Friday, 17 August 2012

Is everyone else still there....?

*emerges from in front of the TV, blinking into the light*

Goodness, has the world carried on turning?  Have other things been happening apart from the Olympics?  I have to assume so but, you see, I have cared not one jot.  Nary a single one.  For I have been completely and utterly immersed in the world of running, jumping, swimming, diving, rowing, paddling, shooting, throwing, balancing, riding (both horses and bikes) and hitting (both targets and other people).  But not sailing, because that's really quite dull and utterly confusing to watch.

I am a utter Olympics-nerd.  To be honest, I don't really give a monkey's about any kind of sport and don't tend to watch any of it on the box or follow any of it on a regular basis, but give me a really big once-every-few-years global sporting occasion, and I'm riveted.  I love the summer Olympics, the winter Olympics, even the World Cup.  There's something deeply pleasurable about watching people do something that have trained all their lives for, something which they are the best at in the entire world.

And I do have to say that the crowds of spectators at the events have been amazing.  We really do seem to like our sport in the UK, and I suspect that was one of the reasons that we were awarded the Games this time round.  There wouldn't be the fiasco of empty seats at the venues, as there was at the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, where only 500 people attended events at the 4000 seater velodrome,  only 20 people attended the final Tennis match in a venue which seats 5000 and the 19,000 capacity hockey stadium saw all of 100 people on the second day of the Games.  Okay, okay, I know there were empty seats at the Olympics but these weren't in the public seating areas which were rammed with people.  And that was why there was such a hoohah in the media about those empty corporate/Olympic 'family' tickets, because so many other people - myself included - had failed to get tickets and were rightly pissed off that any empty seats were there at all!  Demand for tickets outstripped supply by orders of magnitude.

Did you see how many people were on the streets for the cycle road races?  It was estimated to be a million.  Hyde Park was heaving with people lining the streets to watch the Triathlons (including my brother who took his young family up so they could be a part of it), and I've never seen so many spectators at the final men's marathon - they were easily 10 deep in places.  Extraordinary.

And I watched as much of it as I could on the television.  At times there were two things on I wanted to watch at the same time, so I had the telly on one of the 24 channels dedicated to the Olympics (how much do I love the BBC for doing that?  And how grateful am I to The Lovely Husband for getting us Freesat when we jacked in Sky?) while having my laptop open and watching the live streaming of something else entirely.  Regard:

I was watching the men's gymnastics on the telly and, at the same time, watching the men's road race (the one Brad 'The Mod' Wiggins won) on the laptop because they were cycling through small villages that I know very well - Gomshall, Abinger Hammer - that are about 15 mins drive away from my house, and it was quite peculiar to see houses, shops and pubs that I frequent go whizzing by.

Oh, and we'd also been to see the Olympic Torch as it passed through Godalming a week or so earlier:

I absolutely loved the Games, every second of it.  It did my blood pressure no good whatsoever, and I entirely blame Jessica Ennis, Chris Hoy and especially Mo Farah for that.

Like everyone else, I thought the Opening Ceremony was bloody marvellous (and the Closing Ceremony was amazingly cheesy although you'd have to have a heart of stone not to have squawked with delight at Fat Boy Slim and his enormous inflatable octopus) and, yes, I know it was expensive and blah blah blah, but damn it was good.

I'm going to check out the Paralympics too but I get confused with all the different classes of disability the athletes have.  Still, I find Oscar Pistorius' Borg-like legs utterly amazing and elegant and beautiful, so I'll turn the box on for them, if nothing else.

I have to admit, though, that 17-odd days of watching the telly for almost 12 hours a day did leave me feeling a bit square-eyed once the second week kicked off but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  Let's hope Rio puts on a fantastic party, all samba bands and sequins!!

No comments: