Maybe this country isn't so bad after all......
by, 08-14-12 at 09:12 AM (555 Views)
The date is July 6th 2005. I'm a 20 year old student in the middle of a sports science degree and the news that has just been announced, that London will host the 2012 Olympic games is about the most exciting thing ever to happen in my life.
Fast forward to July 2012. The Olympics is just around the corner. I've been waiting for this moment for 7 years, and you know what, I just want it to go away. 7 years is a long time and in that time, i've grown up, my eyes have opened and the world is just a different place to live. That excitement that I had has been ebbed away to nothing. There are many reasons for this. The final year of my degree basically ripped apart all enthusiasm from me for a subject I loved. I passed, got my degree, but was left feeling a little hollow and bitter about the whole experience. Then in 2008 or was it 09, I forget, we had the global financial crisis hit, and this just led to one fuck up after another about the people who were placed in positions of power yet did nothing to earn or deserve them. The final nail in the coffin was the whole ticketing fiasco for the olympics. An utter farse from start to finish, where millions of people who wanted tickets (including myself) were left without because of an awful system that was put in place, with those that came up with the idea literally being the only people who thought it was a good one.
There were also various sporting controversies and team selections, as well as supposed infrastructure problems, and the weather, lets not forget the weather, that basically destroyed all enthusiasm I had for this country and the olympic games.
7 years. A long time, and I've become far more cynical about things. I'd forgotten how excited I used to get about the olympics. How refreshing it was in Beijing when Usain Bolt single handedly made athletics fun and interesting again, and when Britain as a nation could hold their head up and be proud of their sporting achievements. Maybe its because we massively over achieved in Beijing that I thought we would inevitably flop in London. Any, its July 27th at this point, and the opening ceremony is about to start. Can't wait for this to be a massive embarrassment, and ultimately leave us a laughing stock.
EGG. ON. FACE.
The evening of July 27th was a funny one. From basically planning on just sitting at home with my girlfriend, alone I ended up sitting in a room with about 12 mates, all of us with the same total lack of expectation. One by one we were absolutely blown away by what we were watching. Now I'll say this straight up. I don't do opening ceremonies. I love the olympics, i love the world cup,etc. I love sport. I don't however love all of the pantomime bollocks surrounding these events. My eyes were fixed to the tv screen solidly for 3 hours. Danny Boyle absolutely nailed it. We are not a nation who could match China's military precision in their ceremony. There is no way we could do that. We had to do something completely different, and thank fuck we did just that. James Bond and the Queen was absolutely inspired and that moment when it was actually the queen that turned round was brilliant. Also brilliant, was Mr Bean, a character who i'd all but forgotten about, but the childhood memories of laughing my ass of to his antics came flooding back. The celebration of things like the NHS, a fuck you, if you like to those who would try to take it away was well thought out, and having David Beckham, power boating down the Thames in a tux, with a cheesy grin across his face was genius.
There had been a lot of talk over here over who should light the flame. We had so many deserving athletes, and in the end the decision for those athletes to pass on the baton to a new generation to light the flame, wad a great one. The fireworks to cap it all off were spectacular and I ended the evening feeling a bit warm and fuzzy inside, a feeling i have not felt about this country in a long long time.
The next couple of days were a little anticlimactic with medal prospects not quite coming to plan and we were all left wondering whether or not we had peaked to soon with the opening ceremonies. Then, Things picked up, the medals started coming in, and then more and more, and more. I found myself remembering exactly why I loved the olympics, and loved watching random sports that i'd never pay attention too, cheering on people i'd never heard of. People who on the most part were not superstars, that weren't celebrities, that were just normal people from a normal back ground. The crowds in the stadiums, watching the big screens, and on the streets were phenomenal, and suddenly the mood of what seemed like the entire nation just lifted. I can honestly say that I have never felt so proud to be British, and proud of this country as I have done over the last 2 weeks. Its a feeling that may not last, there will be some sort of doom and gloom over the horizon to break the mood, but right now, everyone is pretty much buzzing. You'll be on the buses and trains, where normally people just keep to themselves. For the last 2 weeks people, complete strangers have just been talking chatting about this and that, mostly olmpics related and long may it continue. There was a 'Golden Saturday' during the olympics where we had our best night in an athletics stadium in over a century. Almost a year prior to that London was on its knee's with rioters on the streets and the system seemingly crumbling to pieces. That Saturday London was most definitely united, and I've never ever heard a national Anthem belted out the way it was when Jessica Ennis collected her gold medal. Incredible.
There were far too many good memories and defining moments to take away from the last 2 weeks to list, but its been one hell of a ride, and worth every single second. The flame inside me has been reignited and the olympic spirit is well and truly back within me.
There is still some 'Great' in Great Britain, and right now i'm fucking proud to be part of it.