Monday, 6 August 2012

{Red, White, Blue is in the Sky}

Last Friday, I had the privilege to attend the Summer 2012 London Olympics at the Olympic Park in Stratford. The usually dignified and emotion-lacking British public have made a nation-wide exception for the games, and excitement had reached fever pitch by the time the Opening Ceremony rolled around. 'Exceptional' doesn't quite cut it as a description; Danny Boyle's show was simultaneously bewitching, eccentric (as we Brits do best), emotional, hysterical and most of all magical. I can't think of many other Kingdoms who could convince their elderly monarch to 'parachute' into the stadium with none other than James Bond - talk about an entry. However, the Opening Ceremony has proved but a drop in the ocean of proudness we have amassed for our nation. Team GB, despite that stereotypically shaky start, have gone from strength to strength as they pocket medal after medal. I won't go into individual miracle stories, as they are all over our televisions, computers and newspapers, but I for one have spent day after day hooked on the progress of these glorious athletes. My favourite moment, on a personal level, was watching Andy Murray come back from a Wimbledon final defeat to take the Men's Gold (in a 3-set demolition) against the very same nemesis he had faced a month earlier. Never have I been so proud to call myself British.

Olympic Park
So, it was with huge anticipation (and a slight hangover), that I rocked up to the games on Friday. I had tickets to see Team GB face France in the women's basketball with my brother. The park is every bit as majestic as described by fans, athletes and newspapers alike. Cheery volunteers are everywhere you turn, wishing you a great day at the games and generally being very un-British and OTT. The wild flowers and landscaping there are beautiful, proving how much thought has gone into every tiny detail. The whole place is gigantic, and takes about half an hour to cross. With so much to look at, and the sun shining down on happy faces, the walk couldn't have been pleasanter.

Anish Kapoor's sculpture

Olympic Village - where the athletes are staying

Team GB and France
The thing about the Olympics is that regardless of which sport, as soon as you sit down and focus on what's going on you are drawn into the action and the sense of competition. I cheered and whistled for our basketball team as if I had been following their journey to the Olympics for the last four years. The whole spectacle is amazing, from the half-time dancers to the adorable Kiss cam in the time-out sessions.
Basketball Stadium

French National Anthem
 An unforgettable day, I just hope everyone feels as inspired by the Olympics and Team GB as myself. Here's hoping we've got a few more gold medals in us!

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