I wasn’t going to write about the Olympics, so many people have no doubt done it or plan to that it just seemed overkill. But then there was THAT Saturday night, that amazing 45 minutes of incredible drama and celebration. 3 athletes reaching the very peak, climbing Mount Olympus as Kris Akabusi calls it, fulfilling their potential.
What a simply unbelievable sporting event, one where in years to come you’ll remember where you were when Mo Farrah won gold, when Bradley Wiggins won Olympic Gold to go with the Tour de France Yellow jersey, when Great Britain won their first medals for a long time in gymnastics and shooting and show jumping.
I love sport, I’ll watch almost anything, but never has is captivated me like the past 10 days. I’ve watched many a football fan cry when their team loses and thought to myself ‘but it’s just a game’. Yet there I was watching Steve Redgrave hug Kath Grainger who finally won Gold on her 4th attempt and there was a tear in my eye. I know this isn’t just me, one look at Twitter during and after a big race will tell you that. Has the nation ever been so engaged in a sporting event?
It’s not just the sporting stories creating the emotions; on Sunday morning I listened to an interview with Seb Coe on 5Live and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He told a story about meeting an Olympics volunteer on the train this week, this volunteer was working in medical support for the boxing. The volunteer thanked Seb for bringing the Olympics to London, he is an A&E consultant in London and was working on 7/7, the same day that London was awarded the Olympics. This volunteer saw the Olympics as closure, he had seen the very worst of humanity on 7/7 and now he was able to see the very best.
Everywhere you look there is inspiration, sports men and women who have given everything for 4 years to prepare for this moment and despite the many British Medals the majority still won’t have won anything. Rowers who give so much that they cannot walk when they get out of the boat, sailors whose parents re-mortgaged their homes to support them and runners who moved their families to a different country to get better training conditions.
Yet throughout all this success there has been such honesty and humility; Dai Greene apologising and clearly embarrassed at his poor performance, Christine Ohurougu live on TV saying she was disappointed with Silver, Becky Adlington so honest that she couldn’t have won no matter what the crowd hoped for. As I saw someone say it’s essentially 2 weeks of TV highlighting everything that is bad about professional football.
So as we enter the last week and revel in the joy of success I hope a lot of people will not only be inspired to take up a new sport but also think long and hard about where to spend their money. Perhaps tickets to an athletics meet at Crystal Palace is a better choice than Premiership football?
Oh and don’t forget Helen Glower had been rowing for 1 month when the Beijing Olympics were on, yet she won a Gold medal last week…
P.S I think digital media has truly arrived during these games; fantastic BBC coverage with massive choice via the red button, the BBC website and phone apps plus of course Twitter to share the moment and here the latest news. I’ve also become somewhat addicted to 5Live, great coverage and almost more enjoyable than watching the events.