A Mothers Day Letter

Mammy at 65
Mammy

Dear Mammy,

It’s Mother’s Day and you are not here to receive a gift or card. So I thought I’d write you a letter as I have so much I want to say. I’ve put the last good photo of you as a stamp on this so the angels know who to deliver it too. And I’ve enclosed some others as well since I have your photo album here. Some pictures you won’t have seen before. Remember how Granny Bowes used to write letters with no punctuation except for the odd full stop!! Well for ease of reading I’m putting this into “bite-size” chunks so you can read bits when you have time ok.

All The Adults From My Childhood

Of course I’m sure since you left me and Paul, you’ve been surrounded by the menagerie of pets from over the years, and have hooked up with all the folk I knew as a wee girl. You were always at Granny Bowes’ house taking care of things, or running messages for Jim & Cathy Bryce at no. 12, or keeping Nellie Neill company whilst I played with her grandson. Say a big hello to all of them for me. And of course big hugs to Granny, Uncle Harry and Aunty Maggie. Sorry I know I should include Uncle Allan but I was never overly keen on him, too much like Dad I’m afraid. Sadly Granny, Jim, Cathy and Nellie were all gone from my life by the time I was around eight. Then my wee pal Craig Twaddle from Cleland Primary moved to Preston in October 79. I never got to say a proper goodbye to him, I’d to get to the house and make sure the Prudential man was paid. I cried all the way home that day, and a shutter went down in my young mind. Everyone was gone more or less, and I vowed I would never hurt like this again. That barrier stayed with me until I was well into my twenties. I don’t think you had any idea.

Me and Granny
Me and Granny

Uncle Harry

I only met him for a short time when I was about four. Having gone to Australia on a £10 ticket around late 50’s/early 60’s he was far away. Mind you out of sight was not out of mind as far as you were concerned. When commercial radio began in about 73/74 regular requests were sent to Radio Clyde for Harry’s birthday. It was my responsibility (aged 3+) to listen to the Frank Skerritt and Sydney Devine shows and record the requests onto tape, as a gift for the big day. Is it any wonder I feel most comfortable with a pair of headphones on, messing about with music? It was ideal preparation for my volunteering at Hospital Radio Leighton and in January I completed ten years there, can you imagine! Regular airmail letters were sent to Australia as well, and you got me into writing letters too. The joy of pen pals came easily when I was a teenager as a result.

Harry
Harry

Extended Family

Up until I started high school you took me to see my locally based cousins every Saturday. We would visit your two sisters and Dad’s two brothers on alternate weeks. But as bus fares rose, and you began to realise that most of them all had car access, you stopped making the effort. This meant that when Paul was born (I was 15 ½) he never knew any of them, with the exception of Aunty Maggie. At your funeral I had to scratch my head trying to identify the handful of relatives in attendance, poor Paul hadn’t a clue. Suffice to say both Paul and I could walk past any of the clan in Lanarkshire and make no connection. They would probably stop us though, I have your face and Paul has Dad’s, a bit of a Bowes/McCully giveaway. Not surprising then I view the concept of family as a curious notion, I consider the people I call friends as family instead.
Both Paul and I grew up in a house where the past was ever present, and the present didn’t matter. No matter what was happening NOW you would brush it off and talk about something from years back, with “oor so and so done that or went there”. Rob’s mother is 93 now and reads her diaries to keep hold of the past. But you lived the past your whole life. You were old before your time, and you made me old before mine, as I was your main confidante for all your worries and woes. When I went to Keele I had to fill in the Grand Canyon chips on my shoulders inherited from you and Dad. And I had to try very hard to find the person inside I thought I could be, because I didn’t know who that was.

