Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012 Olympic Games

Withdrawal symptoms kicking in. Someone get me to Olymipc rehab. Thank god for the Paralympics in a few weeks!

Olympics > NOlympics.

I have loved every single second of London 2012. From the minute the announcement was made that we had won the bid, through the years of build up, watching the stadium take shape every day, the breathtaking Opening Ceremony and being glued to the TV at every available opportunity (so much for house renovations and writing blog posts!) until the final note of the Closing Ceremony. I have cheered, whooped, cried, sobbed and screamed. I have loved every. Single. Second. However, of those seconds, I am able to pick several highlights and a few low points. Read on and I’ll share them with you.

The low points
I want to stay positive, and this isn’t a time for “dislikes”, so by way of constructive criticism, here is where I saw room for improvement to start with so we end it on an utterly positive note.
Athletes, stop apologising! Gold medal? You are AMAZING. Did you win a medal that wasn’t gold? You are AMAZING. You didn’t win a medal? You went to the Olympics and competed on the world stage. You are AMAZING.

Empty seats. Broke my heart. Shame on you giant corporations of the world.
Venom. Once again, football is the cause of national venom. If it inspires so much negativity, why do we continue to support it as a national sport? Cheer up people - we lost - big deal. In other news? Great athletes did great things, regardless of what colour kit they were wearing!
Negativity. Newsnight, couldn’t you just wait a week or two? Whingers of the Square Mile, see, it was fine. Trains worked. Tubes worked. People were happy. We did well. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it you sour faced old farts! Didn't "get" the Opening Ceremony? Read some books, watch some films, listen to some music, learn about your homeland and what makes it great. Didn't like the acts that played in the Closing Cermony? London, and Britain as a whole has been the birthplace of some of the greatest muscial acts of all time. No one is asking to you love them all, just acknowledge that they exist. Also, people are different. They have different taste. One Direction had as much right to be there as Madness. Jessie J represents our music scene just as much as Brian May. The Spice Girls define a generation, just as much as the Beatles. Old or young, new blood or been in the charts for 50 years? Who cares. Enjoy the bits you like and respect that others enjoy different things to you - i.e. BE BRITISH! This is what we stand for, diversity and respect. London did the Olympics proud and you should be proud of London.
And so, on to the stratospherically-high, high points

Attending! I was lucky enough to attend one of the events. I wrote about it for Florence Finds.

The hot pink. London is an oooooooold city. The most colour we get is some red, white and blue on big occasions. Hot pink is probably the most un-London colour there is. It worked! It also kept London neutral, no flag has hot pink in it (or maybe there is one, and I missed it? And if there is I want to become a citizen!) so there could be no accusations of bias!
Wenlock and Mandeville. I don't care what people say. I think they're brilliant. And clearly so do Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
The organisation. There were signs everywhere, people everywhere, BoJo on the tannoy giving travel announcements, London commuters helping out tourists with impromptu tour guide skills. Commuting became a surreal and fantastic experience!
BoJo. No other Mayor could have carried the games with such comedy, sarcasm, dance moves and bumble as he. He made me smile! He made me cheer!

Bling. Third in the table? Most medals, ever. Nuff said. But just to clarify, in the words of one of our legendary song writers (yeah, that's right, I think she rocked it with Brian May and did the song, and Freddie proud!) it Ain't about the ba-bling, ba-bling. Wanna make the world dance. We did!

Leftie multicultural crap. Kenneth Branagh reading Shakespeare. Four anthems. One anthem. A world of flags. Mr Bean playing Chariots of Fire. JKR reading Peter Pan. “Mr Bond”, “Your Majesty”, the Welfare State, Sufragettes, immigration, music, tributes, the fact that seven unknown future champions lit the 204 petals so that every competing nation contribued to the lighting of the cauldron. Only in Britain. Danny Boyle you deserve a Knighthood! Aidan Burley, you can jog on.

Homage to g(G)reat British culture, old and new. Muscial legends. Acting legends. Comedy legends. Fashion legends. Dancing legends. Landmark legends. YES, LONDON, YES!!!

The way we were so terribly "British" about everything. Queues, polite responses to international criticism (yes, Romney, I'm looking at you), apologising repeatedly, the stiff upper lip, the "leftie multicultural crap", "we did it right"... no, WE DID IT GREAT! I'm so proud of who and what we are, even if sometimes I feel we should be a bit less British, I'm glad we never will be.

Loosening of the Stiff Upper Lip whilst widening the Thin Blue Line. Those police officers high-fiving tourists and attendees all over East London, one of whom is my hubby. Yeah, our Bobbies rock! They’ve given a lot to make these games happen and despite the stupidly long hours, lack of free time and hard work, I think they’ve truly enjoyed every single minute. And apparently the thugs and criminals of London enjoyed the games too – I’ve not heard a single report of any trouble. Unless of course the PR people are also working overtime to keep it all quiet!

