Food And Drink Empties: July 2016

I mentioned back in my home and beauty empties for July that a food and drink one would be on the way. They are coming to you rather later than I expected they would but I still want to share my thoughts on these products with you.

All Of July’s Empties

In July I mainly ended up trying out a variety of new and different food and drink to the things that are usually around. This is partly because of circumstances and us being on the go and in different locations to normal but also because I go through phases of being very easily bored with everything on offer and seek out something different.

A lot of the items that are going to be included come from the Allergy and Free From Show whilst other items ended up being consumed whilst we were in the South West or travelling in relation to that. As a result some of the quality of photos and backgrounds vary but I hope that you are still able to focus on the product I am blabbering on about.

Sparkling Ice Black Raspberry

Black Raspberry Water

I already had mixed feelings about this product because of it being black raspberry rather than just raspberry or blackberry but when the bottle had all the fridge lights on it in the shop and it was the same price, if not cheaper, than most other bottles of drink on offer I just had to give it a try.

Whilst it is 12 calories I wondered if it was going to be one of those ‘natural sweetener’ drinks that made it taste really sweet or sticky compared to the water taste you might expect. This stuff basically just reminded me of squash though, and without sounding ridiculous, a watery one at that. The flavour was there but fell short of being a clear and defined taste or providing a burst of fruity freshness.

This is something I would only get in a pinch and even then only if it was hugely discounted in comparison to everything else. I would rather take the calorie hit of Oasis or the boring hit with water than pay somewhere in the middle of the two for this.

Sugar Free Pink Lemonade Lucozade

Zero Sugar Pink Lemonade

I used to be obsessed with the normal pink lemonade when I was younger (and I wonder why my waistline expanded) so when I seen this whilst out and about and knowing I would be facing a long coach journey and evening ahead I decided to pick up a bottle.

Unsurprisingly the taste was pretty much identical and the consistency of the product felt the same in the mouth which is always a good thing as there are some products that fall short of replicating the original when trying to change the ingredients around.

Of course just because this is sugar free does not mean it is something people should start drinking regularly unless undertaking large amounts of exercise and burning of energy. I have spotted some people thinking they can gulp this down now it is sugar free and I am rather left retreating my head into my neck like I have turned into a tortoise.

This stuff is great and has its place on the market but I would be keen to remind people of the purpose of Lucozade and to only get it if that fits their needs. Part of me is always hugely concerned that these products, along with sports drinks, have become so widely consumed by the not sporty community.

Schär Gluten Free Chocolix Bars

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Yes I ended up giving these a go. We got two boxes of them from the Free From show in our goody bags so I decided to try a couple of them whilst giving the rest to my partner for his break time snack.

The packaging of the biscuit itself is very understated and that surprised me a bit for a branded product as I would have assumed they were keen to push themselves amongst a wider amount of the population. But them coming in just yellow is good for me because then nobody knows whether it is a branded item or a 20p biscuit bar.

They were bitterly disappointing though and I do not even mean the biscuit bit. The biscuity bit just tasted like any other bar of this type, though was a lot drier, but the caramel filling inside was pointless.

If you imagine a shop bought cheap chicken kiev and how when you open it up there is just a tiny amount of garlic butter floating in the bottom of a huge hole then this is what the caramel inside this biscuit was like. If I scooped it all onto a teaspoon we would be lucky to get more than half of one. It lacked sweetness or depth of flavour and there was not enough of it to help stop the biscuit bit being really dry and as a result these just do not work in the same way as other biscuit bars and there really is no reason why they should not be able to replicate gluten ones just as well.

Conscious Chocolate Goji And Coconut

Conscious Chocolate’s Goji and Coconut Bar

When I headed off to the clothes show I knew that this brand was going to be there and I am a huge supporter of them on instagram so I wanted to pick up a bar or a little sample of them.

After a bit of umming and ahhing I decided to get this one, a tiny little bar for 50p, and then place an order to be delivered to me at home through the website. I left this until I got home and popped it in the fridge, as with a lot of free from chocolate, it needed hardening back up after a day in the sunshine and warmth.

It was a really good chocolate bar too and the flavours and textures worked really well together to make a lovely little personal treat. It was very moreish whilst also being enough to satisfy that chocolate craving.

Wild Thing Paleo Bar

100% Nuts, Seeds and Fruits

Unsurprisingly this made me ill, with me being allergic to about 95% of it (good going Free From and Allergy Show) but I really wanted to give it a try since I had been given it.

But I wish I had not bothered. It was like chewing at cardboard and then occasionally getting bits stuck in your teeth. It had bits of sweetness but was generally very horrible to eat and just did not seem to combine tastes and textures together very well. A Nakd bar works much better than one of these in terms of fruit and nuts combined to make a healthy and nutritious bar.

Zeo Zesty Lime

Zesty Glass Bottled Soft Drink

I was really interested in this product. Partly my interested was spiked by it coming in a glass bottle and that automatically making anything seem fancier and more precious but also because I wondered how it would be any different to a sugar free lime cordial in taste and  texture.

The liquid is obviously a much more cloudy shade and reminded me more of lemon juice than of lime but I was still giving myself a clear mind to try this product without judgement.

It was certainly fresh and tasty to drink, especially on a warm day, but trying to drink out of the bottle itself was quite a challenge as the neck of the bottle was just quite small to approach in a normal drinking manner. The flavours were very subtle and I would struggle to personally say it was zesty and more just a hint of lime but it was nice all the same.

Recommending it to anybody seems highly unlikely as it was just nothing special. It retails for quite a high price and there are equally healthy and tastier alternatives on the market for slightly less and i just do not feel this brand does enough to make their products stand out from the crowd. You could of course use one of these bottles as a vase for a singular flower it you wanted but it still seems like quite a expensive and lack-lustre way of getting such a container.

Scrub Love Products

These products came to me through winning an instagram competition where I simply had to like the photo and then wait. In fact I waited so long that when the company, that sells loads of brands, got in touch about me winning I was absolutely gobsmacked and had to go through their instagram to even find the original post.

I love body scrubs and am constantly looking for something that is going to help deal with the never ending amount of dead and flaky skin that my body seems to produce. And with coffee scrubs seeming to be an increasingly popular trend this prize has given me the perfect chance to give them a try.

The three types of Scrub Love

But there is a small problem with all of this.. I hate coffee from the taste and the smell of it. Whenever there is a filter machine around I run as far away from it as possible because to me all coffee just smells like burned toast to me. So I was really nervous to open this stuff let alone use it on my body but after a fair few weeks I braved it.

Trying it out for the first time

Scrub Love has three products: The original lovin’, coconut affair and a mint temptation. The later two have different elements in them that alter the benefits of the scrub and the scent a little bit too.

I decided to ease my way into the scrubs by using the coconut one that includes some coconut oil and should contribute to soothing the skin that remains as well the coffee helping to remove the unwanted skin.

To use it you are supposed to get a handful of it and apply it in small circle motions across the face and body, leaving it for a few minutes before removing it and carrying on with your bath or shower routine. But it took me a little bit to figure out how much I was supposed to use and how to cup it in my hand and then apply it following the recommended method.

To start with I made an absolute mess everywhere as it is really quite difficult to scoop it out suitably without getting liquid into the pouch and then to keep it in my hand and get it onto my face and body. These pouches do have the positive of a zip-lock top to seal the product in and the water out as well as keep the freshness of the scrub itself.

