Aug 26

It’s a g’day to be a Brit in Oz

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JUBILANT Brits Down Under yesterday saluted The Sun’s revenge on the cocky Aussies — who came only sixth in the Olympics to our fourth.

Expat Ceri Nicholls was thrilled to see our van in Sydney with its slogan: “Where the bloody hell were you?” 

She declared: “I loved it — just to rub their noses in it.” Alan Heath said: “They don’t like it up ’em! Well done.”

CUBA’S ailing ex-dictator Fidel Castro, 82, accused “mafia” judges of taking bribes after his country won just two gold medals.

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Aug 24

Britain’s final medal tally: Gold, 19; Silver, 13; Bronze, 15

BEIJING handed the Olympic flag to London today in a spectacular closing ceremony.


Rock legend Jimmy Page and singer Leona Lewis starred in the eight-minute slot for London, while footballer David Beckham was also involved.

Handover moment: X-Factor singer Leona Lewis performs in front of a 90,000-strong crowd

Stunning … Leona Lewis sings at Olympics

London mayor Boris Johnson received the Olympic flag in the handover ceremony, which featured a red London double decker bus driving around the Bird’s Nest stadium being pursued by Team GB cyclists Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade.

Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, told the 91,000 people inside the Bird’s Nest stadium: “Tonight, we come to the end of 16 glorious days which we will cherish forever.

“Thank you to the people of China.”

PM Gordon Brown, who spoke yesterday of his hope that a UK football team could compete in the next Olympics, also attended the closing event.

Beckham, who kicked a football into the crowd during the ceremony said he believed the London Olympics in 2012 would be even better than the spectacular events this year. 

The England footballer said Team GB’s astonishing medal haul will spark a wave of interest in taking part in sport.

Beckham said: “I’m an East End boy and I’m proud that it’s happening in London. 

World Icon: David Beckham, Britain’s most famous world celebrity, celebrates the handover at the Bird’s Nest statium

Boot … David Beckham kicks a football at the closing ceremony

“I was very proud to be involved in the first place bringing it back to England and to London. It’s going to generate so much interest in sport and kids are already getting excited about it. 

“We have seen what the Chinese have done here and I’m sure we will better that, without a doubt.”

 Team GB won three more medals yesterday with boxer James DeGale leading the way by winning the men’s middleweight title. 

The 22-year-old Londoner came out on top in a hard-fought contest with Cuban Emilio Correa at the Workers’ Stadium. 

The boxer’s gold medal followed other success for British athletes on the penultimate day.

Kayaker Tim Brabants, who already has a gold from this summer’s Games, won bronze in the men’s 500m race while Sarah Stevenson took bronze in a dramatic +67kg taekwondo contest to become Britain’s first ever medallist in the sport. 

A good luck message from the Prime Minister was not enough to help Britain’s teenage diving sensation Tom Daley on to the podium. 

Daley, 14, from Plymouth, finished 7th in the 10 metre platform final at the Water Cube. 

Teen star: British diver Tom Daley, 14, looks relaxed during the closing ceremony

Team GB has had its most successful Olympics for a century.

 Britain currently lies in fourth place in the medal table behind China, USA and Russia, after notching up 19 gold medals, 13 silver and 15 bronze to make a total of 47 medals. 

The Queen today congratulated British and Commonwealth athletes for their success at the Beijing Olympics and said she was looking forward to the London Games in 2012.

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Finished … a magnificant fireworks display kicked off the Olympic closing ceremony

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Show … the closing ceremony set the standard for the London Games

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Farewell … the Bird’s Nest stadium has provided a fantastic arena for the Games

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Stage … Olympics has been great success

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Fireworks … great display to end the show

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Watching … Gordon Brown watches ceremony with his wife Sarah

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Amazing … gmynasts in the closing show

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Flame … the Olympic torch will now head to London

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Cycle … bikes in the ceremony

Wheel of joy: A performer wheels around the ceremony to leave the crowd delighted

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Bus … London start their eight minute section

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Handover … London Mayor Boris Johnson waves Olympic flag

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2012 … the baton has been passed