Paul

Paul is doing well at college now and is engaged to a lovely lass called Kerry. You were there in spirit at the engagement though, because Kerry has your engagement ring. I can just hear you muttering

“whit’s guid enough fur Prince William and Kate, is guid enough fur ma laddie and Kerry”

kerry Kerry took this picture in November last year. Yes, you can take a picture of yourself (called a selfie) with a phone these days!!! A long way away from the days of sending “spools to get developed”. Kerry is studying beauty therapy at college, and has a black-belt in tae-kwon-do that funny sounding martial art. So Paul knows to behave himself ha ha. You always hoped you would see Paul reach the age of 21, and you managed it with ten months to spare. I know you’d be very proud of Paul and Kerry making a go of it, and trying to better themselves with college. But I feel with me it was a different matter.

Paul at 21
Paul at 21

Conflicting Messages

You always told me not to be like you and stick in at school. Yet when I showed myself to be a natural kind of scholar, you seemed threatened somehow. At high school I was virtually thrown out of the house to attend my only prize giving. But you refused to speak to me for a year when I went to university. Through the whole course at Keele University you would not entertain the merest conversation about it. When I told you I’d graduated your exact words were

“so this stupid malarkey is over with is it. Not that it matters getting a degree, but at least you got a guid man oot it”.

A word of congratulations would have been nice, or a well done, but there was no chance of that! I shouldn’t have been surprised though because having uttered the words “oonyverity” aged three you said to Granny

“if it wisnae fur his temper and ma ears, I’d swear the hosepital gave me the wrang wein”

Clearly we were on a different paths altogether. But considering you never got so much as an ounce of encouragement yourself, from family or in your marriage, I can easily understand you not being able to fully encourage me. The support and encouragement I desperately needed came from Archie & Agnes in the church, and my old school teachers Mrs Pender, Mrs Mitchell and particularly Mr Brown. I suspect if you’ve met Mr Brown up in heaven you gave him a rollicking for giving me fancy ideas, poor guy. And I know you won’t like me saying this, but Archie and Mr Brown were the main male role models in my formative years. Although I only knew them from a distance, they were the ones I seen the most of growing up.

Educating Angela
Educating Angela

 Bingo & Horse Racing

 I distinctly remember you playing bingo from Radio Luxemburg, you telling tales of going to bingo by water bus in Malta, and prize bingo in Cleland in the Old Folks Hall. So I’m presuming you have found the heavenly bingo hall by now. Remember how you had a big cash win the night Torvill & Dean won their Olympic Gold medal. It meant I celebrated the occasion with a battered sausage and chips supper you brought back that night. I bet you were surprised when I got to be a bit of an Olympian myself in 2012. No I never suddenly gained an ounce of natural sporting ability, but I was a volunteer for London 2012, so I enclose a snap of me in my uniform for you to look at.

olympic volunteerYou also enjoyed a wee flutter on the horses too, just a few pence but you enjoyed the thrill. If there is a Grand National from the ghosts of yester year where you are, Red Rum my first sporting hero will always be my number one choice. Not that I’ve ever put a bet on, I don’t know how, you made sure of that. You always feared there was a potential rouge gambling gene in my DNA from Dad, so you ensured its traits would never come to light. But it was definitely your influence that brought me to be a horse racing pundit for a friends sport website. Bissom!

Home Alone

Dad, a merchant seaman was away a lot of the time, thank goodness. Because when he was home it was rarely good, him being a heavy drinker and a bad gambler didn’t make life easy. You worked 2/3 part time jobs just to make ends meet. So after Granny died when I was six I became my own baby sitter, with the family pets, radio and TV and my teddies for company. I got to be self reliant and that’s probably why I don’t particularly feel alone in my own company. When Paul was born, you were much older and less able to go out to work. So you were always around for him, and I think that’s why he needs company about to quell feelings of loneliness.

