I was all set to be cynical. With shows like “Twenty Twelve” portraying how terribly the Olympic organisation process could be, I was ready to sit back and wait for the disaster to happen. At best, what with all the travel warnings I was expecting the Olympics to be an inconvenience. Something to be endured for a couple of weeks, maybe watch the odd bit of sport on TV, but I can’t honestly say I was looking forward to it.
And then the opening ceremony happened.
My word, that was fantastic, wasn’t it? From Mr. Bean playing “Chariots of Fire”, to James Bond and the ACTUAL QUEEN!, to Tim Berners-Lee updating Twitter. I felt like jumping up and pumping my first in the air. It brought something quintessentially British to a worldwide audience, while simultaneously not alienating the rest of the world. The opening ceremony did what I never thought possible: it made me proud to be British. That’s right, something I had low expectations of – made me proud. In a nutshell: the opening ceremony was not crap. Danny Boyle, from this corner of the blogosphere, I salute you.
And then the sports came.
I’ve been off this week, so I’ve been able to watch more of the Olympics than I have in previous years. In fact, I think it’s fair to say I’ve watched more of the Olympics this week than I have done in all previous years put together. Oh my word, how good are Team GB?
I’m not going to go through all the medals that we’ve won. Suffice it to say, it has been an absolute joy and inspiration to me. Particularly, God bless her, Jessica Ennis and the heptathlon: wow, what an athlete. Her dedication and skill were a wonder to behold. And it’s all happening a stone’s throw away from where I live. (Well, a metaphorical stone’s throw).
One thing that made me particularly proud during the opening ceremony was hearing the fact that London has a permanent resident from every one of the countries being represented at the Olympics. (Well, apart from that strange country known as ‘Independent’). I think this is partly why London has seemed to capture the Olympic spirit so well: athletes competing from every nation, not competing out of national pride or arrogance, and yet celebrating and rejoicing in the uniqueness of each individual nations while competing.
In short, London 2012 seems to have brought the best out of the Olympics for me. And that, for me, has been a demonstration of what makes Great Britain great. I for one am proud of what we have achieved with the Olympics so far, and this will surely be a week (or two weeks) to remember.