It is the final push now. Yesterday a 58 year old showjumper produced a miracle, our hockey team turned over the world’s best team, Lutalo Muhammad suffered a crushing, heartbreaking one second lapse in concentration and our men’s 4 x 400 team were victims of utter imbeciles. There is no sport that cannot be ruined by the sheer dickheadedness of sports administrators. It was a day when disbelief was the overriding emotion, and I fully expect that to continue as this imperfect but fascinating Games reaches its conclusion. So here goes, this is what we have left.

It is Olympic silver medal hero Liam Heath. He goes at 1300 today in the K1 200M sprint, and has a decent shout of becoming 2016’s Ed McKeever.

Bianca Walkden TKD

Yes it’s Bianca Walkden. She is one of a number of contenders in the women’s 67kg+ taekwondo and hopes to replicate Jade Jones. Her first fight is due at 1630.

Though please don’t rule out Mahama Cho in the men’s 80kg + category. He starts as an outsider which may just mean he is going to win.

Nicola Adams was superb in her semi final. She goes for gold at approximately 1800. Go Nicola !

Tom Daley produced his statistically best performance in the 10m platform diving preliminaries yesterday. I hope he hasn’t peaked too soon, because if he replicates it in today’s semi finals and tonight’s final he has a real shout of challenging the two Chinese divers. Diving, as we have seen, can be unpredictable though.

All logic suggests that tonight’s men’s 5000m final will be a much tougher race than we have come to expect. I am keeping everything crossed. Also in the athletics, our women’s 4 x 400 relay team will no doubt be disqualified, Lynsey Sharp has an outside chance of a medal in the women’s 800m, a race in theory dominated by Caster Semenya. Charlie Grice will surely be making up the numbers in the men’s 1500m, as will Morgan Lake in the high jump. The men’s javelin looks like a thriller, with Trinidad’s Keshorn Walcott now favourite after looking great in qualifying.

We have not one but two candidates in the women’s triathlon. World champion Gwen Jorgensen of US will deservedly start hot favourite, but Helen Jenkins and Non Stanford have both won world championship races this year and as such cannot be ruled out of medal contention.

We also have Charley Hull in the golf, and Joseph Choong and Jamie Cooke in the modern pentathlon. Then tomorrow night, at approximately 1915 we have a guaranteed medal to finish Team GB ‘s games.

Joe Joyce has been superb so far. The judges however have been erratic bordering on corrupt. So I make no predictions with any confidence. He looked better than Voka in the semi finals, and lets hope it stays that way.

But GB have won 24 gold medals. Even for a relentless cheerleader like me it has been beyond my dreams.  I go into this last weekend, relaxed. Whatever happens now, goals have been surpassed. If a curmudgeon were to take away all our golds in cycling, rowing and equestrianism, we’d still be lying fifth ahead of Russia. It has been emotional. I leave you with a photograph of GB’s new Olympic hero, the fearless, unvanquishable hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch. The photo is of history’s greatest Olympian. Meeting Usain Bolt.

Photo published for Rio 2016, meeting Usain Bolt and what I cannot do without - Maddie Hinch column




Day 14 Friday August 19th.

Well wasn’t yesterday splendid. Kudos obviously to the Brownlees and Jade Jones, but the canoeing and badminton medals were also magnificent. In addition, Nicola Adams destroyed her main rival to reach the final. Finishing above China still remains a long shot, but it is not an impossible dream. On this day in 2012 we did not do very well at all. Today we are at least guaranteed a silver because……….

It’s the ladies hockey final.

  Staying up to watch the 1988 men’s final remains one of my cherished 1980s memories. Can we get a repeat at 2100 tonight? They are going to have to play out of their skin against the mighty Dutch, but whatever happens congratulations to a team who have been comfortably GBs best hockey team since 1988.

Also today………….

Liam Heath

One of yesterday’s medal heroes starts his campaign for glory in the mens K1 200m sprint.

Women’s 4 x 100 relay

It is a race where much can go wrong. As such our talented quartet are in the mix for a medal.

Joe Joyce

Our last male boxer standing goes in his semi final some time after 1900 tonight against a tough Kazakhstani. The controversial judges thus far have been very pro Soviet bloc, and although Joyce starts comfortable favourite, my suspicion is that he will have his work cut out.

