Because I live so near some of the Olympic venues in London, my daily life has been very much impacted by The Olympics. From the day that we knew just how much it was going to affect us, we just decided that we’d embrace it; not moan, not sign any petitions against the missile on the heath and not get involved in any negative talk at all. We were lucky enough to get tickets to several events (between us all) and I went to Show Jumping in Greenwich Park, Women’s Boxing and The Modern Pentathalon, while the rest of my family saw Tai Kwondo, Handball, Water Polo, Basketball, Dressage, Women’s Wrestling and Hockey.
So, we’ve really lived it, from friends dancing in the opening ceremony, road closures, a giant public screen on the heath, a people-traffic flow system that has sent thousands of visitors across my morning dog-walk path to the utter charm and delightfulness of every single volunteer we came across, the efficiency of the armed forces and the almost unbelievable meticulous organisation of the entire event…it’s been amazing.
I’m so proud that London could put on such an incredible event and have never felt closer to my nationality than I do now. The Olympics have brought out the very best in people and I’ve seen things I never thought I would – two teenagers in Trafalgar Square holding ‘Free Hugs’ signs and people accepting and giving hugs left, right and centre, my 70 year old mum being frisked by a solider and loving it (!), strangers sitting together on the grass in front of the big screen chatting about sport, women athletes having the trendiest nails in the world, the Queen ‘parachuting’ with James Bond and London in a grip of previously unknown community spirit. It’s like the wind blew a happy cloud over us.
The people who viewed the Olympics as a chance to be greedy didn’t succeed; hotel rooms at treble the price weren’t filled, local houses trying to rent at extortionate prices left empty and crappy over-priced food being ignored in favour of home-made sandwich picnics. And yet, those who gave for nothing – the volunteers and local residents – have had their generosity rewarded time and again for being such an integral and excellent part of London’s greatest ever show. They’ve been noticed and noted and I hope that some volunteers at least get a chance to use their experience to help put them back into full-time employment.
My favourite moments of the games have been seeing disabled althete Oscar Pistorius run in an abled bodied Olympics for his home country of South Africa, discovering The Modern Pentathalon Equestrian section is an undiscovered highlight and so exciting, and seeing Tom Daly pick up a bronze medal for diving. Oh, and I can’t not mention the voice recognition sub-titles on the big screen that had athletes racing in birds (boats), put two Libyans (Olympians) in a British canoe and assured us that the weather would be a little blighter (brighter) later in the day.
In a couple of weeks time we have the Paralympics starting and although it isn’t on the same scale, it’s exactly the right note to gently ease London through its Olympic withdrawal symptoms and for us to see even more stunning global ability as we slowly settle back to normality. It’s been beautiful.
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fabulous post, I think the olympics has been one of our finest times of the last couple of decades… shame it has to be tainted with corporate greed like you say from hotels and the like but safe to say that our athletes, volunteers and organisers have really done us proud over the last 2 weeks and tonight’s closing ceremony is just the icing on top of the cake x
Completely agree with you. Before the Olympics I wasn’t too bothered about it, I wasn’t hugely into it but I didn’t hate it either. Now it’s come to a close I can definitely say I’m proud to be British and have loved every bit of it.
– Rhi xx
This post made me so happy – as a Londoner who now lives in Scotland, I’ve been so pleased and proud to be British. The Olympics have been amazing, and the British people have been an inspiration! So glad that those living in London have loved it too!
Its been great but its a shame it couldn’t stretch beyond London. Many Britians like me can’t afford to travel to London. After the jubilee I would hope that if Britain wants to throw a massive party they should spread the economic joy beyond London.
Another subtitling clanger – “we’d like to see her naked” (they said “make it”!) Don’t know who it was above, wasn’t paying attention, but my family told me (I’m deaf, so the subtitles are always on at home) – those subtitles are still useful, once you work out what it was it was supposed to say!
It was an amazing closing ceremony. I don’t live close to London (am in the Midlands) but I still enjoyed the spirit of Britishness it brought out in us, the sense of national pride.
I love this post. I was lucky enough to get tickets to the track cycling and had an absolutely brilliant time. As a northerner I have never seen London so happy and with such a friendly atmosphere. I love visiting London but this was something really special. People were talking to each other on the tube, smiling and saying hello. As you said the volunteers were simply wonderful as were the friendly police and forces. All the concerns about the security and wait times to get through were quickly dashed away – it was so well organised and efficient. It really has continued the good feeling from the royal wedding and jubilee and made me so very proud of this country. It couldn’t have gone better and makes me really sad to see it over.
As a cynical northerner I was not really looking forward to the Olympics – all that money I said………for what? Well I am here with a red face to say I loved every minute of it – I am a gold medal winner of the remote control and enjoyed everything I could possibly cram into my viewing schedule.
Thank you London……it was swell…..thank you volunteers…..you were great……..thank you media you gave us a fortnight off from gloom and doom and it was fabulous, and a big thank you to all those wonderful athletes…….be they winners or just participants……I laughed and cried along with you. Thank you all for making me feel part of something very special. May we learn from this and go on to even better things.
Don’t forget Mo Farah, your terrific long distance runner! I was cheering for him too though I love my USA track team! I enjoyed watching the Olympics these two weeks and especially appreciated the shots of London. One of my favorites was during the first week when the cyclists were riding through the countryside and some of the older streets. These were terrific terrific views! I’m glad your inconveniences were compensated with access to some events. And hope you took a photo of your mom during her pat down! 🙂
It has been an AMAZING couple of weeks- I really didn’t think I’d be fussed about the Olympics coming to London but as soon as the Opening Ceremony started I was swept away in Olympic fever. Feel so proud to be British right now and to say that London is my home.
And Tom Daley’s medal celebration – jumping into the pool with the GB team was fantastic!x