LONDON 2012 kicked-off in grand style on Friday night with Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony.
And Burnley is already well-represented at the Games of the 30th Olympiad.
Burnley-born goalkeeper Rachel Brown was part of the Great Britain women’s football squad that played in the first event of the Games, two days before the opening ceremony, as Hope Powell’s side beat New Zealand 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, with a goal from Arsenal full back Steph Houghton.
Unfortunately Rachel, having wrested back the England number one jersey of late, lost out on a starting berth to Karen Bardsley of Linköpings FC, who impressed against the Kiwis, and kept her place for Saturday’s 3-0 win over Cameroon, again in Cardiff, that sealed a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Typically, Rachel was more concerned with the team ethic than her personal hopes, saying in a message to me: “I’m not starting, but three points is all that counts!”
And the Everton keeper could be seen giving the side huge encouragement from the dug outs.
Team GB are next in action in the game that will decide the Group E winners against Brazil at Wembley tonight at 7-45 p.m.
Rachel joined her Team GB teammates at Wembley on Sunday night for the men’s game against UAE - and she is pictured left, back row, far right, meeting footballing royalty in David Beckham - while the squad also met actual royalty in Prince William!
Main picture is Burnley’s 17-year-old first-year professional Cameron Howieson, who has also been involved in the Olympic Football tournament with New Zealand.
Already a full international with the All Whites, Howieson - who shone in the Clarets’ run to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season - came on for the Oly Whites as a 73rd-minute substitute in their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Belarus on Thursday night at Coventry City’s Ricoh Arena, renamed the City of Coventry Stadium for the Games.
And the youngster also got on the pitch on Sunday at Old Trafford as New Zealand drew 1-1 with Egypt - coming on after 84 minutes as both sides looked for a winner.
New Zealand face more than an uphill task to qualify for the last eight now, as they take on Brazil at St James’ Park tomorrow, kick-off 2-30 p.m.
Burnley-born Holly Lam-Moores, helped create history as Team GB fielded a women’s handball team for the first time in the Games, starting their campaign on Saturday night against Montenegro at the Copper Box.
The 22-year-old was a half-time substitute, left out of the starting line-up as she was carrying an injury, as Britain produced a creditable performance against far more experienced opposition.
Holly was on court for Britain’s best period of the game in the 31-19 defeat, coming on with the side trailing 18-12 at half-time.
But playing on the left wing, Holly and her five teammates kept the additional scoring to 4-4 in the opening 17 minutes of the second period.
Three quick goals by Montenegro put them 25-16 ahead and marked the end of her night’s work.
Eight unanswered goals in eight minutes put the game beyond Team GB, who were back in action yesterday afternoon against the Russian Federation.
Team GB then play Brazil tomorrow at 4-15 p.m.
One athlete itching to get going is Burnley’s Sophie Hitchon, who will compete in the women’s hammer - with qualification opening at 10 a.m. in the Olympic Stadium next Wednesday morning, and hopefully the final to follow a week on Friday at 7-35 p.m.
The athletics squad missed the opening ceremony due to attending their training camp in Portugal.
Sophie moves into the athletes’ village within the Olympic Park on Thursday.