Workers erect a giant drum ready for the closing ceremony

Fireworks light up the sky as the countdown to the Games’ finale ends

A drummer performs near the Olympic flame

Dancers during a closing ceremony performance

Dancers during a closing ceremony performance

Drummers perform in the stadium

A close up of some of the performers in today’s showpiece

Entertainers perform during the closing ceremony

Flagbearers representing countries from around the world

Boris Johnson during the ceremony

A London bus is driven into the stadium

Leona Lewis performs during the closing ceremony

Participants perform during the closing ceremony

Performers during the ceremony

A close-up of performers on the ‘memory tower’

The festivities during the closing ceremony

Crowds in London celebrate as they watch a screen showing events in Beijing












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Aug 11

Teenage diving sensation Tom Daley’s much-hyped Olympic debut ended in disappointment after he and partner Blake Aldridge finished last in the men’s synchronised 10metre platform event.

The 14-year-old Daley and his team-mate began well, finishing the first round in joint third out of eight with Australia and Germany.

However, poor synchronisation on their third dive – an inward three-and-a-half somersault with tuck – cost them their worst score of the competition and dropped them to eighth and last place from which they could not recover.

‘We obviously didn’t dive very well, as you could probably tell. It was disappointing but it was a great experience,’ said Daley.

‘I really enjoyed myself and had so much fun out there. That is all you can ask for getting the experience of it.

‘We prepared like a normal competition and we treated it like a normal competition. It was just the fact it wasn’t our day today, we just had a bad day.

‘We put 100% effort into every dive we did we just didn’t pull it off.

‘All the synchro was really good it was just a matter of the dives. If we had posted our personal best of 446 that would have got us fourth.’

Daley will now compete in the 10m platform individual but for Aldridge his Olympics is over.

‘Unfortunately I don’t have another chance. I’m a little bit disappointed,’ he said.

‘I’m happy with the way I dived. It was a great experience to get out there in the Olympic Games and unfortunately we didn’t place where we could of placed.’

Daley’s amazing bust-up with dive partner

Britain’s 14-year-old diving sensation Tom Daley and partner Blake Aldridge had a bust-up during the men’s synchronised 10metre platform in Beijing today as the pair finished last.

The event was won by Chinese duo Lin Yue and Huo Lian – as the British pair fell away following a promising first dive.

Aldridge, 26, said that Daley had had a go at him during the competition for speaking on his phone to his mum and then blamed the youngster’s nerves for their poor performance.

‘He had a pop at me before the last dive, when we were sitting down,’ said Aldridge.

‘I saw my mum in the audience and I asked her to give me a call and Tom went to me, “Why are you on the phone? We’re still in the competition and we’ve got another dive to do.”

‘That’s just Thomas – he’s over-nervous and that’s how it was today. Thomas should not be worrying about what I’m doing, but today he was worrying about everyone and everything and that to me is really the sole reason why he didn’t perform today.

‘I’m not disappointed with my performance. I wasn’t at my best but I landed on my head with every single dive, which was my aim. But it was hard work for me today. Tom was very nervous, more so than ever before.

‘I think he really struggled to get through the competition, and as his partner it was hard for me to get up there and try and ease him into it. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work today.

‘I knew, going into this Olympic Games, that we were capable of a medal, but I also knew that it depended on how Tom performed. I wasn’t on the top of my game, but I out-dived Thomas today and that’s not something that normally happens. That to me is because he had a lot more pressure on him than I did.’

Daley will now compete in the 10m platform individual event but, for Aldridge, the Games are over.


Born: 21 May 1994
Will be 14 years and 81 days old when Beijing Games begin
England’s youngest ever senior 10m platform champion
BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2007

At 5ft 2in, Tom Daley may look up to his rivals physically.

But in terms of sheer ability, British diving’s greatest hope can look down from his lofty perch as the current European and British senior men’s 10m platform champion.

Daley, born in May 1994, will be just 14 years and 81 days old when the Beijing Games – for which he has qualified – begin.

His Olympic year has already yielded a fistful of gold medals – six at the British Championships in Manchester and another at the Europeans in Eindhoven.

Like Daley’s many other medals since he took up the sport, they will hang from his bedroom wall in Plymouth, where he attends Eggbuckland Community College.

His choice of decor does not represent your average 13-year-old’s bedroom. The medals sit alongside union jack flags, a picture of the Team GB logo, and a personalised licence plate which reads D11VVE.

Though qualifying for Beijing is a superb achievement, Daley remains focused on 2012.