Takewondo 80kg men.

Intriguingly, 2012 bronze medal Brit Lutalo Mohammed, and lapsed Brit turned Moldovan Aaron Cook both fight for medals today.

Show Jumping 

A question that I have been hearing since the 1980s. Can Nick Skelton do it?

In addition………..

Will Almaz Ayana break another world record in the women’s 5000m?

It’s the men’s basketball semi finals. Spain are the latest to stand in the way of the US

The women’s modern pentathlon concludes today. 2012 silver medallist Samantha Murray already looks out of it.

It is round three of the ladies’ golf. Pleasingly Charley Hull is in the mix. Can she stay there?

Women’s water polo and men’s volleyball semi finals.

Women’s pole vault features Holly Bradshaw, who in theory will struggle to feature.

Tom Daley begins his quest to finish the highest non Chinese diver in the 10m platform.

Then at 0235 is the mens 4 x 100 relay.

Can the great Usain Bolt crown his Olympics career with a ninth gold medal out of nine? Of course he can. But watch out for the Japanese.




Toby Young.


Ugh. Post Brexit, I have been vocal about trying to appreciate alternative points of view, not least because it is quite clear that the British public seems to be significantly more conservative than myself. But there is a breed of preening, narcissistic rightwing columnist that I loathe with a visceral intensity I find difficult to suppress. No point is too cheap to make, no leap of logic too tenuous. As long as the idiotic clickbait article riles Britain’s army of po-faced, feminazi, culturally Marxist, bien pensant libtards, then who needs facts, insight or emotional intelligence?

If James Delingpole is the king, then Toby Young is the clown prince of uber smug fuckwittery. His father coined the term “meritocracy”, and yet he exemplifies the journalist with no discernible talent at anything, who has maintained a career by always having a friend of a friend of a friend who has done coke with someone in the right place.

Young’s latest excretion, in which he claims that GB’s fine performance in Rio is a triumph for Tory values, should, of course, be ignored. He’s trolling. You can tell him that ignominy of Atlanta 96 came after a decade and a half of Tory underinvestment in sport. You can tell him that the reality is nuanced and complicated – after all, the right to host 2012 came under a Labour government and a socialist London mayor, but was negotiated by a Tory, Lord Coe. You can tell him that the party which introduced a massive increase in university tuition fees, is not exactly synonymous with a commitment to upward mobility. You can tell him that it’s a bit rich to embrace “evacuee” Mo Farah in a newspaper which has done so much to obsessively demonise refugees. He doesn’t care. Why should he? He has a job where quality of output is entirely irrelevant to future employment.

But to actually use named Olympic stars in what amounts to a party political broadcast is a c88t’s trick. He is exploiting people who have shown a level of dedication and success that he can only imagine in his most far fetched dreams. Max Whitlock winning two gymnastics golds does not prove any political ideology. It proves that he is a quite exceptional young man. Back off Young, keep your grubby, opportunistic bandwagon-jumping mitts off what you barely understand.

GB sports fans are currently experiencing a ludicrously rich period of success. The reasons for this are multifactorial. Great decisions have been made by people of every political hue. But more than that we should feel gratitude to the talent of the sports stars themselves, in whose efforts we enjoy vicarious thrills. That is all there is to it. By distorting facts to suit his own agenda, yet again Toby Young has exposed himself as a rancid, little bellend.


Day 13 Thursday August 18th

So yesterday, much like the corresponding day in 2012, turned out to be entirely medalless. However we still have that guaranteed gold in the sailing, our athletes performed with great credit, and, best of all, our ladies’ hockey team were magnificent in securing a minimum of silver. Gemili in, Gatlin out. What is not to like?

Today has an intriguing mix of medal hopes.

1347   Men’s Kayak  K2 200m

Spain start favourites, but the British pair are very much in the mix and it could well be an early medal today.

1410 Badminton

We go in the men’s doubles bronze medal play off match. Against the Chinese.

1430 Taekwondo

Jade Jones was one of the great GB gold medals in 2012, emerging from obscurity to claim fondly remembered gold. She is no longer an outsider, she is a seasoned veteran who starts favourite in an event which is notoriously hard to predict. Good luck to her.

