I have always loved the Olympics – since LA, with Coe V Ovett, Carl Lewis, Ed Moses, Fatima, Daley and Zola Budd. I was really cynical and un-excited by the thought of London 2012. I don’t know why. I half heartedly attempted to buy tickets but gave up pretty quickly. I arranged a holiday during them so I could be out of the country. Even the Torch Relay didn’t start a twinkle of interest. (I sat at home working on the day that the torch came jogging through Newbury, being held aloft by Clare Balding and others).
Then, at the end of July, I was in southern France in a remote rural gite watching the opening ceremony on a tiny, wonky tv screen and the twinkle started twinkling. Wow. Even twitter was impressed. I started to perk up a bit. But not enough to watch much in the first few days.
Then I watched this amazing semi-final in women’s Judo, while coming in from the pool to grab some fromage et pain. Gemma Gibbons’ shock semi-final win. I jumped about a foot in the air at this very moment. Her ‘I Love You Mum’ still gets me every time it’s since been replayed on montages.
And at this very moment I experienced full-on Olympic love again.
I was already on the edge, I was pleased to be proved wrong in my miserable cynicism of how it would all be run. Delighted in fact.
From then on in, the BBC coverage (even in France with an ex-pat TV licence, a TV and an iPad) was immense, I was addicted. We watched ‘Super Saturday’ in a hotel bar in Amiens, France and screamed the place down. Amazed at the gold rush that us Brits had not witnessed in our lifetimes.
I’ve loved Claire Balding, the gamesmakers, finding new stars and stars of the future and for Rio 2016. Even Matt ‘Mundane’ Baker’s ecstatic commentary of the Men’s Gymnastics final made me giddy. I adored Tom Daley’s reaction to his bronze, that’s a true sportsman in the making.
Greg Rutherford’s long jump and his amazement at his new-found star billing. Wiggo-mania – just wow. Dressage?! Who’d have thought I’d get tingles down my spine from that?
Sir Steve Redgrave being the official ‘Hugger’ of the games…. the Velodrome bursting with decibels and medals, and of course, interview of the games, Chad Le Close’s dad with Queen Clare Balding – just beautiful.
Andy Murray, winning, and at Wimbledon! Those amazing Brownlee brothers in triathlon… obviously Mo and his Mo-Bot, Jessica Ennis, Nicola Adams…. I could go on….
And I continue to be overwhelmed by the Paralympics. I have no words to describe the respect and awe I have when watching these athletes of the highest standards – their comradery, the competitiveness, humour, joy and disappointments – all what sport should teach us about in life. Hat’s off to the amazing Ludwig Guttmann, creator of the Paralympics. I wonder if he ever imagined it would climb to this wonderful spectacle.
The swimming amazes me, one-legged High Jump, blind Long Jump, Oscar, David Weir, table tennis, the women’s 4 x 100 relay team bronze! and wow, Jonny Peacock! I never want it to end…
I am going to be more sad when this ends than I ever thought possible.