“My biggest dream would be to get gold in front of a home crowd in London,” he told the BBC’s Olympic Dreams programme when he was 11.

“Everyone wants to be an Olympian and to get an Olympic gold medal.”


Daley, who lives with dad Rob, mum Debbie and two brothers, was introduced to diving by chance at the age of seven.

“I was doing a public session in a swimming pool, saw people diving, and thought I’d like to do that,” he said.

“My dad took me down on Saturday mornings and after half a year I got talent spotted out of nowhere.”

Three years later, he was the best diver for his age in Britain and, aged 12, he gained special permission to take part in the Youth Olympics Festival, despite the usual minimum age being 15.

Since then, Daley has racked up both junior and senior titles, both as an individual and with synchro partner Blake Aldridge.

Daley’s hero and mentor, the extremely accomplished 30-year-old GB diver Leon Taylor, says Tom has not let such early success go to his head.

“He has that something about him,” says Taylor. “I’m not even going to try and define it. Let’s call it an X-factor.

“There was just a glint in his eye when I talked to him. He’s such a nice guy too. Tom’s got a good head on his shoulders and I was really impressed by that.”

One of the youngster’s most treasured possessions is a photo of himself alongside Taylor, posing with the latter’s silver medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Daley’s other great role model is the cyclist Lance Armstrong, whose book he has read.

Rob Daley, who has given up his job to follow son Tom’s exploits, now films every dive at every competition.

Father and son then post the videos on YouTube, where impressed fans have left dozens of encouraging comments.

Daley also lists social networking sites Facebook and Bebo among his pastimes, alongside listening to the likes of Rihanna.

Whether his father will approve of his other ambition – a tattoo of the Olympic rings – remains to be seen.

Daley junior says he may have to wait until London 2012, by which time the decision will be his alone.


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Aug 08

The 29th Olympics of the modern era is officially under way.

Chinese President Hu Jintao declared the Games open just after 1630 BST during a spectacular ceremony inside Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium.

Some 90,000 spectators gathered to see the extravaganza.

And a worldwide audience of up to four billion was watching the event on television.

A colourful, tightly-choreographed hour-long opening show portrayed China’s colourful history from ancient dynasties to modern superpower.

The parade of over 10,000 athletes was the culmination of a spectacular ceremony which saw the the Games of the XXIX Olympiad launched in stunning fashion.

Earlier, a burst of multi-coloured fireworks lit up the skyline around Beijing to herald the start of the ceremony.

“Friends have come from afar, how happy we are,” thousands of drummers chanted before the fireworks were set off.

Drumming up interest: Performers in the opening ceremony

At 8:08 and eight seconds local time, on the 8-8-2008 (can you guess China’s lucky number?), a mighty barrage of fireworks (made in China presumably) signalled the start of the spectacular showpiece in the Bird’s Nest stadium.

In a display which owed more to a CGI Hollywood blockbuster than a sporting event the 90,000 spectators were treated to battalions of performers drumming on what appeared to be thousands of coffee tables with new-rave lightsticks.

The iconic Olympic Rings, made up of thousands of fairylights, were suspended above the in-field before a tiny schoolgirl sang the Chinese national anthem before a few more thousand kilos of gunpowder lit up the night sky.

Times table: The drummers were a spectacular sight

The spectacular continued with 29 giant firework ‘footprints’ – representing the number of modern Olympic Games – from the centre of Beijing to the stadium.

Later the teams carried their flags into the stadium – with the British no doubt already wondering how the hell they are going to top this in London in 2012.

Taking flight: The Olympic Rings rose above the stadium

The sheer scale of the ceremony – a total of 10,300 performers took part – must have made it a daunting sight for the observers from the London 2012 organising committee.

The cost of the event must have been staggering, too, but the Chinese authorities have refused to say what the total bill for the opening ceremony is.


Making an entrance: Team GB enter the stadium



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Mar 24

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The image and look of the Beijing Olympic torch relay was released at the Beijing Olympic Media Center.

The Torch Relay Graphic of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

The Torch Relay Graphic


Torch Design


         A general view of the torch          3D animation

The Beijing Olympic Torch boasts strong Chinese characteristics, and showcases Chinese design and technical capabilities. It embodies the concepts of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics.