My teddies (and a few dolls) are VERY IMPORTANT to me; each one has a place, person or event associated with them; and there are over seventy now. You unceremoniously put my first teddy in the bin one day when I was at school. The violent reaction you encountered from me at this discovery, guaranteed you never made that mistake again!! Is Teddy receiving some better care in heaven, and does Granny look after wee Tommy doll? Tommy was the twin brother of wee Betty that Granny bought for my second birthday. When I went through the house after you passed away, I found Betty but not Tommy. I have a feeling he succumbed to an attack from Brandy the dog. There were only two places I never explored, the loft and the boiler cupboard in Paul’s room. Anyway, Betty is comfortable with me at Keele and we accept her brother alas is long gone. Here is a picture of Betty, Colin the Koala (Uncle Harry), Goldie (Aunty Maggie) and Agnes the rabbit named after you. I took this little one from your room at Ravenscourt, and she reminds me of you very much. Her pale colouring, feisty and opinionated character and her dainty mouth and pink nose are all you. I know, I know, you didn’t have a pink nose, but Dad described you as having a Miss Prim mouth and pug nose.

kidz
Goldie, Betty, Agnes and Colin

Today

 So how do things stand today I hear you wonder. Well Paul is nearly finished college, and still lives in Tinto Way, so a McCully has been resident in that house since it was built about 46 years ago. I think Ravenscourt Nursing Home is still there, although it went through some difficulty as the company running it had finance problems. It was the place you called home for your last years, and I’m grateful to them for giving you a quality of life you sadly were lacking. Rob and I still live in the flat at Keele and will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in April. Rob still works in the department, plays trombone and is always dashing about. He is a very good man who adores me and I love him to bits.

me and rob Rob and I in London last week (another selfie)

Your stroke meant that when you died you were not the woman I had grown up with, but a younger version of yourself before the cares of the world ground you down. Granny was never able to express any love toward you, but you made sure that Paul and I knew we were loved very much. As I glance in the mirror the woman I see before me is you, as the chin develops and the hair becomes ever whiter. You are never far away in my thoughts and please remember…

I love you

 

Off the Beaten Track: 1

My blog is called Angies Allsorts for a reason, because my interests tend to naturally gravitate toward lots of subject areas, the more obscure the better. I have a hospital radio show with the same name, as I like to try and play a blend of music that would satisfy most peoples’ tastes. It’s rather like the saying from Forrest Gump “just like a box of chocolates, a little something for everyone”. My “Off the Beaten Track” theme will dip into subject areas that have caught my attention recently, but may not have made a huge impact on the mainstream news. This week I look at science imagery, engineering, sport (diving, football, figure skating) and name games.

Congo Engineering Helps Control Traffic Congestion

Kinshasa, the capital of The Democratic Republic of Congo, suffers like many other cities from overly congested road networks. However, thanks to the innovation of Congolese engineer Therese Izay things are set to improve. Izay has developed two traffic robots which tower over the busiest intersections of the capital. Immune to bribery; which the local human traffic police have been accused of; the robots are able to report traffic violations back to a central computer system. The robot has red lights situated within its huge body and green lights on its arms which can extend. Turning to face each junction in turn the robot can ensure both pedestrians and drivers can traverse safely. Therese Izay runs a women’s technology cooperative to promote women’s engineering and hopes that her innovative idea may be taken up by other African nations and beyond. It is both a brilliant and yet simple idea, to a perplexing problem suffered throughout the world. This story (seen on Aljazeera) made me smile and think “just genius”.

Scientific Photo Exhibition

Listening to Radio 5 I was very happy to hear that this year’s Wellcome Image Awards will be exhibited in four major science museums in Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester and Cardiff. Eighteen fantastic images depicting a world normally unseen by the human eye can now be viewed thanks to the innovation of scientific imaging techniques. The images are also displayed in the window of the Wellcome Trust Headquarters in London, and I went to see them specially and was not disappointed.

Technology Helps Shoppers

Clifton Village Stores near Ashbourne in Derbyshire is a convenience shop with a difference, it’s a vending machine situated in the car park of the Cock Inn pub. The only grocery shop in Clifton closed over twelve years ago and until now villagers had to travel to the nearest town for everyday essentials. With little or no bus service in the area, unless you had access to a car, residents had a long walk, or had to do without. Now villagers can buy everyday essentials; (stocked with around 80 varieties of goods); in the same way as you would buy a coffee at a vending machine. Everything from toilet rolls, dog food, teabags, beans, eggs, bacon etc can be sourced from the machine. Just pop your money in, tap in the requisite food code and your item will be dispensed using a “soft edged” technology retrieval system, to ensure even the most delicate of items remain in pristine condition. The machine can email suppliers when stock items get low, thus ensuring a reliable and fresh stock supply is always available. I literally just caught the tail end of this story on a BBC Midlands broadcast and thought what an innovative and useful concept it was.

