It all started with a little flame. With interest growing on a daily basis as pictures via twitter, Facebook and local news spread the word that London 2012 was on it’s way. (Somewhere in between a cycling team sponsored by Sky did rather well over in France, landing us Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins; and it concluded last night with a certain Gold medal winning tennis player becoming our first Grand Slam champion in 76 years. Congratulations Andy Murray).
The torch aroused interest and ignited a flame, and so it began, our greatest ever summer of sport. Much has been said and written about the last few weeks, words like, inspire, triumph and legacy, were used continuosly as our athletes defied our expectations on what seemed like an hourly basis. Sports that are usually watched by a handful of marshals were being roared on by thousands and watched by millions in their homes. The sea of red, white and blue of national pride seemed to sweep the country. It felt as if an entire nation were riding the crest of the most perfect wave.
I found the Olympics mind blowing in it’s sheer athleticism, excitement, colourfulness and noise, providing almost non stop drama and entertainment from dawn till dusk. Watching the road race, time trials, triathlons and mountain biking you couldn’t help but feel you too were riding on this perfect wave. When the euphoria came to an all too abrupt end we all held our collective breaths in anticipation, yet grateful of what was to come. I don’t think anyone expected the Paralympics to ignite as much interest as it did. Sell out venues, enthusiastic crowds and noise levels that rivalled, if not beat off, it’s Olympic opposition. The triumph over adversity, the grit and determination, the courage to compete through physical and mental impairment. These were extraordinary athletes who taught us as much about ability as disability. These Paralympics reached another level of emotion, unexpectedly and unashamedly.
I felt compelled to go and join the hundreds of thousands of flag waving supporters for their victory parade. Nestled between two trees, surrounded by the purple and orange of the Games Makers, and the red, white and blue of our national flag I stood on tip toe, extended my camera into the air and hoped for the best. (WARNING, these images contain arms, mobiles and flags!)
Writers and broadcasters have spoken and written so eloquently about these Games that I can not begin to compete, I will just say however, that I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer. I have been moved, entertained, educated and above all inspired. If you haven’t already go and enter a race, if sport is not your thing why not go and support one of the thousands of events that are happening week in and week out, or become a volunteer. Surely this is the legacy, and we have to make it happen, not watch it happen.