When I was a kid, I thought the Olympics was just an athletics competition. This was before the red button and us being good at anything that involves sitting down. (Note how many of our medals have been in sports where you get to sit down). No it was runnin’, jumpin’, throwin’ and gettin’ told off for doing the javelin’ in the back garden with a bamboo cane. That event never went away. But in this Olympics, even a studied Olympic avoider has noticed that the athletics has been played down a touch because we did not expect to win anything. Well we won a few. And we got a silver in the High Jump that we did not expect. How do I know this? All the commentators saying, over and over again as I was trying to hide in another room, that it was truly remarkable. When I finally poked my head around the door it became apparent what exactly it was that was so remarkable. Not our chap being able to jump high but the hubris of his fellow competitors believing they could jump higher.

The problem, it strikes me, with a lot of the athletics which aren’t straight races is making them feel – well – sporty. With the throwing you could just give everyone just one go. That seems fair enough. With the high jump they could keep jumping until they fail. But this could all be over too quickly. Best of five then, or you’re allowed three fails or, or, make the rules up as you go along. But at least in the field events you get a bit of time to face the inevitable.

And the inevitable seems to be a quick trackside interview with some dim BBC track jockey asking you why you lost. I saw a great one in one of the four hundred metres semis where the Brit boy got spanked and romped in last. Within a minute of the most important race of his life, huffing and puffing, a BBC mike gets rammed in his face. “So,” says the voice of a nation “what went wrong?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is it that you weren’t fast enough?”
“Well, er, yes.”

Best interview ever.
Worst seven minutes ever.