It’s gold or bust. There are two teams who enter the men’s Olympic football tournament with just one goal – finishing at the top of the podium.
For different reasons, Brazil and Spain are taking these Games in London – which feature under-23 players plus three overage members per squad – as seriously as if it was a World Cup or continental championship, and I hope they get to meet in the final.
For the "Selecao" this competition is about much more than just pride or bragging rights, it’s about history. Brazil may have won the World Cup a record five times and the Copa America on eight occasions, but they have never got their hands on Olympic gold. It is something that not only the country's fans and officials are hoping for, but the players themselves have been saying it would be a dream come true. FULL POST
"First Saudi Woman to Compete in Olympics" is one of those headlines journalists live for.
In an ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom where women can't drive, can't travel without the permission of a male guardian or practice sports in public schools, women are no longer forbidden from participating in the world's highest profile sporting event.
Or so we thought. FULL POST
London’s Olympic Games will be the poorer for David Beckham’s absence and his omission from Britain’s football squad highlights the lottery of selections based on subjectivity instead of results.
The fact that so many of the UK’s esteemed football writers - normally highly critical appraisers of sporting talent – have voiced their dismay on social networking sites shows how many experts recognized that Beckham’s place at the Olympics was about more than just his merit as a player.
Henry Winter of Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper wrote “Becks deserved more respect.” Matt Dickinson from The Times tweeted, “shocked by the Beckham news” while The Mirror’s John Cross said he was “Stunned – Beckham deserved it on every level.” FULL POST
"Sing" was the name of Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber's song to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Shame it wasn't given the subtitle "And Prove You Know the Words." Then it could have been used as the official anthem for football's European Championships and the London Olympics as well.
Because it seems people have a bit of a bee in their bonnets. Even the non-royal ones. FULL POST
Yes, I’ll admit it. I have been known to pole dance. And yes, there are pictures to prove it. No, you’re not seeing them. And I can assure you I didn’t take my clothes off.
But I will say that an afternoon meant to be a bit of fun was one of the most painful and bruise inducing of my life.
I am allegedly quite fit (in the running, exercise sense, before you accuse me of getting ahead of myself). But before you could say "Peter Stringfellow" - the longtime UK strip-club entrepreneur - that pole had me waving my white flag of surrender, even before I’d managed to climb to half mast. FULL POST
The trials for the British Olympic swimming team start this weekend, and training has been going really well. It’s not so intensive, it’s more recovery work and fine-tuning skills - so it’s nice to not be feeling tired all the time!
The big moment, when I find out if I have qualified for my home Games, is now just a matter of days away after what feels like years and years of preparation.
Having watched some of the cycling world championships at the Olympic velodrome recently, and having seen the enthusiasm and support from the crowd, the excitement ahead of London 2012 is really snowballing now.
Even the British public wants a piece of somebody or something that’s going to be at the Games. It feels more pressurized this time around, but it is about turning pressure into positive energy. FULL POST
An Olympics is an amazing place to be. I call it a bit of a freak show – you sit in the canteen and you could see a seven-foot Chinese girl who is the best volleyball player in the world, and opposite you'd have an American basketball player you might have watched on television when you were growing up.
All of a sudden you are not only among other athletes you look up to, but the other sportsmen and women who are the best in their chosen field. It's an amazing who's who of the sporting world when you get to an Olympic village, so you try to take all that in and not get too excited. You don't want to burn up too much nervous energy, you've got to remember why you are there – to compete. FULL POST
It’s not long until the British Olympic swimming trials in March, and it’s really exciting because it’s the first time I’m going to see the new pool in London. Days are ticking by and it’s getting really close.
I’m really excited by the prospect of actually competing at the Olympic pool for the first instance in the trials, and then hopefully I can convert my times into a place on the team and compete there again in the summer. I went to Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, and I want to be involved again.
Having the Olympics in London will be amazing. I went to the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and that was a fantastic experience. It makes it even more exciting because your family and friends can be more part of the whole concept of what you’re going for. FULL POST
With London 2012 just 200 days away, this is a significant year for the International Olympic Committee.
The British organizers of the four-yearly sporting showpiece have contended with ticketing controversies and faced transport, security and budgeting challenges in their bid to follow in the footsteps of Beijing four years ago.
Illegal gambling has also been on the rise in worldwide sport, and London chiefs have identified it as a bigger threat to this year’s Games than drugs. FULL POST
July 27 is a significant day for London: it marks one year until arguably the greatest spectacle in global sport takes place in the British capital.
Beginning with the symbolic lighting of the flame, and enduring for 19 days until it is extinguished, nation will fight nation across 26 sports and 39 disciplines in pursuit of the coveted haul of gold medals on offer. FULL POST