1500 Men’s Triathlon

Along with the taekwondo, this race represents Britain;s best chance of gold today. Both Brownlees start along with Spanish rival Mario Mola. Brownlee A starts favourite but this is tough to call.

1520 Women’s 4 x 100 heats

The Jamaicans and US obviously start massive favourites here. But Gb have been very consistent in recent years and will be hoping to get their baton round without alarm.

1730 BMX

Outside bet Liam phillips goes in the quarter finals of the men’s event.

1800 Nicola ADAMS

It’s GB against China again as Adams faces her vanquished 2012 foe Ren Cancan. Adams will have to step up from a slightly rusty quarter final performance.


In an intriguing night’s athletics, Ashton Eaton will expect to be crowned, Eilidh Doyle starts tonights 400m hurdles final as a rank outsider, and certainly expect the Canadian De Grasse to be the only 200m runner anywhere near Bolt tonight. Really hope that Gemili can come close to the British record.



Day 12 Wednesday August 12

As predicted, yesterday was immense. Amidst all the deserved kudos for Jason Kenny and the remarkable Laura Trott, much credit must go to Jack Laugher and Amy Tinkler for overperforming, and to Robbie Grabarz whose fourth place in the high jump represents a splendid return back from terrible injury. In the interest of balance and honesty, he was one of very few British athletes who have brought their A game thus far.

It is going to be a quiet day, but one in which we may still finish ahead of the Chinese. We have a guaranteed gold in the sailing, they have as good as a guaranteed gold in the men’s team table tennis. This games has shown a massive capacity for surprise, but it is almost impossible to envisage another medal today. The biggest events ate……..

2100 Ladies Hockey semi – finals

GB go into their semi-final with a 100% win record thus far. Oddly, this record has rather overestimated their level of dominance, and they go into today’s semi final against New Zealand as very marginal second favourites. They will certainly need to be at their best to make history and reach the final.

1830 Women’s Middleweight boxing

Savannah Marshall attempts to win her first Olympic medal this evening. To do so she will have to outpoint a talented French fighter who starts favourite.

1405 Men’s 5000m heats

Mo Farah should qualify with ease. His biggest fear is Brendon Foster jinxing it.

0115  Women’s long jump

I’m obviously delighted that Lorraine Ugen and Jazmine Sawyers are in the final, but they will have to step up massively from their qualifying performances to figure in a high quality field.

0200  Mens 200m semi finals

This already feels like Bolt vs rest. Adam Gemili has an outside shot of reaching the final.

0230 Womens 200m final

This is the pick of today’s athletics. The Dutch are doing splendidly this year, and will be keeping everything crossed that Dafne Schippers can make up for her disappointing 100m. I think she can. Dina Asher Smith rode her luck to get here, and like a lot of British athletes does not seem to be at 2015 levels. Hoping she can be back to her best.

Also, Ashton Eaton aka the world’s greatest athlete, starts his bid for Olympic glory today. Medal hope Liam Phillips starts his BMX campaign, Rajiv Ouseph is up against it in the men’s badminton quarter finals.

As I said, quiet day. The track cycling is over. Gosh I will miss it.




Day 11 Tuesday 16th August.

Elegant dressage gold, brutal omnium silver, surprise glorious athletics bronze. That’ll do. The scary thing is that after today, which is looking immense, the possibility of beating China may start to be a discussion point. This is my vague timetable.

1350 Men’s Triple Jump

Can Christian Taylor break Jonathan Edwards 21 year old world record?

1400 Mens Diving semi finals

Can Jack Laugher reach the final?

1400 Womens sprint quarter finals.

The remarkable Becky James has put herself in with a favourite’s chance. Katy Marchant has also looked impressive.

1418 Start of men’s keirin

No prizes for guessing that Jason Kenny starts favourite.

1440 Men’s doubles Badminton

Can Ellis and Langridge make history and reach the final. They are up against a Chinese pair.

1457 Women’s Omnium Time Trial

The irrepressible Laura Trott continues on her magical way


One of 2012 heroes starts her campaign this afternoon, and victory in her first fight will guarantee a bronze medal. As Katie Taylor found out yesterday  though, nothing can be taken for granted.

