So the Olympics have finished, I’ll miss the Olympics because I love the Olympic Games. I’d no more go to a track and field meeting than fly to the moon. I have no interest whatsoever in world championship athletic meetings which seem to happen every few weeks now. The Olympics are different and special though, amazing sporting drama and spectacle. What is it about the 5 coloured rings that makes a running and jumping festival into the greatest show on earth?
I remember very well just a few short weeks ago when we pretty much all thought it would be a shambles, in fact remember when London won the games? The general public all thought the city could never deliver on time or anywhere near budget. There was a comedy moment in a newspaper when the Olympic venues were signed off though and some ‘government speak’ gold was that some major element of the Olympics ‘have been delivered under the revised budget’. What utter bollocks, but that’s all beside the point now.
The opening ceremony, who expected Mr Bean to be doing the key, keyboard piece for Chariots of Fire? Which incidentally has been heard so often now it is to be recycled as part of an ‘enhanced interrogation’ technique by the military. Of course you have dozens of Mary Poppins’s fighting off a giant Voledemort at an Olympic opening ceremony. Who wouldn’t want to see a famous British movie actor in fake sideburns pretending to be a clever engineer from the 19th century, best known for a Suspension Bridge in Bristol? A small human rights campaigner carrying the Olympic flag is your cup of tea? Look over there!
It was brilliant though and thoroughly entertaining and so very British. Also so very British is the other bloke best known for his sideburns, he looks like he should be leaning on a gate in a Cumbrian frock coat chewing on some straw. He is however currently about the best road racing cyclist in the world and only had to turn up to win the first major event of the games. The men’s bicycle road race. What no-one had figured on though was that some other cyclists were quite keen on having a go at a medal as well. Including what appeared to be Special agent Jack Bauer of the hit TV series 24. It seems he has moved to New Zealand and taken up cycling. In the end there was some chap from Kazakhstan and a Colombian fighting it out at the finish line. Sadly though no-one took the comedy opportunity of Colombian drug references or Borat on a bike. Bradley Wiggins and the fastest cycle sprinter in the world rode into the minor places. The nation was aghast!
Luckily a girl that no-one had heard of made a better fist of things the next day by almost winning her bike race and Team GB had the first medal, queue massive celebrations beyond any scale befitting not actually winning.
After having some bike rides the focus turned to the rowing boats. The Brits have a half decent rowing team, it’s just a shame they are such big girls blouses. The Olympic Games became the Crying games. Girls’ blubbing for securing a magnificent unexpected victory, boys’ blubbing for securing a magnificent unexpected silver when they wanted gold. Another bloke bawling over his bronze. The Brits are quite rightly very proud of their efforts at Eton Dorney though and so they should be. They won the event, as such, topping the medal table for rowing with one Gold medal more than New Zealand. The Kiwis punch way above their collective weight in sport and they also don’t stand on Olympic Podiums sobbing into their flowers, made of sterner stuff are the New Zealanders.
While the sitting down medals were being decided there were a plethora of other sports happening that we would only care about if we had someone competing in them, but we didn’t so we didn’t but we watched them anyway. The cheating badminton players. The German discus thrower who took up hurdle jumping, The elderly British Show Jumping team who looked as though they had just put down a well-thumbed copy of something by Gilly Cooper, and then there were the British Cyclists.
The British would appear to have become the world’s best bike riders, they won 7 of the 10 Gold’s on offer in the Velodrome, amazing some say, well most do. The reason for this is nothing to do with funding or facilities. It’s because Britain is a terrible place to ride a bike outside. The roads are too narrow, the traffic too heavy and the weather is often terrible as well. You want to get your bike ride over as quickly as possible. So while other powerhouse countries pushbike riders can pedal about the countryside at their leisure admiring the scenery the Brits just want to get home and back indoors. Its second nature to them to go flat out, it’s that simple.
