And it came to pass that Team GB didst look upon their works and, behold, they were good. And on the twelfth day they rested. Well, comparatively speaking anyway. Today there are only eleven gold medals available across the whole games, the fewest on any official competition day except the opening Saturday where events were barely getting started. Even on the final day of competition twelve golds are up for grabs. Just like the one Team London collected yesterday courtesy of Stratford's Christine Ohuruogu's majestic late run in the women's 400m hurdles. If she competes in London 2012 she could do practice runs from her front door to the start line and back. However, she was not our first track and field medallist as high jumper Germaine Mason took our hint and ran (high stepped and then leaped) with it to a gloriously unexpected silver medal.
Our criteria for "Team London" are basically that a competitor must be competing for Britain and have been born here, live here or (in some cases) belong to a club here. Mason tests these pretty much to the limit, in fairness, as until two years ago he was competing for Jamaica where he still spends half the year training with the likes of his good friend Usain Bolt. However, already a British passport holder thanks to his Caribbean dwelling English dad, he decided to switch national allegiances in 2006 and at least nominally live with his Jamaican mother in Acton. At the time he told The Guardian:
I have wanted to compete for Britain since 2000. But I was told I would have to miss the 2003 world championships and 2004 Olympics, and that would have been too much.
Early on in the stadium Jade Johnson qualified equally sketchily for the women's long jump final, but sadly Andy Turner didn't get through the 110m hurdles heats, Andy Baddeley finished a fair way back in the 1500m final and Jo Pavey didn't even make it to the track, scratching from the 5,000m heats, still suffering from a stomach problem that hampered her in the 10,000m a few days ago. Tim Don struggled, and then dropped out of, the triathlon also with a stomach problem, specifically that he hadn't been able to keep anything in it for the previous forty eight hours owing to a virus. Martyn Bernard finished a creditable ninth in the high jump. Today sees the entrance of 2006 European silver medallist, Twickenham's Mo Farah, in the men's 5,000m at 1:15pm (all times BST) and our only other local interest comes in the shape of Natasha Danvers who could win a medal in the final of the 400m hurdles at 3:35pm.
Over in the Beijing Workers' Gymnasium between 1 and 2pm, James DeGale will be attempting to join two of his boxing team-mates in the semi-finals where a medal is certain (no third and fourth punch-offs), but in his quarter final he must first overcome Bakhtiyar Artayev, the reigning Olympic welterweight champion. Britain's men's hockey team faced a similarly daunting task in needing to beat Australia 8-0 yesterday even to have a hope of getting amongst the medals. They valiantly put three past the very strong Aussie squad, but were pegged back to a draw in the closing moments and will now, just like the British women, finish their Games with a fifth and sixth place playoff at the weekend.
Photo of the Beach Volleyball venue via West Zest's Flickr stream.
Down in Qingdao a sailing medal might well be in the offing as windsurfer Bryony Shaw goes into her medal race (double points available) having moved from fourth to second in yesterday's racing. Andrew Simpson in the Star keelboat managed the same trick, though he and his colleague still have three races to go, as do Will Howden and his in the Star class, though they remain outside the top ten.
Our heartfelt commiserations go out to Anna Hemmings and Jessica Walker who failed to qualify from their flatwater canoeing K2 500m heat. They've only been together since April and, sadly, though they are a strong pairing, yesterday was one of those days where it just doesn't come together. "It wasn’t fast enough, it’s devastating," said Walker, while Hemmings commented "It was tough to get here in the first place, and once you get here, it’s really tough. It’s just disappointing to go out in the heats." We hope they regroup and try for better things at London 2012.
Just before we go, only four days of competition remain after today, yet four "Team London" members (other than members of athletics relay squads) have still to get their Olympic campaigns underway. If you can work out who they are, leave us a comment. Answers tomorrow, and, no, we don't mean Andy Murray.