Advantages Sense of pride and togetherness
When I reach into the depths of my mind, looking for significant memories that I associate with the Olympics, a couple of things spring up.My first recollection of the Olympics, is the Seoul Olympics back in the 80s. At school we did so many projects based around it. I remember having to write out lists of the sporting events that took place and learning for the first time, what Volleyball and Badminton were. We used to have to colour in the rings, make performance graphs on previous games that took place and generally try to get as excited as we could - although at the age I was (about 7, I believe), we didn't really understand exactly what was going on. I just associate those Olympics with homework. More recently, I associate the Barcelona Olympics with Freddie Mercury and the Beijing Olympics with Mario and Sonic DA game - go figure.
When the Olympic games 2012 were first announced as being held in London, I was quite non-plussed. It's not until the date got closer and closer did I start to get excited. One of the biggest things about this Olympics, is the tour (and logistical nightmare) of the Olympic torch. It feels like its been going on for months and only visited my local town very recently.I know we've had a naff summer with the largest amount of rainfall the world has ever seen (or that's as some people would like you to believe) which seems to make everyone act dreary and negative about being in the UK...but I really genuinely and truly believe this has been one of the best summers we've ever had. There has been a real sense of unity, community and togetherness. For me, it started with the Jubilee celebrations back in June, then we had Euro2012 and Wimbledon (I don't care that the UK weren't victorious in either, I still really enjoyed them)...and after the street parties and champagne, we're still congregating on the streets to watch a local hero carry the torch through our home towns. The sense of bringing everyone together, to celebrate and be positive about something and actually getting to be a part of that, marks the Olympic torch coming through my town in 2012 as one my best Olympic memories.
Now, I know there are cynics that will just damn the whole affair, and slander the corporate frivolity of it all, but that aspect of it isn't what I'm remembering. Yes, quite frankly watching the coaches loaded with corporate sponsors and branded freebies being thrown to all was quite nauseating, but what I'm focusing on, is the sheer number of people lining the streets cheering and clapping. It brought a little lump to my throat as I snapped away on my camera, as BBC Sports presented, Clare Balding glided past looking utterly bewildered at the number of people cheering her on, as if she was off to fight a dragon with her flaming torch.Newbury was rammed! The torch came through just after 11, and there were people waiting along the barriers from 8 in the morning. Nutters! They were probably a bit loopy, but of course they wanted to experience first hand this once in a lifetime event! And that's the point of it... It was a once in a lifetime event. The UK won't be hosting the Olympics again anytime soon, so the flame from Olympics ceremony won't be on my doorstep again, so I want to see it, feel proud and join in the celebration whilst history is made...and I'm super happy that I did.
Clare Balding said on twitter the same day: "That was absolutely amazing. I was in bits getting off the bus, cried when I saw my family and grinned throughout". Brilliant!Sure, there will inevitably be some records broken this year in the London2012 Olympics, and we probably will win something (although I'm not banking on us winning the most amount of medals - but I guess you never know), but the most memorable Olympic moment for me wasn't an event, or opening ceremony (although the London opening ceremony was utterly breathe taking), or records being broken for the worlds fastest caber toss... It was when the Newbury leg of the Olympic Torch Tour Relay came by.
Watch Clare Balding carry the torch through Newbury here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXDDfZmU3FcThanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2012
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