Two Week Love Affair (Olympics)

“How much is this costing us? In the middle of a recession? 2 weeks of this boring, hyperbole filled patriotic crap, no thanks.”

Oh, how wrong I was. How very, very wrong.
From the bizarre, but strangely awesome opening ceremony, ive been hooked. The Olympics waltzed into the bar, its pureness flowing like golden locks of heaven. It fluttered its eyelashes at me and i was in love.
Oh what an event. What a spectacle.
Coming from football, where everything is dirty, bloated and corrupt, to an event that is so wonderfully raw and somehow humble, it is like switching desserts from a treacle sponge to a light lemon sorbet. Its everything that football isn’t, and I love it.
I am not a patriotic man, but that stems from a disconnect from those at the top of the power pyramid, the ridiculous monarchy and the pompous out of touch politicians, bickering like children while the real people of this country struggle on. But deep down, hidden away until now, I love this country. I love the people of this country. Danny Boyle’s fantastic opening ceremony was very much a celebration of those people, and the things they did to make this country what it is. It was basically a 4 hour show of “things that Tories hate”, and I loved it.
Then the events started. Oh the events!
Rowing, cycling, hockey, tennis, swimming, diving! Oh its glorious! And whats this? Handball? Wow that’s amazing. Basketball? Awesome! Boxing, taekwondo, gymnastics, table tennis, oh this is fantastic! What? Track and field hasn’t started yet? Sweet mother of god.
I have watched, and loved more sport this past fortnight than I ever have. I am lucky to have a job where there is a TV on constantly, and I’ve watched literally ALL THE SPORTS.

Queen of the Olympics

I have been head over heels in love with the Olympics, watching Jessica Ennis take gold in the heptathlon, Mo Farah taking the 10,000 and 5,000m double, the rowers, Sir Chris Hoy powering to his 5th gold medal, Bradley Wiggins’ immense gold, Vicky Pendleton’s silver swan song, the rise of new stars in Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Jade Jones among others, Katherine Granger and Anna Watkins’ spine tingling reaction to winning gold, Nicola Adams making history in the women’s boxing, Ben Ainsley becoming the greatest sailor in history, Gemma Gibbons breaking down in tears in her Judo semi final, Tom Daley winning bronze, Peter Wilson taking gold in the shooting, the Brownlee brothers, Andy Murray! I cheered on Andy Murray, someone I’ve never warmed to. I was nearly in tears watching Mo Farah win the double last night, I’ve never felt like that watching sport.
Amongst all this, behind every moment has been without doubt the best commentating I have ever witnessed. No agenda, no sarcasm, no pettiness, just enthusiastic, knowledgeable, passionate commentators. They have been outstanding, how some of them keep their cool when it’s all going on is beyond me. They have all been fantastic, apart from Colin Jackson, who has been hilarious alongside Micheal “cool as a motherfucker” Johnson. When Colin is flapping about like a teenage idiot, Micheal has been sat there, with just a small grin on his cool face, its been brilliant.

One of many brilliant moments.

I’ve discovered a new sport to love, Basketball, I’ve discovered new sporting heroes (if you want to call them that) in people like Laura Trott, ive watched in awe as these humble superhumans go about their business with this unexpected wave of emotion when they win a medal.
Piers Morgan has been up in arms about athletes not singing the national anthem when they win gold. Why? Why should these people who have dedicated their lives for this one, fleeting moment of glory have to do anything when they are stood there, in front of their home crowd, after winning a gold medal? The Queen doesn’t matter, it’s not about her, the national anthem is as out of touch as she is, it doesn’t represent our values or us the people of Britain. They are what matters, the fans, the people, that’s what every single athlete has praised when they’ve done well, how incredible the crowds have been. So what if Chris Hoy doesn’t sing the anthem, he just won 5 gold medals, he can do what the fuck he wants as far as I’m concerned. Another thing Piers has missed the point on, is that many athletes are stood there in tears on that podium, they are so incredibly emotional that they can barely keep their eyes open, let alone sing. He’s painting them as disappointments when they’ve just WON A FUCKING GOLD MEDAL, he can do one the pompous knob.

Just people.

The Olympics has nestled itself into a special place in my heart, even outside the British athletes, everything is incredible, China’s diving wonders, America’s swimming dominance, Phelps grabbing his 18th gold medal, Usain Bolt becoming the greatest ever sprinter, Blake giving him a run for his money, Oscar Pistorius, AKA “The Bladerunner”, the Russian high jumper that looked like Sideshow Bob, Brazil taking their first ever gold in the gymnastics, USA decimating in the basketball, it’s all been so wonderful to watch. Athletes from all countries embracing each other, south korean players hugging north korean opponents, Iranian athletes with Americans, the first Saudi Arrabian woman athlete taking part, cheered home all the way by the crowds. There was a woman from Turkey who pulled her hamstring badly in the first half a lap of her 800m heat, she finished it, grimacing all the way round because this is the Olympics and nothing was going to take that moment away from her, an American sprinter actually broke his leg and still completed his part in the relay race because he “didn’t want to let his team down”. He broke his leg, and didn’t even bother to stop because that would have let his team down.

“Blade Runner”


This is what I’ve loved about the Olympics, it’s not about tribal loyalties and bickering, booing the opposition to put them off, every political or personal agenda is left at the door, these are just people who want to compete. It’s the old “it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part” phrase encapsulated in one beautiful spectacle. The person who finishes last is cheered as hard as the one who takes gold, sure the winner takes the limelight, but even those that come at the back are cheered and congratulated just for being there.



This was perfectly when Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase took silver in the rowing, just being edged out by Denmark. “I’m sorry, we let you down” was the remark after they got out, then Sir Steve Redgrave, 5 time olympic champion and one of the greatest sportsmen in history put an arm round their shoulder, “you’ve not let anyone down.” Everyone broke into tears, here was a man who won gold in 5 Olympic games, telling these lads that they’ve done everyone proud, imagine what that feels like. Tom Daley took bronze in the individual diving and everyone partied like he’d just won 10 gold medals, because any medal is an unbelievable achievement, and every single one of those athletes who won a medal, every single one of those athletes that took part, deserve an immense congratulations, because every single one of them has made me and the whole country proud.

The Mo-Bolt

All this isn’t very well written I admit, but I had to acknowledge just how special the Olympics has been and how utterly wrong I was about it in the run up to the games.
And today it ends, as quick as it started, my beloved fling will exit stage left and it will be a long 4 years until she walks back into my life. I don’t want it to end, I want to cling to this 2 week love affair and not let it go, but I know it has to. All good things have to end, and this, this magnificent, shining beacon of sport, this bonanza of pure athleticism stands above all others as the greatest show on earth.
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