I know its long gone but I am grieving and it’s because the Olympics is over. Who would have thought that Olympic fever would have gripped my house? Whilst it was going on I became an arm chair athlete, jumping up and down, tapping feet and shouting at the telly. Also waving fists and crying with joy when a medal was won. Such a vast range of emotions about sport not something I normally experience. However prior to the Olympics hubby and I had started our training, I was not as enthusiast in the build-up, maybe a reluctant sports woman who needed inspiration to help me train. It took strength of will and shear discipline to prepare in readiness for the big event. Firstly fingers needed to be limbered ready for the pumping movements on the TV remote. Supermarket shopping precisely purchased all necessary food stores, plenty of carbohydrates and protein foods for quick supplies of energy also extra tea bags and biscuits, an essential for the older sports enthusiast, a substitute for banana.
Inspirational not just to our young but also to us oldies, I even considered getting out the WI board which has been gathering dust in the corner. It took effort to limber up each morning for the choice of sports available to watch, athletics, those lithe muscular runners racing their hearts out because the crowd willed them on. Not just the lucky attendants with tickets but those glued to the telly like me, zealously bellowing ‘go on love’ and my husbands with his ‘come on my son’.
Prior to each event hubby and I had to build stamina with copious amounts of tea topped of course with the compulsory nibbles, it took effort limbering up the old index finger on that remote, swopping and changing programs in order to take in rowing, swimming, gymnastics and listening to the excited, bordering on hysterical voice of Mat Baker describing the sport so beautifully, the vault, the balance beam for the woman then the men and their shear strength on the Still rings, the high bar and the pommel horse. Phew! Taking in all this information was making me ready for an A level in the subject. For instance I never realised that Gymnastics evolved from the ancient Greeks for mounting and dismounting a horse which involves both single and double leg work. Oh Yes! I have learned my stuff.
When it came to the athletics Colin Jackson’s insights and enthusiastic commentating along with his short and sweet instruction on the various sports made me want to watch and learn. When the backroom view of their excited commentating for Mo Farah’s race was shown it surpassed any drama series for me. I think that Mo’s 5000m was the most wonderful thing I have witnessed in any sport. I wanted to cry with joy at the finish but also could hardly bear to watch threatening to switch off because of his tactics. ‘He’s not going to make it’ I shouted to my husband who was pretending to read the paper the tension so high.
Then there was the rowing and the women first across the line for a gold and the cycling and let’s not forget the equestrian, so much in the beauty of horse and rider. Remember the diving and the wonderful underwater views of the synchronised swimmers. Even the shooting and the young man Peter Wilson who beat all those experienced comers. Whew!
I did watch the closing ceremony but was sadly unenthused by the pop generation and the old celebs , hoping and praying that we would not have to sit through another of McCartney’s renditions of’ Hey Jude’ or Elton John’s ‘Bennie and the Jets’. Instead we had the new and old era pop stars with their narcissistic gyrations, dear me George you went just one step too far. How can we compare the pop stars to the modern day athlete? Surely we have more to offer the world than pop music and the London bus. We did get a rendition from Madness which always make me smile and from the remaining Kink but what was wrong with his hair? However in saying all of that the lighting and special effects did keep me glued and my very favourite was the lovely and moving film of John Lennon with that wonderfully apt rendition ‘Imagine’ with the words ‘imagine all the people living life in peace,’ so perfect for the Olympics, but the dowsing of the flame did bring a tear to my eye.
However I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t kept lit until after the Paralympics but it seems that was the way the organisers wanted it. Maybe it’s because they sought to stand independent of the 2012 Olympics? I was shocked to hear that the BBC had under bid; maybe they didn’t have the faith in its popularity? Was it due to pure greed after all they must have done well from 2012? However I am pleased channel 4 had coverage because they are the channel who has done more to bring disability into the mainstream and have a great track record of broadcast innovation with sports.
After watching the drama ‘Best of Men’ about the revolutionary treatment of spinal injuries by Ludwig Guttmann followed up with the onset of the Paralympics it was beautifully timed prior to the Sporting event on the 29th Sept bringing history into to the here and now. I know like me many viewers will have shouted them on in the same way, willing our Brits to succeed. Indeed there were more tears as the medals were presented. At the start I was a little concerned that it was going to be presented on the cheap because the lighting of the torches throughout Britain seemed rather amateurish but as things progressed I was glued to the whole things. I learned so much about the various categories of disability but also about the shear strength of will and determination by so many. I cried with joy and admiration when a Chinese swimmer with no arms won a gold medal. When Ellie Simmonds moved like a little jet engine through the water to take two gold medals, a bronze and a silver and still only seventeen years old and when David Weir through pure strength of will and superman character won all his races.
I know in my lifetime I will never see the like of both the 2012 Olympics and the Paralympics originally drawn to it all by the passing on of the torch at the end of my estate at Penrhyn Bay roundabout. At the time hubbie felt a little cheated by the way it arrived on a coach and he had waited with camera ready for the runner to come down the hill from Llandudno but I loved being so close to something historical and watching the faces of crowds ‘willing on’ the lighting of the torch, a truly great beginning to a magnificent few weeks. Let’s not forget.