I was one of those who knocked the games. I thought the whole thing had been kidnapped by the nuts in government. Missiles on the roof, indeed! But once the Games began I couldn’t help being caught up in the euphoria.
Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was brilliantly bonkers and left the guy organizing the closing ceremony with way too much to do, and he failed. Eric Idle singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and including the immortal line “Life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it” must have freaked out NBC and I don’t doubt that bit was beeped out or removed altogether. For me, Eric Idle, and Ray Davis singing Waterloo Sunset, saved the day.
The opening and closing ceremony provided the bread but what about the filling in the middle of the sandwich?
America topped the medal table followed by China. No surprises there. Later America accused China’s record-breaking female swimmer of being genetically modified. Brilliant! This in the same week the US said they are trying to genetically modify their battle troops so they can run like Usain Bolt, not just over a hundred meters but an entire marathon. Hypocrites or what?
I can’t imagine what some athletes went through to take part in the games, athletes from poor and corrupt African states where life is cheap and finding enough food is the national sport. Arab women competing in modified sportswear with no chance of qualifying for a medal and at the same time facing death threats from the religious nuts at home ... That’s the spirit of these Olympic Games.
I’m not a great flag waver but can’t help being proud of Britain’s athletes; their tally of gold was 29. In the 1996 Atlanta games they scored one. Yes, some of the medalists come from privileged backgrounds—it’s rare to see a plumber or a bus driver and his horse winning the dressage—still, you don’t get to the top without being dedicated and tough.
Why they paraded the fashion models beats me, most of them are known for their extravagant drinking and drug taking. How did that fit in?! The athletes are the real celebrities, proper role models for the young. People who got to the top, not because of their surgically enhanced breasts or a week in a TV reality show, followed by a life of falling in and out of beds and bars to the delight of their accountants and the tabloid press, but through hard work.
I’m glad it’s over and things are back to normal. That awful music from ‘Chariots of Fire’ no longer plays in my head as I pant along the beach in the morning and I’m back to using my inhaler in the open instead of hiding behind a tree.