London Spy

  • Should Olympians court celebrity status?

    During the Olympics there was a strong feeling that Britain's gold-medal winners were true heroes and the kinds of people the country should look up to, unlike those who appear on reality TV shows and are covered in the celebrity magazines.

    But just a couple of weeks after the Games we have seen one Olympian in the Big Brother house and two more going on Strictly Come Dancing, with others appearing in the papers at every photocall, PR launch and advert their advisors send them to .

    Is it right that Olympians are crossing over into the world of celebrity culture and blurring the boundaries

    Read More »from Should Olympians court celebrity status?
  • Swimmer wins gold exactly a year after being blinded

    The Paralympics has had the capacity to inspire and amaze on a near daily basis, but one achievement amid all the incredible stories coming out of London 2012 stands out.

    American swimmer Brad Snyder triumphed in the 400m freestyle at the Aquatic Centre on Friday night for his second gold of the games - a fantastic achievement.

    However, it was even more remarkable when you consider that this moment of triumph came exactly one year after he was blinded in Afghanistan when trying to defuse a bomb.

    The navy lieutenant trod on an improved explosive device in Kandahar and the explosion took away

    Read More »from Swimmer wins gold exactly a year after being blinded
  • On the night that Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah won their three gold medals, many wondered whether there would be another night in British sport quite like it.

    The Olympic Stadium hummed with anticipation then erupted in celebration — the noise grew louder with every new success.

    It was the high point of a Games which had delivered on an unprecedented scale.

    But just a month on, in the same venue, it might just have been eclipsed at the Paralympics.

    It began on Thursday when Hannah Cockroft, the sprint sensation, ripped up the track to win the T34 200m final and add gold to her

    Read More »from The greatest night in Great British sport?
  • Oscar Pistorius (left) not happy with his silver as Alan Oliveira shows off goldOscar Pistorius shocked many Paralympics fans on Sunday when he complained that gold-winning 200m rival Alan Oliveira's artificial legs gave him an unfair advantage.

    Pistorius, who made history this summer when he became the first Paralympian to run in the Olympic Games, lost out on gold to Oliveira by 0.07 seconds, but blamed his defeat on his rivals' legs.

    "We're not running in a fair race," he said. "I can't compete with Alan's stride length."

    Pistorius has now apologised, and the IPC have confirmed that he will not face any disciplinary action despite only saying sorry for the timing of

    Read More »from What is Pistorius complaining about? And is he right?
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was left red-faced after being roundly booed by the Olympic Stadium crowd when he made an appearance at the Paralympics.

    The Conservative MP presented medals to the top three runners in the Men's T38 400m, an event won by Mohamed Farhat Chida of Tunisia.

    The public have embraced the event, filling stadiums and supporting athletes, but they turned on Osborne, 41, when he was announced to the crowd.

    The boos swelled around the Olympic Stadium. Initially the politician tried to laugh it off, but looked progressively more uncomfortable as the booing

    Read More »from Osborne booed at Paralympics medal ceremony
  • Where Britain’s medals will come from in 2016

    Team GB enjoyed unprecedented success at the London 2012 Olympics - but UK Sport believes that the nation's athletes can do even better in four years' time at Rio 2016.

    This summer's Games saw British athletes win 65 medals, more than at any Games since 1908 - and back then the Games were a very different affair, with just 22 countries taking part compared to the 204 who lined up in London.

    Yet UK Sport believe that this is just the beginning of a new era of success for Britain at the Games.

    "In terms of winning medals we think it is entirely possible to see progress in the next four years,"

    Read More »from Where Britain’s medals will come from in 2016
  • British teamTeam GB finished a historic third in the medal table with a record-breaking haul of 65 medals at London 2012.

    Britain won a greater number of medals than at any Games since the 1908 event in London, at which the home nation topped the medal table for the first and only time in its history with 146 medals.

    UK Sport had targeted at least 48 medals by British athletes from 12 or more different sports.

    But how did each sport fare according to those targets? And which sports offered the British public the best value per medal won?

    According to a report in the Daily Mail, tennis was the best value -

    Read More »from Which sports hit their targets – and which were best value per medal?
  • Keshorn WalcottBritain's Olympic champions have been recognised with golden postboxes and special stamps. In America, new champions have been given a healthy $25,000 cash bonus.

    But none of that can hold a candle to the prizes lavished upon Trinidad and Tobago's champion Keshorn Walcott.

    The 19-year-old was a shock winner of the javelin, taking advantage of the world's best all having off-days as he came through to claim victory with a relatively unremarkable throw of 84.58m.

    But while his throw was rather modest by Olympic standards (it was the shortest winning effort since 1988), the prizes it brought him

    Read More »from Olympic champion rewarded with free lighthouse
  • Olympics ‘will have paid for itself by 2021′

    Leading economists have said that ultimately the London Olympics will starting making the city money - although not until 2021.

    The Games came in at a revised budget of £10 billion, although the Centre for Economics and Business Research also said that people who stayed at home or took holidays during the Olympics cost the economy £1bn — taking the total cost of the Games to £11bn.

    The Stratford area of East London was transformed by the Games and CEBR said that if politicians properly exploited the regeneration of the area then they could start generating an extra £1.8bn-a-year into the

    Read More »from Olympics ‘will have paid for itself by 2021′
  • Olympics ‘most watched sporting event on record’

    The London Olympic Games was the most watched sporting event in Britain on record, according to the BBC's viewing figures.

    In total 87 per cent of British people watched at least 15 minutes of the Games —  which equates to a staggering number of 50.2 million.

    Football World Cups have previously topped the list but they have never reached more than 85 per cent since 2002 when such figures were collated.

    The two most watched events at the Games were the opening (26.9 million) and closing (26.3m) ceremonies.

    From a purely sporting standpoint Usain Bolt's victory in the 100m final came in ahead

    Read More »from Olympics ‘most watched sporting event on record’