Sport

Whilst in a coffee shop on St Patrick’s Day, I picked up a newspaper sport section to glance through. It was mainly filled with football matters (about 75%) with the Liverpool 3-0 win over Man Utd, and the Tottenham/Arsenal derby the big features. Then rugby followed as the weekend had seen the conclusion to the six nations tournament, and the new F1 racing season had a write up along with the T20 cricket news. Any other sports were relegated to the last page, and had little more than a paragraph at best each. Though not surprised by this I was a little disappointed, for although I love my football, I get rather fed up with the same thing being forensically examined wherever I look. Other things do happen in the sporting world, and other sports do exist, though we only seem to see them on mainstream TV during the Olympics/Commonwealth Games. So what’s happened recently which I feel should get a bit of acknowledgement.

Diving: Matty Lee and Daniel Goodfellow at the tender ages of 16 and 17 respectively won their first senior medal in competition, securing a Bronze in the 10m synchronised diving event in Beijing. A second FINA Diving World Series Bronze medal was secured in Dubai and the guys got the most points in the contest (80.64) with an inward 3 ½ somersault dive. Tom Daley also won a solo Bronze in Beijing but came 4th in Dubai narrowly missing another medal.

Football: Robin Van Persie suffered a sprained knee after the European game at Old Trafford where he scored a hat-trick against Olympiakos. He looks to be out of action for 4-6 weeks, and the injury made the news on radio, TV and the papers. His recovery will undoubtedly be helped by his clubs access to the best medical facilities and experts in the game worldwide. However, I read this week about a young man who suffered a horrific injury playing football, who will probably recover with the help of the best that the British NHS facilities can provide. Playing in the Calor League Southern Premier Division Chippenham’s midfielder Rob Dean took to the pitch on Tuesday 18th March to play against Hungerford. With about half an hour on the clock Rob endured a terrible tackle, which resulted in him suffering a fully dislocated right knee and a twisted tibia. It looks like he will require total reconstructive surgery, and just reading about his injuries made me feel a bit queasy. Rob Dean required paramedic attention for around 45 minutes on the pitch before being taken to hospital, and the referee rightly abandoned the game.

Figure Skating: The World Championships begin in Japan on March 26th, and I had to trawl through the internet for web page articles, to find out what was going on. Several big names with Olympic medals will NOT be in Japan including: Ice Dance couple Davis & White (US) and Virtue & Moir (Can), Men’s Patrick Chan (Can) and Women’s Kim Yuna (South Korea) and Adelina Sotnikova (Russia), Pairs Volosozhar & Trankov (Russia). Some exclusions have been by personal choice as Chan and the American/Canadian couples decided not to compete, whilst Kim Yuna retired after her last routine in Sochi. But unusually the Russian medal winners have only been named as substitutes for their country, and so will only compete at the World Championships if an injury occurs to the first choices in their discipline. In the Men’s discipline one of Canadian participants Nam Nguyen has just been crowned World Junior Men’s Champion, although he is unlikely to pose a major threat to the hot favourite Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan). For the Women’s event the Italian Carolina Kostner Olympic Bronze medallist is probably the highest ranking, but it will be interesting to see what European Champion Julia Lipnitskaia (Russia) and US skater Gracie Gold can do. With so many of the dominant “big-names” being missing there could well be some interesting results, even perhaps involving the British Ice Dance couple Coomes & Buckland, who won Bronze in the Europeans. During the Olympics the judging found fault with their compulsory dance routine and they were heavily penalised, both in the team and individual events. Yet it was the same routine that helped win them a Bronze in the Europeans! So who knows what might happen, but I shall be keeping up with the Figure Skating World Championship news on the web.

