An Olympic change of heart

London 2012: One for the history books.

I WAS a cynic of Olympic proportions until the moment I saw Rebecca Adlington win a bronze medal.

Up until that point, I had no interest in the summer’s sports extravaganza and I anticipated its domination of the TV channels and airwaves to grate on my last nerve by the end of day one.

The nation was at the mercy of Olympic overkill from the start.

There was the frenzied press whose headlines gushed at the arrival of athletes, many of whom took one look at our grey skies and cursed the day the BOA won its bid.

Then came the media ridicule, generated by the G4S debacle, the division of London’s roads causing bus and taxi drivers logistical anxiety, the Wembley security keys which mysteriously went walkies.

Frankly I was sick of hearing about it before it even started. Even the opening ceremony failed to get me in a flap, my Twitter-thumb bashing out 140 scornful characters mainly containing the letters, W, T and F, at 30 second intervals.

Then one day, when broadcasters had seemingly banned everything but swimming coverage, I accidentally watched Adlington win Team GB’s second medal of the games.

I surprised myself with a misty-eyed sniffle, gave myself a mental slap and turned off the television. How touched could I be? I can’t even swim.

The days went by amid rolling coverage of Olympic hoo-ha. Every day at 7.35am my ears were accosted by radio broadcasters interviewing cheery Yorkshire residents claiming distant fame to regional medal winners.

But I realised I was less irritated than I thought I would be and in the evenings, became mildly agitated that Freeview offered less sports channels than my friends’ Sky boxes.

I was royally ticked when I realised I’d missed the women’s gymnastics team final and I was practically incensed when the men’s gymnastics team were robbed of a silver medal.

It transpired I even cared enough about Beth Tweddle’s final shot at Olympic glory to track it down on BBC iPlayer.

But the day I admitted defeat was the moment I found myself screaming at the television as Jessica Ennis crossed the golden finish line.

Not for the first time since my new found Olympic interest, I choked back a few tears as she collapsed to the floor with joy.

I’m not one for overt patriotism, but even I have to concede that Great Britain’s athletes have done an incredible job this summer.

Not least for their hoard of gold, silver and bronze medals, but for feeding a despondent nation a dose of much-needed pride.

Sure, Andy Murray’s gold-medal victory over Roger Federer would have been more poignant had it happened a month earlier at Wimbledon.

And I do question the point of painting post boxes gold in honour of hometown winners when some little scrote is going to deface them with a cock-and-balls scribble in 24-hours.

But my Facebook feed continues to swell with the pride of armchair commentators.

Even the hardest critics – myself included – cannot deny the impact London 2012 has had on our nation, reminding us at times like these why it’s so bloody good to be British.

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One thought on “An Olympic change of heart

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