(From Guardian Unlimited)
8.34am: Naylor speaks out "Three blondes in a boat" is exactly the mix of infantile talk laced with the promise of tabloid-friendly pictures that the Media can't resist (especially the BBC) - and it's pathetic. Yesterday, when the blokes won in the rowing, it wasn't "four toffs in a boat" was it? Although, obviously, it was.''
Isn't one of them ginger anyway? At least, more browny-russett than blonde. Sorry, I'm being sucked in like the rest of the pro-blonde London media.
Speaking of which, Kenny Reid reckons the BBC is the culprit too. ''Just realised that the BBC is operating a "blondes only" policy for its female Olympic presenters, namely Hazel Irvine, Jill Douglas, Sharon Davies, That Scottish Sailing Woman, Clare Balding and Sue Barker. Why this anti brunette bias?''
8.28am: Morning all. To be honest, my Olympic spirit was flagging somewhat. But a ninth listen to 'Welcome to Beijing' has got me back on track. That, and three Hazelnut coffees (grade 4 in strength, the Guardian machine informs/warns me).Coming up: Medals aplenty in the rowing . And my sources in China tell me Ben Ainslie will finally get his chance to seal gold in the Finn in about 20 minutes time. The wrong kind of rain has been holding it all up in Qingdao.
8.17am: I'm scarpering dept. Thanks for all your emails, ladies and gents, and sorry about any I couldn't use. My sleep-deprived, Olympics-jaded colleague Taimour Lay will be slipping seamlessly into the MBM control pod, to guide you through the next half an hour of... nothing. And then whatever comes after (some British rowing, I'll wager). But keep him company until then, eh. Ciao
8.14am: "Am I the only one finding the 'three blondes in a boat' talkcringeworthy?" queries Peter Hobley, whilst curling his toes and grimacing like someone's put bulldog clips on his nipples. "It's a bit patronising isn't it? Also at the post-victory interview the now non-drowned reporter even said they were 'sexy'! FFS! (I'm not saying they're not, but is it relevant?)" As if the media would ever latch onto an easy label/focus on something as irrelevant as sex, Peter.
8.09am: I think the results of this little stunt are actually quite embarrassing, but anyway, here are the fruits of Andrew Jolly's labours...
"So if you get three points for a Gold, two for a Silver and one for a Bronze the top 10 points by area are:
South KoreaTrinidadJamaicaSlovakiaSwitzerlandArmeniaCzech RepublicSloveniaTEAM GB! GB! GB! Netherlands"
Switzerland?!? They haven't even got bloody Federer to fall back on. And what have Trinidad won so far...?
8.05am: Safina and Dementieva are russian(!) around all over the place on their blue Beijing hard court, and it's 1-1 in the second set. Korea look to be on the brink of the bronze, to the delight of a shrieking crowd.
8.01am: Here's the question, but what's the headline that waggish Alex Pace is referring to? "Will any of the papers be running this headline alongside pictures of our sailing heroes in the rain?" Best guesses please, the winner getting a Beijing 2008 branded toothbrush holder.*
*The winner will not receive a Beijing 2008 branded toothbrush holder.
7.59am: This Table Tennis lark is quite fascinating, appearing akin to trying to land a cricket ball on a postage stamp, for the best part. Ping, pong, pyingyangyong. Korea looking good.
7.56am: Gary Naylor's dystopian view of the post-marathon future for our unlucky-in-26.3-mile-road-race princess: "So what's next for Paula? Given her hair colour, I guess a spot on the BBC team. Failing that, it's reality TV with Lee Sharpe isn't it?"
Two games to one in Korea's favour in the Table Tennis.
7.53am: Shock news from Aus, where most of this morning's correspondents seem to have been based. Andrew Collings is so disgusted with Channel 7's coverage that he has "conceded the remote to allow the girlfriend to watch Will and Grace reruns for a bit". Quel horreur! What next, Andrew? Offering to do the washing up without being nagged? Going to the toilet to pass wind? Once you start making concessions, who knows where it will end...
7.47am: Nope, Safina has closed it out to take the first set, 6-3. Apparently Dementieva has had a bit of a wobbly... not a happy devushku.
7.43am: News digest. Speaking of Korea, they are one game to the good against Japan in the women's Table Tennis bronze medal play-off. Team GB's Nick Dempsey has finished 17th in his RS:X (windsurfing to you and I) race, placing him fourth overall. Bryony Shaw earlier finished sixth in the women's RS:X, leaving her sixth in the standings. Dinara Safina is 5-3 up and serving for the set in the women's tennis final, but Dementieva looks like she might break back...
7.37am: Much discussion on how we can wangle it so that Team GB! GB! GB! (there, I did it) can top the medal table. Andrew Jolly is working on some kind of "annual rainfall/days with no sunshine" coefficient, while both he and Paul Meek reckon the Koreans might outstrip us in the medals per square kilometre stakes.
7.34am: There's a lot of "Olympic spirit" being bandied about on the BBC couch. Liz Yelling has plenty, while Paula Radcliffe can barely run for the OS dripping from her shoulders. Or maybe from the fractured shin, I don't know. If Ben Ainslie's Finn race cannot be completed today, it will be tomorrow, so say the benevolent and watchful powers-that-be.
7.30am: Team GB sailing It's lashing it down in Qingdao where Ainslie is loitering in his boat waiting for the final Finn race to begin. The commentators up in the BBC studio are having a chuckle about the fella out on the water - the one braving pneumonia and a fate with the fishes to deliver a soundbite or two.
7.25am: Squeak, squeak, squeaky, squeak. Gnnnnrh, gnnnnnnnrh, gnnnnrh. Break and break again in the women's tennis. It's 2-2 now, as Safina and Dementieva's grunts echo around the empty gym hall.
7.21am: Qiu Jian takes gold for China in the men's 50m rifle. Ukraine and Slovenia take silver and bronze respectively. That's 28 gold medals for the host nation, who can probably open a bank or two on the back of their haul.
7.19am: Alex Pace tosses out a suggestion for putting GB top of the medal table, although I have no idea how much weight to give it... "How about medals to geographical land mass -- surely we'd be top, surely." Surely?
Safina is broken by Dementieva in her first service game. 2-0
7.16am: Usain Bolt has just run 9.69sec in the 100m!!! Oh, wait a mo, it's a dang repeat. Ben Ainslie's parade to GOLD out on the waves has been delayed again. They've lost the wind, or it's blowing backwards, or something.
7.12am: Hot blondes talk. "The doom-mongers …