Rarely do you see three medalists so tickled to be standing on the victory podium. But I’ve never seen happier athletes than the trio of victors in the 53 kg weight class of women’s weightlifting. Taiwan’s Hsu Shu-Ching and Moldova’s Cristina Iovu hadn’t lost the gold; they had won silver and bronze, respectively. And the joy on the face of 19-year-old Kazakh Zulfiya Chinshanlo, after she nabbed gold with a world-record breaking performance, was one of the most delightful things I witnessed at the Games. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was there to congratulate her and promise a considerable financial reward. “I won’t tell you how much money he will give me,” joked the young lifter. “I am afraid I could be robbed.”
The Brits are going to jump on me, but what was up with hometown favorite Tom Daley getting a re-dive in the 10 m platform diving competition? The 18-year-old complained that camera flashes distracted him—and admitted that were it not for the second chance, he wouldn’t have earned a bronze medal. Come on. If American David Boudia (the gold medalist) or Chinese Qiu Bo (silver) asked for a do-over, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been given such a chance. Unless it’s a matter of hearing a starting gun, Olympians should be able to block out distractions like camera flashes or cheering. In gymnastics or track, several events happen at the same time, and no one complains. In fact, when the British men won their surprise bronze in the gymnastics’ team event, the partisan support was so loud that I wondered how the other athletes could concentrate on their routines. But they did. Daley was a wimp. There, I said it.