London 2012: the games

by Liz Walter

And they’re off! From athletics to equestrianism, sailing to cycling, boxing to swimming, the drama unfolds as records are smashed, medals are awarded, and over 10,000 of the world’s greatest athletes push themselves to feats unimaginable to ordinary mortals.

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited event of all was the men’s 100m race – who would be the fastest man in the world? The crowded stadium fell silent to watch the thrilling race. Relatively slow out of the blocks, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt powered through the field and demolished his rivals to set a new Olympic record and confirm his place as the greatest sprinter in history. Continue reading “London 2012: the games”

The Triumph of the Long Jump

By Hugh Rawson

One of the classic track and field events in the Olympic Games is the long jump, but this is a relatively new name for what used to be known as the broad jump.  The name change was made in the 1960s, and had nothing to do with the nature of the athletic feat itself. This was strictly a case of political correctness. To begin at the beginning:

The first modern Olympics, held in Athens in 1896, included a standing broad jump and a running broad jump. (They also featured a standing high jump as opposed to a running high jump. The standing versions of both events were dropped from the Games after the fourth Olympiad in 1912.) Back then almost everyone in the English-speaking world would have described a running jump of this sort as being broad, not long. For example, reporting on an international, intercollegiate track meet in 1895 between Oxford and Yale universities, a British publication, Outing, An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Recreation, summed up Oxford’s victory, saying, “Oxford won all the runs, the high hurdle, and tied in the high jump with Yale, losing only the weights and the broad jump.” Continue reading “The Triumph of the Long Jump”

London 2012: the torch relay

by Kate Woodford

On Saturday, July 7th, 2012, the Olympic flame arrived in Cambridge. Held by a runner in the specially designed Olympic torch, it approached the city centre along streets lined with over 8,000 cheering spectators. The flame then spent two days in Cambridge – days 50 and 51 of a 70-day tour of the UK. This tour, called the Olympic Torch Relay, is an important part of the build-up to the Olympic Games. (The opening ceremony is on Friday, 27th July.) So what is the Olympic Torch Relay and why is it done?

Continue reading “London 2012: the torch relay”