Blog by Jenny Meadows
Day eight in the Olympic stadium and we need some medals today. I’m feeling quite tense about it. I have a sick feeling in my stomach all day as I really know how much hard work Lisa D has had to put in just to be here at these Games, and all credit to her she has done a great job to get herself back into some serious shape. I think she can medal but I am scared about the tactics others will employ and I really want a fair result to the girls whom are in the best shape. I also fancy the chances of Steve Lewis nicking a medal as well as the Men’s 4 x 400m. I just really hope luck goes their way today.
Today is Trev’s birthday (I won’t disclose his age but if anyone wants to know then it’s on ‘Power of 10’). When he opens his presents and cards this morning I tell him that I have booked a treat to a plush castle hotel in Cheshire where we will have spa treatments, evening meal and bed and breakfast and stay in a four poster bedded suite. Thinking this would be a fantastic treat for him, as we can never celebrate his birthday as it always falls during the peak time of the season for us, he replies with “What time are we going and will I miss any Athletics?” Thankfully I had already assessed the timetable of events for today and structured all our plans and meal times around the Athletics program of course! I will let him off on this occasion for his sheer ungratefulness.
It was a tense and unpleasant night of viewing and that’s not just because I had indigestion from scoffing my sticking toffee pudding faster than the USA Women’s 4 x 100m time in order to get back to the room so I didn’t miss any action. Luck just didn’t seem to be on our side as we saw four in-from guys in the 4 x 100m fail to get the baton exchanged within the last take over zone. It’s been a while since we have been able to boast to have four in-form guys in the squad and I really felt these guys could have featured in the medals if they could have had a clean race. The British relay teams get some stick for their relay failures but I do admire these guys for sticking by each other and working hard for the team. It was once a privilege to take a place on the sprint relay team but times have changed and now it comes with jibes and huge pressure. I am sure the new generation of talent within the team will go on to enjoy success again just like that tradition we once had.
It turned out to be one of those nights for Steve Lewis also, when he didn’t do much wrong and almost got into the medals. Equal fifth place is an outstanding result, however three guys scaled heights in excess of 5.90m so it was a fair result that the quality finished in those positions. I really hope Steve is pleased with his result. He really has had a fantastic 2012 and looks so confident these days, which is no nice to see.
All my fears turned into reality as I watched the women’s 1500m with a pulse rate that must have equaled the girls competing in the race itself. A messy race throughout and poor Morgan Uceny being tripped and falling again! Imagine being her right now. She must think that she has been cursed or something. She was as good as a cert to win the World Champs last year and had a great chance to medal here also. I could have cried for her, only I was too busy bellowing at the TV shouting instructions to Lisa that she just didn’t follow (why didn't she hear me?!). With 300m to go all my fears were coming true as the Turkish athlete with a previous doping conviction looked like she was heading towards the Olympic title. It turned out this was to be the case and our hard-working Brits, Lisa and Laura, ended up finishing down in 10th and 11th places. Somehow I stopped myself from throwing the remote into the TV screen, only because the hotel bill was already so expensive. I hate it when the true talent does not prosper!
It was another heart wrenching moment watching the Men’s 4 x 400m relay team agonizingly miss out on a medal by just over a tenth of a second. The four guys whom ran acquitted themselves very well and could not have done any more. Olympic Games are just such a high standard and that is why the prize of claiming one of those medals is such an elusive prospect.
I did have moments of calmness during the evening of Athletics thanks to Jo and Julia in the women’s 5000m final. In a tactical affair they managed to finish in the first two European spots. These girls have not put a foot wrong during their 50 laps during these champs. 50 laps!!! Young Sophie Hitchon (sorry Sophie but you are!) did amazing to make the final in the hammer throw, and although she finished in 12th position even the British record she set in qualifying would have moved her up to 11th.
The women’s 4 x 400m posted a relaxed looking qualification. Having obviously a lot of experience in this event I feel that this team will change slightly in the final and I really think they can challenge the British record in a scrap with Jamaica for the bronze medal. Seeing the lane draw I am gutted that we will line up on lane 9 in the final but I am hoping that the headhunters on the last three legs can do their thing and reel the girls back.
One thing is for sure; tomorrow is going to be another nail biter.