So the Olympics is over and Team GB are back on home soil.
What a fantastic games for all of them – medal winners or not. To have such discipline, strength of character and determination to reach a level where you represent your country over and above anyone else in the same sport is mind blowing.
Of course the fact that we came second in the medals table is pretty special; not least when you compare the number of people living in Britain compared to the US who stormed ahead. With a smaller pot to pick from, we did really well for an ickle old island.
I don’t like sport, mainly because I’m no good at it. I have no natural aptitude. I don’t believe that it’s the taking part that counts, and I don’t believe that practise makes perfect – not in my case. In my primary school years (up to age 11) I always got involved, but that was things like the skipping race (which I always won easily…can we just take a moment to appreciate that?) When I hit senior school sports day was made up of real events, like hurdles and shotput. I excitedly put myself forward for the discus, as I did pretty ok in PE lessons. On the day I threw it a paltry 8 or 9 metres, and was severely trounced by the other competitors from other classes. That was my last foray into sport. I used to get my Mom to write me a note so I didn’t have to go to the lessons where sports day teams were being chosen; rendering myself unpickable by way of my absence.
But of course success comes not just from talent. It comes from the commitment to honing that talent, and making the life changes necessary for it to shine. Strict diets, strict training and strict routines are all important. Sacrifices have to be made. It takes a special kind of person to stick it out in order to become world class.
I didn’t watch huge amounts of Olympic coverage, but some of the highlights, for me:
- The Egyptian women’s volleyball team, playing in body covering clothes since a rule change that enables them to participate without shaming their religion
- The British 10 metre synchronised diving gold medal for Jack Laugher and Chris Mears
- The men’s and women’s relay team acknowledging the difference that Lottery funding makes to them
- That Usain Bolt photo
- The fact that if super cycling couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny had been their own independent country, they would have been 13th in the medal table. That’s out of 207 countries participating!
- Russian Ilya Zakharov’s absolute shambles of a dive in the male 10 metre diving final, and his doggy style entry into the pool (yes I know I’m a mean person, but it was hilarious!)
And some lowlights:
- The shameful sexism in the press around female presenters outfits and the input of winning female athletes male partners
- The appalling attitudes of some Twitter users in negatively judging athletes’ bodies
- Poor press coverage of the Tom Daly and Dan Goodfellow bronze medal synchronised diving win – one UK newspaper only showed a picture of Tom Daly, while the another referred to the winners as “Tom Daly and his synchronised diving partner”
- Greg Rutherford’s girlfriend receiving shocking sexual violence threats via social media because he “only” won a bronze in the long jump
- Ryan Lochte thinking he could get away with false robbery accusations to cover up his own inexcusable behaviour.
Nice touch by British Airways painting a gold nose on the aircraft that flew the team home! However, on Absolute Radio yesterday they said that the ratio of glasses of champagne to team members on the plane was only just over one to one. Miserable sods! After 4 years of training I’d at least expect to get sizzled on the way home!
Thanks, as always, for reading! x