A great close to a wonderful event in Athens tonight, a good time I think to discuss the success, talent and bravery of our respective sports teams.
Their strengths and weaknesses yes, but also the determination and passion for their events that impressed us all.
The most glorious events from my skewed perspective was the double gold medal for distance running (800m and 1500m) for fellow Brit Kelly Holmes who just wowed us tremendously with her calm, tactical and unconventional runs. Twice coming from behind to storm the final stretch totally convincingly, quite quite incredible for the 34 year old.
Ben Ainsley in the Finn class boats being disqualified in his first race and then coming to trounce the opposition to cleaningly for Gold was also quite spectacular.
Amir Khan (17) coming 2nd in the boxing was a treat too.
As was the amazingly close 4x100m relay and our rowing boys (as always).
The heartbreaking moment for us here was the failure for Paul Radcliff our marathon and 10,000 to finish her races despite being ranked No.1. It will probably be her last games.
International winning highlights for me were:
Phelps in the pool (apparently he would be ranked 16th in the national medal tally just by himself!).
The Cuban boxing team, just ....amazing. What agility, what talent!
The womens Heptathalon, a fantastic win for the Swede. She was in a class of her own.
And the Iraqi team in the football (soccer), what a pleasant suprise!
On the negative side the American Basketball teams performance was, as stated in another thread, lacklustre. The product of an overpaid team perhaps not taking the games seriously, like major tennis stars these days. I have every confidence that next time they will learn from their mistake (despite taking Bronze).
All in all I think the Greeks put up a terrific show over the past 16 days and those of us lucky enough to have more or less solid coverage enjoyed every minute of it. I think if there is a downside it was the refereeing in some events, though this is the fault of the IOC.
The venue itself looked quite gorgeous and very much to the liking of the atheletes who attended. The anti-doping message I thought was very strong throughout, and they do very well to keep it up.
Its sad to see the games end (damnit, its like Christmas) but I for one am truly looking forward to Beijing in 2008, and who knows... perhap London 2012.
Great stuff, but what wowed you during the greatest show on Earth?