Teamwork, across borders. The way the US runner, and silver medallist, Galen Rupp (I think) whooped for Mo Farah as he crossed the line in the 10,000m final. Apparently they train together, and despite running for different countries you could see how happy he was for his training partner taking gold. Sport unites, it doesn't divide. Footballers and fans of the world - take note!
Inspiration across borders. James, who came in first, asked Pistorious, who came in last, to swap name badges after the 400m heats. Inspirational on so many levels. I cried.

Admiration across borders. This picture says it all
Breaching protocol. After winning a silver medal in the 20km Race Walk, and the first medal ever for his home country Guatemala, Errick Barrondo decided against the usual handshake and grabbed the guy who gave him his medal, embracing him in an emotional bear hug. So great! They’re knighting him apparently when he gets home. True story!
Commuting. Every tube journey was an emotional high and fun filled. Flags, face paints, comedy announcements, more track suits than a JJB megastore, happy and helpful volunteers and TFL staff and, shock horror, Londoners and commuters actually conversing with strangers on public transport. I genuinely looked forward to my Tube and train journeys every day!
The Royals. The Cambridges and Harry hugging and whooping like commoners? Totes amaze! Zara getting in amongst it with her team mates? Down with the kids! Zara's mum giving her her medal. Too cute! James Bond and Queenie? Speechless...
Presenters. Gabby Logan and Clare Balding showing the dudes how you present a sports programme (with style, humour and lots of layman's terms for us non-sporty types) and pundits forgetting the cameras and screaming for the athletes. Brilliant.
Going to work. My company went Olympics crazy, condensing working hours, celebrating with free drinks and gifting us all chocolate gold medals on Fridays to say thanks for making it in to work. Too cute.

A nation of whingers and complainers SILENCED. I spent months staying positive (despite my usual hatred of public transport) and telling people that London would step up, it would be fine and to stop whinging about congestion and Tube delays. People were actively seeking out issues to complain about until about two days in, when they realised it wouldn’t be tolerated, their usual fellow whingers didn’t join in and quite frankly, no one wanted to hear it. Ha. I didn’t want to say it, but I TOLD YOU SO.
Facial expressions. Jessica Ennis' and Mo Farah's faces as they crossed finish line. Mo Farah's daughter and heavily pregnant wife as they track invaded. Greg Rutherford as he realised what had happend to him. Vicky P with the love heart and the mouthed words. Chris Hoy not holding it together. The Ugandan guy who just grinned at the interviewer. Nicola Adams as she smiled like a Cheshire Cat. Happiness is infectious. I smiled a lot... when I wasn't sobbing of course.

Making history, pushing boundaries. World and Olympic records. “Firsts”. Titles retained. Female boxing. Most decorated athletes. Women in every team. Oscar Pistorius...

That 800m race. Our poor guy would have taken gold in the last three Olympics with his time, but came in last. SuperHumans! Also goes to show - no matter how good you are, you can always be better. Isn't that what the Olympics is all about? Always striving to be bigger, better, faster, stronger? Reality TV z-elebs take note...
Jamaica. Bolt and Blake in the 100m. They went on the B of the Bang. The 1, 2, 3 in the 200m. The skits to camera before they run - how are they so chilled? The press ups. The conga line. Jamaica House. The Mo-Bot as Bolt crossed the line. What a team.
Team spirit. That US sprinter who completed his leg of the relay with a broken limb... So he didn't let his team down? And they qualified. What. A. Legend. He should get a medal for that alone. Actually, the Queen should make him an honorary British citizen so she can give him a knighthood!
Andy Murray, finally! I wanted Federer to win Wimbledon, but a few short weeks later, same people, same place. Different result. Hurrah.
Roger Federer. Always such a gentleman. Always so dapper, so polite, so gracious. I heart.

Montages. A montage always gets me, especially an Olympic one. The music that the BBC use on their montages at the end of each night either makes me dance in my living room or cry. Often both. 
WINNERS! Michael Johnson's quote (referring to Christine Ohurogu) - she didn't lose Gold, she WON silver. There's a difference.  Remember it.
Nicola Adams! How cute is she? How deadly? But really, that smile, that laugh, that jubilation? I want to bottle it and keep it in my handbag so I will never, ever, ever feel down again.
Saturday 4th August 2012. One year on, exactly, from when London's spirit almost crumbled under the riots, London came back and gave us so much to be proud of. #SuperSaturday
It happened. Thank you LOCOG, the Gamesmakers, TFL, Danny Boyle, London 2012,Team GB and all the national teams for making these last two weeks some of the best of my life.
Inspire a generation. Consider us inspired.


  1. You're not wrong. I actually considered leaving London for the Games. I thought it was going to be a shambles. Maybe the media was just setting us up for the worst, putting our expectations nice and low so we couldn't help but be impressed. But even if I had kept the highest of expectations, these Games would have surpassed them all. I feel so proud to be British right now and long may it continue! ROLL ON SUPERHUMANS!!

  2. This is brilliant. It literally sums up everything I want to say as a Londoner about the games.

  3. Wicked blog - nice one