Rob Longley - August 3rd, 2012
LONDON – The first Friday of the Olympics were London’s night to celebrate with the gala opening ceremony to the Games to kick things off.
Since then, it’s taken some time for Londoners to warm to the action but that all seemed to take an upward swing on Friday. Perhaps it was the start of a weekend, likely it is related to the fact that track and field gets under way today, but Olympic Park was far busier than any other day thus far in the Games.
The superb high-speed Javelin train that takes passengers from Central London to the Park here in the east end were full today but still running smoothly. With Usain Bolt in action tomorrow and team sports heading into the playoff rounds, the action is heating up.
Rob Longley - July 31st, 2012
LONDON – Long, busy day at the pool here where swimming heats take up the morning, diving in the afternoon and Michael Phelps race towards history tonight.
But for Canadian fans, all eyes will be on a possible second medal of the Games in the women’s 10-metre synchro event where Meaghan Benfeito and Roseline Filion are solid contenders.
The pair were second at last year’s Pan Am Games and seventh at the world championships. With just eight teams in the event, they are considered realistic prospects for silver or bronze – behind the heavily favoured Chinese.
Our source for how much in contention the Canadians are is always bookmaker William Hill, who have listed the Canadian pair as the co second-choice with Great Britain at odds of 16-1. (The Chinese are 1-16.) The Aussies are next at 18-1 with the next closest contender at 40-1. By the William Hill numbers, then, Canada is a good bet to finish anywhere between second and fourth.
Rob Longley - July 29th, 2012
LONDON – If you’ve happened to look at my NFL picks on the wrong weekend, you know I can’t always be accused of being the sharpest bettor in the world.
And I do have a habit of bringing big favourites down. But after Michael Phelps barely squeaked into the men’s 400-metre IM final here on Saturday, I saw an opportunity. The price would never be better on the 14-time Olympic gold medallist, right? So I wandered into the local William Hill shot and “invested” five pounds on Phelps to win gold at what I thought were square odds of 2-1.
Where else could you get such a price on one of the great Olympians of all time? And besides, he was clearly playing possum in his heat, right?
We all know what happened by now. Not only did Phelps fail to win gold, for the first time since 2000, the American didn’t even get a medal.
Legalized gambling continues to be a story here, the latest issue emerging when officials acknowledged they were investigating an Irish athlete for allegedly betting against himself. Officials refused to name the athlete and what sport he was competing in.As well, at least one British bookmaker returned all wagers made on who would light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony because there was on “one” person do do so.
Rob Longley - July 27th, 2012
LONDON – With the Opening Ceremony now less than two hours away (mercifully), Canadians are getting ready to mark the opening of the Games in many ways.
Only a third of the 277 Canadian athletes preparing to compete for the red and white Maple Leaf, were planning to march into the stadium behind flag bearer Simon Whitfield which may seem like a small number given the patriotic pride generally associated with the show.
For many, however, it just isn’t practical.
Any athlete who is competing on Saturday’s opening day of competition was almost sure to pass because of the length of a ceremony that figured to drag past midnight local time. Others, like the canoe-kayak team and last year’s flag bearer, Adam van Koeverden, are still at training camps far from London.
That didn’t stop AVK and his teammates from getting into the spirit of the show, however, as he showed in this tweeted picture from the team’s training base at a castle in the countryside of France.
We’re settled in our seats here in the Olympic Stadium, just under two hours before the show is to begin and are tempted to take a sneak peak at the specifics of the show handed out in a detailed program for the media. The media guide comes with a strict embargo, but is designed to allow the world’s press to get a head start on their work.
I think I’ll let it unfold before my eyes rather than reading about it in a book. Much like a billion or so people around the world.
Rob Longley - July 26th, 2012
LONDON – It started as a murmur and slowly grew into a room full of laughter. Even the man behind the comments, American swimmer Michael Phelps, had to chuckle at his comments.
In a packed press conference room at the main press centre here on Thursday afternoon, Phelps was relaxed and at ease talking about his pursuit of adding to his 14 Olympic gold medals. When he was asked about the Australian relay team’s contention that they didn’t fear Phelps and his American teammates, Phelps responded with this:
“We take care of our own business,” Phelps said, looking all serious. “If you get caught up in other people’s talking, and this and that, it just takes away from what we’re here to do.
“We’re here to swim and that’s it. We’re not gonna run our mouths. We never have. Our country has never done that.”
And then the laughter started, Phelps included.