So after my post the other day, I promised myself I wouldn’t blog about the Olympics again until after the games was over. However, my excitement got the better of me after yesterday’s phenomenal day for Great Britian – 6 Gold medals and 1 Silver, 3 of those Gold coming from Track and Field Athletic events! It was just such an incredible feeling and so emotional to be watching this day unfold, and be apart of an event that will certainly inspire a generation – or perhaps generations young and old.
This Olympics has been a constant build up since the day we found out we had won the bid to host. At times there has been criticism over certain choices the games organisers have taken (that Logo for instance). But I think it’s fair to say that ever since the games have started, this country has felt nothing but insane pride at what we have achieved – from the opening ceremony, to the Olympic park and all the venues that have been invovled, to the thousands of volunteers, whom the athletes have praised for their hard work and utter friendliness throughout.
The pride that we felt at the Opening Ceremony has swelled with our success in the games on a sporting level, with athletes commenting on the home crowd support, often referring to it as ‘overwhelming’. Indeed even witnessing it on the tv is giving me goosebumps, and I can only imagine the positive atmosphere that is around London.
Yesterday, I actually got to experience a small chunk of the atmosphere courtesy of my partner in crime, the one blonde Kat! Part of the Olympic football is happening in Newcastle and a spare ticket was going and I jumped at the chance to be apart of a slice of history. I admit even though I never went for tickets when they were on offer, I do wish I had done, just so I could be apart of it (although thanks to the BBC’s coverage I do feel very involved).
The atmosphere at St. James’ was incredible, a sea of colour and brightness, with music playing all around the stadium and an overwhelming amount of support for both countries playing (neither of them were Great Britain) Brazil vs. Honduras was a nail-biting game, and for me that is saying something, considering I am not a fan of football most of the time, something which I openly admit. I’ve been so amazed at the level of home crowds that the games have drawn, lining the streets of London for the marathons and cycling road events, and I was so pleased at the level of nosie that erupted from the stadium yesterday. There was a lot of Brazilian support across the stadium, but I like to think the crowd got behind Honduras as well, the underdogs going into the match. And who doesn’t love an underdog – I know I certainly do.
The match ended 3-2 to Brazil, and Honduras put up a brilliant fight, faced with a ref who loved his yellow cards, and perhaps favoured Brazil slightly too. But I was so incredibly pleased to be there, in a fantastic atmosphere and it really summed up to me that these games have producted a nation that is united!
My final point about yesterday goes back to what I was saying in my previous post about the expectations that have been put on British athletes to perform. Yesterday we saw the ‘face’ of the games Jessica Ennis achieve her dream of a Gold medal in the Heptathlon, rising above the immense amount of pressure she has been under. Even in her interviews after the last event, she stated the pressure had been intense but that she had simply ‘focused on what she knew she could do’.
However even though yesterday saw some incredible moments there was some moments that were quite painful and heartbreaking to watch. The rowing pair of Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase, who were Olympic champions in Beijing had much expectation and were unfortunately pipped by Denmark who had an outstanding last 500m. Still the pair were Silver medalists and they absolutely gave it everything – physically, mentally and emotionally as we saw post-race. Viewers saw as the British pair slumped in their boat, tears falling as they look simply exhausted. Indeed Sir Steve Redgrave went down to the dock to help hold Mark Hunter up. As the rowing pair continually apologised, saying they had let people down, it really was a heartbreaking moment – these boys had let no one down and they had done us proud! Anyone that said otherwise clearly did not see how utterly exhausted these two boys looked. I was swelled with pride at these two men, who in my eyes, were winners in their own right.
Indeed the BBC commentator John Inverdale could not hide his emotions after the interview, as he was visibly close to tears. Sir Steve Redgrave has also been a constant at the rowing finish line with Inverdale and it’s truly lovely to see him greet every British athlete with a massive hug. It’s truly beautiful (and proves what a softie I am) Indeed, a friend summed up the role of Sir Steve as like the ‘Dad’ of Team GB – and for rowing that certainly seems the case. Another moment like this was the post race interview from the Swimming girls 4×100 medley team with Sharon Davies with Fran Halsall apologising for not being unbelieveable when the crowd had been. Davies immediately came back with ‘that’s not true’ and whilst she was mostly off camera, viewers soon realised that Davies was in tears, with Halsall hugging her and Davies struggling to get the words out for her next question. In moments like this you realise how close these commentators are to the athletes in the sports they cover.
Overall, yesterday was a day to be immensely proud of. And for me it was in more ways than one. I was proud to be a part of this historic games, and period for this country – a games which proves to the world that we DID deserve to host these Olympics and that we still are a great nation! I was proud of our amazing athletes, athletes that I don’t think get the credit that they deserve a lot of the time. I was proud of their determination, their stamina, their resiliance and just utter talent. And lastly I’m proud to be British.
John Inverdale “We’ve had the crowd almost be encouraged to boo the Austrailians
“Very upset, that’s not British. We don’t do that, we support everybody. Whoever’s guiding the crowd to do that, I’m very disappointed in them” Sir Steve Redgrave, just before the start of the Rowing finals yesterday