The highlight of my holiday from work last week was our visit to the Olympic Stadium last Friday. We didn’t see any medals won, but it was quite amazing to be there on the first morning of the athletics – to be part of the first crowd in the main stadium since the Opening Ceremony a week before.
The experience of being a part of something so special will stay with all our family for a long time to come. We always said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and even if we are lucky enough to one day travel to another Olympic games it won’t have the home feel that this one did.
As I am not normally a person who follows sport, I’ve been trying to think what it is that gets me involved with any Olympics, and even more so with this one in my own country. Here are a few ideas:
- The spirit shown by all the competitors in pushing themselves to the limits.
- The way it brings so many people in the world together in supporting their own teams – during the opening ceremony I found it quite overwhelming to think of the millions of people supporting each team, and what a percentage of the people on the planet felt involved in these Games.
- The way the person who comes last was applauded as well as the person who won – everyone who got there had achieved such a wonderful thing and the audience showed their appreciation.
- The individual stories we have heard about the competitors, their struggles and their successes.
- The raising of the profile of women’s sport. I am as responsible as every other woman for the disparity in funding and attention because normally I don’t follow sport at all. But to be in a bar full of men cheering as a woman wins a cycling race was something to experience and made me think about changing that.
- I like the way that the sports are explained so that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy them.
- I think that our UK Olympic team has managed to create an accessible, friendly games with a great atmosphere, even whilst keeping us all safe. I certainly never felt anything less than completely safe at the Olympic Park even with the enormous crowds.
I’m sure more feelings will come out over the weeks to come. After all the Olympics is only half way through, and then we have even more inspiration to look forward to from the Paralympics at the end of the month. In the meantime, in spite of having slightly dreaded going back to work today, I am now feeling inspired to go in and give it my all.