Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Such stuff as dreams are made on

I wasn’t there, at the Olympics, although I think one of the places I would most like to have been, ever, would be in that stadium on the Saturday evening when Mo won his second gold. Instead, I was watching the race in a caravan in the Lake District, where the gentle evening peace of the quiet caravan site was shattered by screams (mine) of COME ON MO COME ON LAD KEEP GOING KEEP GOING OH NO HE’S CATCHING UP COME ON COME ON YOU’RE NEARLY THERE YES HE’S GOING TO DO IT COME ON COME ON YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!

 Anyway. As I was saying. I didn’t see lots of the Olympics (missed nearly all the cycling, for instance), due to the unfortunate necessity to do holiday stuff rather than spend all my time in front of the telly, but I did see quite a lot of it and I found there were many things to love.

Some of the moments I will remember: -

The complete unapologetic bonkersness of the opening ceremony.

- The gloriously multicultural nature of the GB medal winners – summed up, perhaps, on one memorable Saturday evening when a long-jumping ginger bloke from Milton Keynes, a mixed-race golden girl from Sheffield and an awe-inspiring Somalia-born black guy called Mohamed all scooped gold. To coin a phrase: Nick Griffin, Aidan Burley, the Daily Mail - your boys took one hell of a beating.

- The reactions. Chad LeClos’s dad; Felix Sanchez crying uncontrollably on the podium; Gemma Gibbons’ heartbreaking “Love you Mum” moment; Mo crossing the line, arms wide, eyes popping; an exhausted Alistair Brownlee finishing the triathlon at a walk, Union flag draped around his shoulders; super smiley Nicola Adams saying winning the first ever women’s boxing gold has “made my day”; Andy Murray playing out of his skin, burying his demons, lifting his face to the sky in the sweetness of a long awaited victory; Bolt and Farah copying each other's trademark celebrations; the BBC commentators going mental for Mo (special mention: Denise Lewis); Louis Smith's graciousness in being pipped to a gold medal when he'd scored identical points to the winner......

- The firsts. Sarah Attar becoming one of the first two Saudi Arabian women to ever compete at the Games, finishing a distant last in her 800m heat while wearing approximately eight times as many clothes as the other athletes, but receiving a standing ovation from the crowd who warmly cheered her home. Women’s boxing being included for the first time. David Rudisha's amazing world record. The surprise win for Stephen Kiprotich in the men's marathon, the first Ugandan gold medal in 40 years. Bolt's double double, of course, but who could really have doubted it?

- Horse dancing

 - Some proper inspiring role models for our girls and boys. Dedicated hard working individuals who were, for the most part, humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Proper coverage, for once, of women's sport - the refreshing change of women being celebrated in the media for their speed and strength and skill, rather than just for being pretty and thin.

- Silly comments from my husband. Random selection: “What’s Usain Bolt’s real name?” “How long do women’s football matches last?” Daughter shouting "Come on Great Britain" at everybody regardless of nationality.

I've forgotten lots of moments, I'm sure. Others I never saw in the first place. Several made me cry. Sometimes I wondered if I was actually dreaming. But these are some of the things which will stick in my memory. What are yours?