More medals for Britain, and "Team London", yesterday, but the seemingly relentless success in some sports is causing a nervous shuffling of feet in others. After Twickenham's Mo Farah slipped out of the 5,000m heats Brendan Foster, BBC commentator and former Olympic medallist at 10,000m, could contain himself no longer:
I just feel Mo Farah ran a very poor race. He needs to be taught how to run tactically. He's got a good finish but it was wasted... 'We had a national record in the women's steeplechase but that was still half a minute slower than the winner. We had nothing in the 5000m and we were 12th in the women's 10,000m. The whole basis of British athletics used to be middle and long distance running and the people who run the sport have allowed it to evaporate completely... We must be able to find people to run 800m, it doesn't take that much to learn the event. Surely we can find a decent distance runner and teach him to jump hurdles for the steeplechase?
Natasha Danvers, who admitted on the BBC last night to dabbling in the 800m herself could probably have been found nodding in agreement as she cleared her own set of barriers and held off a determined challenge to capture a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles in defiance of her heavily interrupted preparation for the Games. Top Londonist marks, by the way, to the National Portrait Gallery, who at 1:40 pm yesterday afternoon, had already updated the text accompanying their photo of Christine Ohuruogu to include her Beijing triumph. We imagine the changes to nearby Gordon Brown's details are already poised on a memory stick.
On her way in for the medal ceremony today she will pass a whole new tranche of London athletes hoping to emulate her. At 2:20am (all times BST) Daniel Awde begins the unenviable task of trying to rival Daley Thompson and Dean Macey (who will keep referring to "London Two Twelve" on the radio) in the nation's affections as our latest candidate for decathlon glory. Hammersmith born Awde has won national junior titles, but is definitely one for the future. If he completes the two days of competition it will be the first time he has done so at international level. In his Southend Echo column, Macey urges patience. Kind of.
It's important people don't compare him to myself or Daley Thompson because doing a decathlon is like puberty – you all develop at different rates. People will tell him to go there and enjoy the experience and that is partly true but he also needs to take it by the scruff of the neck.
Scot Susan Scott (if you see what we mean), who has swapped Ayrshire for Mo Farah's neck of the woods and came third in this season's Europa Cup, will hope to avoid Brendan's wrath in the heats of the women's 1500m at noon, while at 1:20pm two sets of London medal hopefuls will be in action simultaneously. Over at the pit, bookies' favourite Phillips Idowu will be aiming to lay the ghosts of major championships past where form has suddenly evaded him, such as Athens 2004 where he registered three no jumps, in the final of the triple jump and Larry Achike, like Idowu a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will be looking to get onto the podium himself. Meanwhile on the track the men's 4x100m relay squad stretch their legs in the first round of their event where traditionally Britain has done well. Individual competitors Simeon Williamson and Tyrone Edgar are joined by Carshalton native Harry Aikines-Aryeety in a five man squad. The ladies could field an all-London 4x100m team if they chose, comprising Emma Ania, Montell Douglas, Jeanette Kwakye and Laura Turner. They form part of a six woman squad led by 100m finalist Kwakye and they might have an eye on a medal themselves. Their heats start at 1:55pm.
Before Danvers's high profile success at the Bird's Nest, Bryony Shaw had already captured her own bronze from the fleet of long-suffering windsurfers down at Qingdai before uttering a single (but blatantly rude) word in her live post-race breakfast time interview which, sadly, has probably catapulted her further into the public consciousness than her actual performance, which was remarkable, as the Daily Mail points out:
At just 5ft 4ins, Shaw is just about the smallest of the windsurfing fleet. But she combines formidable upper body strength with tremendous leg power in a sport where the energy expended is equivalent to running a 10,000 metres.
They often do two, and sometimes three, of those races in a day, which might provoke Brendan into more finger wagging when he finds out. We must admit we love the punishment system in sailing, as exemplified in Shaw's medal race. A Spanish competitor vying with her cut Shaw up at a corner. Harsh words were exchanged, the judges intervened from their launch and the Iberian was forced to complete a 360 degree turn before carrying on, now some way behind. Forget sin-binning, yellow cards and tricky offside rules, let's have playing fields full of defenders spinning on the spot and see what that does for encouraging attacking play. We're not so keen on the judges' treatment of Shaw's male counterpart Nick Dempsey, though, who, at five minutes notice, had his medal race distance halved because of the conditions during the event and lost out on a medal having no chance to adjust his tactics sufficiently. Mind you, the London 2012 women's marathon organisers might want to give some thought to this idea. In the Star class, Andrew Simpson and his colleague still lie second with their medal race to come today.
One man who pleased the judges considerably was middleweight boxer who made short work of a reigning Olympic champion to progress to the semi-finals and a guaranteed medal, making three for Britain as a whole. DeGale has something of Frank Bruno's manner about him in post-fight interviews ("Did it look good? It did? Yeah, I think it looked good too."), but is more a boxer than a slugger in the ring and has so far outwitted three credible opponents ("Hit, move and don't be hit. That's what amateur boxing's all about."). To make the gold medal bout he'll need all his wits about him when he faces Darren Sutherland on Friday as the Irishman has already beaten him four times. Sutherland, in tune with modern mind games, is already striding purposefully up to microphones to declare that he will not be underestimating his opponent.
Over in Hong Kong, crunch time approaches for show jumper Ben Maher who will be striving rather for the sounds of silence in both the penultimate (12:15pm) and final (3:10pm) stages of the individual event in which he is currently well placed with various immaculately clear rounds, save the odd time fault here and there, under his bridle.
Athletes Awde and Scott might finally be getting underway today, but still mountain biker Liam Killeen and aptly named diver Peter Waterfield must wait another 24 hours for their events when most of the other competitors are already partying long into the Beijing night. Just like exams all over again, eh, lads? Incidentally, in the current vogue of speculation about Team Phelps and Team GB Cycling, Team London's current haul of four golds, three silvers and four bronzes would have us notionally in thirteenth place in the medal table, nestling between Netherlands and Jamaica. Spain, Canada and Brazil already trail in our wake while one more gold would see us overhaul France. Get in there, Phillips!
Today's picture of the big screen in front of a well-known monument was taken yesterday by the author.