A vague break watching athletics and listening out for Giles Scott’s guaranteed gold medal today in the Finn class sailing.

1934        Mens Gymnastics – Horizontal Bar

After Whitlock’s floor heroics, one has to say that we have a shout in this. Hambuchen and Zonderland have the experience and pedigree, but the brilliant Niles Wilson has a shout.

2000-2300      CYCLING

Cmon Laura. Cmon Jason. Cmon Becky Cmon Katy.   Triple gold is not impossble.

2200 Mens 3m diving final – hopefully



One of GBs two remaining male boxers, the increasingly impressive Josh Buatsi fights for a place in the final. He is immediately followed by superheavyweight Joseph Joyce battling for a place in the semi. Massive night for GB boxing.

Then take a breather. Until………….


A packed programme today, including a very high quality men’s high jump final, Laura Muir going for a medal in the women’s 1500m,  and a very open 110m hurdles.


It is gonna be quite a day.







Day 10. Monday August 15th

In the small hours of the morning, GB’s talented 1500m runner Laura Muir qualified comfortably for the final. It completed an incredible grand slam. Yesterday at least fifteen realistic GB medal hopes competed. Every single one of them performed to their best.

As well as the brilliant, brilliant golds, and Louis Smith and Callum Skinner, and Nick Dempsey’s windsurfing silver there was also…

Becky James and Katy Marchant making serene progress in the sprints

Giles Scott guaranteeing sailing gold for Tuesday.

Josh Buatsi impressing again in moving forward to the semi finals and a guaranteed bronze.

Savannah Marshall winning her first fight

Mark Cavendish putting himself in a promising position in the omnium.

Given the drama of the golf and the tennis, the history making of Whitlock, not one but two 1-2 finishes, this was simply  difficult to believe. Add Bolt smashing Gatlin, and arguably the most incredible Olympic race in history in the men’s 400m, and that was  the best day’s sport that I have ever seen. And what did I do when it had all finished? Watched a recording of Arsenal vs Liverpool.

Realistically, this gold rush is going to slow down. Nonetheless what this Olympics has shown is that you don’t know. Anyway we have three decent shots at gold today,,,,,,,

In the words of Echo and the Bunnymen in their magisterial 1985 hit, Bring on the Dancing Horses. Since 2012 glory, dressage has taken over the nation. Barely a day goes by without me seeing some sort of street dressage contest on the streets of South London. Routines have become more diverse, and 2015 saw a welcome return for grime. Clare Balding has seen Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro’s new routine and has proclaimed it as amazing. Let us hope it is.


I don’t have a clue who is going to win the men’s omnium tonight. I do know that fans will be hoping that Cavendish breaks his Olympic hoodoo. He has a fighting chance.


Firm favourite Laura Trott goes on Day 1 of the women’s omnium.

James and Marchant continue in the women’s sprints.

In what seems a favourable draw our ladies’ hockey team play a quarter final against Spain.

Allyson Felix, David Rudisha and Renaud Lavillenie go for gold in the women’s 400m, and men’s 800m and pole vault. Difficult to see past any of them.

USA vs Brazil looks like the pick of the men’s beach volleyball quarterfinals.


There will of course be shocks and surprises. But for now I shall be wallowing in the memories of a Sunday that was by some margin Britian’s greatest day in an overseas Olympics.


Day 9 Sunday August 14th

So it wasn’t super Saturday. It was a decent Saturday. It gives me no pleasure to say that the air of caution in yesterday’s blog was spot on. Jessica Ennis Hill performed splendidly and was ultimately narrowly beaten by one of the all time great Olympic heptathlon performances. Such was the brilliance of Nafisattou Thiam’s seven events, it seems highly unlikely that we will see KJT contesting gold in the next few years.

Greg Rutherford can take great pride in his final, under pressure, bronze medal winning jump. Through his determination, he has over achieved based on natural talent, and can hold his head up high. Whatever happens now, his a splendid career.

And then there is Mo Farah. Against the background of Brendon Foster’s boneheaded commentary, he ran a race for the ages, recovering from a fall to win brilliant gold. Who knows this may be enough to propel him into fourth place for SPOTY this year.

