Friday, 27 July 2012

Running rings around the Olympics

So who will be lighting up the torch tonight?
The union jack bunting is rather tattered now, as it flips and flaps against the drainpipes and fascia boards of The Enchanted Village.

We've kept it up for the Olympics, which start officially this evening.

Whether you like sport or not, you can't escape it. Not even here in Lush Places, where the Olympic bells are ringing at twelve minutes past eight this morning. (My feature writing friend on the Dorset Echo is trying to work the word 'bongtastic' into her colour piece.) Just down the road, the people of Weymouth and Portland are gearing up to go bananas tonight as the Olympic sailing events get underway.

And our own Mrs Bancroft, my sweet neighbour who is as dear to me as a big sister, is working flat out over the next fortnight in her 'meet and greet' gear as a volunteer in the Olympic park. Thank God she managed to get into the trousers again after the final fitting a few weeks ago.

There is much speculation across the country about the identity of the person who will light the Olympic cauldron. Will it be rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave? Or maybe decathlete Daley Thompson, our tour de force, Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins or The Queen in her diamond jubilee year? Or maybe Sir Roger Bannister, who deserves four more minutes of fame.

Personally, I'd like to see Sir Geoff Hurst do the honours. Not an Olympian but a Titan when it comes to sporting greats. I had a crush on him when I was four.

For Zeus sake, I really hope it's not Beckham.

The Olympic spirit is alive and well. It's the sound of a handbell rung frantically by an elderly woman alongside the old school house. It's a race on the village green by a group of children. It's cyclists roaring round our one-way system and pretending it's the velodrome. It's a sense of unity, national pride (although our team should really be called Team UK rather than Team GB) and belief.

There are children now who will be so inspired by the 2012 games that they, too, will be Olympians in years to come. So, Number One Grand-daughter, keep up the good work with the martial arts training. You might have only just had your seventh birthday but, in twelve years' time, it could be you up there on the podium.

Dreams can come true. You just have to believe.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. We have had Olympic fever all week, and look forward to the Opening Tonight. It would be cool if it were the Queen.

  2. We will be watching! I know one synchronized swimmer who is in the duet competition for the USA. I have known her since she was a young swimmer swimming with The Pirouettes of Texas when my daughter was in her last years with the team. I am loving her blog where she is showing 'behind the scenes' at the Olympic Village. Who knows? She may have been greeted by your Mrs. Bancroft!

    These games came at a perfect time for us to watch them. My daughter has quadruplets and we are up at night anyway with feedings every three hours. We will definitely be watching all the games!!

  3. As you look back, will you find your post prophetic? They made the ceremony about the athletes of the future, although honoring the past. Good Job!
    The Opening Ceremonies were not shown live here. They were on from 7:30 'til midnight last night. I recorded them, watched half last night (covered my ears at the gym, when the subject came up this morning), and watched the conclusion a little while ago; without feeling the need to listen to Sir Paul one more time at the end.
    The American commentators were amazed at how quickly the athletes were marshaled through. They said that they were having to edit and abbreviate their notes on each team. Hilarious, how surprised they were. One thing is constant, The United Kingdom's ability to organize a bit of pomp and circumstance. They also kept calling the flag "The Union Flag" Is it no longer a Union Jack? Did I miss the memo? It smacked of civil war, very weird.

  4. I thought the ceremony was great, apart from Paul McCartney singing at the end. Bad job. Absolutely loved the Bond sketch with the Queen, the forging of the Olympic rings and Kenneth Branagh as Brunel. Especially liked the NHS sequence (a master stroke, Danny Boyle) and the pop culture references. It summed up UK culture pretty well to me, albeit in an understandably populist way.
    As for the athletes coming through rather quickly, our commentators didn't pick that up and neither did we.
    The Union Flag, English Rider, was correct in this context - it's only the Union Jack when flying at sea. However, we all call it the Union Jack anyway.
    Here's to the next fortnight. The games have begun!


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