The best moment for me was a Mo-Ment, as in Mo Farah. The Somalian born Brit had already made his mark at the stadium by winning the 10,000 meter race on that magical Saturday, a week after the opening ceremonies, that turned these Games into a triumph for Team Great Britain and the country as a whole. By the following Saturday, August 11, Team GB had wracked up some 25 gold medals on its way to the nation’s best ever Olympic showing. And Mo was about to add to it. As the starters were introduced he got a rapturous ovation; any fatigue he was feeling from running the 10,000m and the heat for the 5,000m certainly must have been lifted by it. The 5,000m is a bit of a chess game, and Mo played it well, always maintaining contact with the front, always in a position to dictate the race when it mattered. As the bell sounded for the last lap he had prime position on the inside lane with four competitors on his shoulders. The race and the chase was on. Farah’s last lap was a master class in racing tactics. He held off Dejen Gebremeskel with a fantastic final sprint, but he was swept home by a roaring, rising crowd that lifted you off your feet. It reminded me of Cathy Freeman’s 400m race in Sydney in 2000. She ran with an entire nation on her back, but the atmosphere made it feel weightless. Mo’s moment was that electric; okay, call it Mo-Mentous.
The sour grapes award has to go to GB boxer Tom Stalker, who took to Twitter after he was eliminated from the boxing competition by Mongolian Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg on a 23-22 score. Team GB’s protest was turned down.
So Stalker went home and railed about it on Twitter: “Absolutely heartbroken. them judges have Wrecked my life! From the bottom of my heart i won that fight and there’s nothin I can do about it.” First of all, this is boxing, where controversial, nonsensical and outright corrupt decisions are a way of life. Get used to it, son. The next time your opponent will get cheated. What’s amazing is that it happened to a home team boxer, but then again there was a parade of protests at the boxing tournament, which is par for the course. In one bantamweight fight, Japan’s Sotoshi Shimizu floored his Azeri opponent Magomed Adbulhamidov six times in the final round–and lost, according to the judging genius on the scene. Boxing’s governing body had to overrule the Olympic judges–and even sent one home. Maybe men’s boxing should just be elimination: last man standing wins.