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{26/07/2012}   The great things about the Olympics in London

All anyone has heard from me since London won the Olympics bid is ranting and moaning.  Though that all stands, I feel a need to express my positive thoughts for the Olympics and I am going to express them without a single “but”!

As a rule, I have no interest in watching sport.  Unsurprisingly, I never set out to watch the Olympics, but I always end up channel hopping and seeing Olympic events and I pretty much always stop and watch.  For it is a privilege and a joy to see the world’s greatest athletes and sports people competing.  I also love the fact that, unlike, say, football, a lot of these sporting greats are not well paid and it has been through determination, ability and, I guess, the securing of sponsors that has enabled them the training and facilities they require.  In other words, the challenges haven’t solely been to do with their sport and that is a kind of determination and commitment that I find inspiring.

It is also kind of fun to be rooting for your country and there always seems to be an element of camaraderie between people, a sense of unity that doesn’t seem present that much.  I find it fascinating that most of the world has sporting representation.  It is a chance to educate people about different nationalities and cultures and about flag identification!

As for London, over the past few weeks the number of wheelie cases, map-clutchers and people visiting London has undoubtedly increased.  I have found it surprising that, based on the amount of police officers being asked for directions and the general looks of map bewilderment, a lot of people seem to have not visited London, maybe even the UK before.  I like that the Olympics are introducing people to a new country perhaps.  I also hope this influx of tourists does boost the British economy, though most likely centralised in London.

Walking around London, the mix of summery weather and the sense of Olympic anticipation makes for a nice buzz.  Despite there being lots of issues for commuters and pretty much anyone who works in London, there does seem to be a sense of excitement.  Everyone with event tickets and/or Olympic ID badges seems suitably puffed up and smug, and so they should be.  There are a lot of people with tickets who have never been spectators at a sporting event, children who are giddy about the thought of being a part of something so huge, as huge as an event can be, with most of the world represented in one small area.  It is exciting, it’s like we’re all hosts of a great big party, and with that comes the burden of responsibility to make sure it’s great and runs smoothly.

So for all my moans, hurrah for the Olympics and their enduring appeal and the great sense of occasion they bring wherever they go.  May the London Olympics be spectacular and may Team GB thrive on the extra support from being the home team; wouldn’t it be great if we did well, the sun shone, the economy boomed and we all had things to smile about over the next month or so.

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