Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics 2012-8

New Zealand's hopes of qualifying for the final of the women's quadruple sculls at Eton Dorney were dashed when an oar broke with about 400m remaining in the repechage race.

The Kiwis were third at the time - with four boats going through - when Fiona Bourke was left stranded on Dorney Lake. They finished last, 30 seconds behind winner Australia.

Tunisia may have missed out on its first medal at the London Olympics because of bad arithmetic. His coach made a mistake of starting weightlifter Khalil El-Maoui who was in second place of the men's 56kg at at 158kg instead of the planned 148kg putting Khalil out of the medals due to an arithmetic mistake.

In a story reminiscent of the Jamaican bobsleigh team and Eric "the eel" Moussambani, comes Djibo Issaka.

The 35-year-old from Niger was given a rapturous reception normally reserved for gold medallists after struggling to the finish line in the men's single sculls at Eton Dorney.

Why? Because he has only been rowing for three months.

Niger received a wild card to the Olympics, allocated to ensure all 204 National Olympic Committees can take part even if no athletes have qualified.

Djibo Issaka thinks his performance could mark the start of a new era for rowing in Niger.

"There are many people who want to start rowing because I have come to the Olympic Games," he said.

"We will start when I get back. We just have to wait for the boats to arrive."

Keep an ear out for a wide variety of music at London 2012, from the national anthems recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra to “Out of a Rainbow”, the song of mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. But will anything beat the music that greeted water polo teams as they entered the arena in 2008? Beijing’s brilliant choice: the theme from the movie “Jaws”.

The slowest marathon in history?

If you think that’s a long time, try the lifetime it took Japanese runner Shizo Kanaguri to complete the 1912 marathon. Kanaguri collapsed in the Stockholm race and reputedly woke up the next day in the house of a farming family who took him in. Having returned to Japan without telling the organisers, he was officially listed as missing by Swedish authorities. It wasn’t until 1966 that Kanaguri, long after his retirement, finished the race. Invited by a television company to complete the course, he accepted. His finishing time: 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes and 20 seconds.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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