Name Game

Race horses a lot of the time can have some peculiar names, but occasionally you can see the inspiration behind them, and so it was when I came across FiftyShadesOfHay.

In the Torino v Livorno match over the weekend a hat trick was scored by Ciro Immobile to secure a 3-1 win for Torino. This made Immobile the top scorer in Serie A on Saturday and so clearly there is nothing wrong with his mobility in front of goal!!

Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward: Gielgud Theatre

On Saturday March 8th 2014 I took my seat in a packed auditorium to see my first Coward play. The attraction which had drawn me (and my husband) to the West End was Angela Lansbury who was playing Madame Arcati. Most probably that was the reason many were there as well. As the lights went down a hush descended and the action began. When Dame Angela Lansbury first appeared the audience broke into spontaneous applause.

The Condomine’s Charles and Ruth have arranged a dinner party with friends Dr & Mrs Bradman and the medium Madame Arcati. After dinner Madame Arcati would perform a seance and thus it was hoped , would provide Charles with character material for his next  book. Neither the Condomine’s or Bradman’s believed in Madame Arcati’s abilities, and after the proceedings finished both the Condomine’s and Bradman’s ( especially the women) dissolved into fits of laughter. Madame had been a spectacular failure they thought, but had she, as clearly something had happened. It was Charles faced with the apparition of his first wife Elvira who realised that “contact with the other side” had happened spectacularly. The remainder of the play and its humour relied on the interjections between Charles, his dead wife Elvira and his second wife Ruth. With three way conversations going on, but only two living people being seen, much confusion and hilarity ensued.

Finally convinced that  the Elvira (played by the wonderful Jemima Rooper) ethereal existence was only too real , Ruth sought out the help of Madame Arcati to get rid of her rival. However when Madame expressed how difficult that task may be, Ruth showed her disdain to the medium and Madame stormed off. With the clear realisation that Elvira wanted Charles dead so she could be with him forever, Ruth went out to seek help from the local vicar. Before she could summon that help Ruth perished in a car accident, which should have involved Charles instead. Now there were two dead wives to haunt Mr Condomine, and Ruth could torment Elvira to her hearts content.

Eventually Elvira begged Charles to get Madame Arcati to send her back to where she had come from. This time Madame came prepared with a special spell, but no matter how many times she cast it, nothing worked. Obviously another psychic medium was involved and had summoned the dead women during the seance. It transpired that the maid Edith was unwittingly responsible, and with her help Madame Arcati returned both women to the afterlife. At  the end Charles agreed with Madame that going away for a time would be best. As he dressed to leave his home, he mockingly taunted both his wives ghosts as they wrecked havoc on the house.

The play was very funny considering the subject matter and the cast were superb. As they took their bows an appreciative audience clapped loudly and Dame Angela Lansbury got a unanimous standing ovation. Bravo maestro.

Limited season with previews from March 1st. Booking until June 7th.

SOCHI REFLECTIONS

There was far too much sports action going on to keep track of all that was happening. However ten days after the games finished in Sochi, some results and events have obviously made more of an impact on me than others. Here are some of my recollections:-

OLYMPIC RECORD for GB WOMEN’S CURLING TEAM (Bronze Winners)

Eve Muirhead’s team made Olympic history in their 2nd round robin match against the USA. They won this game 12-3 in 6 ends after securing an amazing 7 points in one end. Previously the best score in a single end was six.

MULTIPLE WORLD RECORD’S IN FIGURE SKATING

Pairs Short: Volosohar & Trankov (RUS) 84.17                Men’s Short: Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) 101.45

Ice-Dance Short: Davis & White (USA) 78.89                   Ice-Dance Total: Davis & White (USA) 195.52

Ice-Dance Free: Davis & White (USA 116.63

MOST SUCCESSFUL WINTER OLYMPIAN

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen going into the Sochi Games had 11 Winter Olympic medals (inc. 6 Golds) from 5 previous games. Participating in the gruelling sport of BIATHLON he hoped to equal or better the record of fellow Norwegian Bjorn Daehlie (total 12/8 of them Gold). BJOERNDALEN in his sixth consecutive games succeeded in bettering his countryman’s record by winning Gold in 10km Sprint Biathlon and Gold in the Biathlon Mixed Relay. His tally now reads 13 winter medals/8 of them Gold.

