London Spy

  • Sport guide: Rowing


    Five successive rowing gold medals cemented the status of Steve Redgrave — now Sir Steve — as Great Britain's most successful Olympian. He is also the most successful man in the history of the sport at the Games. Only Elisabeta Lipă has achieved more.

    Redgrave's success began with victory in the coxed fours in 1984 and continued with successive gold medals for the coxless pairs in Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta, after which he famously announced his retirement. But in 2000 he returned to win gold again, this time in the coxless fours.

    A bronze from the coxed pairs in 1988

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  • Olympic history: Munich 1972

    A Black September terrorist in the Olympic village, where Israeli athletes were held hostage and later killed

    These were the Games of the expulsion of Rhodesia, of Olga Korbut and Valeriy Borzov, Mark Spitz and Lasse Virén and the most controversial basketball match in the history of the sport. But the world stood still on 5 September.

    A raid by terrorists from the Black September group left two members of the Israeli Olympic squad dead. Nine more were taken hostage and subsequently killed in an attempted rescue that also claimed the lives of five terrorists and a German police officer.

    Avery Brundage, who had insisted on American participation at the 1936 Games in Berlin and on proceeding with the

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  • Brownlee after taking 2011 Worlds sprint gold in Lausanne

    The success of Jonathan Brownlee's older brother, Alistair, has proved to be both a help and a hindrance to the career of this gutsy young athlete.

    Being two years younger and physically smaller, Jonathan has had to settle for playing the role of support act to Alistair over the past couple of years.

    However, Alistair is not only a double world champion — he is also a world-class training partner and a barometer of success for Jonathan. And the younger Brownlee's track record suggests he may soon emulate or even surpass the astonishing achievements of his brother.

    Not only has Jonathan

    Read More »from British medal hopes: Jonathan Brownlee (triathlon)
  • Venue guide: Royal Artillery Barracks

    One of the indoor ranges at the test event

    Where is it?: Artillery Place, Woolwich, South-East London.

    How do you get there?: Rail, Docklands Light Railway, river or bus are the recommended routes for the barracks, where the entrance will be to the east near to the junction of Ha-Ha Road and Grand Depot Road. The closest National Rail and DLR station is Woolwich Arsenal, which is 20 minutes away on foot or accessible by a short shuttle-bus ride. There is also a pier at Woolwich Arsenal for the river bus, while the road variety has extensive options.

    Capacity: 7,500.

    What events will be held there and when?: Shooting (July 28-August

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  • Sport guide: Modern Pentathlon

    Shooting at the women's event in Beijing 2008


    Olympic folklore has it that Baron de Coubertin introduced the modern pentathlon around the skills required of a 19th-century soldier — riding, shooting, fencing, running and swimming.

    The competition was added to the Games schedule in 1912 and has since been condensed into a challenging single day of action.

    It begins with épée, as each athlete fences each of the others. The second discipline is swimming, freestyle over 200 metres, and then comes riding, over a course of 12 jumps.

    The total scores are then converted into a time handicap which is used to set the starting

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  • Olympic history: Mexico 1968

    Tommie Smith and John Carlos make their Black Power salute

    An iconic Mexico '68 posterIn Mexico the number of competing nations exceeded 100 for the first time.

    There were political issues in the shape of student demonstrations before the Games and a Black Power protest during the medal ceremony for the men's 200m.

    Reports vary on the numbers of people killed as the Mexican authorities acted to quell the student disturbances — certainly no fewer than 40, possibly as many as 300.

    Avery Brundage, who as president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936 had refused to allow politics to prevent his nation from attending the Berlin Games, accordingly decided in his role as

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  • Underground users can expect delays

    Olympics organisers have revealed the 'hot spots' that people should try and avoid in the city during the Olympic Games.

    Up to three million extra trips are expected daily while the Games are going on, which means there will be an estimated 15 million journeys being made each day from July 27, when the Games begin, to their end on August 12.

    A modified London Tube map highlighting the hot spots during the Games pinpoints 23 Tube stations that will be 'exceptionally busy' during the Olympics, while many more stations have been classified as 'busier than usual'.

    Among the tube stations that

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  • Louis Smith: I’m in the mix for gold

    British gymnast Louis Smith believes he is capable of mixing with the best at the 2012 Olympics in London as he looks to improve on his Beijing bronze.

    In an interview conducted exclusively for Eurosport, UPS London 2012 ambassador Smith told Steve Rider that anything is possible in his sport.

    Smith, who created history with his bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is confident that he can at least control his own performance, but is very anxious to prove what he is capable of doing on the world's biggest stage.

    Smith admits that it is tough to balance all of his training, but is

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  • £5k sandcastle destroyed over safety fears

    A sandcastle that was built to mark 100 days until the start of the Olympics, had to be demolished within hours of being built because of health and safety fears.

    The castle on Weymouth beach took four days to build and cost £5,000, but once photographs were taken for publicity purposes, it was destroyed by a mechanical digger.

    Olympic organisers Locog paid for the structure, but feared that it could topple onto somebody and injure them.

    They also considered fencing in the sandcastle, but that would have required the employment of security guards to make sure nobody tried to get too close to

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  • Miley competing at the 2012 British Championships

    Hannah Miley is not an average Olympian. She does not train with the rest of the British swimming team in elite development centres such as Loughborough, but instead prefers her own company at a small swimming club in Inverurie, Scotland.

    Her progress is not monitored by high-tech timing devices, but by a small handheld contraption invented by her father, who is also her coach and has worked with some of the leading names in the sport (such as Australian great Ian Thorpe) when he isn't working as a helicopter pilot.

    Moreover, Miley's training regime is not just restricted to the pool. She

    Read More »from British medal hopes: Hannah Miley (swimming)