Tuesday 7 August 2012

Why the Olympics Stole My Heart

Politically I've always opposed the Olympics. Actually, that's not fair; I've always opposed the comittee and its disregard for communities, tradition and constant corporate drive. I first realised the power of the committee years ago on a trip to Barcelona when I saw what had happened there. Time and time again the negative impact has been documented but the spectacle was presented as something covetable and worth the sacrifice.

I'm an ex athelete, and sports addict. I adored training and was one of those mad types who went to the gym for 2 hours and happily went to play tennis with a friend an hour later when they invited me. I lived and breathed sports so I greatly admire those who compete. I have competed in the past in tennis, running events, long jump, karate, and thai boxing at a national level. I packed all of this around dance training for 12 hours- I was never home! So I grew up watching and enjoying sports. As you can imagine, the Olympics has always caused conflicted emotions because I love sports but I can't get behind an organisation that represented everything I hate. 

So I have kept quiet as I've watched the Olympics roll into London. I was sad to see protesters mistreated on the opening ceremony night and I flinched at the amount of security and libel that flew into the city with the committee. I love London, I was sad at watching its diversity being trampled on in favour of new shiny buildings. 

But then...

Opening night and Danny Boyle DELIVERED. My goodness, I've never whooped and cheered so much. It was so socially focussed,and so clear in its message of a diverse Britain that needs to pull together to continue its achievements. We hollered as Red Arrows streaked overhead and I felt that on a large world platform, Boyle said 'We are the people of Britain and this is what we really think'. The people giving that message were presented as ethnically diverse, working class, vocational and did you spot as many disabled performers as I did? It was SO different to the uncomfortable empire feel of the Jubilee celebrations just a few months before and I was so pleased. 

Then the events started. Where do we start?

Oscar Pistorius allowed to compete in a level appropriate for his ability and a woman registered as legally blind taking a medal? Hell yes! Let's hear more stories like these please. 

For the first time, a woman represented in every nation sending a team? WHOOP WHOOP!

And then the role models..... strong, hungry athletes that I would feel proud to cheer. Not just Team GB who seem to have surpassed all expectations but from so many nations. It's so refreshing to have a group of interesting people on TV this summer instead of the insipid reality/ talent show folks we're normally faced with. I've not owned a tv for years for this reason but if we had people like this on it, I'd be more interested. How nice for a young generation to see aspirational figures that don't think that 'kicking off' on tv is a talent to win you fame and money. 

Loving it. Absolutely loving it.

1 comment:

Deb said...

And over here we're sad we didn't get to see the opening ceremony in its entirety - edited for the American audience, whoever NBC thinks that might be.
The time difference and hoarding broadcasts for prime time makes viewing on the West Coast anti-climatic when the results are already known, but I watch anyway.
I also love the number of women participating, the acts of sportsmanship, and the overall level of athletic talent we get to see.