for. Two hour queues? Where? The whole organisation of the games was superb. No complaints from us whatsoever. Only praise. Of course, when the capitalist part of the deal (G4S security) fell over and failed to deliver, the ‘socialists’ (the Armed Forces) stepped up and saved the day. Again. Just sayin’.

The stadiums? The Olympic stadium isn’t the grandest stadium that’s ever been built. But it’s still pretty impressive. More importantly, it won’t be left empty to rot after the games. It’s so in demand, there are court battles going on to try and win the arena. The velodrome and aquatics centres are grand, however. Very grand.

Lasty, the Orbit. The big bit of twisted red ‘art’ architecture that looks a bit like the Eiffel Tower after a nuclear blast. I had my reservations about that from the beginning. I thought it might grow on me. I thought it would look better in the flesh. It doesn’t. It looks awful. Which is a shame, because that didn’t need to be the case. What really ruined it was the light brown mesh of the stairwell and platform at the top. It looked tacked on. An afterthought. And it totally detracted from the rest of the structure.

P8088906

Inside the stadium, everything looked just as an Olympics should look. Huge crowds, a buzzing atmosphere and fantastic support. Whenever a British runner was introduced, the roar was deafening. That was something that you can tell from the television coverage. What isn’t so obvious on the telly, is the Mexican wave of sound that follows British athletes as they run round the track. I can see now how ‘home advantage’ works. It must have been inspiring for the Brit runners, jumpers and throwers.

So how about the legacy of the games? It’s all cost a lot of money. Billions. Will it turn a profit? To be fair, it’ll be impossible to measure the exact economic impact of the games financially. However, a lot of that money went onto infrastructure and redeveloping a pretty grotty part of the city. It was money well spent. There’s another factor in the legacy games, which isn’t so material. The London 2012 games have helped define modern Britain, and to promote a positive image of the country across the planet.  This shouldn’t be underestimated.

P8088931

When we think of countries, we tend to think both of their history and their current image. When I think of Germany today I think of an  manufacturing  powerhouse, with a well managed economy. I think of their cars, which often define for many people what Germany represents today – quality, strength, reliability, advanced engineering. A premium, superior product. People shopping for new car deals are drawn to brands like Mercedes. Why? It’s because of the image, perception and appeal that accompanies German brands. German products have a reputation to be envied. There has to be substance to back up the image for there to be success of course. And German cars exported around the world are that substance.

The image of Britain around the world has sadly been sullied over the last decade by two foreign wars, one of which was entirely unjustified. This is our big opportunity to reinvent the country. To promote us as a country who can not only fund, organise and deliver the biggest show on earth. But also as a country who are a leading light in technology. In finance. In manufacturing. In science. That’s perhaps the most important legacy that the Olympics can deliver.

Anyway, on a final note – I really enjoyed the games. Really, really enjoyed them. Other than the Orbit, most of my negative impressions about the design of kits, mascots and logos have been swept away. When it was all put together, it worked brilliantly. Tonight is the closing ceremony, and I’m quite sure that this will be spectacular as well. My photos from the Olympic Park are on Flickr here.

P8088963_stitch

Brilliant Britain

That Britain is ‘Great’ is to do with regional differentiation, not down to how good we are. If that were the case, then we’d name the country Brilliant Britain. Well, for at least the duration of the Olympics anyway. Then perhaps we’d return to being Run-of-the-mill Britain. But let’s not focus on the ordinariness of the country outside of these games. We’re having a great brilliant time. And not just because our athletes are doing so well.

The excellent opening ceremony has been followed on by excellent organisation, superb arenas, world records galore and top notch television broadcasting by the BBC. Their live feeds on television and the internet means I can watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, on a device of my choice, wherever I may be. Providing I’m in the UK. Which, of course, I am. Are you not? Don’t despair. Rid yourself of NBC nonsense and watch the games live. Download and install Unblock-us and get the BBC on your PC. I’be used it for watching Hulu and other US only services. It works well.

The crowds have been excellent as well. But not without controversy. There have been empty seats visible in a number of arenas. Is this because us Brits are a bit apathetic towards the games? That there just wasn’t the demand for tickets? Absolutely not. Just as with football, huge chunks of tickets are set aside for sponsors and others  inside the ‘Olympic family’. At the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool were allocated just 20,000 tickets out of 70,000. AC Milan got another 20,000. The rest? The the UEFA ‘football family’. Then, and now at London 2012, there are tens of thousands of people who want to get inside these arenas and can’t. Whilst gratis ticket holders can’t be bothered to turn up. It’s scandalous. Sickening. It’s everything the games shouldn’t be about. And it’s sanctioned by those at the top. They should be fired. The lot of them.

Still, I have my tickets. Sort of. They disappeared. Never to be seen again. Thankfully, I have managed to get them cancelled and will be collecting a replacement set on Tuesday. My next Olympics posting will be on my Tumblr blog on Tuesday and Wednesday when I’m in London. Wednesday morning I will get to watch some running and jumping and stuff. Including the mens Decathlon 100 metres. Should be fun.

Happy and Glorious

I can’t deny, I had my doubts. What had been revealed about the opening ceremony had looked a bit iffy. Beijing had set the bar pretty damn high, and a setting of meadows with country bumpkins tossing cowpats about the place didn’t seem too promising. I hoped we would be surprised though. I have long admired Danny Boyle. It would have been sad if he’d let us down on the big night.

But he didn’t. I thought the ceremony was brilliant. It  was original, epic, inventive, funny – even hilarious – brilliantly eccentric and utterly captivating. Sure, some bits were better than others. I’d rather not have had the Artic Monkeys inflicted on my eardrums. I’d have preferred to see Macca with Ringo doing All Together Now, instead of Hey Jude. And if only they could have gotten Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour on a stage together – Welcome to the Machine would have worked a treat during the industrial revolution.

But these are minor quibbles. Mr Bean and Her Maj the Queen were both brilliant. The flame’s journey up the Thames and into the stadium were well done. And at least I got a quick dose of Pink Floyd with the firework display.  I can’t wait till August the 8th when I get to visit. Did the ceremony go down well in your part of the world?

The Princess Anne Olympic Myth

A few months ago I ran a post titled Olympic Trivia, in which I claimed Princess Anne had found fame as being the only lady never to have to undergo a gender test at an Olympic game. It seemed a fair claim to make – the story is all over the internet. However, all might not be as it seems. I did get a comment at the bottom of that post to suggest that this Royal exemption story is not all it’s cracked up to be.  I took the email address left by the commenter, typed it into Google and hunted around the internet for him/her. It was an address in use by an equestrian competitor at the same Olympic Games. And it was a ‘her’ to boot. One of the famed ‘non-exempted’.

I wrote to her on Facebook and got a more detailed response. Apparently, all the female competitors “argued that we competed on an equal basis, and therefore it was not necessary to do the gender test.” That sounds both reasonable and plausible. I have hunted high and low for evidence to support the story of Anne being the only person to have escaped gender testing, and found nothing. Not a thing. Nada. It’s like the story sprang from thin air.

I suspect that, if the female competitors had to argue their case against gender testing as suggested by the aforementioned commenter, then the original IOC plan must have been to permit Anne an exemption – and that is probably where the myth began. It’s a successful myth, and you’ll find it all over the web. I didn’t find a single website stating that this story is just an old legend though, so let me set the record straight here – Princess Anne was not the only female Olympian to be exmpted from a gender test in 1976. Perhaps I finally have a world exclusive scoop?! But probably not…

I thought about posting a video of Princess Anne doing her things at the Olympics, but decided against it. To be completely honest, I can’t think of anything more tedious than horses jumping over stuff. That’s something you either love or hate, and it’s not my cup of tea. So instead, here’s the video which, I believe, will kick off the Olympic experience on your TV on opening night. Edit: no, the video was actually played in Beijing 2008 as part of the handover. Oops. Still…it’s a slick video.

Meet The Venues

I posted my (brief) thoughts on the current state of the Olympic Park recently. But I saw only from afar. Here’s a short video courtesy of the Guardian, as a group of architects get to tour the interiors of the venues and offer their opinions. They don’t cast the stadium in a good light. Without the fabric wrap, the stadium is a shocking eyesore from the outside. I was utterly staggered when, due to budgetary restraints, they decided to do away with the wrap. Thankfully, a private sponsor has controversially stepped up to the plate, and the wrap will be there in time for the big opening ceremony.

I like the Guardian, by the by. At a time when every other traditional print media company is mired in scandal, putting up paywalls or otherwise scratching their heads and wondering what to do with the new darn fangled interweb, the Guardian has grasped the 21st century with both hands. Their online newspaper is the best interpretation of a broadsheet on the net I’ve seen. Their range of podcasts is comprehensive and the production and content highly polished. Their mobile apps are brilliant. And their use of social media unrivalled. They deserve to succeed. Although, they are a bit mean for disabling embedding for the video below. Tut.

The Expensive Austerity Games

Costs are being cut left, right and centre. Except for ticket and merchandise costs. Of course. Oh, and the security costs. But then this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of our biggest industries. Say I, with a touch of sarcasm.

I was very disappointed to see that they have decided to charge £15 for a ride to the top. Not, if I might be so bold as to suggest, in the spirit of either austerity or the Olympics. I’m not alone in thinking so, of course.

A fairer price would have been £10 at most. With a discount for games ticket holders, perhaps. Or you can just watch the video below, a time-lapse of the construction, completely free of charge.

The Olympic Dark Side

There’s plenty to look forward to at this summer’s Olympic Games. But there are clouds hanging overhead, threatening to burst gloom and doom upon the capital. The big worry for the authorities are terrorist attacks. I find it difficult to believe that there aren’t people actively planning an atrocity or two. The only question is whether they can be thwarted. No chances are being taken.

Another cloud is one that has hung over every Olympiad for decades – the drug cheats. I find it sad that proven cheats such as Dwain Chambers will be allowed to compete for a place at the tournament. In my opinion, anyone found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs should be shown the door, which should then be locked with the key thrown away.

The final cloud? The political misuse of the games. I understand that many Argentines believe the Falklands to belong to Argentina. I understand that they would like the UK to transfer sovereignty of the islands over to Argentina. But do Argentines understand that their president is doing everything within her power to ensure that the islands remain British? Just to bolster her support during a difficult financial situation, and at a time when she is isolating Argentina from much of the rest of the world? Probably not.

General Galtieri did his bit to ensure that the Falkland Islands remain a British territory for several generations to come. De Kirschner has done her bit to add a generation or two to that. The recent video ‘incident’ is really quite petty, particularly with the athlete concerned using a war memorial as an exercise step,  and serves only to keep an open wound festering. I did like this spoof video though…

Olympic Games Photography Guide

I suspect over the next few months, in the run up to London 2012, there’s going to be a lot of Olympic themed fun and games for photographers. I’ve already come across numerous stories of photographers being harassed, such as the one in the Guardian video I’ve embedded below. Since Section 44 of the Terrorim Act 2000 were repealed   (it and other sections were ruled illegal by the European Courts) there seems to be fewer instances of harassment from the police. That should be the case, really. The Metropolitan Police have issued pretty clear guidelines for their officers and the public. FYI – some of the links in my post lead to other articles, but several lead to photography rights guides and carry cards.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Unfortunately, private security firms continue to interfere with photographers who are out and about snapping. They often seem to have little knowledge of the law. Worse, on other occasions they clearly understand the legal rights of the photographer, but choose to ignore them. The fact of the matter is, providing you are on public property you can photograph anything or anyone you wish to (for non commercial reasons) with very few exceptions. If you are on private property, then it’s a little different. You are bound by the conditions of the property owner, and that may include the prohibition of photography.

Generally speaking, photographs of Secret Service and MoD buildings are often out of bounds. Photos of minors (where the child is the main subject of the photograph) without parental consent is iffy too. Chasing someone down the street, repeating sticking your camera in their face is commonly called harassment. Causing an obstruction or interfering with a police officer, of course, has the potential of landing you in trouble.

Copyrighted works can be troublesome, again if they are the main subject of the photo. This part of the law always amuses me. I can understand, sometimes, why an artist wouldn’t want a close up shot of one of his or her works taken. If you are shooting a market place with lots of paintings in the frame though, he’s just going to have to live with it – you’re perfectly entitled to do so. But some companies also get really upset about photos of their logos and signage. Why?!?! The purpose of those logos and signage is to expose your brand to the public. And the reason a company wouldn’t want someone spreading the word…? Your guess is as good as mine.

I have never been stopped by the police or a security employee in the UK. But should that occur, I do know my rights. Every keen photographer should know their rights – this version is comprehensive, but dated as it still includes Section 44 legislation. Nobody, be they a police officer or a private security employee, has the right to stop you without reason for suspicion that you are (or are about to) commit an offence.

Private security guards have no lawful right whatsoever to stop you on public property, unless exercising their right to make a citizens arrest if you are committing a criminal offence. They need to be very careful however. If you are not committing a criminal act, then they have (at least potentially) committed a criminal act themselves – false imprisonment among them.

You are perfectly entitled to completely ignore a private security guard on public property – just make sure you know where public property ends and private property begins. If they harass, physically interfere or otherwise intimidate you, then call the police – they are the law breakers and you can report them. It is, perhaps, a sensible option to press the record button on your camera and capture the incident (audio, video or both) for future reference should it be necessary. they have no right to view, delete or require you to delete any images you have taken. They have no more right to ask you to stop photographing as you have to ask them to stand on one foot, wearing a traffic cone as a hat and sing the full five verses of the national anthem.

There is another area where photographers do have very limited rights however. Cameras, even compacts with long lenses will now be let into the stadiums, apparently, although this article is quite old and a final decision clearly hadn’t been reached at that time. I haven’t found updated info, sadly. Tickets for the London 2012 games all forbid the uploading of any of these photos to the internet, including Facebook, Flickr et al. It’s frankly ridiculous in my opinion, although there do seem to be some organisers who are taking a more common sense approach to it. The brand police are already in action as well. Even words are not safe. Two word combos such as London and 2012 are not allowed and could see you in court. Sellers will need to be imaginative.

Great British Olympians

What does the Olympics mean to you? We’ll all have different perceptions, according to our exposure, experiences and the national importance given to the events – I suspect the games have more of an impact in the more successful countries. For me, the Olympics is defined by a fairly select group of British athletes who have brought home gold medals and (mostly) become household names. To be more precise, ten Olympic heroes.

I’ve lived through nine Olympiads – London will be the tenth. My memories of the first, being just three years old, are <ahem> sketchy to say the least. I know there were many wonderful British winners prior to 1980, but in any Top Ten style list, I am confined by my age to start at the Moscow Olympics. Two names stood out and were the talk of the school playground. The swimmer Duncan Goodhew, who won gold in the 100m breast stroke. But really, we were more interested in why he was so totally bald. He fell out of a tree, apparently. And then his hair fell out. Bizarre.

But there was a more important medal winner in 1980. In the blue riband 100 metres track final, Allan Wells stormed home in first place. The absent US runners mocked him, telling any one who would listen that Wells only won because they weren’t there. They continued to mock him. For about a year. Until Wells beat them in the World Championships. A year after that he won gold at the Commonwealth Games, beating Ben Johnson. Presumably a pre-steroid Ben Johnson.

In 1984 the Americans rejoined the Olympic party. And the Russians left. Daley Thompson put in one of the greatest decathlon performances of all time. No one disputed his supremacy. In 1988 Lennox Lewis won gold, destroying Riddick Bowe in the final. US boxers disputed his supremacy for another couple of decades. He knocked them all out, one by one. Bizarrely, he still doesn’t always get the due credit.

In Barcelona, 1992, one man stood out from the crowd. Linford Christie reached the promised land, and won gold in the 100 metres track final, Britain’s second gold in four events. That highlight had to last eight years – Britain failed to win a single gold medal in track and field in Atlanta in 1996. Conversely, Sydney in 2000 proved to be one of our best performance, with Jonathon Edwards living up to his pre-games world record breaking expectations and bringing home the bacon.

Athens in 2004 at last gives me an excuse to include a female athlete – Kelly Holmes. Female athletes are often overlooked. I don’t know why, but I do it myself. I just don’t find women’s sports as entertaining as men’s. Perhaps it is simply the knowing that a female winner would still be struggling for a place in the men’s team, let alone getting to a final. Forget the medals. But anyone who wins gold in both the 800 metres and 1500 metres is a legend, testicles or no testicles.

Beijing 2008 was a fabulous Olympiad for the Brits. We finished fourth in the medals table, with Chris Hoy doing his bit with three cycling golds. But as good as all those I’ve already named are, none can claim to be Britain’s greatest modern Olympic athlete. That honour could only be contested by two men. The first is Sebastian Coe, who won gold in the 1500 metres in 1980 and 1984, and who dominated middle distance running so completely is what was a very competitive era. At one stage Coe held the world record at 800m, 1000m, 1500m and 1 mile consecutively. He set records that stood for 16 years (800 metres) and 19 years (1000 metres).

