What a great Olympic weekend I have just seen. I thought the opening ceremony was absolutely brilliant. It wasn’t breathtaking like Beijing was (I doubt very much that I’m wrong to say that I don’t think anyone actually expected it would be), it was emotional, educational, had a bit of humour and celebrated a lot of things that make Britain great. I believe that Danny Boyle and the organisers did as well as they could with the resources at their disposal.
I particularly liked the fact that the victims of 7/7 were rightly acknowledged as I remember only too well how those atrocities took place within 24 hours of the Singapore announcement to award the games to London.
Another point I’d like to make is the lighting of the Olympic flame. I don’t think I’m too far wrong in saying that in a lot of places around the world we are not noted for our humility (I actually think we are on the whole a mainly very humble country), so I thought that allowing the 7 young unknown (to most) athletes to light the torch was a great gesture and, I hope, went some way to showing the world that we are actually a humble nation.
I know that there will be plenty of people who will knock the opening ceremony, not least Tory MP, Aidan Burley (misunderstood or not), but we know we always have that element of people in our society. The sorts of people who cry “what’s the Olympics going to do for me,” the typical cynical bastards that are never happy no matter what, unless there is some immediate visual benefit to them.
Another thing I was proud of, was another gallant British effort in the men’s 250KM Road Race on Saturday. All those knockers, mainly ignorant journalists, seem to have missed the point that a road race is in the main a bit of a lottery, it is like a flattish stage in the Tour de France. In the Tour de France the peloton usually hunts down a break away, with a selection of teams leading the way who have an interest in a sprint finish, hunting down the stage leaders. Unlike on Saturday, when 4 British riders were left to try on their own to do it, with little or no chance.
So for all those knockers, maybe they should try and gain an understanding of the sport before they stick the boot in.
Going back to 2008 in Beijing, and if memory serves me right, Cavendish was very unhappy with Bradley Wiggins and members of the British Cycling team hierarchy after he failed to win a medal there.
Basically Wiggins was knackered by the time he teamed up with Cavendish to compete in the Madison and they bombed, finishing 8th. Cavendish was apparently very annoyed believing that his event wasn’t given the same level of attention that other events had been by the management, he is also supposed to have stopped speaking to Wiggins for a few weeks over it.
Well, Cavendish can’t complain this time round as his team mates in Saturday’s Road Race, rode their hearts out for him. I know it goes down as a defeat, but it’s hard to call this a failure as I can’t really see what else the British team could have done with basically no support from any other country. They certainly gave it their all for Cavendish.
Onto Sunday and I went to the City of Coventry Stadium to watch the men’s football (ok, I went to the Ricoh), I took my 3 year old daughter and am delighted and proud to say that I went to the Olympics in our home town, Coventry, with my little one.
We seen two games, Gabon V Mexico and South Korea V Switzerland. I thought it would drag, but it didn’t and it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with a great atmosphere. It was completely different to a usual football match crowd, something I have a lot of experience off, and certainly wouldn’t expose my 3 year old daughter too.
Let’s hope for plenty more memorable Olympic moments over the next two weeks.