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

Justine Dufour-Lapointe secured Gold (youngest freestyle ski gold) for Canada in the Women’s Moguls ahead of her older sister Chloe who took Silver. Another sister Maxime also took part in the event finishing 12th.

A husband and wife team won Gold and Bronze respectively for Russia in races that took place within minutes of each other. American born Vic Wild won Gold for his adopted country in the Men’s Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom, while his Russian wife Alena Zavarzina took Bronze in the Women’s event.

In the Men’s 500m Speed Skate the Netherlands Michel Mulder took Gold while his twin brother Ronald Mulder secured the Bronze. Another Dutchman took Silver making it 1-2-3 for the Netherlands.

WOMEN FINALLY GET TO SKI JUMP

At long last Women were allowed to participate in a Ski Jump event and competed on the Normal Hill. An analysis of the men’s and women’s results for the same hill made interesting reading. In the final round from a field of 31 men only 7 jumped 100m or more whilst 4 women out of 30 achieved the same result. But the longest actual distance jumped was 104.5m by Women’s Silver medallist Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria, whilst Kamil Stoch of Poland cleared 103.5m to earn the Men’s Gold for Poland. Of course points from earlier rounds are carried forward and style marks make an impact on the final result as well. But it’s intriguing to compare the two together for fun. Women didn’t take part in the Large Hill or Team events.

HOW A MATTER OF SECONDS/CENTIMETRES CAN CHANGE A RESULT BRINGING ECSTASY OR HEARTACHE

In the Women’s Ice-Hockey final between the USA and Canada, the American’s were 2-1 up with just over a minute to go in regular time. The USA had an open goal at their mercy but the puck hit off the right goalpost. The Canadians scooped up the loose puck, thumped it up field and promptly scored, equalising the game with only 54 Seconds on the clock. The game went into overtime and a golden goal situation. Canada won 3-2 with the player who had scored the equaliser taking the winning shot.

Lizzy Yarnold won Gold for GB in the Women’s Skeleton event by 0.97s. Third and Fourth place were separated by only 0.04s, the difference between a medal and nothing.

GB Short Track Speed Skater Elise Christie had to endure heartbreak in 3 events in Sochi. Looking in fine form she reached the 500m Short Track final but took a tumble with two other skaters. Only the Chinese girl was left unhindered and went on to take an easy Gold. Christie and the others picked themselves up and finished the race with Elise looking to have won Silver. However, she was disqualified for having caused the early race fall. In a second event the 1500m a wary Elise apparently eased into a final spot, crossing the line in a virtual photo-finish. But her skate passed 1cm outside the 1.5m finishing line and she was deemed not to have finished! With a few days to get over her obvious disappointments, Elise Christie harnessing all that untapped potential took part in her favoured event the 1000m. In the semi-finals Elise skated conservatively until almost the end when she moved deftly into a second place spot, only to crash out after a Chinese girl fell and took Elise out. To the commentators surprise Elise was not advanced to the final but penalised along with the Chinese athlete, thus being prevented from even taking part in the B Final.

Japan ski jumper Noriaki Kasai (age 41) won an amazing individual Silver medal in the Large Hill event, and a Bronze team medal on the same hill. Kasai appearing in his 7th consecutive winter games just missed securing gold by 1.3 points (about 75/80cm), which isn’t much when you consider the hill jump category, was 140 metres. Interestingly a ski-jumper is only allowed a minimal amount of bagginess in their clothing (up to 6cm), anymore and they are disqualified for having an unfair “lift” advantage.

