Friday, January 19, 2007

Before I bore you to death with all the Olympic sport I haven’t done this week, get your diary out and make a note. At 7PM on Friday 30th March 2007 at the Oxford University Sports Centre (OUSC), there will be an Ultimate Olympian double bill.

The first event will be a game of volleyball, and the second a game of basketball. Details of who will be participating are sketchy at the moment, but if you want to be considered, regardless of your age, gender or ability, send an e-mail and I’ll put you on the list of hopefuls.

I’ve been in the gym and the pool a lot over the last week, but I haven’t ticked off any events yet. As ever, real life (as I believe it’s called) keeps getting in the way, but, thanks to Jessie at the OUSC, I have at least set a date for the Baskolleyball evening.

Making Waves - or not...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Saturday morning was supposed to be back to rowing porridge. I took it (relatively) easy the night before, got to sleep (relatively) early and leapt from my bed in the morning full of energy and ready to go. Sort of.

Even the pounding rain and gentle wafting of the gale-force wind didn’t put me off and I bravely battled across town for an hour to get to the boatyard on time. Once there, I was rather tersely informed that there wouldn’t be any rowing that day “obviously” because there was “too much water”.

I was disappointed (although the river did look particularly dirty and angry so I wasn’t entirely distraught), but I was awake and dressed for action, so I went to the gym instead and then for a swim. It would seem that Saturday morning is a very good time to do both of those things – both the gym and the pool were almost empty.

I went swimming again last night. This not smoking lark is great for the energy levels, but not so hot for the writing skills. I can hardly finish a thought.

The main purpose of this post wasn’t to update you on how little has changed since last I wrote, but to link to this amusing piece from NewsBiscuit. Go there and be entertained – there’s nothing of that sort to be had around these parts today.

Comeback Kid

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some of the more astute among you may have noticed that I have been absent from these pages for a while. As ever, I have excuses aplenty – I’ve been busy at work, I’ve been busy in the pub, it’s cold outside – and as usual, they are all rubbish so I’ll spare you. The long and the short of it is that I’m back.

Looking for some inspiration, I discovered a sporting comeback that may be hard to top. At the start of the 1972 Munich Olympics, Lasse Virén, a 23-year-old Finnish policeman from the small village of Myrskyla, was not widely known. The heats of the 10,000 metres constituted his Olympic debut.

He qualified, but when he stumbled and fell just before the halfway mark in the final his chance of victory seemed to have gone.

The Tunisian Mohamed Gammoudi (who had won the 5,000 metres at the 1968 Olympics) tripped over Virén and gave up two laps later. But the Finnish runner calmly got to his feet and chased his way back into contention, overtaking Britain's David Bedford, the long-time leader, to not only win the gold medal, but set a world record of 27min 38.4sec.

Ten days later, he also won the 5,000m (in an Olympic record time) - a double that he repeated in Montreal in 1976.

You can watch the whole race in three parts [1, 2, 3] courtesy of YouTube, but if all you want to see is how badly he fell over, skip to three and a half minutes into Part 2.

I can't promise a comeback on quite such a spectacular scale, but I can promise a quickening of the pace around here. I'm going to need something to keep me occupied now that I've stopped smoking again.