Sunday, October 17, 2021

Great Britain: The best images from the last Olympics

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Click the photo in the player above to open the gallery in a new window. The Olympics in Sochi, Russia last year were dominated by Usain Bolt and Russia’s doping scandal, but other athletes made significant marks on the competition. We chose those images to represent the best of the Games – both stories and beauty of the competition.

Bolt’s sprint-to-rematch in men’s 200m at the Olympic Stadium on 9 August was an experience to cherish. After losing his 200m title in Beijing in 2008 he had a backlash four years later in South Korea, but that hurt neither his pride nor his ability to perform in the 100m and in the final heat of the 200m Bolt proved why he is a legend.

Bolt was also first to the line in the men’s 100m final and third overall – finishing behind Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin – and when he made the running, so to did his country. Jamaica’s Bolt was also first and first overall in the 4x100m relay – and winning medals in five of the seven finals he competed in in Russia. Bolt dominated all of them – six of his eight Olympic medals are gold.

Few athletes know how to show the public why he is a global legend in quite the same way as Tom Daley does. Like James Bond, he gave us our first glimpse of the Craig Bond-esque portrait of himself working. Daley kept the ad campaign a surprise until unveiling it this week, but his ad for the IPG Mediabrands+ agency showed he has in his back pocket the ability to make us cheer as well as show his talent.

The Russian doping crisis has been deeply damaging for the country and the sport. But for swimming it is also a story about the importance of Russia being part of the Olympic movement. Two of their greatest gold medallists Vladimir Morozov and Elena Lashmanova will be back at the Aquatics Centre this summer.

Sir Clive Woodward, the England rugby coach who became the first Briton to win a football World Cup, has had more than just a taste of winning at the highest level – he’s had the privilege of coaching champions. But as part of a popular blog on the OBO website, he offered an emotional tribute to a sport that is still thriving despite repeated doping scandals in his sport.

“Professional sport in England has been given an almighty black eye over the last few years. England Football has lost the driving force of the John Terry era in the central defence with injuries and other factors (he couldn’t pass the ball, before he was injured, and his defensive partner Gabriel Agbonlahor joined him on the injured list), England Hockey didn’t win the World Cup for the first time in 70 years, players have had to leave the UK (most notably British Lions and Ashes winner Jonny Bairstow), UK Tennis haven’t put a British player in the final of a grand slam since Tim Henman was making ripples in the 1991 Wimbledon, and so much more (and of course, the construction of Wembley has been a major issue for the national game). And so much more,” he wrote.

“But don’t put this down to the current lack of quality. If you can say any athlete has ever performed better than the basketball All-Stars have done in the US over the last few days, I’ll take it. It’s so brave of Dwight Howard to attempt it – the one man who never wants to receive credit and perhaps doesn’t deserve it.

“While many will see his attempt as an epic display of self destruction, I see it as an emotional display of honour and acknowledgment of the manner in which we stand together as a country and feel the same pride, in this glorious sport we have been so blessed with.”

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