But still, I can’t can’t bring myself to name Coe as the greatest British Olympian. Although he can claim that honour as far as track and field are concerned. But the greatest British athlete of the modern era – nay, of any era – is Steve Redgrave. He rowed his way to five gold medals at five consecutive Olympic games from 1984 to 2000. Three golds were won with Matthew Pinsent, and two with Andy Holmes, who sadly died a couple of years back from Weil’s disease.

Disagree with my list? Make your feelings known. Ten points for the first person to spot the obvious ‘odd one out’ in my list.

Nationalism And Football

The photo below is something of a rarity. It’s of a British football team.  I’ve searched the internet high and low for video footage and photos of Great Britain football teams with almost zero success.  So that’s the best I can come up, that photo below. It’s the British football team from the 1908 Olympic Games. They won gold, bless them.

The mish mash of kingdoms, principalities and provinces that form the UK is a complicated affair. Things should be simplified for sports. After all, it’s about the coming together and the taking part. Alas, this is not so. With sports, the UK becomes even more complicated. Most of the time there is a single Great Britain team. Which is a bit of an iffy definition, seeing as Northern Ireland is often included in that team, but is not part of Great Britain.

There’s already been a bit of contoversy for the 2012 Olympics in that a decision was made to style the team Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Which upset the Irish, who consider their team to represent the island of Ireland. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. As I said, it’s complicated.

With football things are different again. There is no Great Britain team. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have national teams. And national domestic football leagues. Although the top Welsh teams, Swansea and Cardiff, both play in the English league. Wales is technically a principality and Northern Ireland arguably a province anyway – should they have national teams? Regardless – consistency is clearly not a priority.

The have been Great Britain football teams in the past. Professionally, twice. In 1947 a Great Britain team took on the Rest of Europe, and handed out a 6-1 drubbing to the Continentalists. A rematch in 1955 saw our cousins from across the channel get a measure of revenge – the score finished 4-1 in their favour.

There has also been a Great Britain team in the Olympics too. In fact, we won three of the first four tournaments. Nothing since though. After the decision to allow professionals to play in the Olympics after the ’72 games, no Great Britain team has competed. Even though national teams have played in qualifiers and earned the right to play at the tournament.

The fear, for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in particular, is that if they compete in the Olympics as a Great Britain team, FIFA may decide that their individual identity no longer exists and force them to play as Great Britain at World Cups. I’ve always thought this was a poor excuse. It wouldn’t happen, for two reasons. Firstly, FIFA has long agreed to continue recognising them as individual states if they do play as GB. Secondly, because England also wants to continue playing as England and wouldn’t accept such a edict.

Whatever FIFA may think of us English, and as daft and corrupt as they are, they’re not so daft as to want the English out of world football. We bring far too much money into the game. UEFA would also simply refuse to accept the decision as well. The cost of losing the English teams from the Champions League would be too much.

But good news! There will be a Great Britain team in the London Olympics this summer! Sure, there’s been a lot of fuss and bitching, but it’s going to happen. The only question is, will any Welsh players take part? Some might also ask whether any Scottish players will take part, but few will really care. Scottish football is in an absolute state. A harsh comment, but true nonetheless.

But the Welsh have a trio of players who would have a massive impact on the chances of Team GB winning gold. And if we do win gold we will have four golds to our name, pulling one ahead of Hungary who are currently level with GB on three gold medals. What Welsh fan wouldn’t want to see Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsay and Ryan Giggs win a major international football tournament? There are, sadly, quite a few. One hopes their negatively nationalist voices are drowned out by common sense and sporting goodwill.

The Games Makers

Less than six months to go, and the final preparations for the greatest show on earth are being made. The scale of the Olympics is simply enormous – and whilst some will moan about the cost, it has to be said that the London 2012 show is keeping awful lot of people in work. Perhaps, in some respects, there’s never been a better time to host an Olympics.

I’d have liked to have been involved in someway. I’d have volunteered to help out had I managed to move to London. Alas, it didn’t happen, and I’ll just have to contribute to the summer games by sharing what I find. This video shows some of the behind-the-scenes work that will help put the show on the road.