It was such a long time coming but here we are approaching the end of the London 2012 Olympics. There have been so many mixed feelings about us hosting the games, it all got a bit political with the government acting out their playground taunts of “it was our idea!” when we won the bid and then when the expense of hosting it starting going through the roof they were quick to say “it was the last government’s idea!”. But whether you are sick of the sight of it and cross over the cost impacted on the tax payer or you’re waving your team GB flag and it’s a dream come true, it is happening and it has all gone pretty well so no point ignoring it anymore. And what we Brits are especially good at is feeling patriotic (when we’re doing something well) and glossing over the bigger picture. But forget politics, the question that everyone really wants answered is why are the women’s Beach Volley teams wearing bikini’s and the men’s Beach Volley teams not wearing speedos?! It’s obscene! And probably containing the most willing spectators other than Athletics!
My parents have always been big fans of Athletics and I was brought up in a house where it was encouraged to shout our encouragement to the likes of Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram. This was back in the day when Seb Coe was a long distance runner and before he was leader of the universe (in his opinion). This was back when footballers were not hearthrobs like David Beckham but sported mullets and perms like Glenn Hoddle. I can’t say I watched any of the Beijing Olympics other than expressing a little bit of interest at Michael Phelps 15 gold medals or whatever he earnt and is just me or is that man actually morphing into a fish? I swear he is actually growing gills in the sides of his throat! However, the London Olympics has becoming bizarrely addictive, maybe because we’re a little bit proud of its success or perhaps because we’re actually winning some medals!
Danny Boyle did not disappoint on his opening ceremony and I know people gave him grief by saying it was all a bit bizarre but we have to remember this man is responsible for the toilet scene in Trainspotting, I thought it was pretty tame to be honest. My only complaint was Sir Paul McCartney destroying his own song! I love Hey Jude, it reminds me of the end of drunken family parties and also when me and my friends took part in a massive sing-song on Brighton beach after the Fat Boy Slim concert, but what is worrying is the fact that the man who actually wrote it manages to make it cheesy! From adding too many high-pitched Ju Ju Ju Ju Judy’s to actually conducting the crowd with his hands, we were all secretly praying for Stella to come and put a blanket round his shoulders and lead him off stage. And I did wonder whether any foreign visitors were a bit confused with why Kenneth Brannagh was ordering a lot of heavily soiled men about. But I did think it was a memorable although probably hugely expensive opening ceremony.
My eldest son is loving the Olympics and has enjoyed every event, constantly flicking between the interactive channels to check out the hockey or the handball. And speaking of Handball, was this game made up the night before the opening ceremony with the referee’s making up rules as they go along? I do love the historical field events though and can’t help questioning whether the hammer throw and the shotput have much relevance today, but they are enjoyable nonetheless, if not for just rather manly looking women roaring after each throw. I find myself watching any Olympic event that is on. If cycling was on Grandstand on a Saturday morning at any other time of the year I can guarantee we wouldn’t be sitting there watching it with interest, but chuck in Chris Hoy and the possibility of a gold medal then we’re transfixed! I’ve even become an amateur expert on events that I have no prior knowledge of, such as diving where I can now tell you if Tom Daley made too much of a splash when he took his dive!
It is nice when we win though, especially in the Athletics when me, hubby and eldest son were pretty much screaming at Jessica Ennis in her recent success as if our lives depended on her winning the gold. I can pretty much say I have never shown that much passion in sport before! And the effect it has on me emotionally is pretty shocking too, I was completely choked after the Jessica Ennis finale as if she is a member of my family, how proud I felt! And the medal ceremonies are pretty much flooring me and not just when it is GB, the minute a national anthem strikes out and the bottom lip wobbles I’m right there with them. Apart from when the men are receiving medals and are looking pretty awkward about the little posy of flowers they were presented with.
And whether you’re proud of our achievement or still incensed at the thought of paying it off for the next ten years, I reckon we’ll all be checking to see where we finish in the medal table. My money is on third place which of course us Brits will find a way of saying is the best place to finish. Let’s just hope Paul McCartney doesn’t want to sing us out at the closing ceremony!