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7 August 2012

LIZ MISERABLE: A serious problem in the Smile End Road

DID you, like me, wonder why The Queen couldn’t raise a smile at the Olympic Games opening ceremony?
Now I am as loyal to our Monarch as anyone. But the poor soul was so expressionless that she looked like she’d just left a Botox salon. (No chance of that happening - the nation can’t afford to mint a complete new set of postage stamps).
Then I thought, maybe she’s disappointed that her favourite sport,  horseracing,  is not in the Games. Could it be that when she saw Sir Chris Hoy carrying the British flag, she muttered those immortal words, “Ah, Ascot’’?
HM’s impassive face suggested she might have been jockeyed off a night out at Les Miserables.
That’s perhaps not as ridiculous as it sounds – the show is currently running in the West End at, would you believe, the Queen’s Theatre.
We are not amused, Mr Cameron
Either way,  Liz the Miz seemed haunted by the PA system booming Olympic programme details in French. Did no one tell Danny Boyle and Co that French is no longer a major player in the Euro language stakes but Spanish is. Vale, amigo?
Of course, that  parachute descent into the Olympic stadium alongside James Bond must have taken its toll on our beloved 0086.
Mind you, I’ve heard that 0091 (Prince Philip to the un-Bonded) plans to bungee jump into his seat for the closing ceremony.
Seriously, though, no matter how bored she was with Boyle, Bond, Bean and Beckham, could Her Majesty  not have TRIED to look happy? Talk about having a B in her bonnet!
The following day came the competitive action…and confirmation that Britain’s team are not quite as invincible as some of us thought.
Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield led the world for three rounds in the 10m synchronised diving, then made a floppin’ mess of their next double plunge.
By Tuesday, it wasn’t so much a question of how many gold medals we’d clean up, as ‘at what point in each event will we mess up?’
Mind you, we’d have had a rapid bucketful of gold if they gave out awards for misleading commentaries.
Even highly-respected experts like cycling’s Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman showed themselves up.
No, guys, you can’t blame lack of information for assuring us that the British road race team were too clever for the rest and would usher Mark Cavendish to victory in Saturday’s big road race. (Gosh, it seems so long ago now!)
The Brits were too wise and experienced to let any of those foreign whippersnappers take advantage, they asserted. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell the might of Kyrgyzstan and Colombia - and their guys coasted to gold and silver while Cavendish and Co continued to meander along at the head of the peloton. (I think that’s cycling parlance for the massed ranks of no-hopers)..
By the time the women’s road race came on 24 hours later, I expected to see Messrs Porter and Boardman banished to the bike shed, where they couldn’t do our fingernails any more harm.
But for all their shortcomings, they do at least have a shedload of bicycle knowledge.
That’s more than can be said for the poor lost hacks who try to convince us they actually understand the technical intricacies of alien sports like handball and beach volleyball.
I can reveal that the latter is played somewhere near the sea and that the women’s version is colloquially known to male enthusiasts as ‘Corrlookaturr’.
I also suspect the rules state that participants must have auditioned unsuccessfully for Baywatch.
Personally, I’d rather stick to the two-and-a-half twisting fronts across the side - because our male gymnasts got a team medal for doing it.
Which is more than most of our other hopefuls managed over the first few days.
Right, that’s my Olympic grump over. I’m off to catch up the with the Queen - perhaps I’ll find her in the Smile End Road.

WHEN CHEERS TURN TO BOOZE: So Bradley Wiggins got ‘blind drunk’ after his golden road-race ride on Wednesday. Well, what a surprise.
Old Rideburns had just said ‘on yer bike’ to the world’s best cyclists for the second time in little more than a week. And since he is neither tee-total nor a practising Muslim, it was eminently predictable how Brad the Lad and his pals would celebrate that historic Tour de France/ Olympic double.
I’d have been more interested to know how the amazing Helen Glover and Heather Stanning celebrated winning Britain’s first EVER women’s rowing gold.
Because the cash-strapped PE teacher and her Army captain colleague don’t even have a sponsor to finance a binge.
The big question was what colour the ‘wasted’ Wiggo resembled yesterday morning (Thursday). Yellow, perhaps?
I’m just glad I didn’t see him up the creek without a saddle.

Published in The Courier (www.thecourier.es) August 3, 2012