This stuff really does stink the place out. It certainly did not smell of traditional coffee but it was still very strong, noticable and to my mind revolting. But I stuck with it and kept it on my face and upper body for the suggested five minutes before quickly removing it and darting out the bath. I mean it was exactly what I expected and if you enjoy coffee and its smell then this is never going to be an issue for you.

The product itself seems to really work and did smooth the skin out but I can see that in the initial stages, much like a vibrating facial cleansing brush, it might make the skin a little irritated to begin with as the circulation is activated and the ‘fresh baby skin’ comes to the front.

I am going to try and push through the smell and carry on using these products by sticking to this coconut one and figuring out how I feel about them by the end of it. From my experiences so far I would recommend these products but they do come with a hefty £10-£15 proce tag.

My Birthday + Aims For The Year Ahead

It was my birthday yesterday and as a result my Olympics coverage has gone rather array in the last couple of days but as events have neared an end the sports I feel I can contribute anything to have also come to an end.

And to add a bit of brightness to this blog the photos included show that I had a rather cheese, cake and wine heavy Friday because they are a bit of a birthday tradition for me (but I am hoping to have more cheese and wine nights in the months that follow).Selection of Greggs cakes (they did get candles)

There is always part of me that hates my birthday and it serves as a reminder of how unpopular I am amongst people, from friends to family, and often feel rather lonely and forgotten about. But it also helps to show me who really cares about me and will take the time to write a couple of words in a text or facebook message. Silly I know.Slate selection of cheese and crackers

But it is also a chance for me to consider my aims for the year ahead. I never feel that setting them in January really works for me because projects are rather fluid and doing things by the end of an actual year never seems to work. I think I find setting aims and wants around my birthday works because of the way the British education system works and how I have always celebrated just before the start of a new school year.Camembert and garlic bread to share

The thing about the aims I set are they are generally over ambitious and I try my best to reach them and complete them all but never feel bad if I fall just short. For me as long as I try to meet something then that is all I, and anybody else, can ask of me.2012 Gran Corte VII by Pulenta Wines of Argentina

And the wants I set are things I would like to do or places I would like to go and I want to include them here because then if somebody thinks the product or place is rubbish I can find out and cross it off the list rather than wasting my time and money. it is a bit of a wish list I guess but if they are shared publicly then it gives me the motivation to achieve those but also puts a more realistic side on how long it takes to manage those things with other commitments as an early 20’s couple living alone in London. These things may take a couple of working weeks to a couple of months or even not be managed by this time next year but you have to reach for the stars sometimes right?
I am thinking about doing a monthly update on how my aims and wants are progressing because I really want to ensure that people see the realistic progress in being able to achieve dreams and how long it takes to get back level pegging and being able to treat yourself after pretty harsh financial times (for over a year).

My Aims

  1. I am due to start a job in September/October and it involves a qualification. So not only do I hope to complete both successfully but also to come away with the highest marks possible for each piece of coursework and exam. This is not just about getting a job and working hard but rather proving to myself that I am back and am able to achieve whatever I put my mind to once again.
  2. In the coming months it will be the first time that my partner and I will be financially comfortable and able to do things without scrapping the pennies together and looking down the sofa cushions to find money for rent. I hope to be able to meet up with at least one of our/my friends once a month whether that be grabbing a bite to eat, a drink or going to a specific event. I know enough people to be able to vary it up quite a lot but if I can see more than one person/group a month that will be even better. It sounds so simple but before now we have barely had any money for travel let alone to spend anything at the other end so it will be nice to have a social life once more and to help look after myself and my mental health by doing more than work and seeing my partner on an evening.
  3. We have a lot of cookbooks and whilst I will be working there will be at least one day where I am able to get back into the kitchen and do exciting things. I am hoping once a week to either bake or make something that I have not tried to do before. It will be a good way to break up the quick and easy after work meals and to keep cooking exciting whilst also getting to dabble in one of my many loves and hobbies.
  4. As a bit of self-indulgence I hope to be able to treat myself to something little but nice after each pay day, or at least once a month, to remind myself that I am working to be able to have nice things rather than to just pay bills and continue to live a rather lifeless existence. Whether that be a new top or a new lipstick or even a theatre ticket etc it will just be nice to be able to reward me for my work. I will also be putting money aside to replenish birthday money, inheritance money and money from back last year when we got engaged and it all had to go on living costs and necessities.
  5. I want to carry on blogging every other day and having posts go live at 9am. When the income starts coming in and arrears on a never-ending list of things have been paid I hope to get a camera to be able to improve the quality of my photos and a proper diary to schedule things out and plan rather than my haphazard notebook at the minute. It will take a lot of effort, especially when tired, but I hope to be able to put a good few solid hours into it each week to get them written and scheduled for the following few days.

Wants/ Wish List

  1. To learn to drive and pass my test. Not necessarily get a car but be able to hire one should I want to go anywhere (such as home or on holiday).
  2. To have a holiday. I mean something like a weekend city break in the UK. I want to show my partner the delights of North Wales or Somerset but most of the places I want to go realistically need a care (hence the last bullet point).
  3. To see The Railway Children, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, This House and Nutcracker in theatre by the end of December (or after if they carry on past that date). This list will no doubt be updated in each update.
  4. Attend the Cake and Bake Show, BBC’s Good Food Show and The Clothes Show. The last on the list only happens in December but the other two happen in various locations throughout the year. I am sure this will be another list that as one thing gets ticked off ends up with another thing being added.
  5. Get Crystal Palace Gold membership to actually be able to have the chance of going to some games this season before getting a season ticket next year (and therefore saving for such and when it will become available), attend a couple of England Women’s Football fixtures if they happen in an accessible location, try get tickets to attend the NFL International Series in London again, and hopefully be able to get tickets to the Para Worlds/World Championship of the Athletics in London next summer.
  6. Purchase a multi-tasking waffle maker, some good skincare and be able to find what works best for my (recommendations on this welcome), new bedding, candles, bath bombs, a BBQ and after barely buying any for several years some new work and casual clothes.
  7. As I have not had a hair cut since July 2014 that has to be near the top of my list as well as being able to have my nails done on a regular basis and perhaps the occasional facial/spa day but these will probably end up waiting until after December when I know that I can maintain them all regularly.
  8. Eat at Alberts Table, Karnavar, Cote D’Azur, Little Bay, Dishoom and St John’s for the first time whilst returning to PescatoriVapiano, Harrods (for afternoon tea) and to eat in at Welcome Friends.
  9. The list is pretty much endless at this stage but I am hoping that as the months go on and I start to get those simple and more essential things, such as clothes the fit well and are not worn to the thinnest of threads and getting a regular hair cut, that this list will become increasing interesting and full of exciting goodies that I will then be able to share with you in time.

Know of anything else that I might be interested in doing, going to or purchasing based on my blog, twitter or instagram feeds then feel free to drop me a message or leave a comment below.

I hope your year is going well and you can find some motivation to keep pushing through with whatever goals you might have. If you feel like you have failed to keep to some goals do not worry about it there is always another day or month or year. Do what you need to do right now and focus on those dreams when you can. We might be getting older but life is not going anywhere any time soon (I hope).

XOXO – Dannii

Olympics Day Twelve: Get On Your Bike And Run For Your Lives

After two gruelling days of events the decathlon athletes will be dragging their tired and aching bodies towards the line of the 1500m to finish the event off in the evening session of track and field alongside a variety of sprints, hurdles and field finals. It is also the start of the slightly less testing, but generally far more bizarre modern pentathlon with the men and women fencing it out for the early points.

