I always thought it would go well (despite the cynicism) and I never thought we shouldn’t have bid for it (despite the expense). But what I didn’t know was quite how amazing the London 2012 Olympics would be.
I have always been rubbish at sport and I don’t usually watch sport much on TV. But I’ve been hooked. I’ve watched so many sports that I would never watch and been spellbound. As one radio presenter (I can’t remember who) said “I never thought I’d find watching a horse moving sideways to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory a good way to spend an evening.” I’ve spent evenings watching water polo, archery, athletics, wrestling and rowing to name just a few. When would I normally do that? What I regret is not having seen any part of the Olympics in person, unless you include seeing them film the helicopter supposedly carrying James Bond and the Queen fly through Tower Bridge.
I think the thing that finally got everyone interested after the initial scepticism, despite it being seen as hugely London-centric, was the torch relay. It just excited people as it brought the Olympics to every part of the country. A beautiful torch. Some amazing torch-bearers. Covering all of the UK. And I also think it was good to add in some famous local person too.
I loved the Opening Ceremony. Yes there were parts that were a bit lefty in parts, but it was an absolutely amazing event that showcased our history and Britain today. Britain is all of the things in that opening ceremony, despite what Aidan Burley and the Mail Online might say. We’re a traditional and also modern country and that Opening Ceremony showed it. It was the Britain that I love and why I think we’re a great country. And I think Danny Boyle deserves huge praise for distilling what Britain is, when most of us sort of know it in our soul but perhaps can’t express it. Anyone who wants to know what being British is about should just watch the Opening Ceremony (and the Closing Ceremony for that matter too). Oh, and the Olympic cauldron was amazing and despite it not much was said about our country’s amazing designers (except for those in fashion).
I even found myself excited wondering where Sheffield’s golden postbox would be once Jessica Ennis won her Gold Medal. Despite my initial reservations about the idea of them. I was even more excited when I stumbled on it whilst it was being painted. Yes, as a proud Sheffielder I am also chuffed that someone local won a gold medal (Jessica Ennis). Someone local and from my school organised it (Sebastian Coe). Some locals performed in the opening ceremony (Arctic Monkeys).
Everyday at work we wondered what our Gold medals were going to be that day and we realised that we had champions that we had never even heard of because there were so many of them. A couple of us also were proud at how well Yorkshire did. We told everyone when we had won something and it was considered fine not a distraction from work as this is a once in a lifetime event.
There’s plenty of events I can say I’ve enjoyed watching on TV, but there’s nothing that has ever been as good as these Olympics. Britain at it’s best. I’ve never been much of a nationalist and my nationality has just been a fact rather than something I feel fanatical about (although by being born in Sweden it makes it someway more complicated). But I think these Olympics have made me use the word “proud” for the first time. I’m proud we can put on an event this good. I’m proud that we can be this successful in sport. I’m proud that we show the world what an amazing country we are. I’m proud that we’ve all got behind it. I’m proud that I’m British. I was even a little tearful when the flag was handed over to Brazil.
What a show. What a spectacle. What an achievement. Let’s hope we keep up the positivity and use the pride in our nation for positive good. Oh, and lets not forget we do still have the Paralympic Games coming up.
Sorry for all the hyperbole but I have genuinely loved all of this.