In amongst some fairly disappointing GB athletics performances yesterday was a simply brilliant one from Matthew Hudson Smith who smashed his personal best to reach the 400m final. Bravo.

That 400m final is part of a packed athletics programme today which also includes the big one, Bolt versus Gatlin.  As usual, for all that is good in track and field, please Mr Bolt can you do the business.

Until Mo runs the 5000m, it may be slim pickings for GB athletics this week. Our big medal hope is Laura Muir, who runs in the 1500m semi finals tonight.

The enigmatic Christine Ohuorogu also runs her semi finals tonight.She looked ok in the first round, but seems likely to be making her customary strong finish a little bit too late. I hope I am wrong.


Outside of the athletics we have not one, nor two nor even three but FOUR BIG GOLD MEDAL PROSPECTS.


Cycling – Men’s Sprint

My heart says it will be the GB cyclist, my head says it will be the other one. It’s Kenny versus Skinner.Named after characters from South Park and the Simpsons respectively. I shall be watching in a tremendously relaxed mood.

Golf – Men’s strokeplay

A promising newcomer called Justin Rose currently leads the field. He is only a shot ahead of man of the moment Henrik Stenson and therfore still has it all to do. But he clearly likes the course.

Tennis – Men’s Singles

A promising newcomer called Andy Murray takes on another relative newcomer in Juan Martin Del Petro, I don’t really know enough about either to make any adequate analysis. But the young Scot starts favourite.

And finally, and by no means least, it is………………………………………..

Apparently his name is Max Whitlock. He has no more than an outsider’s chance in the floor exercise today. But he also goes in the pommel horse, an event in which he has long been the outstanding favourite. His main rival appears to be a man called Louis Smith who hopes to put to bed memories of this years team event. We are already guaranteed one gold/silver combination today. A second one would be magnificent. They are the world number 1 and 2. Please,please,please,please………………..(cont page 199)

Also around Rio,

Joshua Buatsi fights for a place in the light heavy weight semifinals.

Mark Cavendish begins his quest for Omnium glory. He has a fighting chance.

It’s the quarter finals of an extremely open men’s hockey tournamenr.

It may not be the busiest day of the Olympics. But i am keeping everything cross that it may be one of the most golden.


Day 8 Saturday August 13th.

Of course, this day in 2012 has been carved into British sporting folklore, as rowers, cyclists and athletes combined to win six gold medals for GB. Is today going  to be Super Saturday? Well if it is, we are going to experience unprecedented drama. Let us start away from the athletics.

Rowing          1506 Women’s Eight

We are strong second favourites for this race. Catching a US team widely thought to be unbeatable may be a stretch. But you never know.

Rowing           1527 Men’s Eight

This is tight. We were really good in qualifying. So were the Germans. The race has an “epic” feel about it,

Cycling            Womens Team Pursuit

The US started this as hot favourites. Then Team GB brilliance took over, and now we are. My feeling is that the US did not show their best in qualifying and that this will be mighty tight.

Cycling                      Women’s Keirin

Becky James, the 2013 world champ, got bronze at this years worlds. But at previous Olympic success has begat success for GB, and it would be no shock to see her contesting the major medals.

Swimming        Women’s 50m freestyle

The swimming team have been truly magnificent. So many have brought ther best to these games, and now Fran Halsall goes for glory with an outsdier’s chance.

Swimming          Mens 4 x 100 medley relay

Another race in which we start firm second favourites behind seemingly unbeatable Americans. Once more gold is unlikely, but not impossible.


And now we come to the small matter of the athletics. We are up for the same three golds that we were back in 2012.


I can’t tell you with any confidence whatsoever who is going to win this heptathlon, though with her disappointing shot and 200m it seems unlikely to be Katarina Johnson Thompson. However, she is much the best long jumper in the competition. Will she bring her best form, or her 2015 form? I am worrried about her body language.

Jessica Ennis Hill  has been solid, and excellent in the high jump. I don’t think she will be leading going into the 800m, but she may well be able to catch up any lead.

Long jump, javelin, 800m. There is so much that can go wrong or right.The bookies have Ennis Hill as odds on. The reality is that it is much, much tighter than that.

