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…some feeble excuse about winning medals or something

Reports that British Cycling is to ban members of the Team GB cycling team from the opening ceremony of next year's London Olympics has led to media accusations that fans at the opening ceremony will be short changed. We've probably missed the boat on starting an occasional series of London 2012 nonsense news but if we're gong to build another one and try to catch up this is a good place to start…

According to Tuesday's London Evening Standard British Cycling coaches are about to follow the lead of their track and field counterparts and ban their athletes from taking part in the ceremony for fear that it will disrupt their preparations. The swimming team is also likely to be pulled from the event – meaning that 150 of the 550 strong Team GB including most of its star names would not take part in the opening ceremony.

Spectators at the ceremony, choreographed by the Oscar winning British film director Danny Boyle, will have paid up to £2,000 to be there. And it's not only those that have stumped up big money for a once in a lifetime night out that will be peeved reckons the Standard, the decision will also rankle with Lord Coe head of LOCOG the London organising committee who wants athletes to be allowed to decide whether to attend the ceremony for themselves.

While there are no doubt a lot of things to do with the 2012 Olympics to get righteously annoyed about the fact that 80,000 rich types will be denied the chance of a fleeting wave from Wiggo, Cav, or the divine Ms Pendleton, so that Team GB has a better chance of winning some medals is probably not one of them.

There's hope they might get a wave yet though. Sources we spoke to at British Cycling were keen to stress out that no final decision on the matter had been made and also pointed out that what was being suggested was standard procedure for all major games and championships and that their 'performance comes first' philosophy has always been supported by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

In a statement on the matter a British Cycling spokesman said:

“We’re at the final stages of preparations for the immediate pre-Games period, including our involvement or otherwise in the Opening Ceremony. All decisions will be based purely on performance grounds – these final days before competition are key and we won’t do anything that will undermine all the hard work the riders will have put in to get to the start line in peak condition.”

While the track cyclists have the best part of a week after the opening ceremony before they get in to action we can't help feeling that the road cyclists won't be in peak condition if they attend the ceremony – scheduled to end at 11pm on 27 July their race starts 13 hours later. London traffic being what it is Wiggo, Cav, Geraint & co would barely have time to make it back to their Surrey hotel to get changed before heading back to the Mall for the start… so it's probably best they stay away and get their heads down. Just as well they are not staying in the Olympic village or they'd get no sleep at all.

As an Olympic row this one doesn't look like it's going anywhere, surely what the Standard should have been getting exercised about is the fact we've built an Olympic Village at great expense and none of our athletes seem to be staying in it presumably for fear of not getting a good night's sleep… to be fair the track team will be staying there once their competition starts and the fireworks from the opening ceremony have stopped.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

12 comments

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mattsccm [330 posts] 4 years ago
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Attendance by the athletes should be compulsory FFS!

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andyp [1448 posts] 4 years ago
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100 the right decision. What's the point? Train for years, then stand around a stadium for hours for no real reason. Nobody even watches it ffs. It's the events which count, not some farcical flag waving nonsense.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh, I'll watch it on TV, I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff. But whereas Beijing was awesome in an 'only a totalitarian regime can pull this off' sort of way, I fear that London will be more in line with the old adage that 'a camel is a horse designed by a committee' - remember the Millennium Dome (or more to the point, what was inside it)?

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andyp [1448 posts] 4 years ago
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Or the wonderful handover bit of the Beijing closing ceremony. Here's London, symbolised by a bunch of people shoving each other to try to get on a bus, which falls to bits. And has a warbling bint and a f**tball player in it. I share your fear  3

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Hoxton [5 posts] 4 years ago
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Athletes are there to win medals. They can lounge around later and enjoy village life and the closing ceremony. Good move IMO

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zzgavin [193 posts] 4 years ago
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A quiet night in does seem like the right choice, I suspect many other people with events the next day will make the same decision

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Matt_S [253 posts] 4 years ago
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Hoxton wrote:

Athletes are there to win medals. They can lounge around later and enjoy village life and the closing ceremony. Good move IMO

There's a closing ceremony?  22

I think you've [and Team GB] seriously missed the point of the whole Olympic movement if you think the *only* reason the athletes are there is to win medals.

While I understand the coaches and management want to ensure their charges are well prepared, this games will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a large proportion of the athletes.

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thereverent [406 posts] 4 years ago
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Not a surprise, happens with a lot of athletes particually if they are competing on the first week.

This wasn't such a problems until the opening ceremonys became so long (and late).

If I was a coach I wouldn't want my athletes standing about for hours in the evening only a few days (or hours) away from competing.

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bikeandy61 [532 posts] 4 years ago
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The more athletes nit there the better for me. I hate the whole bloody thing. It has very little to do with sport I feel these days. More political window dressing.

"While I understand the coaches and management want to ensure their charges are well prepared, this games will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for a large proportion of the athletes." - yeah so a once in a lifetime chance to perform in your home games,or do you think being in the opening ceremony will compensate for not getting a result and wondering if it was cos you were standing round instead of proper relaxation etc/whatever is required for your sport.

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mattsccm [330 posts] 4 years ago
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I can see why the athletes would want to miss it but supposedly this represents us and therefore they are representing us. ( It sodding well does not represent me though. Criminal waste of money and huge damage) The team and national spirit comes first. Same principle as singing the national anthem.
The fault lies in the F wits who timetabled it.

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andybnk [97 posts] 4 years ago
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Is there something on next year?? Hadn't noticed!

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Wardy74 [37 posts] 4 years ago
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The sport should speak for itself, all that screaming before anybody actually does anything accompanied by banal commentry is a bit too X-Factor for me.