Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

Patti B writes:

Fame at last. Your obsessed dressage correspondent has finally made it and has reached the dizzying heights of a photo on page 33 of Hello! Magazine. A smallish picture, on the bottom left of the page.

Actually – don’t let’s get carried away – it’s my medal cake that’s in the magazine. (That must have been the guy so rudely elbowing me out of the way to take a photo – only my good manners prevented me from giving him an equally rude mouthful – good job I didn’t!)

Still, it was a lovely surprise and I shall be giving away autographs at some future obscure event for an indescribably huge fee! I can also be seen helping to serve lunch in Parwich Memorial Hall every other Monday, so come along and join the fun – great food for just £5.

Patti B

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Please find attached some piccies of where I was working, just in case you wonder what I have been doing for the last few weeks….. Val S

My Olympic role was to manage a team of 10 staff who had to get information on events from the sports’ organisers and venues to journalists at the Main Press centre (MPC) so that they could write about, or commentate on, Olympic events.

My desk was in the centre of the newsroom behind what were effectively 3 walls of shelves – known as ‘the press pigeon holes’. At the back of me was a wall of the building, so I was effectively penned in – but there were doors! (more…)

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Thanks to our dressage correspondent Patti B, who snapped these three shots aboard the party boat…

Patti’s medal cake at the dressage party


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Thanks to JF-S for these two snaps:

Damiao scoring Brazil’s 3rd goal


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My day at the Olympics from JaneB

There have been some fantastic posts sent in from our various Olympic correspondents, so instead of doing a written post I have created a photo diary with captions of my day at the Olympics on Wednesday, which gives an overview of the whole Olympic Park.

When I was a child, as a family we went to Crystal Palace on several occasions to the Three A’s athletic meetings and watched athletes like David Hemery, David Jenkins and Alan Pascoe, future Olympic medalists. So in 2012 it was great to go to the London Olympics with my Dad.

I have nothing but praise for the organisation of the Olympics, it is something in Britain that we should be proud of. In the weeks leading up to the Olympics the British press desperately tried to leap on any potential negatives, now of course the papers are full of the triumphs of the event.

The evening of athletics was unforgettable, but for me it was more than the races, it was the whole atmosphere and positive attitude that made spending the day in the Olympic Park so totally unique.

Left click on any photo to open as a full screen slide show. (more…)

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We will be updating this post throughout the day, so keep checking back for more updates as we get them!

Patti B writes:

Hi Everyone,

It seems that not all of you were bored out of your mind by the step by step ravings of a dressage groupie, and would like more of the same.

First, I have been asked to put a little background to our interest in a less than popular sport – that, of course, is before we won a Gold Medal at the Olympics!

Some of you know that Alice is a professional dressage rider and trainer, who has also trained to Grand Prix level, but you may not know that she worked for Carl Hester for a year before University and has been in continuous training with him for the last fifteen years. In that time, we have become good friends with him and have watched all the hard work, tears and tribulations that have been associated with his journey to a Gold Medal. So we have obviously taken a keen interest in these games. I have also been his chief cake maker – always making sure he has ‘slimming’ carrot cake when he is watching his weight!

Today, I shall be sending you quickie reports as they are happening.


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We will be updating this post as the day progresses, so please keep checking back for the latest news. Thanks to Patti B, our live Olympics reporter at Greenwich Park!

12:58 Well, here we are again at Greenwich Park. Weirdly the atmosphere is more subdued and there are quite a few empty seats – they must be for officials, as this is an important day for enthusiasts.

There are 32 riders today: the top seven teams and top 11 individuals from last week, who will be hoping to go forward to the kur on Thursday. The horses are struggling a bit with this more technical test and we are seeing more mistakes and unacceptable tension.

As we are lying in pole position, the Brits won’t be riding until this afternoon – so watch this space. We are bags of nerves here, but we know that Carl and the Ice Queen (Charlotte) are on good form. More later…

13:41 – Here we go.
Five minutes now to our first Brit: Richard Davison from Uttoxeter. At 56, he is our oldest rider and a non-team individual. Suddenly the arena is buzzing and a sea of red, white and blue is appearing. Need to concentrate now…

13:59 – First Brits test.
Bit of a sigh here: Richard’s horse, like many of the horses so far, was tense and spooky. Is it because they are no longer in awe of their surroundings, and so have time to notice things? Who knows – that’s what makes riding so unpredictable. Beginning to feel anxious about our team’s chances later on…

14:11 – Spooking.
Just spotted what is spooking the horses: a new camera at floor level (to show horses’ foot fall) that wasn’t there last week. Unfortunately, Richard’s score will not be high enough for him to have a shot at the Individual medals on Thursday. All that training, dedication and money spent to no avail. Richard will be gutted. He has done so much for our sport.

14:49 – Wow.
Ohhh. Sick with excitement here. Didn’t dare post before, in case I jinxed it, but our most popular rider Carl Hester has just gone and he was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Inspired riding, to break the 80% barrier. The stand is nearly falling down with clapping. Need to spend a penny, but daren’t go now….

