Saturday, July 28, 2012

London 2012

On 6th July 2005 I attended a yoga class and then did my weekly food shop as usual. After loading the car I turned the ignition key and the radio came on, just as the announcement was being made about the location of the 2012 Olympics. I held my breath and stayed listening in the car park until it was announced that London, my adopted home town, had won.

Fast forward 24 hours and the city was reeling from the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings. The gloss had been taken off the previous day's announcement and from then on in the Olympics has seemed low key and, in the current financial climate, an expense and inconvenience Londoners could do without. There no longer seemed to be any excitement and we didn't even bother to apply for any tickets. It was only last week that I realised exactly how close the Olympic Park is to where we bought our first home 25 years ago.

But over the last weeks, with the torch procession, everything seems to have slowly changed. Son 1 saw the torch in Maidenhead a couple of weeks ago, as he knows one of the torch bearers there. Three days ago it passed just a mile from our house and he saw it again. I would have loved to observe this once in a lifetime event but am not strong enough to stand for ages, especially in the recent heat.

Yesterday the building excitement culminated in a magnificent opening ceremony. It was quirky and very British, packed full of so many historical and cultural references that I think it would take many reruns on iPlayer to pick them all up. It portrayed Great Britain in all its tolerant, multicultural glory, even including a tasteful tribute to the dead. And who could fail to love the parachuting Queen and Mr Bean in Chariots of Fire? Or the unique cauldron?

I wonder what the rest of the world made of Danny Boyle's spectacular love letter to his country. I hope they liked it as much as we did.


Anonymous said...

I have to confess I'm not a fan of the Olympics and am just watching a bit of swimming, diving and eventing, but nothing else interests me. I watched the opening ceremony until 11pm and was a little disappointed that TeamGB came on last and I didn't get to see them. I think they should have been on first really.

I do wish all the athletes the best of luck because they work so very hard to get to this stage.

CJ x

Cathy said...

I fell asleep before Team GB entered the stadium too, but I caught up online the next day and I'm so glad I did. The lighting of the cauldron was inspirational, though it's sad that it is now out of view in the stadium.

I wish now that we'd applied for tickets for something, though I know it would have been too busy for me.