Belfast Telegraph

Legacy leaves us all feeling a little under the weather

By Billy Weir

The phrase 'Olympic Legacy' is one that has been bandied about endlessly long since all the pink hoarding was removed, the sand shipped back out of Horse Guard Parade and suspicious steaming mounds shovelled away from Greenwich Park.

A busy weekend of sport gave ample opportunity then to see just how well Team GB has got on in some of the events that strangely became fashionable after a bit of home success. Not great.

Over in the US of A, Sir Ben Ainslie was flying the flag for British sailing as part of the 'home' team full of foreigners in the Americas Cup. They are Team Oracle, up against Team Ceefax from New Zealand (oh, how I wish that was true), and they're sinking without trace.

He was shipped in at the last minute to try and rescue the home boys' bid to retain the oldest sporting trophy in the world with the scores poised at 6 to minus-one in the first to nine contest.

BBC presenter Juliette Ferrington, who clearly got the gig because she sounds exceptionally posh, explained that Ben's boys had 'spent their rest day in the boat shed tweaking their catamaran.' And this before the watershed.

More bizarrely is that the commentator is a man called Ken Reid. I don't think it's UTV's finest because I saw him at the Ballymena Showgrounds a couple of weeks ago although, come to think of it, he was wearing a sou'wester and whistling the theme to Blue Peter.

And talking of that, everything was blue in Newcastle as the Great North Run took centre stage on Sunday with Mo Farah up against Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie to satisfy our endless lust for long-distance running.

As always, the race got interesting in the last 200 metres but this time Mo had to give second best, mainly because he was distracted by Geordies standing in the lashing rain doing the Mobot or maybe their umbrellas had just blown away.

This was the follow-up to the Great City Games, a reprisal for local viewers of a certain age of the Lakeland Games, where Christine Ohuruogo remembered to turn up to finish well down the field in the made-up 150 metres.

But surely the triathlon wouldn't let us down, I mean, after all, GB has the two best competitors in this discipline in the fabulous Brownlow brothers. Ah, I see.

Sonali Shah is one legacy of the Olympics that won't go away, the former Newsround presenter is back, although not for long as she is heavily pregnant, but very worryingly that may mean a return for the truly cataclysmic Ore Aduba..

Highlight of all triathlon events is an interview with the Brownlee's coach, Malcolm Brown, who assured us that the Olympic legacy is alive and well because 'a lot of little old ladies in supermarkets say to me are they still getting on?'

Our commentator, as always, was Matt Chilton, the voice of Triathlon (his words, not mine) who was more of a tour guide as the final of the World Series took in some of the sights we became so familiar with during London 2012.

Sadly, London 2013 wasn't just as smooth a ride for our boys after the 1km swim, where 69 competitors in black wetsuits and orange swimming hats bobbed along the Serpentine like a seals' synchronised swimming team balancing a Captain's Trophy ball on their head.

The highlight of the swimming is always the start of lap two where they leap into the water in We Are The Champions style although minus Ron Pickering shouting 'away you go' before Matt turned into our mum at the transition stage where everything has to be put away nice and tidy.

"It's harsh, but the rules are there for a reason otherwise we could have equipment all over transition," he said, before adding 'and that would never do' and 'have you done your homework.'

The cycling allowed much more tour information from Matt, including the fact that Green Park, founded in 1746, is 'a very green part of London' but not as green as Alastair Brownlow looked when he got off his bike at transition and discovered his ankle was banjaxed.

It meant it was up to wee brother, Jonny, to take on Spain's Javier Gomez and after almost two hours of racing on sea, saddle and soaked trainers, the pesky foreigner won by a second.

Mr Brownlee Snr just shrugged his shoulders, took it on the chin and said that the boys would rest now and go and climb Kilimanjaro, as soon as they'd tidied their room, while Alistair showed brotherly support by saying his sibling was a 'tactical numpty'. That's the real legacy of London 2013.

Belfast Telegraph


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