15:32 – Is that a glimmer I see before me?‏
Laura B and Alf have just ridden a great solid test; I daren’t say anything, but there is definitely a golden glow in the sky. The Ice Queen – Charlotte – with nerves of steel is our next rider. Forgive me if I don’t post straight away, but I could be too busy kissing everyone if she performs to her usual outstanding level!!!

16:00 – Nearly there
Oh my – the Germans have just gone. Come on, Charlotte: an amazing, talented, hard working rider, riding Valegro, who belongs to Carl and Roly Luard. Hang on there….!

16:13 – It’s ours. Gold for GB‏.
We’ve done it. We’ve done it. It’s taken us 100 years to win a gold medal in dressage, but we’ve done it now. And – we are here!!!!! Two more riders, but the team gold is ours. Much bubbly will be drunk very shortly. Over and out to Parwich.

17:23 – Just cracking open the bubbly now.
Our faces are set in a permanent rictus. Thanks for your supportive comments. Hope the Parwich blog felt part of it. Now on to Thursday and the Individual medals. Would that be too greedy? Much love to everyone at home. Patti B

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Dave Denton, organiser of the children’s races will be bringing the Olympic torch that he carried through Buxton.   You could be the lucky winner of this torch which is being raffled later this year, with tickets on sale tonight.  All the money raised will go towards building a school in India.  To read a full report click here.

PP5 Results from 2011
Junior Fell Run results for 2011
Results for 2010

Any photographs that you have of tonight’s events please email them into

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Games wise life continues to be very busy although we are clearly on the home run now.  Today I spent all morning sorting out the results from the ‘flat’ canoeing which is now taking place out at Eton Manor as the rowing has finished.  The room that I work in has 40 photocopiers in 5 banks of eight.  They spring into life when some-one at a venue sends through a result or other necessary info so today canoeing was going balmy and the system wasn’t set up properly.

Canoeing has different race categories – C1, K1 etc, different genders and different race lengths so it is very easy to mix up race results – men not women, wrong distance etc.  The semis, fairly obviously, involve the winners of the heats but we do actually have to be accurate about who is in each of those – correct gender, classification, distance etc – if not, chaos ensues…which it did…..I had it correct by 5pm, having started at 6.30am, but if anyone watched it and the commentators were confused well, erm, just pass that buck in this direction.  Disaster!

Socially, I met up with Graham and Amanda on Super Saturday.  Thanks for the beer!  We watched the action on the big screen when they were all done in the stadium.  The atmosphere was amazing and the noise for Jess Ennis deafening.  An amazing night of athletics, most of which I missed as PB’s, world rankings, starting line-ups, lane draws etc whirled off photocopiers!!!  Oh well.

On Sunday I had the day off and with a Wimbledon ticket from a friend in my pocket I headed out to the All England Club.  I really don’t quite get how I ended up with a stressful job here but on Sunday I was out to have fun…..Pimms (but due to IOC sponsorship rules they had to call it Fruit Cup!) was £7.30 a glass, bubbly was £47.50 a bottle!! Outrageous! (more…)

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Our thanks to Patti B, who sends us this report. Patti’s live Tuesday updates can be found here.

Just as Graham and Amanda were delighted to get their chosen tickets, we were over the moon to get all twelve tickets for the dressage qualifiers and finals. I don’t know quite how it happened, as I haven’t met anyone else that has managed to get tickets for all four days – I didn’t dare tell anyone for a few months, as I felt embarrassingly lucky.

Having been closely involved with the team members, we have been very aware of the years of training and campaigning that have gone into getting both horses and their riders to Olympic level and free from injury at the last moment. Not only is Equestrianism the only sport where men and women compete on an equal level, it’s the only sport where teams can be jeopardised by injury from either component.

There is a feeling of excitement and euphoria wherever you go. As you can see from the photo of Alice, there was no doubt who were supporting, and we were constantly cheered on by city workers on their way to their desks as we made our way to Greenwich Park. The whole of London seems decked out in Olympic pink and purple. Thousands of cheery volunteers shepherd you every step of your way. On the first day we took the 40 min Thames ferry – London looked gilded and shining from the river – like a journey through the history books.

Despite all the rumours we had been hearing, we were through the security in five minutes at the arena, where there was not an empty seat in sight. It was packed to the sky with flags and national colours. The red, white and blue of Team GB supporters actually outnumbered the orange blocks from the keen Netherlanders for a change.

Historically, Britain has never been good at dressage – in the 100 year history of the Games, we have never won a medal. But that could be about to change!! For the first time ever, we are top of the leader board at the end of the Grand Prix Qualifiers. Our team of Carl Hester. Charlotte Dujardin, and Laura Bechtolsteimer are currently leading the way from the Germans and Dutch who have dominated the scene for decades. The crowds of supporters screamed and cheered at the end of every test and erupted in an explosion of clapping and foot stamping after Charlotte broke Olympic records on Day Two. Who says dressage is boring?

Tuesday will see the top seven nations riding the Grand Prix Special for Team medals and then after a day’s rest, the top competitors will ride the Kur (dressage to Music) on Thursday for Individual medals. We are thrilled to know that we will be there, to witness the possibility of the first Olympic medal ever for the Brits in dressage. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Olympics Day 8 – we had to pinch ourselves!

