• Oscar Pistorius fails in attempt to live Olympic dream
For Robbie Grabarz, everything seems to be coming together at exactly the right time. Grabarz won gold at the European Championships on Friday, the latest peak in a run of form that has seen him add eight centimetres to his outdoor personal best in the last month alone. It was only last year that the 24-year-old Grabarz lost his lottery funding after a series of poor performances. That was the spark that lit the fire. All of a sudden he is genuine contender for a medal, possibly gold, at the London Olympics. He is currently joint-second in the world rankings, a single centimetre behind Russia's Ivan Ukhov.
Grabarz's cleared 2.31m, which was good enough to win Great Britain's first European gold medal in the high jump since Alan Paterson's in 1950. There have been a lot of good British jumpers between then and now, including Steve Smith and Dalton Grant. But the best they could ever manage in the Europeans was silver.
The most impressive thing about Grabarz's performance was the way he handled the pressure of his first major international championships. He was happy to sit out the first two heights of 2.15m and 2.20m, and the only man in the field bold enough to do so. He came in at 2.24m, and cleared that and 2.28m on his first attempt. His late entry meant he always had an edge on countback over the only other man to clear 2.31m, Lithuania's Raivydas Stanys.
Grabarz could be a star. One man who certainly is may not even take part at the Games. Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa, has failed to make the South African 400m team. Pistorius has spent the last few weeks travelling the world, across Europe, the USA, and Africa, trying to run an A standard of 45.30sec. He had his last chance at the African Championships in Benin on Friday, but he could only clock 45.52sec. That was good enough to win him a silver medal, but not to fulfil the selectors' stringent criteria.
Pistorius could still make the South African 4x400m relay team, but even that cannot be taken for granted. He was controversially dropped from the quartet after he helped them set a new national record in the heats of the 2011 World Championships, and he has suggested that certain figures within the administration hold a grudge against him. Pistorius holds one A standard, set in a domestic competition, but the selectors stipulated that he would need to add another to make the grade.
The Games will be poorer for his absence. He was gracious about his failure to qualify, saying: "I had felt very strong coming into this competition as my fitness and speed has been continually improving. I was in good shape to set the time and believe my speed will only increase over the next few weeks." He still has three titles to defend at the Paralympics, and he says they will now be his "big focus", along with the relay.
A few thousand miles north, in Helsinki, several British athletes found themselves in similar situations to Pistorius, though they are still sweating on whether or not they will make the cut. Chris Tomlinson had a dismal day in the long jump, finishing 13th in qualifying and failing to make the final. Tomlinson shares the British record with Greg Rutherford and won a bronze in the last edition of these championships. But his form has completely deserted him this season, when his best jump has been only 8.01m.
The selectors may take the view that Tomlinson did enough last year, when he jumped over the A standard of 8.20m three times. But the one thing he does not have is current form or fitness. He is blaming a knee injury he suffered last autumn. He managed 7.84m in the first round here, but could not improve on that. "I just need competitions," Tomlinson said, asking for the one thing he doesn't have – more time. Tomlinson's fellow long jumper JJ Jegede did make the final, qualifying in fifth with a jump of 8.01m.