We all know the story by now. For all the money and resources that we have, the British are just not that good at athletics. If we ignore the (rightful) enthusiasm and euphoria generated by the London 2012 Olympics and get back to everyday athletics, we’re just too unpredictable. The World Championships in Moscow was definitely a prime example of this. For every success story in Mo Farrah and Christine Ohurogu, we also have the not so successful stories… step forward the Team GB Relay Team.
Adam Gemili, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, James Ellington and Dwain Chambers literally ran for their lives and put in a performance that earned them a bronze medal and one of the fastest times in British 4 x 100m history. We all rejoiced (obviously after celebrating Jamaica and Usain Bolt – the world loves Usain regardless of what nationality you are) at the team coming third as it wasn’t expected. At all.
Britain got the bronze but then after the initial shock and euphoria had died down, the commentary team started to rouse suspicions insinuating that the relay team had handed over the baton outside changeover zone. Elation turned to sighs of “uh-oh” as we saw the guys celebrating with wide smiles and a spring in their steps. Post-race interviews were excruciating to watch, with them all emphasing how perfect their race had been. Except it wasn’t perfect at all. You could just feel that something wasn’t right and I think deep down, the relay team knew that it wasn’t the race that they all proclaimed it was.
I was on edge throughout the interviews as Gabby Yorath and the other pundits reported on the fumble. The camera shot to a replay of James Ellington with a disappointed look just after the race as if he knew what had just taken place.
It was painful to watch the celebrations knowing that it was likely that they would be disqualified yet again for failing to get the baton round the track within the rules. 6 times out of 7 major championships, to be exact.
Sure enough at the end of the broadcast, we received the news that they had been disqualified. The mood of the studio took a downward turn and the end credits played. Failure once again.
The most memorable image of the World Championships for me is probably Dwain Chambers in his bowler hat epitomisng the English gent. Dejected, yet patriotic. Once covered in glory which quickly turned to embarrassment and despair. I guess things could be worse – at least we didn’t go out via a penalty shootout. Go team GB…