They will not be the only ones with serious muscle aches by the time they cross the finishing line though. The men’s triathlon happens in the late afternoon and midday sun of Brazil as they endure the chopping waters before getting on a bike and finishing it off with a rather heft run around Rio.

For both events there will be some tired faces and some that fail to make it to the finishing line. In comparison the teams taking part in the technical round of the synchronised swimming will be desperately trying to remain composed and smiley as they step out of the pool despite spending two of three minutes upside down and under the water.

As well as getting to look at the pretty costumes for the team events there will also be a chance to watch something that is pretty laid back and relaxed; the BMX quarter-finals. They took part in the seeding events yesterday and are now prepared to do serious battle on the bumpy and winding course built in Brazil.

The riders will be hoping that they all manage to stay on the bike and avoid any nasty accidents and the men in the water polo semi-finals will be hoping the same as several players have ended up with masks to protect their nose and black eyes throughout the physical tournament so far.

Triathlon

Preview

If you are one of those people still yet to invest in fancy technology and be able to avoid the adverts on TV then you might have spotted the latest Muller Rice advert. It contains Craig Benson, one of the British triathlon competitors, who is taking part in today’s event alongside the Brownlee brothers.

56 athletes are due to take to the starting line, 3pm UK time, and many of them will be working in country pairs and trios to get them through the initial stages of the event. There are some participants that will be feeling a bit more lonely out there like Ron Darmon who is the only participant for Israel.

This is an event that involves great strength and endurance to be able to keep those legs kicking, swimming and running throughout what will be close to a two hour race. Let us hope that those less used to participating in events in weather like that present in Rio will ensure they take plenty of fluids on and have good waterproof sun screen on to reduce the amount of casualties to the field especially as they come out of the water soaking wet and will have the suns rays beaming down on them.

The Brownlee brothers got gold and bronze in London 2012 and have looked good during various meets in the last year so will be hoping to join each other on the podium again this year. The silver medallist from the last Olympics, Javier Gómez Noya from Spain, is not part of the event and leaves room for somebody to spoil the British brothers party.

Live Updates

15:25 – All of the athletes have made it out of the water and are on their bikes for the eight laps of the cycling course. The Brownlee brothers are in the leading pack of ten athletes whilst Benson is down near the back of the pack. The course involves a lot of ups and downs as well as some pretty noticeable bends that could cause problems if they cyclists cannot spread out enough or lose their balance slightly.

15:45 – The cyclists are nearly half way through the middle event of the race and the lead group has over a one minute lead ahead of the chasing pack. They are managing to work much more effectively because of being a much smaller group to rotate who is the leader whilst the chase group are mainly having to focus on not crashing into each other especially down the hill.

15:55 – The fourth lap of the cycling sees the front of the pack have a slightly more relaxed ride and seem to let off the pace a little but the chasing pack are still one minute and fifteen seconds behind. The lead pack, despite having that break, they have managed to maintain the gap and also get a little bit of a break to be able to push on nearer the end of the cycling and during the run. The weather is seeing the temperature nearly reach 30 degree Celsius.

16:15 – After the first two stages of the race the 10000m run is under way and whilst there is still a very long way to go the athletes can feel they are now on the final stretch and know that as long as they take on water from the bottles provided around the course they will be able to maintain their lead ahead of the rest of the field.

16:20 – As the first lap of the four lap run gets nearer to changing into lap two the Brownlee brothers start to extend their gap ahead of the rest of the men that were in that cyclist leading pack which is becoming very disjointed. Everybody is now starting to run their own race and focus on their own techniques.

16:30 – The second of the four laps are over and the Brownlee brothers have a thirteen second advantage of South African Schoeman who is running by himself ahead of a few other athletes just a little bit behind the pack. Because of the way the lap circuit works they may end up lapping a couple of the others in the pack that were near the back of the swimming and the cycling pack.

16:35 – The older of the two British brothers has taken decisive action and created a fairly comfortable margin ahead of his younger brother. Unless something happens he, who won gold in London 2012, will retain his Olympic champion title and his brother will be going from bronze four years ago to silver this year.

16:50 – Alistair Brownlee takes the gold by walking over the line. Jonathan gets silver and Schoeman holds on to get the bronze medal ahead of his team mate.

Summary

The British Brownlee brothers came out of the water in the first pack and were able to help push the pace throughout the cycling laps to give those ten cyclists a margin of over a minute ahead of the rest of the field.

Going into the running the brothers had found a way to get to the front and lead off strongly to quickly give themselves the title of a two man lead. With a couple of laps to go though the older of the two brother, Alistair, decides he is ready to go and just pushes on and heads to the finish line alone.

His brother, Jonathan, is unable to catch him up but maintains a comfortable gap ahead of the runners behind him. The brothers are able to get gold and silver after getting gold and bronze in London 2012 to make Alistair the most successful male Olympic tri-athelete to date.

Schoeman (South Africa) clinched bronze a few seconds ahead of his more favoured compatriot to get their country’s first ever triathlon medal at an Olympic games. A lot of runners struggled as they mad it over the line and were quickly assisted by medical professional to get them water and cool towels and out of the midday sun.

Water Polo

Preview

Some of the mighty men of water polo are going to have to fall at this late stage of the competition. Whilst defeat does not mean their dreams are completely over it means they will be left to battle it out for bronze and having seen tears of joy and despair already by the poolside I would expect to encounter a few more drops leave teams eyes come the end of the matches today.

The defending Olympic champions Croatia take on Montenegro, 4:20pm UK time, and will be looking to remind their coach that deserted team for another team after London 2012 that they can do it without him because their quality is so strong and resilient. But Montenegro, who have done fairly well in this competition and finished fourth four years ago, will be keen to cause an upset and be the ones to get into the gold medal match in a couple of days time.

Back in London 2012 Italy took silver and Serbia took bronze and the other semi-final sees these two teams battling it out. Italy will be hoping they can win and go one better than their previous performance whilst Serbia will be desperate to show improvement in the last four years and be able to get to the gold medal match to go one, if not two, better. This is the match of the two to watch, 8:30pm UK time, as it is likely to be the closest of the two and see the teams battling it out (in more ways than one) to get that spot in the better of the medal matches.

The main thing here is that the final four teams are the same four that got to the semi-finals of London 2012. It really shows how dominant these teams are in the sport but also that other teams are struggling to develop and progress enough to cause an upset in the running or of events. Will it be a complete replica of last years finals or will these semi-final matches be able to shake things up a little bit? By 10pm tonight we shall all know the answers.

Summary

After a fairly close first half the Croatian team were only leading two points with a score of 7-5 and knew that they would need to carry on pushing to secure that spot in the gold medal match. The Montenegro team could take hope at half time knowing that they have something in them to score and also stop a couple of shots. But by the end of the second half the lead had been extended by the Croatian team to 12-8 to secure the win and get closer to keeping the title of defending Olympic champions. Montenegro will have to settle for the bronze medal match and be hoping that they can go one better than four years ago to actually make it up onto the podium to collect a medal after all their efforts.

The Serbian team will go at least one better after beating the Italian team. Their win was more the comfortable and at some points they were absolutely crushing their rivals. They can finally be relieved of some pressure and live up to there high expectations and the weight of pressure being out on their shoulder. The medals will at least go to teams in a different order but the European, specifically Eastern European, teams can hit their chests victoriously at their efforts in the semi-final matches.

Team Synchronised Swimming

If you caught any of the duet synchronised swimming and thought that was impressive wait until you see the team events and especially as some that did the duets also do the team event and have had to perfect multiple routines and moves.

There are eight members in a team and on the first day of the finals, today, they have to do the technical routine. This involves them being given a set list of moves by the judges to do in a specific order but they are allowed to add their own music and elements of creativity to the performance as well and this creativity is something that they will be judged on as well as execution and the synchronisation itself.

In London 2012 Russia took home the gold with China and Spain joining them on the podium and it is likely there might not be much change in who wins the the gold and silver but of course anything can happen on the day and especially as more people need to synch up with each other. Spain failed to qualify to be one of the eight teams in the final of this event, determined through a number of competitions in the lead up to the games, so there is at least one medal certainly up for grabs but Japan would be the team I would back to step up to collect their medals at the end of tomorrows free routine.

Live Updates

17:05 – Wearing outfits that represent a mixture of tiny suit jackets and colours to look like they may fit in as introducing a boxing match (apart from a silly thing on their heads) the Brazil team get a technical score of 84.7985 points to get the competition started.

17:12 – The Russian team are the second to receive their scores and have fairly simple lines of sparkling silver and black throughout their costumes without making it one over the top mess and that is further balanced out by the back only having a pattern, instead of a skin coloured mesh, over their bottom in a more simple black with occasional piece of shimmer. Their synchronisation seemed pretty on point throughout the technical routine and were awarded with 97.01.06 points.

17:18 – Egypt are the third team up and have costumes that seems to represent a red military jacket with gold embellishment around the pieces that represent the button section. They are one of the less experienced teams in the competition as the sport is continuing to develop in Egypt and is slowly increasingly in popularity. They get 76.9838 for that technical performance.

17:23 – Australia have the theme of empowerment for their routine but their costumes are just different shades of shiny green and yellow in diamond shapes to add some depth of colour to them. I think they are aiming to keep them similar to their nations flag. The performance, done by members that live all over the country and have to meet up from time to time to compete, gets them 74.0667 points.

17:29 – The Italian team have rainbow colours waving their way down their costumes with a few silver waves thrown in too. I do not really get the outfit design if it is supposed to represent something pretty other than having slight chunks of colours on it. They got 91.1142 points in their technical performance.

17:35 – You would not lose Ukraine in a rush as they have very bright green costumes. Their theme is Tsunamis but there is barely any music to go with it and I feel the theme is just an excuse to cause a lot of splash. Nothing here strikes me as fantastic compared to those that have already gone but the judges award this technical performance 93.4413 to put them at second in this stage of the first day with several teams still to go.

17:40 – China have a theme of Brasilia but other than the walking section before they dived into the pool and the choice of drumming music there is really nothing that stands out as such. I mean in the water it is really hard to get a theme across over I feel. They manage to get the highest jump of the competition so far and are generally faultless and elegant above and under the water. They are rewarded with 95/6174 from the judges to put them just behind the Russians.

17:48 – Japan have taken the bright costumes thing to a whole new level. They had some really bright costumes in the duets and that has also been carried through to this team event. The bright yellow shows up under the water like you can imagine it would in the dark whilst the pink fades away a little but above water that is equally shocking pink too. They have even got the equally bright pieces in the hair to highlight their movements whilst performing to an originally created piece of music for them representing wind and chimes. A score of 93.7723 is awarded by the judges to put them in third going into the free routine tomorrow.

Summary

Russia, China and Japan hold the top spots going into the free routine tomorrow and will be hopeful to either maintain or improve on their positions. Egypt and Australia finish the table off but both are in a little battle of their own and not focussed on the medals but rather development and team pride.

Despite not having the technical complexity of some of the other teams the Egyptian eight certainly had the best outfits from this first day of competition and can clap their outfit designer and maker as well as the team for their performance.

Pentathlon

Preview

Both the men and women get going in this event today and will be hoping to get off on the right foot to secure a decent amount of points to allow them chance to build and work into the medal positions. They start with fencing today but will face a 200m freestyle swim, show jumping, pistol shooting and a 3km cross-country run one after another tomorrow.

With such a range of events so many things have the potential to go wrong and it is quite difficult to predict a winner from the field but it is certainly an event that deserves a watch in general because the ability of these athletes to be good enough at all the sports is a truly incredible spectacle.

University: If In Doubt Hold Out

​I do not really know anybody getting results today (like maybe two people) but here’s a little story and a few words of advice.

It is perfectly okay to be disappointed in the grades you have got. The last two years of your life have all been towards this one moment where you get a few pieces of paper. Those little pieces of paper will one day become pretty unimportant in your life and once you have a few jobs under your belt people will be much more interested in finding out about your past experience ans GCSE English and Maths than if you know about Freud or the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

And whatever path you choose next is a completely valid one from university, work, travelling to starting a family and much more and do not let anybody put you down on the decisions you choose to make about your life. If something makes you happy and it is viable in your life then that is all that matters and anybody that scorns you for that and walks away are not people you want in your life anyway.

But if university scares you and you are not sure you are ready then hold off and wait a while. I do not just mean it gives you a little bout of butterflies or you just have those small thoughts about who will be your friend and if the lecturers will be nice I mean sitting on your bathroom floor on results day throwing up and feeling that it is what everybody expects of you but it is crushing down on you that you cannot.

I smashed my grades for my first university (to do journalism at University of Kent) but I got those grades on the day I turned 18. Within a month I moved 300 miles and was desperately trying to pretend I was an adult and ready. I was not ready. I knew I was never going to be and that I was not going to make it work however many hours I put into studying and socialising.

I had to pay the rent of student halls regardless of leaving and was left in no man’s land from Christmas all the way to the following September. It ruined me, my confidence in my work ability and more importantly destroyed my mental health and sent self-loathing sky rocketing.

The year later I tried again at a different university wiser to the issues that I would face and knowing how to overcome them but those doubts and self-hate were now lodged well into my memory and those combined with life in general ruined me once more. I always knew I just wanted to be in the workplace getting on with it and that is what I should have done but after getting solidly high grades my entire life I was prsctically expected and ticked off as somebody going off to university.

University does not just disappear and become unreachable if you do not go immediately after getting results. You can still get funding and go on to study the thing of your dreams. If you go at 20 and not 18 the lecturers will know you are doing something that truly interests you and they will respect you for that rather than question your degree choixes for three years.

Holding back might mean you see friends leave the area, that the crowd in the pub on a Friday decreases and you do a bit of a rubbish job for a while but it gives you chance to handle the real world, understand what makes you tick to get through the days and a way to find yourself and what it is that you really want out of life. Nobody has everything figured out at any point in their life but making a commitment like that at 18 is a serious one that should be taken carefully.

Whatever you choose to do and whatever you end up doing in your life I hope it makes you happy and gives you a comfortable and fairly stress free existence. Good luck the real world is tough out there.

Olympics Day Twelve: Men’s Football Previews

After eleven days of solid Olympics coverage I am taking a bit of time off today. As I am busy during this evening I have decided to provide you with previews of the football matches but my body is also telling me I need a break by giving me a bloodshot eye two days before my birthday.

As well as the football I recommend the women’s water polo, the seeding rounds of the BMX competitions and the athletics which includes the start of the decathlon.

I will update you on scores and finalists at the end of each section when I get back in, just in case you have some how missed the results, but they will not have any details particularly about how that result was reached (as I will not have seen it myself).

