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Vicious Cycle

LONDON -- I'm at the Velodrome, where the Olympic cycling will conclude today. This 6,000-seat arena should be absolutely bonkers. This is the best sport for the British, who dominated in Beijing and are having another great Games with six cycling medals here, five gold.

After three days at track and field, I needed a diversion. I thought it would be good to get a feeling for the Brits' national zeal at these Games. It's been clear at other events, particularly at the Olympic Stadium, but it should be even more raucous in an intimate setting like this. I'm already getting a sense of what it will be like. The PA announcer has been warming the crowd up, and they're wired for the competition.

The announcers have been a treat at the Games. They entertain and inform the crowd and even toss gentle jibes at the athletes in some cases. I noticed it first in the archery -- when was that, five years ago? -- and it's continued in other events. It's a little jingoistic and goofy at times, but hey, if you can't get patriotic when you're the host of an Olympics, when can you do it? The acoustics are generally terrific at the venues. It made covering the pole vault a pleasure.

Sir Chris Hoy will compete in the second round of the men's Keirin in about half an hour. Hoy has five career cycling golds. He needs one more to pass Sir Steve Redgrave for the most ever by a British athlete. Hoy is a Scot, same as Andy Murray, who won gold in the tennis. I'm going to Scotland for a little vacation after the Games. Should hear a bit about those two blokes while I'm up North.


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