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Pressure is on for our cycling teams
No cycling events again today, so a bit of sightseeing, a bit of watching other sports on television, and in the evening a reception at the Royal Opera House given by the British Olympic Association for delegations from around the world.
Elsewhere, plenty of medals for Great Britain, but still no elusive Gold. Lots of talk in the media about the pressure building on the team, but I’m not so sure about that. I’m not sure that individual athletes are that concerned about whether the medal they are going for is the first one for their country or the last one or whatever. They’re more concerned about their personal performance.
They want to do the best that they can for themselves, because of the sacrifices that they have made, the years of training , the commitment that they, their coaches, their families have put into getting them to that start line. I would have thought that the last thing on their minds would be what the rest of the country had or had not achieved. But maybe I’m wrong.
Meanwhile, the pressure is certainly on for our cycling team, and Wednesday sees Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Emma Pooley, and Lizzie Armitstead all in action again, in the road time trials. I won’t add to the pressure, but I’ll be very surprised if they don’t add to the medal tally. And Bradley has a very good chance of overtaking Sir Steve Redgrave in the medal-winning stakes. He would only (only, he said!) need a bronze to have more Olympic medals than any other British competitor ever. Amazing. What a truly remarkable athlete he is.
For me the interesting thing about attending receptions like the one this evening, is the number of people who want to come and talk about cycling. People who hold elevated positions in other sports, who you wouldn’t expect to know anything about our sport, are now keen and enthusiastic, and want to talk about Great Britain’s cycling stars. They want to ask about the tactics, about the technical aspects, and quite often they want some advice because they’ve started doing a bit of cycling themselves!
Suddenly everybody is an expert on what went wrong in the Men’s Road Race, on how Bradley won the Tour, and on what a great ride Lizzie did on Sunday. I’m sure we’re not going to disappoint anyone over the next few days.
Finally, even the taxi driver who took me back to my hotel from the Royal Opera House was enthusiastic about the Games! Well, maybe not about everything, that would be too much to ask, but he could see the bigger picture and had watched the Opening Ceremony three times, describing it as the best thing he had ever seen. Now from a taxi driver that is praise indeed!
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