The Key Facts about the Torch

The torch is 72 centimetres high, weighs 985 grams and is made of aluminium. The torch is of a curved surface form, with etching and anodizing being used during its production. A torch can usually keep burning for approximately 15 minutes in conditions where the flame is 25 to 30 centimetres high in a windless environment. The torch has been produced to withstand winds of up to 65 kilometres per hour and to stay alight in rain up to 50mm an hour. The flame can be identified and photographed in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness. The fuel is propane which is in accordance with environmental guidelines. The material of its form is recyclable.

The Artistic and Technical Features of the Torch

The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games has a very strong Chinese flavour. It demonstrates the artistic and technical level of China. It also conveys the message of a Green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics. The shape of the paper scroll and the lucky clouds graphic, expresses the idea of harmony. Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. The torch of the Beijing Olympic Games is designed, researched and produced in China. BOCOG owns all intellectual property rights.

The Fuel for the Torch

Under the concept of a Green Olympics, environmental protection was a key element listed in the invitation documents to the design companies, by BOCOG. The fuel of the torch is propane, which is a common fuel which also comes with a low price. It is composed of carbon and hydrogen. No material, except carbon dioxide and water remain after the burning, eliminating any risk of pollution.

The Burning System

Its stable burning technique and adaptability to the environment have reached a new technical level. It can stay alight in severe weather conditions such as strong wind, rain, snow, hail, etc. The flame can also be identified in sunshine and areas of extreme brightness so as to satisfy the requirements of capturing photographic images and video footage.

The obverse side
The obverse side
The middle part
The middle part
The upper part
The upper part
The lower part
The lower part

The Design Timelines

2005 August            BOCOG developed the design concepts and requirements of the torch.

2005 December       BOCOG recruited potential torch designs from the design society. In total, BOCOG received 388 pieces of works.

2006 June-August    BOCOG selected the structural designer and the burning system designer.

2007 January          Beijing Olympic Torch was approved by IOC


Lantern Design

The lantern

The Torch Relay lantern will be used to store the Olympic flame. Its main purposes will be to receive the Olympic flame kindled in Olympia, to light the Olympic torch and to exhibit the sacred flame.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires the flame remain lit during the entire course of the Torch Relay in order to protect the sanctity of the Olympic flame and the purity of the Torch Relay. If the torch flame should be extinguished, it must be relit using the mother flame stored in the lantern. This is to ensure that the flame used to light the Olympic cauldron at the Opening Ceremony comes from the sacred Olympic flame kindled in Olympia.

The inspiration for the original design of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay lantern comes from the traditional lanterns used inside ancient Chinese palaces. The silver luster of the lantern coupled with crystal-clear glass serve as a foil to the flame and communicates the Olympic flame’s sanctity and purity.


Cauldron Design

The Cauldron

The Olympic cauldron plays a major role in the Olympic Torch Relay. The lighting of the Olympic cauldron symbolizes the end of the Olympic Torch Relay and the beginning of the Olympic celebration.The Beijing Olympic cauldron is based on the concept of a “round heaven and square earth” and takes after a typical cauldron from the Chinese Bronze Age. The cauldron shares with the torch and lantern the design element of the “lucky cloud.”

The 56 “lucky clouds” hollowed out of the curved plate of the Olympic cauldron symbolize well wishes to the world from the 56 ethnic groups in China. The base of the cauldron has four legs with eight faces, symbolizing that the Beijing Olympic Games welcomes friends from all directions across the world. The Olympic cauldron stands 130 centimeters high, symbolizing the 130-day duration of the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay. The cauldron plate is 29 centimeters deep, symbolizing the 29th Olympiad. The cauldron post is 112 centimeters tall, symbolizing the 112 years that have passed between the staging of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and the 2008 Olympic Games.

Torch Stand Design

The Torch Stand

The torch stand is used to display and support the torch, and its design borrows from the architectural styles of the Han and Tang dynasties. The base design of the torch stand shows “lucky clouds” drifting away, as if gently calling out to the torch.


Uniform Design

Design of the torchbearer uniform for the Torch Relay
uniforms for the Torch Relay

Design of the escort runner uniform for the Torch Relay
escort runner uniform

Design of the escort staff uniform for the Torch Relay
escort staff uniform


The Convoy




The Aircraft

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