When Amanda entered the lottery for Olympic tickets, I must say I was quite dismissive of our chances of getting good tickets and told her it was more likely we would get back row for synchronised underwater basket weaving than anything good (I realise that may offend the massed ranks of underwater basketweavers – but hey….).  We couldn’t quite believe our luck when we got a pair of tickets for Super Saturday in the athletics stadium!

We set off from our central London base with two and a half hours to spare and the organization is so slick we were in our seats 45 minutes later.  The whole event was truly awesome in every way. London is like one big party at the moment (all the people coming through St Pancras were greeted with offers of help, maps and even free ice creams!!).  The Olympic Park is enormous and the stadium was deafening.  Highlights of the events we saw………our golden girl from Sheffield on her quest for Heptathlon glory (long jump and javelin), Oscar Pistorius showing the world that a positive attitude can get you a very, very long way in life and right to the top in the 400m, …..that modest Jamaican sprinter (…….what’s his name again ???????) plus all the other 100m men’s sprinters, women’s pole vault and 3000m steeplechase.  It was such a day to remember, and a true adventure we will never forget.

1.The face of the games discussing with her coach how to improve her first round long jump distance.


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Dave Denton, the organiser of numerous Junior Fell Races, including those that are on the same evening as the Parwich Panoramic Five, ran in Buxton carrying the Olympic Torch. He said that it was the most wonderful experience.

We are extremely fortunate in Parwich, as he is going to bring his Olympic torch on Tuesday evening.  Throughout 2012 he is hoping to raise £10,000 to enable his charity, IDEAS to either build a school in India or to convert a building to provide a permanent base for a school currently in rented premises.

If you would like to have your photo taken with the torch, David would encourage you to make a donation to the charity, however large or small. He will also be raffling the torch later this year and on Tuesday he will be selling tickets at £5 each or 5 for £20.

His charity, “IDEAS”, which stands for International Development through Education, (more…)

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Yesterday was my day off, so I went and had breakfast at Carluccio’s and then went to see Billy Elliot, a way of relaxing away from the pressures of my Olympic work.

I have to say that if you are coming down for an event it really is worth spending the day in the Olympic Park. So far there haven’t been any queues, it just slows down a bit as you go through security. There might be a few more queues once athletics starts, but they have it pretty well sorted.

It is good to hear how many people enjoyed the opening ceremony, not only have I met Danny Boyle, I know him as I went to school with him (same bus, him boy’s school, me girl’s). I also know Seb Coe from when I was at Loughborough and met his mum and dad, so I was contemplating interrupting their joint press conference to say ‘Hi’! (more…)

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Thanks to Debbie W for sending us this report…

What an amazing weekend Trev and I had. We had tickets to see the Olympic Tennis, but as the friends we were staying with live at Box Hill, managed to “catch a freebie” and roll up to watch the road race on Saturday.

From our vantage point, the riders went past eight times – then we legged it back to our friends as quick as we could, to catch the end of the race. The people behind us had a stop watch, so we were keeping track of the splits. It was really exciting.

The atmosphere was wonderful – the crowds were happy, everyone well behaved, the police were just fab – I can’t say how impressed I was with the whole thing. I was so proud to be British – even though American by birth.

The next day we went to the tennis. Again, so well organised. Saw quite a few soldiers helping with security and made a point of thanking them – they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves, I think many people were also expressing their gratitude to them.

Andy Murray, for all his grumpy reputation, was really gracious to the crowd and spent AGES signing autographs for children after the match – longer than any other player we saw by far. Boys: Maria Sharipova is very tall, and very beautiful in real life. This does not, however, make up for her funny little squeaks and squeals.

We thanked heavens for the roof on centre court, as the heavens certainly did open on the day.

I urge anyone able to catch a glimpse of the Olympics, either by “catching a freebie” or buying a ticket, to do so. It really is something special. All weekend Trevor and I just kept saying “We are so lucky to be doing this!”


To scroll through Debbie’s gallery in full size – including an exclusive Andy Murray action shot! – please click on any thumbnail image.

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Olympic Tales

In addition to our correspondent from the Olympic Media Centre, it has been suggested by several people that it would interesting to get accounts from residents of Alsop, Ballidon, Pikehall and Parwich who visit the London 2012 Games.

If you want to share your experiences having visited the Games, including any photos, do email the Blog Team at or add comments to the various Olympic posts as they appear.

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Sent in by JF-S

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We are  lucky to have had this email from our very own Parwich Olympic Correspondent, Val S :

I went to the dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony last night. The opening scenes were shot in Parwich and then they move on to Belper. We are not allowed to tell – see #savethesuprise – but if you are going out, record it, trust me, it is worth it and it does start in Parwich!

I am off now for another day of slog and fun, so many languages, so many countries. The Park is packed and there is no public in there yet! I am working down here on the Help desk in the Main Press Centre (MPC) which together with the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) forms part of a large media complex at the northern end of the Olympic Park to which there is no public access. The work is 24 hours a day as some-one is always awake somewhere! (more…)

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