André: It’s Jamaica vs the USA in the men’s 4x100m relay final. This is gonna be fun – two strong teams going at each other for bragging rights in an exciting and dramatic event. KC: After losing to the United States at the World Relays in the Bahamas, I do not think the Jamaicans will be taking their opponents lightly this time around. André: Well, I’m not sure they took the Americans lightly in The Bahamas, but none of the Jamaicans were in good physical shape at the World Relays. That has changed. Usain Bolt is back to his best, Asafa Powell has been running well and there have been solid performances by the Jamaicans all around since then. KC: Yes, things will be much different this time around as with Bolt in such magnificent form, he only needs to get the baton on the anchor leg in a good position. I think anyone on his leg will be scared to death. André: As they should be. The Jamaicans will start with the reliable Carter as usual with the interesting tweak being Asafa Powell on the back straight. Powell has never had to handle the baton twice – receive and hand off. So, it will be interesting to see how he manages, but his speed on the back straight against Gatlin is key for the Jamaicans and will prevent the Americans from building a big lead if at all for the anchor man. KC: On paper, the Americans are the favourites here as Trayvon Bromell, Mike Rodgers and Tyson Gay are well rested. With Bromell on the lead off leg, Carter cannot allow him to get away too far from him as this could be danger for us. Also, as you know, Powell will be up against Gatlin on the second leg. André: It seems we will be running Nickel Ashmeade on the third leg against Gay. Ashmeade isn’t in good form, but he’s a better curve runner than Gay right now, I believe. The Jamaicans only need to get the stick around to restore order and continue their dominance at World Champs and Olympics. KC: It is Rodgers who will be anchoring for the United States as Bromell is expected to give them a good start. The key will be the third leg. Ashmeade cannot allow Gay to get away from him here and give the anchor man a big lead. André: I expect that all the legs will be close, Asafa’s execution is key but once whoever is on anchor is within a few steps of Bolt, it’s game over for the US. KC: I am a bit concerned with Asafa on the second leg as this is new territory for him as he is used to just getting the baton and not passing it. I have been in tremendous form in my selections over the past five days and I hope this will continue and I am giving the USA the slight edge here to win gold as Bolt will have too much to make up on the anchor leg.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H As the world focuses on London for the upcoming Olympic Games, there is another British city catching the eye of budding travelers to the UK: Manchester. Statistics from UK tourism office VisitBritain show international travelers made 936,000 overnight stays in Manchester last year (compared to the 2010 figure of 811,000) as overseas tourism to the area grew 15 per cent.VisitManchester gateway marketing manager Emma White attributes the “fantastic increase” in visitor numbers to the city to a number of factors.“The ongoing route development at Manchester Airport and an increasing number of international conferences in the city has really made its mark,“ she told e-Travel Blackboard. “Our activity in 2012 will focus on a number of cities across Europe with direct flights into Manchester and we will continue to ‘warm up’ markets on the West Coast USA and China, particularly Hong Kong.”With the city Britain’s third most popular destination, local tourism bosses pointed to events like the 2011 Manchester International Festival (featuring performances by Bjork and Damon Albarn) and the Christmas Markets for boosting the city’s profile.But it is still the city’s shopping and sporting attractions that continue to be Manchester’s major draw cards. As well as boasting an increasing number of luxury and boutique stores, the city is home to two of Europe’s biggest football clubs: Manchester United and recently crowned English champions Manchester City. And the soccer doesn’t stop there, with the National Football Museum (opening next month) expected to boost overseas visitors numbers by a further 350,000 this year alone. For Americans visiting the Greater Manchester area, New York-based Ms White said there would be a wealth of sporting and cultural events to choose from.“Manchester is a great gateway to the whole of the north of England,” she said, highlighting the recent launch of United Airlines’ inaugural flight from Washington DC to Manchester.“Whether it’s Manchester’s heritage, arts and culture, music, events or indeed soccer, visitors can combine a trip to Manchester with all of the fantastic destinations surrounding it, such as Liverpool, Chester and the Lake District.”According to the Manchester Evening News, the city is set to earn £30 million from Olympic events over the summer as it hosts men’s and women’s football matches (featuring teams from USA, Brazil, Spain and UK) and warm-up games for the US men’s and women’s star-studded basketball teams. “Visitors can take in the drama at an Olympic Football match, see the Olympic Torch Relay and visit events at Manchester’s African-themed festival of music, dance and art, We Face Forward,” Ms White added. “July 2013 will see the biennial Manchester International Festival return to the city, for 18 extraordinary days of world premieres from across a complete spectrum of performance art.” Manchester’s music scene is considered one of the UK’s best (Image VisitManchester)