INCREDIBLE PHOTO-FINISHES

I was riveted by the Men’s 15km Mass Start Biathlon Final which literally went to the line. Norway’s Emil Helge Svendsen with the line in sight threw up his hands in delight at winning Gold. He was completely unaware that Frenchman Martin Fourcade (looking for a hat-trick of Gold medals in Sochi) was coming up the home straight like an express train. He lunged a ski out as he crossed the line alongside Svendsen. A photo-finish showed that both men posted a time of 42m 29.1s but the ankle of Svendson had crossed the line first with the toe of Fourcade behind.

GB’s snowboarder Zoe Gillings missed out on a place in the main final by the narrowest of margins. In her Women’s Snowboard Cross Semi-final all four racers were involved in photo finishes. Canada’s Maltais was judged 1st alongside Bulgaria’s Jekova whilst Moili took 3rd to Gillings 4th. None of the four athletes were upright when they finished, instead all of them flung their outstretched bodies over the line. Only the first three went into the proper final.

In the first quarter-final of the Men’s Ski Cross only one of the four participants crossed the line standing on their skis. Literally feet away from the finishing line, the two leaders crashed followed by the fourth placed guy as well. The Swiss skier Armin Nieder; (third placed during the falls); negotiated around everyone to cross the line first, whilst the others all skidded toward the finish. Russian Egor Korotkov (travelling head first) stretched his arms out full length to break the line in second place, ensuring qualification for the semis.

1-2-3 for ONE NATION

In the Speed Skating events the NETHERLANDS dominated the results and had a clean sweep of the podium in the Women’s 1500m & Men’s 5000m and 500m finals. In fact in the Women’s 1500m it was the first time in Winter Olympic history the top four positions were taken by one country.

In the Olympic debut event of Men’s Ski Slopestyle Team USA swept the podium. Joss Christensen took Gold ahead of his team mates Gus Kenworthy and Nicholas Goepper. Only twice before (56-Men’s figure skating & 2002 Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe) have the USA dominated in this way.

FRANCE (for only the second time ever in their Winter Olympic history) filled the podium in the Men’s Ski Cross event. Jean Frederic Chapuis won Gold, Arnaud Bovolenta took Silver and Jonathan Midol slid over the line on his bottom to secure Bronze. After the event a protest was lodged by Canada & Slovenia against the results, as they felt Team France had violated the dress code using “baggier” clothing. This would have given them potentially more aero-dynamic runs, but the results stand.

In the Women’s 30 km Mass Start Cross Country (Free) event NORWAY filled the podium when Marit Bjoergen won Gold equalling the all time record for a Female Winter Olympian. It was her tenth medal in total with 6 being Gold, and Sochi brought 3 of them.

In the Men’s 50km Mass Start Cross Country (Free) event RUSSIA filled the podium with Alexander Legkov securing Gold and his fellow team-mates Maxim Vylegzhanin winning Silver and Ilia Chernousov Bronze.

SOCHI A GLOBAL PHENOMENA

The Sochi games have by far been the most extensively covered Winter Olympics of all time. Around 240 TV channels worldwide covered the last games from Vancouver, this time it was believed to be 464. Together with online footage being available, websites, apps and other digital platforms such as social media offering opinions on all the action, it was a global sensation.

The Ladies Figure Skating Individual Gold medal was won by Russia with the much fancied South Korean taking Silver. Consternation at this outcome went worldwide, and within 24 hours of the final result being announced 1.74 million signatories were on a petition demanding an inquiry.

Unfortunately not all social media interactions are supportive of the athletes. Elise Christie closed her Twitter account having suffered online bullying after her first event.

A spoof video of a “wolf roaming through the athlete’s accommodation” went viral after being posted on the web. The footage was supposedly shot by a Team USA luger Kate Hansen in Sochi. However the video was filmed in the ABC studios and was the brain-child of American comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

OUT OF THIS WORLD

I read a report on the BBC that medal winners on the 15th of February would have a medal with a difference. On this date last year news reports around the world showed the Chelyabinsk meteorite streaking across Russian skies. It ended its journey in the Russian lake known as Chebarkul, and the meteorite was recovered from there in October 2013. The ten Gold medallists from the anniversary date will receive an additional medal embedded with small fragments of the “out of this world space rock”.