Mens Long Jump

It is no easier to predict this. Greg Rutherford nearly blew his qualification, and has lost his favouritism tag as a result. He is, however, the only one in the field who has really done it when it matters. My heart says Greg. My head says that someone, no idea who, will jump over 8m 40 and take this.

Men’s 10,000 metres

Mo Farah is deservedly the strong favourite here. It remains a curiosity that there has been a lack of high quality Kenyan/Ethiopian opposition in recent years.


There is also Bolt, Gatlin, Schippers, Felix, Ohurougu. There is a small chance Desiree Henry could become the second British female sprinter to go under 11 seconds for the 100.

The increasingly distracted Andy Murray goes for a final place today.

I am struggling to keep it together




Day 7 Friday August 12

Yesterday’s blog predicted that the first Thursday of the Olympics might be the “calm before the storm”. I am delighted to have been proved utterly wrong. Not least in the cycling where reports of a malaise have clearly been way off the mark. The men’s team sprint was simply sensational. Kath Grainger and Vicky Thornley were tremendous. Florence and Hounslow oh so close to gold. Yesterday was a magnificent surprise. Today is immense.

Rowing 1504 (weather permitting)

Heather Stanning and Helen Glover got the party started in 2012. They go in the final of the women’s pairs today as heavy favourites. Watch out for the Danes.

Rowing 1524

Denied their usual “Super Saturday” slot, the men’s four will also start their final today as heavy favourites. Nonetheless I don’t think they are as ahead of the Aussies as the jingoistic commentary team believe. Delighted to be proved wrong.

Cycling – Men’s Pursuit

The men’s sprint was a bonus gold. Tomorrow , if the women’s pursuit win it will be a bonus gold over the previously heavily fancied Americans. By contrast, this evening’s men’s pursuit final should, in theory, be a procession. I say in theory, because, as the Dutch found out last night, accidents can happen.


I have been loathe to making predictions for fear of jinxing it. I will only say that we start big favourites in all three of the above events.

One in which we are not favourites is the Team Dressage which reaches its conclusion today. But the peerless Valegro has guided the team into a silver medal position behind the Germans.We need the Germans to falter today, but realistically that is not going to happen.

Our other decent shout of a medal is Jazz Carlin, in the latest round of the Katie Ledecky Show aka the 800m freestyle. Of course it won’t be gold, but in the form she is in she has a great shout of bronze, or hopefully silver.

Then, of course, there is the small matter of THE ATHLETICS.

Just as in 2012 the programme begins with a bang with the women’s heptathlon. I must stress that other athletes are more than capable of bringing the better than A game to the party, and it would be no great shock to see that happen. However, conventional wisdom has it that there are three main rivals going for gold.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton     The Canadian has the proven pedigree in 2016, having won in Gotzis, and in my humble opinion is the marginal favourite because of that.

Jessica Ennis-Hill   She has done it all, and as a result starts official favourite.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson A prodigious talent, who has yet to truly shine at a major champs. Was very much in the running at the worlds in 2015 before disaster struck at the long jump.

This event is about shoring up your weaknesses and nailing your strengths. At 1335 the heats of the 100m hurdles start. Ennis-Hill has no chance of matching her 2012 time, but anything under 12.80 seconds will do.

At 1450 the High Jump starts. It is essential that Ennis Hill jumps 1.83 or more. KJT by contrast simply must jump over 1.90.

In the evening the shot put takes place, a weaker event for Ennis-Hill and a terrible event for KJT. And then there is the 200m. Last year at the worlds KJT won this in style. Both her and Ennis-Hill need to put disatnce between them and Theisen-Eaton.

This competition is way too tight to call, and too many things can go wrong. I’m terrified.

Also in athletics.

Greg Rutherford attempts to qualify for a spot on Super Saturda y’s packed programme.

Sudden medal hope Laura Muir goes in the first round of the 1500m.

The final of the women’s 10,000m. Ethiopians to dominate.

Also on Friday

Jason Kenny starts his attempt at the men’s sprint.

Giles Scott continues his quest for Laser.

Murray’s quarter final, hopefully avoiding the old school Murray meltdown of yesterday.

Justin Rose goes for a hole in one again. He’s shaping up nicely so far.


Do you know how stressed I am about today’s heptathlon? No hot men today.