|Opening Ceremony "an embarrassment"|
After promising the world an Arcadian idyll, Danny Boyle's vision of dystopian London proved a huge letdown last night. Viewers worldwide watched open-mouthed as a man dressed as Queen Victoria performed skateboard tricks during the lengthy scenery reshuffles. It was left to Mayor Boris Johnson to raise the tone later in the evening by cycling around the arena on a pushbike. "I was at least expecting Henry VIII and Sherlock Holmes" said Jean Sharples, a tourist information officer from Totnes. "Instead we got NHS nurses pushing trolleys and a bunch of kids singing rap poetry. It made me ashamed to be British..."
Gridlock shuts down the capital
For the fifth day running, London's road network has ground to a halt under relentless pressure from Games Lane traffic. While Olympic bigwigs and company sponsors have been swanning round town in their private BMWs, less important Londoners have been paying the price. "I've been on this bus since Wednesday," said Bert Jenkins from Bethnal Green, "and we haven't moved an inch." Others were less fortunate. Sally Lemarie went into labour in Woolwich High Street yesterday afternoon, but the ambulance couldn't get through and she was forced to give birth in a carpet showroom...
Young hopeful crashes and burns
There were shocks and tears when Olympic medal hope Amy Patel crashed out of the Games in her preliminary round. For five years newspapers have been saying how talented she is, and how pretty she looks, and how much she's looking forward to definitely winning something. And then, in the very first round, she only managed a disappointing fifteenth place and was eliminated. Years of Lottery money which could have gone on something worthwhile, like homes for retired guide dogs, have been wholly and utterly wasted. MP Stephen McFarlane has already announced plans for a Private Members Bill to make failed Team GB athletes pay back the nation's investment in twelve monthly instalments...
Search continues for listeria source
A fifth spectator is in hospital following an outbreak of food poisoning at the Olympic Park. The first victim, an adorable seven year old girl called Kirsty, is still in intensive care at Whipps Cross Hospital. "We only gave her a hamburger," said mother Cherry-Rae Burton. "They made us throw away our sandwiches at the gate." Olympic officials have so far refused to name the restaurant chain at the source of the outbreak...
Terrorist alert sparks E20 shutdown
A large part of East London was cordoned off this afternoon following a bomb scare in a sideroad near the Olympic Park. Police sealed off Gibbins Road in Stratford and sent in a squad of sniffer dogs to inspect a suspicious package. Spectators had to be evacuated from the Aquatic Centre while the investigation continued, and a medal ceremony was disrupted. The cause of the chaos was eventually traced down to a binbag left on the pavement by pensioner Arfur Zvitninski. "I thought it was Wednesday," he said, "but apparently this week Wednesday was on Tuesday..."
| ||Putney family misses Olympic event|
"We were so looking forward to going to the diving," mother of three Sharon Bentwaters told journalists today. "We missed out in the ballot, but my husband managed to get some £450 tickets off someone at work. The girls were so excited. We thought it would only take an hour to get there, but we don't know East London very well, and there weren't any taxis. The trains were absolutely packed, and we ended up having to walk the last bit. Then when we got to security there were long queues, and by the time we'd hiked all the way across the park they wouldn't let us in. Tom Daley had to dive in without us. The girls were so disappointed..."
Washout fortnight continues
As rain stopped play at the Olympics yet again yesterday, the backlog of postponed events grows ever longer. The rowing lake near Windsor has disappeared after the Thames burst its banks. Officials confirmed that part of the BMX course has collapsed, and may not be rebuilt before Monday's delayed Closing Ceremony. If the Olympic Stadium can be pumped out, the men's 100m final will now take place at 1am during a specially extended late night session. Meanwhile spectators in wellington boots in Hyde Park told the BBC's Fearne Cotton that the heavy rain hadn't dampened their spirits...
Weymouth disappears off media radar
The Mayor of Weymouth, Sir Nigel Hatchett, today accused the media of ignoring his town in favour of coverage of events in London. "We're holding the biggest sailing competition in the world," he said, "and yet the BBC insists on screening a endless diet of running, swimming and cycling. I'm tired of Weymouth's Olympic regatta only being on Red Button 6, when this is in fact the greatest fortnight in our town's history. We are an island nation! Even the bloody taekwondo has received more publicity than we've had." A BBC spokesman replied that the Antiques Roadshow would be coming to the southwest later in the year to redress the balance...
Benefit scroungers caught on camera
Police have arrested a group of unemployed males from Ponders End after they were spotted on television in the crowd at the Velodrome. "I couldn't believe it when I saw them," said neighbour Ivy Trudge. "They should be looking for work, or down at the benefit office signing on. But there they were watching the cycling, squandering my hard-earned pension, bold as brass. So I rang 999 straight away. I don't see why we should pay for these people to have a good time, it's a matter of fairness..."
Nation celebrates successful Games
As the Olympic fortnight draws to a close, officials will look back with great pride at a successful, well-organised Games. It rained a bit. A train broke down. Someone fluffed their lines in the Opening Ceremony. There were a few empty seats at the volleyball. We're only ninth in the medal table. But overall it's been a triumph, a time of celebration, showcasing everything that Britain does best to the wider world. "It's been far more than we could have hoped for," said Seb Coe, "and I'd like to pay tribute to everyone who made it happen..."