Tuesday, 27 October 2015

from: Ben Brownlee


Ben Brownlee
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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Friday, 7 August 2015

from: Ben Brownlee

Salutations Beijing



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Wednesday, 17 September 2008


What a fantastic Paralympics, with GB coming in second and a real sense of fun - sometimes missing from the Olympics.

T h e s e t r u l l y h a v e b e e n t h e b e s t Games e v e r.

London 2012 has a lot to live up to - here's to the next four years.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Day Eight - Olympics come to Great Britain

We watched the Beijing Closing Ceremony and very impressive it was. Even Boris managed not to drop the Union Jack and Beckham kicked his football into the volunteers.

More local to home we then took part in Oxford's 2012 Handover Ceremony. The day was based around Nowka Bais boat racing, put on by Oxford's Bangladeshi and other communities and sponsored by private and public bodies. To finish the day, we went around the City in an open top bus with the flag raising by the Lord Mayor on Carfax Tower just before 5.30pm.

Looking at the final medal table, we've done outstanding well to reach fourth place, with 19 Golds and 47 medals in total. Fourth place was our target for the London 2012 Games so not sure where we go from here?

All in all we look forward to a more festive 2012, which will 'let go' a bit more than Beijing has. We hope its on time, under budget and just as good - time will tell!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Day Seven - Returning Home

Beijing terminal 3 is simply enormous. It is arranged like a huge spacecraft with two pylons pointing outwards to greet planes and passengers. We were through check-in, immigration and security in about half an hour. Security was quick but very thorough - lots of sniffing of various liquids and medicines for about 10 minutes for Ian.
Our flight took just over the 10 hours and Heathrow Terminal Five and our family welcomed us - the first time either of us had been through. Impressive architecture but a slow (45 minute) wait for Ben's bag left us with mixed emotions. We're looking forward to tomorrow's closing ceremony.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Day Six - Heavenly Temple

We had a great time today exploring the Temple of Heaven park and some last minute shopping. More golds for GB, but we also dropped the baton twice.
We fly home tomorrow from the new terminal three.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Day Five - Relax

A wet smoggy cloud descended over Beijing yesterday - perfect for enjoying our hotel pool and 10pin bowling. A late checkout meant we could enjoy lunch in a good Taiwanese restaurant around the corner before moving to our new hotel near the Temple of Heaven park.
TeamGB continued our best ever medal haul but the Ruskies are catching us up with 16 to our 17 golds.
We talked to other Brits about what it's like here and some problems for Beijing 2008
1) most agree the Games are the best so far, certainly for GB
2) Chinese welcome is good but not backed up by enough understanding of top 10 English phrases needed
3) information is lacking e.g. No map is handed out on entry to the Olympic park. English china state CCTV Channel 9 is useful but not publicised
4) food on the Olympic park is poor quality. 2012 can do a lot better
5) transport has been ok principally by the Chinese taking half the cars off the road every day and seem to have banned lorries. Taxis are the most convenient because they are cheap (say £4 for 5 miles) and door to door.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Day Four - Grande Finale - A Bolt out of the Blue

An amazing day, finished off with our last time at the Bird's Nest and a new World Record.

We had a look at the local shops this morning - nosing around the toy stores (for a certain 7 year old) and other stores in the Wangfujing Shopping district - think Oxford Street on steroids! Lunch was in a nice Chinese restaurant - except we didn't realise it was a cook your own. We looked at a strange metal plate in the middle of the table and realised this was a griller - oh what fun!

We left early for the Athletics at the Bird's Nest as Ben wanted to try out the Metro to the Olympic Park. It was quite crowded - not quite sardines but close! For you security buffs out there we had to leave the Metro station we were in, go through security clearance, then go back down into the Metro station and 2 stops later we were in the Olympic Park. Hopefully with the 2012 stations outside the Park we won't see this in four years time. We then had a half an hour walk to the stadium (from the middle of the park - it's that big) and sank into our seats early after stocking up on drinks (good thing we did - other Brits around us reported 30 minutes to queue for pretty poor food and drink - choice: yoghurt, bread, hot dog, biscuits, noodles, snickers!).

First up was 8 heats of the 800m, then the Women's Hammer final (invented by miners!) and after six rounds the Belarusian came out on top beating the Olympic record.

The blue riband race was at the end of the evening. Jamaica's Usain Bolt delivered another astonishing display of sprinting to add the Olympic 200m title to his 100m crown with a new world record. It was truly amazing - he looked like he jogged around, beating Michael Johnson's long standing world record and leaving the rest of the field far behind him!!! Something we will always remember. See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics/athletics/7572885.stm

More comments tomorrow and Friday on the Olympic experience.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Day Three - Top Tuesday

Setting off a bit earlier today we explored the Forbidden City - 500 years old and a vast expanse of temples and courtyards covering over 10km2. It was our hottest day so far at 34C in the shade and a bit more smog in the air, so we dived into the air-conditioned displays including the weirdest but most interesting display of clock's ever seen. We ended up in the Emperor's garden a magical mix of oriental plants and Ian was very excited to find a 300 year-old Wisteria still in flower.

Later, we met up with Patrick Bruce,luckily in Beijing for a day, for a few beers (lowish alcohol honest Ros) and caught up with old and new times. 27 years has passed so quickly!

Tonight we went to the Worker's Stadium for the men's football semi-finals - Argentina - the defending Olympic champions vs Brazil. Unfortunately the Brazilians had forgotten to bring any decent defenders with them, in their Olympics squad which has to be mostly under 23 and they looked a bit dodgy from the start. Even Ronaldinho was looking down in the dumps, as he kept hitting the post. It was a great experience, though, lots of flags and some Chinese supporters behind us mad keen on the Argies, even down to buying the blue and white kit. We left the Stadium after Argentina had put three past the Brazilian goal keeper, a little before fulltime to avoid the crush and that proved to be the final score.

We then came home to find Christine Ohuruogu had won the gold for Britain in the 400m! And we are still third overall - that topped off a brilliant day.