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Who are ya?

Mo FarahThere is a US television presenter this week who needs to go back to the drawing board and make sure she does her research before making a complete idiot of herself in front of millions of viewers.

Mo Farah, one of the most recognisable faces to have come out of the London2012 Olympics, had just won the New Orleans half marathon in a record time of 61 minutes.   Imagine his surprise to be asked by the anchor, LaTonya Norton, firstly “Haven’t you run before?” and then “This isn’t your first time?”   Surely this is on a par with asking whether the Pope is a Catholic?

Viewers were left cringing throughout the interview on local television station WDSU – she quite clearly had no idea who he was – something perhaps a quick Google search might have sorted out for her?   I thought that was what the numbers on their vests were for, to help news crews identify the individual runners.  This seems to work for most other sports.

It is unsurprising therefore that someone has taken the opportunity to update the list of anchors on WDSU’s Wikipedia page to read ‘LaTonya ‘Doesn’t know who Mo Farah is’ Norton’.

Mo Farah postboxSo Ms Norton, let me put you in the picture.  Farah secured  his place in history in London last summer, becoming the first British man to win Olympic gold in the 10,000m, and one of only five people to  also win gold in the 5,000m.   Britain’s  most successful distance runner of all time, he was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s  Honours List.

He has had two post boxes painted gold as a permanent tribute to his achievements, one  in Isleworth, where he grew up, and the other in neighbouring Teddington, in  south west London, where the athlete spent time training.   A nice touch with the one in Teddington is that it is right across the road from a Fara charity shop which has had its signwriting changed to Mo Fara as a further tribute to a local hero’s success!

Who are you, LaTonya Norton?????

If you believed they put a man on the moon

Sad news this weekend that US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, has died aged 82.  A statement from his family says he died from complications from heart surgery he had earlier this month.

He set foot on the Moon on 20 July 1969, famously describing the event as “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.

There have been many conspiracy theories that continue to circulate including:

  • Maintaining that NASA and others knowingly misled the public into believing the landings happened by manufacturing, destroying, or tampering with evidence; including photos, telemetry tapes, transmissions, rock samples, and even some key witnesses. 
  • Speculation that NASA faked the first landing in 1969 in order to win the Space Race. 
  • Claims that the landings helped the US government because they were a popular distraction from the Vietnam War; and so manned landings suddenly ended about the same time that the US ended its role in the Vietnam War.

This is despite the fact that since the late 2000’s, high-definition photos taken by the LROC spacecraft of the Apollo landing sites have captured the lander modules and the tracks left by the astronauts.  Then, earlier this year, images were released showing the Apollo flags still standing on the lunar surface.

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In their statement following his death the Armstrong’s family spoke of a man who never lost his “boyhood wonder” at the pursuits of aviation and spaceflight, adding: “For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”  Twitter was of course quick to respond with the hashtag #WinkAtTheMoon trending worldwide.

Despite his incredible accomplishment of being the first man to walk on solid ground somewhere other than Earth, he seemed to be extremely down to earth.   I think my favourite quote from him was, when revealing publicly his initial concerns about the Apollo 11 mission, when he had believed there was only a 50% chance of landing on the moon, his statement “I was elated, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we were successful.”  This from a man who had the ultimate bragging rights.  May he rest in peace, dreaming [for the first time apparently] of “Walking on the Moon”.

Projecting the right image

Just to prove that I am not completely negative about the London2012 Olympics, I wanted to share with you these spectacular images that Olympic bosses beamed onto the Houses of Parliament in a truly dazzling display last night.

Enormous images including world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, a giant Union Jack flag, and the Olympic rings were among those beamed on to one of London’s most iconic buildings as final Games preparations took place.  Enjoy!

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