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Monday 30th July

July 30, 2012

Well, Day 3 of the Games is upon us. Pete has completed his first shift as a Gamesmaker. For those who are unaware what they are or have been living under a stone for the last 7 years, they are the volunteers who give up their time for free, and make the games work – showing people to their seats, giving directions, talking through loud-hailers to gee up the crowd as they arrive and then leave the Olympic park and countless other venues around the country. They also work tirelessly behind the scenes with the athletes, press and other organisations.

Athletes too, having been slogging their guts out to get fit, and compete for one of the biggest moments in their lives, all in the name of sport, personal success and national pride. I don’t think most people have any idea of the sacrifices they make to get here. Certainly, unless you have been involved in sport in some way, it’s hard to even begin to imagine.

So, why have our media been so down on the games since they began? It started with the cynicism that is intrinsic to the nature of the British press – the ‘build ’em up and knock ’em down’ approach is pretty self-destructive and does nothing for the nation’s psyche in the long run. Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was a masterpiece, according to most of the people I have spoken to. Yet they love to pick holes in it – asking how on earth other nations were supposed to understand the sometimes allusionary nature of the show.

Well, the answer to that is – ‘Who cares?’ The show was a celebration of our social history and culture, as opening ceremonies usually are. I cannot remember understanding all of the content of the Sydney and Beijing ceremonies, nor would I expect to. This is for the country, by the country – let’s big ourselves up a little bit for a change!

Another concern is the cost – I am sorry for Londoners who have borne the brunt of the cost to the public purse, I think it should have been spread equally across the entire country. The vast majority of the cost has been covered by private investment. Hopefully it should lead to benefits to the country brought about by increased investment in Britain. You have to speculate to accumulate as the saying goes! It’s a big picture to look at.  

So far, we’ve got a silver and bronze medal, thanks to the massive efforts of Lizzie Armitstead (road cycling) and Rebecca Adlington (200m freestyle). Let’s celebrate that. If the seats aren’t filled, it’s mainly because some of the accredited personnel haven’t turned up, so let LOCOG organise something so that the seats are reallocated. It is part of the agreement with the Olympic movement that a certain number are reserved as such (around one fifth in most venues). But please let’s concentrate on the positive aspects of the games – the atmosphere on public transport, in the venues and the country as a whole has been uplifting. People are talking to each other – strangers in fact – unheard of if you live or work in London! It’s only for two and a bit weeks, and it feels good.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2012 3:37 pm

    I don’t travel, but if I did, I’d be happy for strangers to talk to me through the tubes.

  2. July 31, 2012 8:34 am

    If it were awarded, GB would win the gold in Freestyle Moaning

    Great writing, Mrs H!

  3. July 31, 2012 8:36 am

    If it was an Olympic sport, GB would win Gold in Freestyle Moaning!

    Great writing, Mrs H!

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