I think he's a speaker of some kind, enabling the athletes to hear both starter and pistol clearly, ensuring a clean, resolutely non-controversial start to each race.
How's that working out for you, Daegu?
I also think that, in this case, the face is there quite deliberately, although I don't know if the Koreans really go in for kawaii. It does have quite the perfect expression of OMG, and in these championships, there has been a lot to OMG about.
The first attempt to take a picture of it on my telly resulted in this:
You may think it doesn't show Dai Greene in a particularly flattering pose. To that I say suck it up, Greene. You're world champion now, you need to keep your feet on the ground. Contrary to how it may appear, he was actually scratching his nose – of course he was, that's what they all say. It was done in such an apparently nonchalant fashion, totally at odds with the tension of the moment (I can quite truthfully say I felt sick with nerves all morning) that I think it was entirely put on as part of his psych-out strategy. 'Yeah, I'm just hanging out, scratching my nose a bit. What, me? Nervous? Pfffft. NO.' That is the mark of a champion. He wasn't even itchy!
If you are a Why Miss Jones early adopter, you may remember the short-lived 'Jones Of The Week' award I once bestowed on Ryan Jones, the Welsh rugby player. I almost feel moved to confer the second only JOTW title upon Greene, in an honorary capacity. This would, however, involve some kind of gross Welsh-based generalisation, so it's probably best that I'm feeling too lazy to fire up the Photoshop and draw one of history's all-time great crowns upon his head with a shaky brush tool.
Both Greene and sweet, sunshiny Hannah England (OK, Iwan Thomas, you've called her 'a lovely girl'enough now, it's getting creepy) found a British flag from the crowd and did the appropriate champion-like things with it. Do you automatically understand what to do in that respect the moment you achieve the status of medallist?
I wondered today if it ever feels a bit weird. Like, 'OK, I've got the flag. Now what? I feel a bit embarrassed. I know, I'll hold it up in the air. Oh no, it's blowing in my face. Eurgh, it tastes funny. Actually, that guy that threw it to me looked weird. Maybe he infused it with steroids so I'll fail my drug test. Maybe I'll just hold it in front of me, but not in my face. Right, I've done that. Now what? Shall I go over there and hold it a bit more? Yes. I'll do that. I'm totally doing that. OK, now I'll run over to this bit. Run over to that other bit. Oh. Actually, no one seems that interested any more. They're all watching the big screen, which is showing two pigeons fighting in the water jump. Should I ditch the flag? I'm a bit bored of holding it now. Seems rude though. Can't just toss it back into the crowd, the Daily Mail will go mental. I'll wrap it around myself like a towel. I've definitely seen people do that. Except... oh, my shoulders are all sweaty and it's sticking to them and making me feel ick.'
I've thought about this quite a lot.
I guess when you're on the kind of high that comes with achieving one of your major life ambitions – I WOULDN'T KNOW – you assume a higher state of consciousness. You've beaten the world's best. What are flags? Nothing.