Wednesday 1 August
Apparently some badminton doubles players have been throwing matches so that they could finish in their desired place within the chosen group. Two pairs played against each other trying to lose with no subtlety whatsoever, taking it in turns to serve in to the net several times. The Badminton Federation consequently disqualified offending teams and players.
From Gail Emms to Seb Coe, largely everyone has been critical, but I can't understand why people are so scathing towards them. What they did was terrible for the sport and the Olympics, and it looked truly awful on television, but their actions were borne out of the desire to want to attain a dream, and if the federation don't want to see this happen, then wouldn't they first be advised to take it upon themselves to change the format? If I were those players then I would have wanted to play the weaker team earlier, and in doing so give myself the best chance of winning a medal. Is it not unfair to chastise these athletes for purely going about the competition in the way that most aids their efforts to win medals?
Michael Phelps perhaps eased down in his qualifying heat this evening, presumably saving some energy, and there is no way anyone would reprimand him for that. If Usain Bolt finishes second or third in his heats to qualify but then wins the final by a country mile, would he be penalised for not putting everything in at all times?
Watched the women rowers win the pairs this morning straight after my morning session, and for the rest of the day, as each news bulletin goes by, have heard of their transition from just ordinary rowers to household names. Listening to the radio on the way home we, the public, were informed that the Prime Minister had sent a message to Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, saying how thrilled he was. Nice bit of PR for Dave there.
They seem like lovely girls, and brilliant athletes. One of the pair only decided to take up rowing four years ago, having applied to a Steve Redgrave talent pooling project, which sounded like the sporting equivalent of X factor. When I heard this I felt both depressed and cheerful all in one. To give a little perspective here, you can say goodbye to a world class squash career if you haven't started by about the age of ten.
It does though give my Olympic hopes a serious and unexpected boost. I am tall and rangy, the perfect build for a rower; I love the physical pain of training in a strange way and if I start now I could probably eke out another three Olympics, seen as though Redgrave himself won his last at 38. That's it, decision made. I can't wait all my life for squash to get in, and no-one can ever hope to play professional squash at 38, so i'm going for rowing. What have I been waiting for?
Bradley Wiggins has done marvellous things in the last two weeks and is quite rightly being lauded as British sport's man of the moment. To follow up winning the Tour de France by, only days later, winning a gold in the time trial today is quite frankly an amazing mental and physical effort.
Talking of the word 'amazing' I am hearing it far too much. To all Olympic athletes and BBC presenters: let's hear a different word, please. Repetition is inevitable when considering how much coverage is being devoted to the Olympics; presenters can only smile for so long, athletes can only tell us how amazing it was so many times, and they can only think of so many words. But anything other than amazing.
Adrian Moorhouse at the swimming began repeating his own phrase, 'going nuts'. He said it once about the crowd, that was bad enough. A second time he said it about a swimmer which was taking it too far.
I found myself teasing Vanessa when she kept going on about how cute Michael Jamieson was. What's more he was actually bloody good, and swam a gutsy breaststroke to get a silver. I'm looking forward to Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis coming on later on in the week so I can do my own swooning.
I decided to give the GB mens football a miss and get an early night.
Thursday 2 August
Dreamt last night that the PM called to congratulate me on my gold medal, and I kept trying to tell him that he had got it wrong, as usual. He was having none of it. He had a car ordered to fetch me to Downing Street where I was to give a talk to many of the GB Olympic athletes. It all got a bit murky after that, and then I woke up, realising these dreams are the closest I will ever get to the Olympics.
There were medals all over the place for the home nation today, no dreaming required. Gold and silver in the canoeing, and gold in the shooting. The shooter, Peter Wilson, mentioned squash at least three times in his interview with Gary Lineker. Lineker seems to be holding fort quite nicely in the studio, passing the baton handily between Inverdale, Balding, Humphreys and co. but I'm beginning to think it must be getting quite difficult for him to think of other ways of asking the question: 'So, how does it feel?' to Britain's winning athletes, on his posh sofa. Likewise, it must be becoming even more difficult for these victorious athletes to think of another way of answering this question, other than: 'It was amazing'.
Apart from the dodgy camera angles at the rowing though, and the perpetual repetition of the usual superlatives from some commentators, the apparently recession-dodging BBC are making a decent fist of their Olympic coverage.
Some disappointment tonight on the first day of the cycling: Victoria Pendleton and her partner Jess Varnish were disqualified in the women's team sprint semi final, when Pendleton's front wheel went over the line too early, an eventuality that would sadly repeat itself in the final: later China got round first in the final against Germany, only to have their win rescinded. Pendleton seemed to say in her interview that changeovers were not something they had thought too much about, seen as though they had never had a problem before. And the Chinese girls seemed to react incredulously, as if it was a murky or unwritten rule that had not been clear. Disqualifications like that are not what the Olympics needs, so strict enforcements need to be made to stop this kind of dissatisfying thing happening again. Hoy, Kenny and new boy Philip Hindes stormed to a pulsating win in the men's sprint and brought the roof off the Velodrome.
I watched a little bit of the men's badminton quarters this afternoon, and appreciated the speed and movement of the top eight in an event dominated inevitably by eastern countries.
The evenings are left free for the off beat musings of the incongruous combination of Clare Balding, Ian Thorpe and Mark Foster at the Aquatics Centre. Balding is running the show, bossing the boys about; Foster tries to get a word in whenever he can and ends up saying not that much because of it, and Thorpe...well Thorpe just says 'look' at the beginning of every sentence, as Aussies do, and he can be dramatic and stern but his comments aren't coated with gold dust by any means.
Finished the evening's sporting entertainment watching Lochte and Phelps go head to head in the medley. My message to Phelps: it's time to finish now. Come on pal, stop rubbing it in. We know you are super human by now, you eat 10 fried eggs for breakfast for christ's sake. How many gold medals does one person need? Swimming has far too many medals for their own good. They could divide them up and hand them out equally to the 'inferior' sports: squash, karate and roller sports. We would all be happy then.
Friday 3 August
Before gym this morning it was time for some archery. Being at Lord's cricket ground it was all very prim and proper and English. It sounded like the competition MC was having a bizarre conversation with himself in the background; to the tv viewer it sounded like continuous and informal dialogue rather than commentary. The English lad competing gave it a modicum of interest, but other than that I won't be pressing the red button for any more.
Managed to catch a couple of those ultra-sentimental montages that are becoming a BBC speciality on Princess Jessica over coffee before heading down to London. Saw her run that staggering 100m hurdle race.
Taking three stops on the central line to get to Stratford at 5 o clock on the busiest day of the Olympics was far from fun, and I couldn't help thinking what a terrible way to go being squashed to death on a tube train would be. This was a distinctly unglamorous side of the Olympics. Was it worth it?
Well apart from the circle line, everything else was fairly well ordered, and quite easy to navigate. Lots of pleasant volunteers were on hand to be very nice to everyone and make you feel better after the ordeal of the underground. All in all for such a vast event, not bad I have to say.
Vanessa and I wandered through the park and wondered if I should have brought a few books down to London to sell. I had overlooked the fact that I could have set up a stand and got rid of a few in Olympic Park. Not only could we have sold at least 13 books to all those Rebecca Adlington fans, but when they bought the book, I could have explained what squash was and given Alan Thatcher's back the bid campaign a bit more promotion. Never mind.
Phelps was majestic in the butterfly, and Adlington fought hard for her bronze. And those British crowds and the atmosphere? Simply..amazing!
James' book 'Shot and A Ghost' is available to buy from Willstrop.co.uk, amazon.com or on kindle