Qualifying for the Men’s Tandem Ind, B Sprint in the velodrome has just seen two British pairs set successive world records.
First Neil Fachie with pilot Barney Storey went in 10.165 seconds; then, next out, Anthomy Kappes with pilot Craig MacLean, topped it with 10.050 seconds.
The two pairs are in separate parts of the draw and so would not meet other until the final, of all goes well – and on this form, why won’t it?
This Paralympics – the first to which a widescale audience has paid serious attention – is introducing a whole new parallel skillset – synchronisation, unison.
In the velodrome, blind or partially sighted cyclists go on a tandem with a sighted pilot – their physical attunement is perfect.
On the track, blind and partially sighted runners go with a sighted guide, their inside wrists joined with an elastic band that can be easily released just before the line. The paralympians must cross the line ahead of their guides and with the guides holding back fractionally at that point, they need to release or they would impair the paralympian’s movement.
Watching these pairs of people sprint at breathtaking speed and in absolute unison adds hugely to the wonder of the sport and to respect for the complex skills involved. You do wonder where they find guides that can run fast enough to accompany these athletes.
These athletes go so fast that the perceivable difference between their performance times and those we have just seen at the Olympics are often indetectable. Oscar Pistorius’s 200m sprint heat last night looked no different from the Olympics heats in the same event.
But it’s the additional skills of synchronisation that take the breath away – and the way the eye quickly accepts as perfectly familiar and particularly exciting, the image of two-as-one.