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Golden times but all is not grand in Rio Olympics

By Billy Weir

Published 18/08/2016

Speed king: Yes, he is the world's fastest man, is jolly funny and seems an awfully nice chap, but superstar Usain Bolt's bunny shapes are not even worthy of a bronze medal
Speed king: Yes, he is the world's fastest man, is jolly funny and seems an awfully nice chap, but superstar Usain Bolt's bunny shapes are not even worthy of a bronze medal

As we enter the 483rd week of the Olympics - or does it just seem like that? - things have taken a rather unpleasant turn.

West Belfast has declared war on Russia after boxer Michael Conlan's treatment by judges who make Eurovision look whiter than white, Brazil is on high alert after their fans booed the poor Frenchman in the absorbing pole vault finale (words I thought I would never use) and John Inverdale is basically getting pelters from everyone after another sexist gaffe.

Throw into the mix Argentinians not facing such a barrage of abuse since Jim Davidson's Falklands Special, a never-ending list of people being carted off to casualty after various mishaps and the BBC pooh-poohing all those nasty nations bringing in 'foreigners' to represent them, it all leaves a sour taste.

Still, at least the golf brought a bit of decorum to proceedings, only it didn't, as etiquette on the fairways hasn't quite made it to Rio, with fans being ordered every other shot to put their phones away.

Anyhow, Team GB's Justin Rose, from South Africa, kept his cool long enough to line up the winning putt as the commentator built up the tension.

"The whole of Great Britain is holding this putter with Justin Rose," he said - if having their phones out wasn't bad enough, they're now on the green with him.

"The whole of Great Britain is watching that little white ball - it's gold!" he screamed as it plopped in and street parties began in Rio, the Home Counties and in Johannesburg.

The previous night there had been another golden party as Mo Farah, from Somalia, completed the first part of what was supposed to be a Super Saturday repeat, but Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford didn't quite play ball, having to settle for silver and bronze.

My worry is that the former golden girl's battle with Katarina Johnson-Thompson means that Britain's heptathlon future rests on the shoulders of Jess and Kat. One disastrous crash for Postman Pat and Team GB will be represented at Tokyo 2020 by Mrs Goggins.

"Saturday night is about fighting for your Olympic gold title," Gabby Logan told us, before introducing Mo, who, much to the delight of the Beeb, had been on a 'journey'.

He was also on a trip, as he tumbled over 11 minutes into the 10,000m meaning that something interesting happened before the 9,800m mark for the first time in Olympic history.

"They succumb to the inevitable, bow to his superiority, Mo Farah wins gold, retains his title, makes history, the first British athlete to win three Olympic gold medals," hinted Steve Cram as street parties began in Rio, Hounslow and Mogadishu.

Three gold medals is good, seven is just being ridiculous (it may be more by now) as Super Sunday's main man was Usain Bolt in the 100m final but even he had to give second best to a man called Van.

Wayde van Niekirk is a South African (I've checked, he has no British blood in him), who lined up in the outside lane for the final of the 400m and raced to victory, smashing the great Michael Johnson's world record in the process.

This allowed the Beeb to do their new favourite thing, panning up to the gantry to show us views of Gabby's extravagantly clod feet, and well done to them for catering for the late night foot fetishist market.

"I don't know what to say to you, Michael. Congratulations for holding it for so long, commiserations it's no longer yours," said Logan as other fetishists awoke from their slumbers only to find she was talking about records.

But putting his foot down was Bolt, who did as expected, winning with style and sending Cram into overdrive.

"A magnificent seven, the odyssey continues, listen to the noise in Rio de Janeiro, listen to the adulation, look at the love for this man," said Cram who hasn't been as excited since being handed a canny bag of Tudor.

"This is his arena, this is his stage, this is what he does, winning Olympic titles, gathering them up as if they were daisies in a field," he added, as my mind wandered to think of a field of Daisy Dukes ambling around with Brazilian bovines. It was quite late by now.

"I'm struggling for the words for him, he's almost God-like. If it had been in ancient Greece they'd put him on Mount Olympus now, they'd call him the God of Speed or something like that."

That was it for me, as I slipped under the duvet and dreamt of Usain Bolt and Daisy Duke calling in at Mrs Goggins' to leave in their British passport applications.

The good, the bad and the ugly

THE GOOD: Fantastic to have Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher reunited on Monday Night Football, the highlight a Tweet to Nev asking what he learned from his time in Valencia. “I’ve been waiting six months for this,” chortled Carra as he put his feet up on the desk. Great stuff... Gary couldn’t get his feet up on the desk as it was full of medals.

THE BAD MAN: In one of Sky’s many daytime repeat shows, I caught a little of a programme on AP McCoy where he sent the world of political correctness into a tailspin with the following gem: “I go into schools and they’ll tell you it’s all about taking part. It’s not about taking part, it’s about winning. Anyone who tells you about taking part has probably never won.” Well said, AP. Not sure what his brother, Tony, will say.

THE UGLY: The now retired Richard Dunne popped up on BT Sport’s new Saturday night football chat show Premier League Tonight in a pair of beige slacks straight from the 1983 David Pleat range. I was going to slag him off but alongside Rio Ferdinand, Steve McManaman and Jake Humphrey it was hardly the worst material we had to deal with.

Belfast Telegraph

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