London 2012: Photos and Chocolate (and a little money)

Post length: 1,064 words, about 4 and a half minutes.

The year 2012 saw the Olympics heading for London for the third time in modern Olympic history. For two weeks London was taken over by the games and all the infrastructure which comes with it. Not living in London meant the games didn’t affect me directly (except with the TV schedules, and knowing that the Team GB Synchronised Swimming team train the the pool just down the road), but I still felt that I wanted to at least have a little to do with it — after all I can’t imagine London, or anywhere else in the UK, being awarded the games again in my lifetime. So, last Saturday, I headed into the capital with my cameras to see what I could find down on The Mall where the walk races were taking place.

I took the tube from Waterloo to Green Park and walked down through the park to the exit by Constitution Hill. I spent quite a few hours around the course, snapping away at what was going on before hand, before finally taking a place at the barrier right outside of Buckingham Palace, just in front of the misting shower, to watch the race. To one side I had an Australian student, currently studying in Cambridge and to the other a couple who had been at the event all day and watched the men’s race in the morning and beside them a German family. We were in an area without commentary, but between us (and with a little help from a couple of smart phones and the BBC website) we managed to understand just about what was going on. The only British athlete was disqualified some laps into the race and from then on the people around me were looking for someone to support. By this time a small group of Latvian supporters had turned up, so the people to my left turned to cheering for the Latvian athletes while the people to my right chose people as they could see their names as they passed by. Because I was using my cameras for most of the race, the only person I cheered on was the very last athlete at the end of the race, the Venezuelan athlete Milangela Rosales. You can see all my photos from the day in this gallery.

There was another reason I was following the Olympics: Cadbury’s inspiring named “You win, if GB wins” competition. The basic premise of the game is that for every special bar of Cadbury chocolate (from a select range) you get a code which equates to an athlete competing in either the Olympic or Paralympic games. Given these special wrappers are found on Wispa bars, amongst other things, and I get through a reasonable number of those, I thought I had nothing to lose and started collecting athletes. Below is a table of my athletes, their competitions, and the results. I’ll update this as results come in:

Olympic Athletes
Athlete Event Date Result
Craig Benson Men’s 100m Breaststroke 28 July 2012 6th, Heat 2 Semi-Finals
Caitlin McClatchey Women’s 200m Freestyle 30 July 2012 7th
Sally Conway Women’s -70kg Judo 1 August 2012 Quarter Finals
Steph Proud Women’s 200m Backstroke 3 August 2012 4th, Heat 2 Semi-Finals
Daniel Fogg Men’s 1500m Freestyle 4 August 2012 8th
Louise Hazel Women’s Heptathlon 4 August 2012 27th
Peter Kirkbride Men’s 94kg Clean Weightlifting 4 August 2012 16th
Lee McConnell Women’s 400m 5 August 2012 7th, Heat 3, Semi-Finals
Rhys Williams Men’s 400m Hurdles 6 August 2012 4th, Heat 3, Semi-Finals
Team GB Duets Synchronised Swimming 7 August 2012 9th
Stuart Hayes Men’s Triathlon 7 August 2012 37th
Abi Oyepitan Women’s 200m 8 August 2012 6th, Heat 3, Semi-Finals
James Ellington x2 Men’s 200m 9 August 2012 6th, Heat 7, Heats
Michael Rimmer Men’s 800m 9 August 2012 5th, Heat 5, Round 1
Julia Bleasedale x2 Women’s 5000m 10 August 2012 8th
Richard Jefferies Canoe Single (C1) 200m 11 August 2012 6th, Semi-Final 3
Dominic King Men’s 50km Walk 11 August 2012 51st
Lynsey Sharp Women’s 800m 11 August 2012 21st, Semi-Finals
Liam Killeen Men’s Cross-country Cycling Mountain Bike 12 August 2012 DNF (broken ankle)
Samantha Murray Women’s Modern Pentathlon 12 August 2012 2nd
Paralympic Athletes
Athlete Event Date Result
Graham Edmunds Men’s 50m Freestyle – S10 31 August 2012
Rhys Jones Men’s 200m – T37 31 August 2012
Adam Bendle Men’s 100m Breaststroke – SB8 1 September 2012
Phil Bottomley Men’s Ind. Recurve – Standing Archery 3 September 2012
Benjamin Jesson Mixed R6-50m Rifle Prone – SH1 4 September 2012
Leigh Walmsley Women’s Ind. Recurve – Standing Archery 4 September 2012
Tom Hall Butcher Wheelchair fencing Men’s Individual Sabre – Category A 6 September 2012
David Phillipson Wheelchair Tennis Men’s Doubles 7 September 2012
Jamie Carter Men’s 100m – T34 8 September 2012

Given the kind of person I am, I wondered how the selection of athletes worked in this game. As first I had assumed that each unique code represented a specific athlete, however towards the end of the Olympics, as I started to get Paralympic athletes, I noticed that each time I entered a new code I got an athlete who had yet to compete in their specific event. I never got an athlete who had already competed. I presume, therefore, that the code itself is simply to identify the bar which I had bought and give Cadbury the ability to track the journey of the bar from their factory to me (my email address). They also asked for my date of birth. I guess it is these two factors which provide the added value to the company which make the game worth running from their point of view — I assume the uplift in sales from this promotion won’t be so great that it pays for itself from sales alone. Of course, they also get my email address.

On top of this, notice the results. From 22 athletes I got in the Olympic games only one won a medal, the rest weren’t even close. From my crude test results it looks to me like there might have been some kind of weighting put on each athlete in Team GB meaning those people who were considered more likely to win their event were given to players less frequently than those who had a much longer shot at winning their event. If this is the case then such a weighting system strikes me as perhaps a little less supportive of Team GB than Cadbury might like me to believe. If anything it’s made me take a look at the press reports of a successful games for Team GB with a much more sceptical eye.

Of course, there’s still hope for me to increase my chocolate winnings. Bring on the Paralympics!

Posted on Thursday 16th August, 2012 at 12:27 pm in Obiter dicta, Photography, Photos.
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