We’ve got Olympic and Paralympic fever in the HoT.
It’s even worse than the Jubilee fever we experienced earlier in the Summer** where I went from ambivalence to running around Sainsbury’s during the Jubilee weekend buying flags, bunting, union jack paper cups, bowls and an enormous Jubilee cake and insisting that we blow out candles for the Queen and invite everyone over for cake during the flotilla. I went so insane that I actually bought OK! Magazine.
I was strolling down Oxford Street on 6 July 6 2005 when London was awarded the 2012 games. I had half-planned to go to Trafalgar Square to watch the announcement but had convinced myself that Paris were going to win. I found out from a random cyclist yelling LONDON 2012!! as they screamed past Nike Town. I hot-footed it over to Traf Square to join in the celebrations, just as they were packing up. Oh well. I was there. Kind of. There was a huge sense of OH MY GOD from everyone. London was a great place to be for 24 hours. Then the July 7th bombers ruined the euphoria the next day…
My immediate thought was that if we had children they would be reasonably young when the games came along. When I found out I was pregnant in 2007 I worked out that the child(ren) would be 4 and a half when the Olympics took place. They might even be able to go to a few events…
Over the last 7 years parts of London have been changed forever by the coming of the ‘Greatest show on earth’. Wasteland in Stratford has been transformed into an Olympic Park, shopping centre and transport hub. The Olympic structures near us in Greenwich Park, Woolwich and to a certain extent North Greenwich may be temporary but they have changed the landscape beyond all recognition.
We have been immersed in all of it. Some of this has been great. Other parts – Boris Johnson’s voice bellowing out rail and tube tannoys in recent weeks, 1984 style (only lacking the video screens with him on to complete the horror) and the INCESSANT WHINGEING from people that don’t like the Olympics, think it costs took much money, is inappropriate in these cash trapped times – really really get on my tits, frankly.
At the end of my life, when the preceeding 102 (fingers crossed) years flash before my eyes, I don’t want to see endless footage of me looking cross about things in front of a computer screen. I want to see moments. Big ones. Small ones. Happy ones. Sad ones. I want to be there when amazing stuff happens. I want the girls to have great memories of the time the Olympics came to their area. It’s once in a lifetime stuff for all of us.
We were out at stupid o’clock this morning to watch the torch relay come within spitting distance of out house. The girls wore Wenlock t-shirts. I wore a London 1948 Olympic t-shirt. We waved flags, cheered the millions of police personnel, the corporate floats and buses (reminded us of the time the Tour de France came through Greenwich a few years ago), the grey-clad bodyguards and saw the Olympic torch up-close. Although there are loads of Olympic torches and the flame lit by the Greek sun*** back in May, it did feel like we were watching an A-List celebrity. A couple of us (grown-ups, not children) got quite giddy with excitement.
Now, there is one thing I’m a bit cross about. Tickets. More specifically, diving tickets. We have tried in EVERY SINGLE ROUND to get tickets for the Men’s diving. Have we got any? NOOOOOO! Unless I want to pay £450 for the privilege, I’m going to be watching the 10 Metre platform final at home. Gah!
However, the girls and I are taking my Mum to the Olympic Park for a day (you can get into the park but not into any of the competition venues) and I have scored myself a cheeky ticket for the Archery at Lord’s when Dh is at work and the girls are at nursery. I keep looking on the ticket website to see if they’ve got any more tickets. I quite fancy seeing something random, like Handball, just so I can say I watched an event at the Olympic Park.
The big thing for us as a family, though, is the Paralympics. If you want the experience of watching a massive sporting occasion and the chance to get inside the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, Aquatic Centre, etc.go on to the website and get yourself some tickets. They’re £10 for adults and £5 for children. We’ve got a mad weekend at the end of August/beginning of September where we’re seeing the cycling on Friday with my parents; Dh, the girls and I are watching Equestrian on the Saturday morning and Athletics in the evening and swimming with my Mum and Sister on Sunday. It’s going to be AWESOME.
In fact, the whole thing is going to be amazing. I can’t wait to watch the Opening Ceremony on the MASSIVE TELLY that I have finally given Dh permission to buy. It’s likely to be a 48 inch jobby, so I can watch Jeremy Kyle and shout at my probation officer through the cat-flap (HT Victoria Wood) in my pyjamas.****
I love an opening ceremony, me. I love watching people represent fire through the medium of dance and playing ‘What the FECK is that flag?’ as the athletes come into the stadium. I actually get quite weepy watching that sort of thing. The fact that it’s happening in MY city may just tip me over the edge into full-on hysteria.
6 days to go until the Olympics arrives on our doorstep.
*Title especially for Dh, who hates the whole Team GB thing. “It’s the BRITISH TEAM!” He says. Every. Single. Time.
**I KNOW. I’m being kind.
***Which is totally different to our sun, obviously.