Regardless, I hope you find the following interesting and informative and I hope you have a lovely day.

Men’s Football

Preview

If you are a neutral supporter in a game practically everybody loves a good underdog and that certainly exists in Honduras as they take on Brazil today.

The Honduras team has showed great spirit and passion throughout this competition and their dedication has got them to this semi-finals match. If they win they will certainly become the villians in the eyes of the host nation but heros to the rest of the world.

Despite their stature Brazil have performed fairly poorly and without that much class throughout the Olympics so far and the crowd has become a little disgruntled at them. They need an early goal or two, without conceding, to rescue that reputation. But against a young, developing and up and coming team with nothing to prove they could easily come unstuck.

Brazil will be favourites but at least a goal will probably be scored by both teams. Honduras will be desperate to wrap it up before the end of regulation time as they have shown tired legs at the end of previous games and as the tournament progresses that is only going to become an increasing issue for them (especially with several players having to sit out from yellow cards and injuries).

The other game of the evening is between Nigeria and Germany with the latter being the favourites to win but perhaps superstition can push the Nigerian squad into the gold medal match.

After having travel issues and not arriving in Brazil until the day that their first match was due to take place Nigeria will be remembering that the last time I similar thing happened resulted in them getting all the way to the gold medal.

Germany will no doubt be keen to end up taking on Brazil in the next match to try and emulate their last meeting on Brazil’s home ground but they will no doubt be nervous against getting through this game.

It is going to take a lot to break down either sides defensive line and they both have the odd player that can push through to grab a goal. Either Germany will bring their A game or this may very well end up going all the way to penalties.

Olympics Day Eleven: Semi-Final Football And A Bucket Load Of Medals

After the drama of rain bouncing around in the Olympics stadium last night to cause a delay in proceedings for all the track and athletics final the participants in today’s events will be hoping to be able to take to the starting blocks and field areas on time and get through everything cleanly and safely. But it looks like the sun and rain clouds will be interchangeable throughout the day so the athletes should include the chance of delays into their mental preparations.

People by the beach will find out whether the men’s 10km swim will have somebody edging it out with a lap to go and being able to maintain that lead to the finish or will find the leader chopping and changing right down to a sprint finish to leaping up for the time blocks at the end of the course.

The women’s football is unlikely to come under risk if there is any rain and the semi-final matches are something to keep a close eye on as Brazil hope to edge closer to getting that first Olympic gold whilst competing in their home games.

It is the third and final day of synchronised swimming duets today and it looks like it could be a real battle for the Russian duet if they want to be able to retain their Olympic title that they picked up in London 2012.

And after an exciting day in the aquatics centre yesterday there is more action as the men’s quarter-finals take place. They will all be desperate to wrap the match up in normal regulation time instead of going to the most cruel of penalty shoot-outs. Brazil take on Croatia at 19:10 UK time and will be one of the highlight games of the late afternoon session.

Men’s 10km Swim

Preview

The women’s race seen the waters get slightly more choppy as they progressed through the four laps of the course and that may very well happen again here for the men’s race. A lot of the competitors that mainly compete in lake swims may take a bit of time to adjust to the conditions as swimming in a bunched group with 24 other professionals is a big different to training in a group of two or three.

It is likely to be a bit cooler for the men today as rain is predicted to come and go during their time in the water. Whilst this might make the water a little choppier it should help people to be able to complete the race without becoming dehydrated but it might make it a bit harder for them to grab onto drinks and gels as they pass the stations with their coaches on.

London 2012 winner, with over a three second lead at the finish, Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) competes in the pack today to try to keep hold of the title of Olympic champion. Whilst the silver medallist from London does not make an appearance the bronze medallist, Richard Weinberger (Canada) does and will be looking to go two better this time around.

Brazil have Allan Do Carmo competing in this swim and the people watching from the beach will be hoping that his name pops up as one of the leaders in the crucial parts of the race to go with Okimoto’s bronze from yesterday.

Live Updates

13:17 – They have just headed around one of the turning points on the track to come back towards the beach after thirteen minutes and the Australian Jarrod Poort has gone out hard from the beginning and has developed an early lead. With several laps of the course to go though it seems unlikely he will be able to keep this up without slowly and the chasing pack being able to catch him back up.

13:30 – Poort is still ahead of the rest of the field and had increased the lead but the pack, that is now pretty much in single file, are slowly starting to catch him down as they all veer off to the feeding station before focussing back on the specific lines of the course.

13:33 – At the end of the first lap Poort crosses the point 28.41 minutes into the race 57 seconds ahead of the defending Tunisian Olympic champion Mellouli who is leading the chase group.

13:45 – From certain angles it looks like the pack are closing in on the Australian but he has actually extended his lead to just over a minute as the chase group have bunched back up and there is a risk that some of them do not even realise there is a guy ahead, let alone so far ahead, for them to need to chase.

14:04 – Just after the one hour mark Poort has extended his lead to a minute and a quarter second ahead of the chase group despite deciding to basically stop at the feeding station to take on his drink and have his coach shout a few things down to him before he carries on.

14:17 – At last, just before they start the final lap, the chase pack are slowly but surely starting to claw a bit of the time back and are now less than a minute behind him. It will be interesting to see if Poort will have any energy left for a sprint finish should it end up coming that close by the end. There is about 30 to 45 minutes of the race left.

14:30 – The swimmers have started the last lap and some of them have collected final fluid and gels from the feeding station. Poort is still having his lead decreased and it is much nearer to three quarters of a second now and will have to really fight to hold on to this lead near the final part of the swim.

14:40 – Poort’s lead is now just 15 seconds ahead of the rest of the field with about 1500m of swimming left to go which in the scheme of things does not sound like a lot but as you tire and your muscles start to hurt it is a very long time.

14:45 – And that is it his lead has gone and he is falling down through the pack and very unlikely to even get a medal as the others are able to speed off to the finish line. Weertman (Netherlands) is now the leader of the field.

14:57 – The race comes to an end and there is a photo finish to figure of the medals as one swimmer struggles to hit the automatic timing board.

Summary

After Australian Poort led out at the beginning of the race and was able to get a comfortable lead the pack started to chase after him with a lap to go.

With 1500m left it was clear that he would not only be overtaken but end up outside of the medal positions as he really seemed to lack any energy to be able to give it a final push. He tried really hard to find a way to get the gap to be big enough but he just could not hold on.

One a photo finish has happened and footage has been analysed Weertman (Netherlands) gets the gold in one hour 52 minutes and 29 seconds just ahead of Gianniotis (Greece) and Olivier (France) rounds off the rostrum just three seconds behind.

Burnell (Great Britain), Ryan (USA) and Khudyakov (Kakazhstan) got disqualifed during the race for various offences against other swimmers.

Women’s Football

Preview

The last four teams of the tournament get ready to do battle today to get into that gold medal match but losers can at least take conciliation in then having a shot at the bronze medal match.

The host nations Brazil take on Sweden, 17:00 UK time, and whilst the crowd will be there to cheer them along they had a few frustrating moments in their last match. Sweden knocked out world number one’s USA to get to this stage and are looking on fine form to be able to just do enough and keep pushing to win this match and have a chance in the final.

Germany should be able to win against Canada in their semi-final match, 8pm UK time, but if a couple of players do not bring their best form to the pitch a couple of costly errors could see the game on a knife edge as it nears ninety minutes. But in fairness to Canada they have continued to hold their own and beat France 1-0 in the quarter-finals so they may be able to knock the now favourites down and out of the gold medal match.

Live Updates

—– Brazil v Sweden —–

17:00 – The whistle goes for the start of the first half. it looks from their formation that Sweden are going to start on the defensive as Brazil attempt to press up the pitch in the early stages. The crowd is pretty small for this match but that is an unfortunate result to a game being played at 1pm Brazil time mid-week.

17:10 – Brazil have had the majority of shots in the first ten minutes, as the crowds continue to take their seats in the stadium, but Sweden have managed to break down their defence a couple of times as well but neither team has found an early opening goal.

17:25 – It is somehow still 0-0 in the match but Brazil are by far doing better and if they can just get the right connection onto the ball in the final part of the pitch they will be able to get easily ahead in this match.

17:35 – Sweden are being forced to have their defensive line much nearer the back of the pitch than they would want and they seem to have a second line pretty much directly ahead of that. Every time they are getting possession of the ball the crowd are booing them, even if they are not moving forward, and that must be a little unnerving for the Swedish team.

17:46 – Half-time is reached and neither side have managed to break the dead-lock. Sweden have continued their defensive football from the start, which USA keeper Hope Solo said after their defeat was “cowardly”, but they have managed to go on the counter and have a few chances from free play as well as set pieces. Brazil just need to continue trying to chip away at the Swedish defence and as long as they keep their defence active and alert they look the most likely to be able to get a winning goal from the performances so far. It could easily end up going to extra time though and with the hot weather the players, especially the Swedish, will be making the most of the break.

18:15 – Just less than 60 minutes into the match and Brazil are certainly pushing much more in the second half but they are again struggling to force a mistake from the Swedish keeper and are coming under threat from counter-attacks.

18:28 – Brazil are having to calm down Marta after she gets a yellow for catching one of the Swedish players whilst defending. As the Swedish player receives treatment Asslani picks up the ball and takes it amongst herself to start spinning in around on her finger like a basketball. Several minutes later Sweden are able to take the free kick but it just goes through the keepers legs and out for a throw in on the other side.

18:40 – There are ten minute left and after Sweden were getting more chances for a while Brazil have really stepped their game back up, partly caused by Marta’s anger, and they are now really under pressure to just keep shot after shot out of the box.

18:49 – We are into added time of the second half and neither time have managed to get a goal despite so many chances and as a result it looks like we are about to go to 30 minutes of extra time. If that happens, given Sweden have already had to do it to beat USA to get to this point in the competition, Brazil may win as fatigue kicks in for the Swedish.

18:51 – Extra time it is going to be.

19:07 – 100 minutes of the game has now passed and Brazil use another substitute to try and help them try to find a way past the Swedish defence to get into the semi-final without ending up going to penalties.

19:20 – The teams are tiring and are becoming tactically weaker the more we progress into this match. There are ten minutes left of extra-time and they need to find another bout of energy and strength if they want to avoid taking this to a painful penalty shoot off.

19:30 – The Swedish keeper Lindahl has really had a good match and managed to keep it up into the final minutes of extra-time as she denies Brazil time and time again from set pieces and free play plus rebounds of those she is unable to cleanly catch.

19:34 – The whistle goes and the match is getting taken to penalties. Can Sweden win another round on penalties alone?

19:41 – Marta scores Brazil’s first penalty. And Sweden score their one too to literally silence the stadium.

19:43 – The next two penalties are saved. Is this going to completely replicate the Swedish game against USA? Still 1-1.

19:45 – 2-2 as both teams score.

19:47 – They are still in dead-lock as another two shots are scored to make it 3-3 out of four on both sides.

19:48 – Brazil miss and Sweden score. Sweden are into the gold medal match. Brazil’s dreams are crushed in front of their home crowd.

—– Canada v Germany —–

20:00 – The match is just starting and the favourites Germany will have an extra boost if they see that their biggest rivals, Brazil, have failed to make it into the gold medal match.

20:13 – It really looks like Canada have scored from a fabulous piece of build up play that results in a header but it creeps just wide of the post to keep it at 0-0.

20:21 – Buchanan takes one of the German players down in the box for them to have a penalty. Berhinger walks up to the spot and scores to put her team up 1-0.

20:48 – It is half time in the match and Germany are looking to remain as the stronger team going into the second half. Canada have had some chances but not managed to convert any of their attempts on goal. The defence from the Canadians will have to find new levels of composure to be able to ensure they do not make any more costly errors.

21:16 – Canada should easily have scored a couple of times in this second half but it looks like their fate may quickly becoming sealed as Däbritz scores for Germany to allow them to double their lead.

21:41 – There are five minutes remaining in the match and Canada have been unable to find a response to Germany scoring. Whilst Germany have continued to have a few shots on goal they have generally dropped back quite a lot to focus on defending and keeping a clean sheet. The energy levels have generally dropped massively on the pitch and Canada looked resigned to defeat.

Summary

Brazil fought right to the very end of their match and were especially lively after the captain Marta received a yellow card for catching one of the Swedish players. Despite their efforts through normal time and extra time the Swedish team remained strong defensively and could not be defeated. It went to penalties and it was only there that the host nation lost to go into the bronze medal match as opposed to the gold one.

Sweden are joined by Germany in the gold medal match. After being awarded a penalty fairly early in the first half Germany were able to take the lead against Canada and from there looked comfortable as they worked the ball around. In the second half the German team were able to find the back of the net again to leave Canada looking rejected and disheartened.

Sweden v Germany for the gold medal match. Brazil v Canada for bronze. There will be heartbreak. There will be excitement. There will be tears. But most importantly there will be football.

Water Polo

Preview

Eight teams of men take part in the men’s quarter-finals today and kick off with Hungary v Montenegro and will make for an interesting game but is unlikely to be particularly close at the end of the 32 minutes of game play.

As mentioned earlier Brazil take on Croatia and will be hoping that the crowds turn up in force, despite it being during the middle of a working day, to help cheer them along and show them as much support as they did in their last preliminary group match. They are favourites to win this match, based on group performance, but if Croatia bring their A game they will be able to threaten and make it a really close game.

Serbia v Spain and Italy v Greece are the other two matches happening today and they too are going to be close to call. I imagine Greece are going to edge it over Italy and Serbia should be able to edge it over Spain, despite a poor group qualifying, to get into the semi-final matches.

Live Updates

—– Hungary v Montenegro —–

15:04 – The match gets under way with the traditional swim off and within a couple of minutes both sides have had an exclusion but whilst Hungary are unable to make the most of it Montenegro capitalise and get the first goal of the match to go 1-0 up.

15:15 – The first quarter ends with Montenegro leading 2-1.

15:18 – At the start of the second quarter the leaders get possession from the swim off to have the first shot at goal in these eight minutes.

15:21 – Montenegro have extended their lead to 3-1 after nearly conceding a couple of moments ago but luckily being saved by the frame of the net being hit instead.

15:22 – The Montenegro team have a three goal cushion as Ivovic finds the back of the net. They lead 4-1.

15:27 – It took a fair while for the Hungarian team to get the ball but Erdelyi finds himself with space to be able to get Italy a goal and leave them trailing 2-4.

15:29 – The three goal cushion is recovered by Janovic for Montenegro with just over a minute left on the second quarter clock to make it 5-2.

15:30 – Hungary make the most out of the Montenegro keeper being slightly off his line and Varga cancels out a portion of that goal cushion Montenegro were trying to build up to leave them trailing 3-5.

