Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Olympics, Reviewed

So the Olympics are almost over, and I think we're all agreed they were frickin' fantastic.  What with TeamGB getting 65 medals, of which 29 were gold (I didn't realise how awesome this was until I checked out their track record, and they have basically only hit double figures twice before since 1920), and all.  Of course, they had 56 gold medals in 1908, and 146 in total, but that seems to have been an aberration, possibly caused by most countries not having been invented then or something.

And the Opening Ceremony wasn't terrible, and the traffic wasn't so bad, and everyone learned to love the mascots, and people in Britain actually turned up at stuff and waved flags, and not even in an ironic or sarcastic sort of way.

After about 2 days, I think we were all a bit concerned, lying behind Kazakhstan in the medals table, and with Mark Cavendish getting all ganged up on by the rest of the world, and everyone suddenly realising that China had secretly been practicing things like swimming and diving and had got Quite Good.  But then suddenly it all took off, and next thing we're at number 4 in the medals table and we're all like IN YOUR FACE, Kazakhstan! (unless anyone from Kazakhstan is reading this, in which case we love you a lot (is it Kazakhstan that has nuclear weapons?)).

And then Jessica Ennis goes racing off, flinging javelins and discuses and hurdles, and Mo Farah bombs round the track 90 times in about 47 seconds, and Greg Rutherford is leaping the length of the stadium, and we're in third place in the medals table, and we're all cheering at ridiculous things like horse dancing and synchronised swimming and other things that we don't even know what they're called, but who cares because GO TEAM GB! and we're realising that actually all these sports are marvellous and we should have tried harder at PE in school because then we could have been there, winning.  At one point I found myself looking up the rules of Double Trap Shooting.

Part of the awesomeness of the Olympics is that it's not even all about the people who actually won stuff.  We loved Zoe Smith, who looked like you could push her over with a gust of wind, and then lifted approximately 17 times her own body weight above her head with one hand, while tweeting with the other.  We loved the Nigerian(?) guy who was always going to come last in the rowing, but went out there and rowed like feck just because he had his chance to compete; we loved the women from countries where they're basically not allowed to leave the house, but who came and had a jog around the track because the opportunity was there and maybe next time round they'll get a couple of places higher; I particularly loved the Algerian dude who entered (and lost) the canoe sprint, and could barely even get his canoe lined up at the starting block, never mind actually getting it along the course in a reasonable speed.

And it wasn't all about TeamGB: we loved Irish boxer Katie Taylor so much that certain British newspapers tried to adopt her.

We loved the people who put out the hurdles and cleaned the toilets, and the BBC commentary team, and the cameramen, and I liked Clare Balding, even if Boyfriend Smile didn't.  In the middle of it all, a thing landed on Mars, so we loved that too.  We loved the giant golden Wenlocks that the gold medalists won, and we came to like the weird all-blue TeamGB outfits. I was not so keen on the volunteers who made people sing, but by and large they seemed to have done well, so we liked that. I didn't like Usain Bolt, and then I saw him run, and I loved him.  We loved the little Minis that drove the javelins and discuses about, and we loved that the horse-jumping course had fences like Stonehenge and post boxes and the Tower of London.

We loved the particularly unusual sports; my personal favourite being the insanity that is the Modern Pentathlon, an event comprising swimming, horse riding, fencing, and a weird combination of running and shooting (it's not even like the heptathlon, where the events have a general theme and seem largely designed for people who like lots of sports but just aren't awesome at any of them in particular (apart from Jess Ennis, who is); the Modern Pentathlon appears to be for people who embraced wholeheartedly the contents of their Santa Stocking when they were 7, and never looked back).

We were comforted that some things don't change: we still don't have the capacity to pass a relay baton between 2 people travelling at any kind of speed; we still come across countries we've never heard of;  we still believe in every single British athlete long past the point where a gold medal is not even a mathematical possibility.

And now we have the Closing Ceremony to look forward to, and, given how things have gone so far, I'm assuming that it will turn out that the whole "Spice Girls' Reunion" was just a bluff and that the evening will comprise Mr Bean performing all 4 verses of the National Anthem while riding piggy-back on Mo Farah and being chased by a crowd of small children in pyjamas, before the Queen, Philip and Corgies are winched back up into the helicopter and blast back to the palace to the sound of Victoria Pendleton inviting everyone back for cookies after the parade of athletes.

And after that, we have the Paralympics; presumably we'll also have the finals of the Beach Volleyball, which seems to have been in the preliminary stages since day 1, without making any progress whatever towards deciding who should get a medal.

Anyway, I've had a special request to live blog the Closing Ceremony, so I'm going to try.  I'm pretty knackered, because today we had the "Boyfriend Smile's family coming to meet my family", and while it was very nice and everyone seemed to get on very well and hardly anyone said anything inappropriate, it involved being sociable, and we all know how much I love THAT (i.e. not at all, even with people I know and like), so I may quit half way through and go to bed.  Since it starts in 20 minutes, I need to go and get ready.

See you presently.

No comments: