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The Spirit of the Games

As the sun sets on the Friendly Games (bring on the Paralympics), I bring you an accidental guest post from an ancient friend and co-host of the Olympic Opening Ceremony knees-up we attended. It’s accidental because it’s actually an email he sent to the good, the gobby and the inebriated who graced the penthouse pad party and emptied his wine cellar.

Hit it Ian…

Following on from the AMAZING opening, this last week just seems to have transformed London from the mildly aggressive and pushy city we all know and usually love, into something rather special. Just wanted to share some of my ‘all warm inside’ moments of this historic week.

One was my fairly usual 9am-ish District Line ride to work. Alongside the 2012 tracksuit wearing larger men and womenfolk who look like they could only win Gold in a pasty eating competition, 2 Austrian Olympians joined the carriage at Mile End in their matching white tracksuits complete with Austrian team logo and dangling Olympic passes. A young lad in his twenties and an older (well mid-thirties) tall guy with cropped hair (very Teutonic). As I glanced up from my Metro (could that paper be any duller?) the young lad had his arm around cropped hair and when they looked into each others eyes, they had that look that only people in the honeymoon period of a relationship have -  a mix of lust, anticipation & hope. Of course no-one batted an eyelid in the carriage, and it was as normal as delays on the Central line..I bet they didn’t do that in Beijing.

Another transport trip earlier in the week saw us sharing a Docklands train with a mass of nationalities returning from the Greenwich Park Eventing. a middle aged Irish guy was using the blarney on some loud and tipsy New Zealand wenches and telling them that Ireland’s 5th place result was the best ever and to celebrate he’d been asked to a drinks reception at the Irish Embassy. Now that’s how to impress tipsy Antipodeans.

Then the most heart warming happening of all followed on the next day. A morning trip to Boots in Piccadilly Circus on the way to work to get some essentials (no, not those…). As I was perusing the men’s toiletries aisle a smart young lad with suit and badge asked me if I would like some help and then not only took me to the item on the shelf, he picked it for me and offered it in said basket all with some witty banter and winning smiles. He signed off by wishing me a nice day. I was momentarily stunned.  Normally you could have collapsed in the feminine hygiene aisle in this Boots and been walked over for ten minutes before Security’s arrival to remove you. I almost skipped to work.

Add on to the above the smiling and funny volunteers who guided me through security at the North Greenwich Arena (02 to us) within ten minutes from tube to seat, the mix on the streets and shops of Olympics bods, fans and tourists, the genuine (and noisy) fans filling all the fantastic stadia even at 10am in the morning..and the fact I seem to be permanently glued to Claire Balding or Gabby Logan on the magnificent BBC (abuse it at your peril Jeremy *unt) and it all completes my warm glow for this beautiful city I call home.

Even the weather has been on our side.

Arise London for you are putting on a winning performance as I always believed you would, from the energy of the Olympic stadium, the noise of the Velodrome, the beauty of Hyde Park and the majesty of Greenwich. And you and your welcome are the true star of this 30th Olympiad so far.

Not like me to be effusive. Must be the warm glow (or the onset of senility). Back to Gary Lineker and Sue Barker’s helmet hair…

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10 thoughts on “The Spirit of the Games

  1. Very nice, thanks Ian. What I like are the individual stories of practice, commitment, rising above the odds encompassed in a smattering of national pride, wrapped up in a global emphasis on ‘see, we can all get along together’.

  2. Wow! Seems like the city of my birth really rose to the occasion. I do feel quite proud, and am looking forward to a little glowing feeling at the closing ceremony… How sweet those Austrians sound (no, NOT in Beijing, but Rio will definitely be OK!!) And the Boots experience…astonishing. One thing I always recall about Boots was the total lack of customer service!! Thanks for this inspiring post…!

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