Sunday, 11 March 2012

Team GB

Like most Londoners it seems, I do not have tickets to the Olympics. Unlike lots of Londoners, my ticketlessness isn't the fault of the oversubscribed ticketing system. I didn't apply for any.

I have a confession: I am only usually a half-hearted watcher of the Olympics on TV and the news that London would be hosting the 2012 games left me somewhat underwhelmed. Even after moving to London the prospect of the games touching down in my city seemed more inconvenient than exciting.

I am now, however, an Olympics convert. I am ordering my union jack flag and plan to wear it every day during the games, accessorised with a laurel wreath on my head and the Olympics rings hanging from my ears.

Although I may not have tickets to the actual games, recently I got the opportunity to visit the Olympic village to watch the finals of the swimming championships - the final round of qualifiers for the Great Britain Olympic swimming team.

Seeing the site (however incomplete) was brilliant and watching the swimmers racing made me feel a connection to them which I shall carry through to the July games.

There are many negatives to the Olympics, but seeing the talented young people take to the water reminded me of the positives that form the foundation of the games. The sport, and the support. The crowd was buzzing and when at the end of the races the entire Olympic swimming team made a procession around the pool, I felt incredibly proud. I didn't know any of the swimmers but it didn't matter - they were representing our country and swimming clubs, coaches and youngsters all over the country.

I always cry when I watch the marathon. There is something about seeing strangers cheering strangers on and willing them to do well that restores my faith in humanity. Watching the swimming I felt a similar pang of pride and awe at what people can achieve.

No doubt when the Olympics kick off I will encounter transport related frustrations like most Londoners. I also stick to the fact that there are politics surrounding the games that I don't agree with. But I don't want these to detract from what the Olympics should, and can be. All those swimmers and all their hours of training, all their families who drove them to training sessions and came along to competitions, the people working to make the games happen - from the builders to students who will be making costumes and my friend Lucy who will be dancing in the closing ceremony - people celebrating sporting achievement and our amazing city. That is what the Olympics will be about for me.

1 comment:

  1. amazing that you got to visit the village! x