London Spy

  • Sport guide: Volleyball

    OVERVIEW:

    Volleyball was introduced to the Olympics for both men and women in 1964. It is played by teams of six on an indoor court measuring 18m x 9m, with a net 2.43m high for men and
    2.24m high for women.

    Each team is allowed to touch the ball three times before it has to cross the net. The object is to make the ball hit the ground in your opponent's half of the court, or to make your opponent hit the ball out.

    Typically the players will use the first and second touches to set up an attempt to score by hitting the ball powerfully to try and ground it in the opponent's half of the

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  • eBay sprinter wins Olympic spot

    James EllingtonThe British sprinter who put himself up for auction on eBay to fund his Olympic dream has won a spot at London 2012.

    James Ellington won the 200m at the British Olympic athletics trials in Birmingham to earn himself a place at the Games.

    His time of 20.56 seconds saw him win the final ahead of fellow qualifier Christian Malcolm. Ellington had already surpassed the Olympic A qualifying standard (of 20.55) so he is guaranteed a spot when the 200m heats get under way on August 7.

    "I was a bit nervous after the heat but I knew if I kept my head and came off the bend in contention, I should be

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  • Olympic history: Athens 2004

    Miffed at having missed out in 1996, Greece welcomed the Games back to Athens in 2004.

    The nation that gave us the marathon ended up relying on a sprint finish to complete construction of the stadia and facilities, and at times there were fears that they wouldn't get over the line at all.

    But Greece silenced the doubters and even managed to inject an element of farce into what was arguably the biggest controversy of these Games. The Greek sprinters, Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, withdrew from their events after staging a motorcycle accident in an attempt to cover their tracks after

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  • What happened next? Antonio Rebollo

    Antonio Rebello at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens

    The opening ceremony of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona will be forever recalled for Antonio Rebollo, a Spanish paralympic archer, planting a flaming arrow into a darkened sky from some distance to light the Olympic Flame. Or so it seemed.

    An estimated two billion people watching on television across the globe were left gasping in awe as the archer launched an arrow into the middle of a cauldron with unwavering accuracy and nerve. In truth, Rebello had drilled the arrow outside of the stadium under instruction from organisers worried that he would fluff his lines by missing the mark.

    In

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  • Williams crosses line at 2011 60m World IndoorsJodie Williams is arguably the brightest young prospect in British track and field.

    The 18-year-old has been described by Charles van Commenee, the head coach of UK Athletics, as "the sort of athlete every country is waiting for". Her coach, former Olympic sprinter Mike McFarlane, believes she is capable of reaching the finals of both the 100 metres and 200m in London.

    Williams' achievements in her short career so far are nothing short of sensational. She won her first 151 consecutive outdoor races, a run lasting five years, and has already amassed an impressive array of international gold

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  • Sport guide: Triathlon

    OVERVIEW:

    Introduced for men and women from 2000, the triathlon is the most open of Olympic events. No nation has won more than one gold medal. Only Australia have won more than one silver and Switzerland more than one bronze.

    The Swiss took first and third when the sport made its debut at Sydney, with gold medallist Brigitte McMahon and bronze-placed Magali Messmer separated by home favourite Michellie Jones.

    Australia shone in subsequent events with silver for Loretta Harrop behind Austria's Kate Allen in 2004, followed by gold and bronze respectively for Emma Snowsill (pictured) - who

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  • Olympic history: Sydney 2000

    Cathy Freeman celebrates with the Australian and aboriginal flags

    Australia wheeled out some of their all-time Olympic heroes for the Millennium Games and also provided two of the stars of the modern era.

    Betty Cuthbert, Shirley Strickland, Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould were among the competitors who helped celebrate 100 years of the involvement of women in Games events, before Cathy Freeman lit the flame.

    Freeman also brought the host nation to its feet with victory in the 400 metres, improving on her silver in Atlanta four years previously. It was Australia's only athletics gold medal, but they enjoyed greater success in the pool, with Ian Thorpe leading

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  • Image of Ennis painted on Heathrow flight path

    Ennis painted on flight path (British Airways)

    British Airways has painted a huge image of British Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis under the Heathrow flight path in a remarkable publicity stunt.

    Reportedly created to remind overseas athletes of Team GB's home advantage, the airline has produced the giant image of Ennis with the aim of sparking a Twitter buzz via a #homeadvantage hashtag.

    The giant image of the heptathlete, which is the size of 15 tennis courts, includes the words "welcome to our turf".

    The campaign is also aimed at welcoming home Team GB and ParalympicsGB supporters as the airline estimates 50,000 ex-pats will return to

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  • Where are they now? Park Si-Hun

    Seoul's 'ring of controversy'

    Many Olympic competitors illuminate an event with their distinguished performances, but few spark a complete transformation of the rules.

    Park Si-Hun's victory in the light middleweight division at the Seoul Games of 1988 was not just controversial, it was truly impugnable.

    The South Korean boxer took the gold medal following a highly disputed 3-2 decision in the final against much-fancied American Roy Jones Jr., and the fight will forever go down as one of the biggest travesties in Games history.

    Jones cruised into the showpiece bout in Seoul and was one of the USA's top medal hopes and

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  • British medal hopes: Sir Chris Hoy (cycling)

    Hoy: So good, they made him a Knight of the RealmSir Chris Hoy, who at the Beijing Games became the first Briton to win three gold medals in a single Olympics for 100 years, is a cycling superstar.

    After winning the 1km time trial at the Athens Games in 2004, he went two steps better in China four years later by claiming Olympic titles in the sprint, keirin and team sprint — a stunning performance that earned him a knighthood, as well as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

    He also has two Commonwealth and 10 world crowns to his name in both individual and team events, although his gold rush came to an end at last year's World

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