The Australians hardly won anything in the swimming pool. I enjoyed writing that down. The Aussies are good swimmers for the same sort of reason the Brits are good at riding bikes. They have to get out of the water quickly as they are all just moments away from being eaten by sharks or stung to death by Jellyfish. Australia is a lethal place to go swimming. I guess they must have just all been tired from so much swimming for their lives in their spare time.
The British also did incredibly well in the Gymnastics for boys. The girls not so much as British Gymnastic girls are still largely built like little women rather than little boys as is, or certainly was, common for female gymnasts. The Americans sent some little people who threw themselves about with the best gusto and won most of the medals for being bendy. Well the most behind China that is.
After all the sitting down sports it was time for the proper stuff, the running and jumping events. The spectators got to do the sitting down. There was a tall Jamaican gentleman who appears to get struck by a bolt of lightning when he sets off running. A little British chap called Mo who was far from slow. There is a good joke about watching repeats of his races in slow-Mo that no-one has used yet. The American men were less fast at running than the Jamaican men and the American Women were faster than everyone when running in groups.
Some Eastern European and Russian ladies surprised many with how fast they can run over short distances. Maybe something left over from needing to get the front of a bread queue in the olden days of Communism.
The New Zealand shot putter was here to defend her Olympic title and so dominant has she been in the sport for the last few years her competition seemed to have decided the best way to take her on was to send what appeared to be a man from Belarus to beat her. The Belorussian was victorious on the day and then exposed to be a drugs cheat a few days later, so big Valerie Adams got her gold. When I say big, Valerie Adams is 6ft 4″ in her bare feet and weighs 260lbs. Hooray for the Kiwis winning medals even after the games have finished.
All good things have to come to an end though and I was ridiculously excited about the closing ceremony. What could we expect after the wonders of getting the show on the road? Well a bloody great party of course. The Brits are the best in the world at playing music so that’s what they did, from a giant Octopus, as you do. They had some elderly gentlemen playing legendary rock songs. A dead Beatle, Emeli Sande standing in for a pregnant Adele, Jessie J was ubiquitous and someone invited Russell Brand to shout into a megaphone while standing on top of a Volkswagen. Sadly he didn’t fall off. The Spice Girls came and went, hopefully for the last time and for reasons best known to themselves the ceremony organisers made what I consider to be the worst decision of the entire Olympic Games.
The Olympics have uncovered or reminded us of some tremendous and amazing role models for young people, setting the very best examples of human achievement. Then the organisers invited Cocaine Kate and violent prima donna Naomi to swan into the ceremony to demonstrate their talent for wearing clothes.
While these women are undeniably in the public eye, they are terrible role models to the young today and by allowing them into the stadium it just said to me “ if you are pretty and get to be famous you can behave however you like and people will still love you”. They are the polar opposite to the sort of role models the athletes are. The only thing the organisers could have done less appropriate would have been to have John Terry shake Muhammed Ali by the hand in the opening ceremony. Yes I know the Brits are good at making clothing but this is the Olympic games and models best known for their misbehaviour have no place in the place, just saying.
As the Olympics were over the Swiss bloke in charge took it upon himself to read a eulogy, or at least that was how his monotone delivery made whatever he was saying sound like. I nearly nodded off. Is there a less inspiring speaker on the world stage than Jacques Rogge? I fancy not.
Back to reality folks. What’s on the telly?
As an update, when I wrote this. The Paralympics had yet to happen and as we all know, no-one really thought much about watching the Paralympics, well when I say no-one, I mean not many. So what happened next? Everyone went completely mental for the Paralympics which is a very unfortunate turn of phrase but you know what I mean. It was like another Olympics all over again but the athletes had to try even harder given the very nature of the event. Biggest and best paralympics ever with hardly an empty seat in the stadiums anywhere. It was incredible and inspiring. What an extraordinary summer of Olympic sport. So really, now, what’s on the telly? X-Factor? It’s not quite the same somehow.
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