So now we know Simone can be beaten, and by a junior at that. Hanny Alston from Australia took gold in the sprint final at the end of a hectic day for the elites, the also-rans and I'm afraid to say the event officials.
Didn't have time to fit in a visit to spectate at the Qualifier, but the news was good for GB with everybody through. My secret weapon in the O-Manager game, Troy de Haas of Australia, got disqualified and then reinstated after they decided two controls were less than 30m apart. An Irish runner got re-instated because a car was parked in front of a control. The perils of sprint race planning and controlling. WOC Tour race in the morning was pleasant but nothing special. Heather Monro came out of World Championships retirement to win W21E.
Car parking for the Opening Ceremony was chaos. Glad I don't live in one of the local streets. Ten minute walk through light rain to get to the arena, but the weather then brightened up nicely until everything was over. The opening ceremony was slightly strange and one of the worst examples of its kind. It never really got going or seemed to have any point. The Crown Prince of Denmark did a short speech in which he attempted, and managed, simultaneously to sound like Prince Charles and Tony Blair. The finish area itself was quite impressive with massive grandstands for the spectators, even though the sight lines weren't particularly great. Finish out of sight to the left, spectator control out of sight behind the stage. The Swiss won the "bring a flag" competition, and it looked like Norway had forgotten there was an event on. Perhaps they knew what was to come, with Norway having a terrible set of results.
The men's race was looking good for GB all the way. BJ came in early and in the lead, GG had an absolute stormer and was in the lead at the spectator control. He lost a few seconds in the last loop, and reckoned his ninth place could have been a top six. Matt Speake got disqualified for crossing an uncrossable fence. So did Troy de Haas; the first person ever to be disqualified in a World Champs Qualifier and Final on the same day? The British women went even better than the men, with Helen Bridle finishing sixth, Pippa Whitehouse 12th and Sarah Rollins 16th. But is was the last few moments that will be remembered. Hanny Alston finished to take the lead, having been towed round the last loop by Helen. Just after that Simone punched the spectator control and we knew she was six second down on the lead. Could she do it? Not this time. Perhaps she'll have to settle for only three golds this year. Or is someone else out there going to take another one away?