Our favourite stories of the Olympics so far (at 16:11 on Thursday!)

Posted in sport on August 2, 2012

As London 2012 marches into its 6th day of competition (how did that happen?!) we pick our favourite British moments of the games so far. There has already been an incredible amount of amazing action so if we haven’t got your favourite please add it below!

GB women’s Volleyball

GB women’s volleyball team are unlikely to win any medals at this year’s games but, in their maiden Olympics, they have achieved plenty, even after they have only played one game. Unlike 95% of the GB athletes here in London the Women’s volleyball team receive no public funding, and yet with all the odds stacked against them managed to win in their first ever Olympic appearance.

Hopefully this fine showing will not only earn them proper funding in the future, but also put women’s volleyball into the public eye, showing what a great team sport it is for fitness and camaraderie. It’s also a sport that needs very little equipment and is well-suited to the changeable British climate!

Great Britain celebrate their first win

Lizzie Armistead, Women’s road race Silver medal

Lizzie’s amazing performance in the Women’s road race was not only important for the here and now, getting Team GB’s first medal, but also for the wider picture, Lizzie used her medal winning performance to raise awareness of the disparity in support between the men’s and the women’s teams.

Her performance shows what can be done with limited resources. Let’s hope it can be a catalyst for change towards a more level playing field with the men. Lizzie was also proof that that GB cycling’s Podium program works, and her performance should motivate a generation of younger cyclists, having gone from not owning a bike to being Olympic silver medalist in just 6 years!

Men’s Gymnastics team, Men’s team Gymnastics Bronze medal

After Lewis Smith’s medal in Beijing, men’s gymnastics had shown signs that it was coming out of the doldrums. Those signs are now hard to ignore after the Men’s unexpected, but thoroughly deserved, team gymnastics Bronze medal.

Long seen as a old fashioned, exclusively female sport, Gymnastics now has a cool, assured and successful group of role models that should help get people back into a sport that is great for working every muscle group, and ideal for players of other sports who are looking for a complementary discipline to improve their strength.

The GB Men’s celebrate winning a Bronze medal (Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble)

Bradley Wiggins, Men’s road cycling time trial Gold medal

What hasn’t already been said about Bradley Wiggins?! But he keeps winning races and breaking records, even with all the pressure of a partisan local crowd. The success of GB cycling in Beijing has already seen a marked increase in participation in cycling across the united kingdom but Wiggins’ Gold medal, coupled with his win on the Tour de France, is likely to send it to the next level.

This is all before Chris Hoy, Rebeecca Pendleton et al. have even touched a pedal in anger! Elite level success has already seen a huge increase in general participation, which is only likely to continue after this latest round of medals. Success in road cycling will hopefully be a particularly powerful driver of increased participation, as cyclists can see just how easy it is to get out there and ride!

Gemma Gibbons, Women’s Judo Silver medal

An amazing individual effort from Gemma Gibbons to get to an Olympic final and claim a Silver medal having not even been expected to make the top 10. Clearly a very emotional competition for Londoner Gemma, who lost her mum in 2004, but she managed to overcome all this in a great semi final performance, beating the world champion from France.

She also ended a run of 12 years without a medal for GB Judo, and here’s hoping that her brilliant performance will reignite interest in a sport where only 5,000 women in the UK actively participate in (compared to 500,000 men and women in France). Great for discipline, working on all round strength, and a lot more tiring that you might expect!

Please add your own great moments below!

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