15:32 – There are two seconds left on the clock for the second quarter and a time out is called to see if a lob shot can be fired into the back of the goal before half time but it comes to nothing and the hooter goes.

15:39 – A minute into the third quarter Paskovic bounces the ball off the water the water and into the back of the net to give Montenegro a 6-3 lead.

15:45 – Hungary scores to trail 4-6 thanks to an effort from Vamos but the Montenegro coach strongly appeals and gets a warning from the officials to calm down.

15:47 – Vamos is on a scoring roll and launches the ball into the net. He does it so far into the corner and at such speed at the ball gets stuck in the net at the point of the frame. Hungary are now just one goal behind.

15:48 – A response is found from the Montenegro team and the ball falls to Klikovac who helps to recover that goal cushion as they now lead 7-5.

15:49 – This has certainly been the most action packed quarter so far. Erdelyi scores for Hungary to again just put them one goal behind but they will need to defend strongly to not mess up without possession again.

15:50 – And again there is a goal as Montenegro score to make it 8-6 with just over a minute left in the third quarter.

15:55 – The final quarter gets going and Hungary immediately start off where they left off and Erdelyi gets a goal to close in Montenegro’s lead once more.

15:57 – Ivovic is having none of it though and scores another recovery cushion goal for Montenegro. 9-7 with seven minutes of the match remaining.

15:58 – Hungary are really fighting for this and as they have a player advantage Vamos is able to find the back of the net once more. If they can tighten up defence and regain possession they can make this match level.

16:06 – With just a minute left on the clock Hungary have equalised as Varga continues to put in a stellar performance during this match to score again. 9-9. If neither team get a winner we’re off to penalties.

16:08 – The final time out of the match is called with 12 seconds remaining on the clock but that team talks do nothing and they are off to penalties.

16:14 – Both teams score their first penalties. 1-1.

16:15 – The second ones are both scored as well despite the keepers going the right way. 2-2.

16:16 – Montenegro score at one end and their keeper gets his arm to the ball to block it at the other end. They lead 3-2.

16:17 – Both of the fourth shots are blocked. It remains 3-2 for Montenegro.

16:18 – Montenegro score the fifth penalty and that brings the match to an end. Hungary are out and there are tears amongst the Hungarian team. The crowd, including a rather large chunk of Montenegro fans, are jumping up and down with absolute delight.

—– Serbia v Spain —–

16:30 – The first quarter gets the match started with Spain winning the swim off for initial possession.

16:34 – Flipovic gets the first point of the match to put Serbia ahead with just over five minutes of the first quarter remaining.

16:36 – Spain are quickly able to find an equaliser after getting possession after the Serbia goal.

16:39 – Serbia resume the lead, at 2-1, as Mandic is able to find the back of the net with less than three minutes remaining on the countdown clock for quarter one.

16:42 – I have to say the celebrations by Mandic are by far some of the most animated I have seen in the entire water polo so far. He scores again with less than a minute on the clock to make it 3-1.

16:48 – A minute into the second quarter and Cuk helps to further advance Serbia’s lead. It is 4-1 but there is still plenty of match time left of anything to happen here.

16:51 – Spain recover their deficit a little and make it 2-4 and then as Serbia get an exclusion they are able to find the back of the net and now just trail by one goal. 4-3 to Serbia.

16:55 – The Spanish defence seems to be crumbling a little  in the last half of the second quarter and Serbia now lead 6-3.

17:01 – Aleksic ends the first half of the match with another goal for his side to extend their lead to 7-3.

17:07 – Early into the third quarter Spain manage to reduce the deficit by scoring. They still need three goals just to get back on level pegging with Serbia however.

17:11 – The Spanish team are not giving this up without a fight and score another goal a couple of minutes into the third quarter. They now just trail two goals behind Serbia’s seven.

17:24 – The match is now in the fourth quarter and there is just under six minutes left on the clock. The Spanish coach is looking very concerned and unhappy as every time his team score they end up conceding quickly afterwards. Serbia lead 9-6.

17:31 – Serbia’s keeper is just unable to get a hand on the ball and before he can get there it rides the waves and into the back of the next.With less than two minutes to go in the match Spain are trailing by two goals.

17:33 – Mandic makes the most of a quick turnover of possession and scores another to give his team an increasing lead with 30 seconds left on the clock. It looks unlikely that even if Spain score again they will be able to do enough.

17:34 – Serbia, the favourites of the match, have won and go into the semi-finals. Spain are no longer in the running for a medal.

—– Brazil v Croatia —–

19:15 – I join this match a couple of minutes late with 5:30 remaining on the first quarter clock. Both teams have scored and are level 1-1.

19:20 – Brazil get awarded a penalty but it is saved and they make nothing out of the corner throw. About 30 seconds of game play later Croatia are able to take a 2-1 lead.

19:22 – Buric gets possession of the ball and launches it into the goal to put Croatia 3-1 up with just over a minute left on the first quarter clock.

19:23 – The Brazilian team are able to recover the deficit a little and with less than a minute on the clock make it 2-3. There is certainly still plenty of time left in this match, and perhaps even the quarter, to be able to turn the scoreline around and into their favour.

19:30 – Croatia extend their lead once more as Bukic scores with one minute gone in the second quarter.

19:36 – The lead is extended as Croatia score from open play and then they get awarded a penalty and score it. 6-2.

19:50 – The third quarter is under way and Croatia are leading 7-3 after scoring another goal at the end of the first half.

19:57 – Within a short amount of game play time in the third quarter both sides have managed to score again. Baches initially closed Brazil’s deficit to 4-7 but Jokovic was able to extend it again to give Croatia the 8-4 lead.

20:01 – With less than 30 seconds on the clock Brazil score and they then manage it again with six seconds left on the clock to go into the final quarter trailing just two goals behind Croatia’s eight.

20:10 – Brazil receive an exclusion and Croatia are able to make the most of it and take a 9-6 lead with just over five minutes left in the match.

20:14 – Jokovic scores again and helps to extend Croatia’s lead to give them a really advantage and belief that they can hold onto the match to get into the semi-finals.

20:19 – The hooter goes for the final time and Croatia continue on towards goal and the host nation are out.

—– Greece v Italy —–

20:30 – The final quarter-final match is off in this aquatics centre. Greece are likely to win this match but it will probably not be by a huge margin. It seems that teams with those silly dressing gowns during the anthems are the ones that are more likely to be victorious than having jackets and looking like they have been in the gym and somebody has stolen their trousers for a joke.

20:33 – Italy take the early 1-0 lead within a minute of game play. It will be a real boost to them to be starting to get off ahead.

20:38 – By the half way point of the first half Italy have doubled their advantage to 2-0.

20:47 – The second quarter is under way and at the start of it Italy still have the 2-0 lead. The first quarter is certainly not one that will be remembered.

20:52 – Greece were a little clumsy and got a player sent to the exclusion zone to allow Italy a chance to score. After a goal from the Greeks early in the second quarter they will be sad to have had that effectively wiped out. Italy lead 4-1.

20:58 – Just as the second quarter clock ticks down to a minute Mourikis is able to find the goal for the second time to leave Greece trailing just 2-4 as the half time mark quickly approaches.

21:16 – With one and a half minutes left on the third quarter clock I was starting to think that there was not going to be a goal in this entire quarter but Figioli and Gitto both score in quick concession to increase Italy’s lead to 6-2.

