I was planning to blog on the topic of the Olympics several weeks ago but there has been so much else going on and so much else to talk about that I didn’t get around to it. And in some ways I am glad for if I had, I would not have been in a position to comment on the inspirational efforts of the Paralympians who are now giving their all in London. If I had blogged a few weeks ago, I would only have been able to speak about the inspirational Olympians I had witnessed running, throwing, shooting, jumping, bouncing, spinning, swimming, cycling or boxing their way to glory. Whether they ended up on the podium or not is irrelevant as far as I am concerned.
I am not sports mad but I do take an interest in various games. However, for the two weeks of the Olympics I was gripped by everything from eventing, to handball, to modern pentathlon, and many other sports I knew virtually nothing about.
The whole event was an incredible spectacle and it was great how the whole country got behind the Games, even the newspapers. Up until the day of the opening ceremony, the press had been almost universally scathing about everything from the organisation, to the transport and prospect of nationwide strikes and protests. Then, the morning of the opening ceremony dawned, and the papers had a clean sweep of supportive front pages. It is not overstating it to say that the whole nation rose to the challenge and earned a gold medal.
Concerns about a low medal haul soon evaporated as we overwhelmed nations at a huge array of sports, though it did make me smile when it was suggested we only started to come into our own once we got into the sitting down sports like cycling, horse riding and rowing! The initial hostility over empty seats seemed to just fade into the background as well as everyone marvelled at the scale and success of the event. It proves Britain can still be Great and pull off something like this when the world is watching. It was disappointing though to see LOGOC being so officious about copyright use, not just of the Olympic logo which I can understand, but even use of the word Olympics by companies across the land. This was a great chance for us to showcase our wares and bring a much-needed jolt to our economy and their actions may have dampened this.
That notwithstanding, the whole thing has been truly awe inspiring – and continues to be. My highlights were Boris getting stuck on that zip wire (though it would have been even better if he had accidentally set fire to the flag he was waving during the closing ceremony which it looked like he might do at one point) and Mo Farrah crossing the line at the end of the 5,000 metres.
How has it inspired me personally? Well, I promise from now on to try to run that little bit faster, jump that little bit higher and go that extra mile.