London Spy

  • Venue guide: Weymouth and Portland

    Where is it?: Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and Portland Marina, Osprey Quay, Portland, Dorset.

    Find it on the map: Here

    How do you get there?: At more than 140 miles from London and nearly three hours by train from the capital's Waterloo station, Games organisers for once advise driving to the area and then using the park-and-ride service to reach the WPNSA. Coaches will also be organised and there is a good local bus network.

    Capacity: There is no seated ticketing.

    What events will be held there and when?: Sailing (July 29-August 11).

    Public facilities: There are

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  • Sport guide: Taekwondo


    A demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, taekwondo became a medal sport in 2000 and will be making its fourth full appearance at the Games.

    Contestants do battle over three rounds of two minutes each in a combat zone known as 'the court' and measuring eight metres square.

    The aim is to accumulate points by landing kicks and punches (the leading part of their closed hands) on your opponent's scoring zones, with one point for a valid kick or punch to the torso, two for a valid spinning kick, three for a kick to the face or side of the head and four for a turning kick to the head.

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  • Olympic history: Barcelona 1992

    The diving offered spectacular views of the Barcelona skyline

    In 1924 Barcelona missed out on hosting the Games because Baron de Coubertin selected Paris. In 1936 the city was again overlooked because, fearful of Spain's descent into civil war, the decision-makers opted for Berlin. If only gold medals were awarded for bitter ironies...

    Barcelona again stepped forward in 1992 and this time made the most of the advantages it held over all the previous hosts — a modern Olympic Games free of boycotts and other major controversies.

    There were a few unfamiliar flags fluttering above the various venues, but these were symbols of the new world order, of Baltic

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  • London 2012 organisers have prompted yet another outcry in the papers after the details of the Olympic food menus was revealed.

    But nobody can quite decide what is the biggest scandal: the pricing, or the ludicrous descriptions used for the simple fare on offer.

    Sandwich? No. This is Red Leicester British cheese with British apple chutney and Farm assured lettuce on Oxfordshire …

    The Daily Mail is furious at the pricing policy, getting worked up that the £4.20 charge for a bottle of Heineken beer is "the equivalent of £7.23 a pint", which along with a £5.80 jacket potato makes up their £13 headline-grabbing combo.

    The Sun is equally outraged by the beer price, suggesting that it's an outrageous amount to ask

    Read More »from £13 for a jacket potato and a pint… and what on earth is ‘Red Tractor pork’?
  • Pendleton: Feeling pressure of competing at her home Games

    Victoria Pendleton has won everything there is to win in women's track cycling, but it will all count for nothing if she does not deliver gold at her home Olympics.

    The 31-year-old claimed four world sprint titles in a row and five out of six between 2005 and 2010, and also won the Olympic sprint title in 2008.

    However, despite already being one of Britain's greatest ever track cyclists, Pendleton has said success at London 2012 is "the only goal that's ever going to matter". Fortunately, Pendleton is an expert at fulfilling expectations.

    In Beijing she had to sit and wait while the likes of

    Read More »from British medal hopes: Victoria Pendleton (cycling)
  • Venue guide: Wembley Arena

    Where is it?: Arena Square, Engineers Way, North-West London.

    Find it on the map: Here

    How do you get there?: Public transport — rail, tube or bus — is recommended, as there will be no official car parking near the arena during the Games. The venue is on five Transport for London bus routes (79, 83, 92, 182 and 224) and is close to two National Rail stations and two London Underground stops. NR trains run to Wembley Stadium station from London Marylebone and to Wembley Central from Euston, while the Jubilee and Metropolitan tube lines serve Wembley Park, and the Bakerloo line stops at Wembley

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  • Sport guide: Table tennis


    The 2012 table tennis programme will feature men's and women's singles events, as well as team competitions, but there will be no doubles tournaments. They were dropped after 2004.

    The sport became part of the schedule in 1988, when China and hosts South Korea each won two gold medals.

    Since then the Chinese have dominated, achieving a clean sweep of gold medals in 1996, 2000 and 2008. The Beijing Games also saw China claim all three medals in the men's and women's singles, the first time a nation had swept the board in one competition since China's women's singles success in

    Read More »from Sport guide: Table tennis
  • Olympic history: Seoul 1988

    A doped-up Ben Johnson salutes his 100m 'victory'

    When the Games arrived in Seoul, the superpowers were back, but the event wasn't quite free of boycotts and it would be remembered for one of the biggest sporting scandals in the history of the Olympics.

    The boycott was by North Korea, in protest at rejection of its demands to host half the events. Significant among their sympathisers who also stayed away were Cuba and Ethiopia, both missing their second successive Olympics through political posturing.

    A new Olympic flag made from Korean silk flew above the stadium, but there was a mishap during the opening ceremony when a number of the doves

    Read More »from Olympic history: Seoul 1988
  • Where are they now? Eric ‘The Eel’ Moussambani

    Eric 'The Eel' Moussambani struggles his way through his 100m heat in Sydney.

    A cult hero was born at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as Eric 'The Eel' Moussambani entered the record books for all the wrong reasons.

    Moussambani arrived in Australia representing Equatorial Guinea in the men's 100m freestyle swimming event with just £50 to his name.

    Qualifying for the games via a wild-card scheme and even given the honour of carrying his nation's flag during the opening ceremony, a rags-to-riches fairytale could well have been on the cards.

    Problem was, Moussambani only taught himself to swim AFTER securing the wild-card berth, and had never even seen an Olympic-standard 50m

    Read More »from Where are they now? Eric ‘The Eel’ Moussambani
  • Greene with 400m hurdles gold at the 2011 Worlds

    There's more than just a gold medal riding on London 2012 for 400 metres hurdler Dai Greene. A place in the history books also awaits.

    The Welshman goes into the Olympics as the reigning European, Commonwealth and world champion.

    If he adds an Olympic title to his collection, he will become only the fifth British athlete to hold gold medals in all four major events at the same time, following in the footsteps of greats such as Daley Thompson, Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell and Jonathan Edwards.

    What is exciting about Greene, who will be 26 when London 2012 gets under way, is that he still has

    Read More »from British medal hopes: Dai Greene (athletics)