21:19 – Just before the end of the quarter honkers rings out around the stadium Greece manage to get a goal themselves to leave them behind three behind Italy’s six.

21:25 – With just over half of the final quarter remaining Greece’s Fountoulis manages to find the back of the net. If they can keep Italy out whilst scoring a couple more in the rest of this quarter they will have a chance to recover their performance and get through to the next round.

21:27 – As Italy are given the possession after conceding that goal however Greece are unable to adequately defend and end up conceding another goal. The Italians lead 7-4 with three minutes of live play remaining.

21:29 – After picking up a facial injury in an earlier match Italy’s Aicardi, with a mask around his face, gets the ball towards goal and it catchers the keepers underarm and bounces into the net. His team at now 8-4 up.

21:30 – The Greek team are not willing to give up just yet and with two minutes on the clock edge the score closer to being level once again. 5-8.

21:32 – Figlioli gets the ball passed to him right in front of the keeper and they look each other in the face for a brief moment before sending the ball around him to put his team 9-5 ahead with 20 seconds to go.

Summary

After a penalty shoot out Montenegro beat Hungary and go into the semi-finals and will face Serbia who beat Spain 10-7.

Croatia get into the semi-finals after beating host nation Brazil 10-6 and will face Italy in the final who beat Greece 9-5.

Synchronised Swimming

Preview

After the free routine and the technical routine over the last two days the final for the women’s duets are finally here. Russia, the reigning Olympic champions, are amongst the favourites to return to the rostrum but will face the strongest competition from China and Japan.

The three medals are not completely tied up though and there may be room for a couple of duets to at least sneak into the bronze medal position. But as scores are carried over from yesterday’s technical routine some will have an almighty mountain to climb, in terms of getting an extra ten points over others in this final free routine, to get anywhere near touching distance to the medal positions.

It will be interesting to see their final outfits, after seeing them on the first day of competition because they are exceptional works of art, combined with their make up and hair pieces, and such sparkly pieces of glamour. Let us see if any of them can make a large improvement on their routine scores from the first time around.

18:00 – The lots have been drawn for the order that the final twelve will compete in and the Canadian pair will be the first to perform which is nothing that any of these duets would really want.

18:01 – Canada have a theme of heartbreak and the music is a mixture of angry and sombre and their facial expressions and speed of movement match those moments in the music. Their outfits are largely white but have sections of red across them and it looks like a mixture of trying to clearly represent Canada and a sort of broken and splattered heart.

18:05 – They get 90.6 for the free routine and finish the competition with 179.89 points and Greece are quickly introduced to the crowd and ready to go.

18:07 – The Greek duet have the outfits that I probably like the most out of all the performances we have seen as they are back in the black suits with sparkly silver skeleton shapes on their torso. They have a theme of spies and I get that a little more in the second performance with the hand movements but it seems to get lost a little near the middle chunk before returning again near the end.

18:10 – Greece manage 86.5 points in the free routine and finish on 171.855 points but as they came into the final in tenth place it was always going to be difficult for them to get nearer the much needed 185 – 195 points for a medal.

18:17 – I have to say that I love the routine by the Austrian duet even more than I did in the preliminary rounds. They have taken on their interpretation of swan lake and the music combined with their grace and choreography is a real pleasure to watch and made much more evenly matched by being two of three triplets. The eighteen year old duet, who mainly wanted to make the final to get experience for Tokyo 2020, get 85.5 points in their routine and end with a total of 170.597.

18:22 – The Mexican duets performance comes to an end. Their performance includes slow and fast sections and is generally very well in sync. The costumes are very sparkly but are mainly purple, pink and green patterns over a nude meshing. They came into the final in twelfth but after a free routine score of 86.06 they finish on 170.9935 which puts them one place from the bottom four performances in.

18:27 – USA get 87.53 points for a performance based on fury that uses some music from Fast and Furious. It is very high paced and jammed full of action but that scores gives them a total of 173.9945 and puts them in second place with seven duets still to perform.

18:34 – The French team, that are also competing in the team competition in a few days time, complete their free routine with 87.96 to get an overall score of 174.2491 which will move them up the overall rankings from how they cam into the final.

18:40 – Russia return to the pool with their absolutely stunning costumes that are various blue and green tones to represent scales as well as a silvery white section to me a shell over the breasts to represent mermaids which is also their theme. They are simply mesmorising costumes and their performance of elegant moves and gentle music really helps match their skill and real quality. A joy to watch and from this performance alone, excluding their technical performance, they deserve to retain their champion title that they picked up in London 2012. They get 98.53 for their performance, an improvement by nearly two points from the preliminary time around, to give them an extraordinary total score of 194.991.

18:48 – Possibly one of the biggest challengers to the Russian pair, the Chinese, follow them into the pool to perform their free routine. It must be horrible to have to come after such a strong and high quality performance but they manage to get their lifts out of the water really high and is well done but they do not look overly happy on leaving the pool which is quite rare for the ever smiling synchronised swimmers. They get 97 for their free routine which puts them in second place at present with 192.3688 points.

18:53 – I find the Japanese teams performance to be very boring to watch but the judges continue to like it and they go into third place with 188.0547 points after receiving 94.93 in their free routine.

18:58 – I probably should not choose to like a performance based on a song but each time I have watched the performance by the Italian duet them having the song Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics has really added to the enjoyment of watching their routine. They miss out on the medals though despite reaching 92.36 in the free routine they only get 182.8079 points in total.

19:05 – Ukraine are awarded 94 points to give them 187.1358 overall and that puts them into fourth place. They look truly heartbroken and are wiping tears away as they go to the coaches after their scores.

19:12 – The pair that were keeping their training a secret for so long up until the last couple of months finish in fifth place. The Spanish duet miss out on the Olympic fairytale by getting 94.13 in their free routine to give a total of 186.6357 points.

Summary

After an exciting hour and a bit the gelatine will be getting melted out of the hair and the water proof make up will be getting scrubbed off. The excellent outfits will be getting hung up to dry to probably never be worn again. Russia win ahead of China and Japan with Italy and Spain just in behind.

Some truly beautiful, elegant and exciting performances throughout. The team synchronised event will be even better so if you can find time to give that a watch.

Track And Field

Preview

Another day of exciting events will be happening in the Olympic stadium in the morning and evening sessions with Bolt and Gatlin starting another battle in the 200m as well a never-ending amount of hurdle heats, semi-finals and a final.

Hopefully the re-introduction of the likes of bolt and the fact Brazil got a gold medal in the pole vault last night will bring the crowds in and finally make this statement a bit nearer to being full instead of just having pitiful pockets of support (I have seen more people watching Diamond League matches in the middle of the season that hardly have any big names in).

After having to qualifying in terrible rainy conditions the discus women will be hoping for the morning session to keep the circle dry and help them to do anything other than just hit the side netting, nearly hit a sound woman in the middle of the field (because apparently we need to hear the discus hitting the grass) and get absolutely drenched.

A thing to note on the side is that the samba bands that were introducing field event finalists have slowly decreased in enthusiasm and look more and more awkward as the athletes completely ignore them and do not have a little dance as they get put onto the big screen in front of the crowds.

The men’s 110m hurdles final happens as the last event of the evening, after doing the semi-finals a little earlier, and after some runners were allowed another go after seriously struggling to get over the hurdles in a quick time without slipping as the rain really bounced down and started to form puddles for the first couple of heats they will all be desperate for no rain or questionable organisational decisions.