OK, so it’s the morning after the night before and I am a bit sad.
But, what a jolly great time London has had lately!
I’m not going to go too in-depth here as you probably tired long ago of the media saturation (maybe? or do you see yourself getting major withdrawal symptoms here? I think I may soon get those~) but how much fun did we have over the past few weeks? The anticipation leading up to the Opening Ceremony made us feel like 5 year olds waiting for Santa, those tourists that came for the Games were happy and many if not all of us Londoners took off our CBFs (Chronic B*tch Face) and embraced it completely and utterly to the full.
Mr Man and I were really lucky. Thanks to him keeping an eye on the local paper we were able to apply for free tickets to see the technical rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony and came out of it absolutely blown away (of course, keeping to the hashtag #savethesecret). We both agreed that despite us having travelled around the world several times, it was the best thing either of us had ever seen. You really had to be there to feel the atmosphere: things going on everywhere, the drumming, the music (b-b-b-bonkers!) and the sheer enthusiasm of the performers and audience combined went straight through to your bones… mind blowing.
We ended up watching the actual event in a place called Kiwi House which was set up by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (well done Team New Zealand for your exceptional performances!) where the atmosphere was buzzing, but they were watching it over an internet feed which kept breaking up, so we saw the thing, again, in its entirety, from our living room later in the evening. It was well worth staying up for. My highlight? Definitely the torch lighting… whoa.
Mr Man also found himself with some free tickets to Olympic Park so we spent a morning there checking it out. I wholeheartedly believe that if managed well, the site is going to serve East London beautifully in the future. I loved the rolling hills and wild flowers throughout. I found myself wanting to get a bike and just spend the day riding through it, exploring the nooks and crannies. What a great job the ODA did with that.
Then of course there was the games watching – such a pleasure to be in the same time zone as the games and be able to pick and choose what to watch instead of the highlights. I spent much of the time blubbing away everytime team GB or NZ won another gold medal – especially on Super Saturday when Mo Farah did that 10,000 metres like the true hero he is and when Seb Co gave Jessica Ennis her gold, then again the following week when Mo did the Mobot after that stunning 5,000 metres and Blake/Bolt smashed that relay – what phenomenal people to inspire a generation.
We had tickets to the Women’s Football Final and the Men’s Wrestling. The football final was outstanding and even though I was rooting for Japan (the world’s coolest football team, so cute and fun) who lost to the USA but still put up a massive fight, the atmosphere was just electric. Seeing that medal ceremony still gives me tingles down my spine – so positive and incredible to see athletes who put their heart and soul into these games be rewarded for their efforts with the entire world watching. When the Paralympics is finished I’m going to really miss the medal ceremonies but will look forward to not feeling like an emotional idiot every time…
Personally, I definitely got back the motivation to run more often (despite the Embankment where I run being like an obstacle course during this time) and the determination to do well in other areas of my life. Surely it has inspired people worldwide to do something just that little bit better if not aim for the very top; I know it inspired us Londoners to be a lot more patient and a little bit nicer. The Olympics couldn’t be more positive if it tried and I’m so happy and proud to have been in a city that, despite some initial antagonism in the build-up, played such an incredible host to them. Thank you London.
P.S. The Games also marked mine and Mr Man’s first wedding anniversary (and basically the reason this blog began) – we’ve had such a wonderful year – and I won the bet – not put on a single pound since 9 August 2011.