Thursday, 11 August 2011

Are you ready yet for Olympic jamboree?

This first appeared in the Bath Chronicle on Thursday, July 28.

Today, is July 28, 2011 and I wonder if you have any idea what you may be doing on this exact date 12 months from now?

If you haven't a clue, then perhaps I can give you a few hints?

You could, for example, be at Eton watching rowing. You could also be at Lord's Cricket Ground watching . . . . no, not cricket but archery. Or if you're so inclined, you could be at Horse Guards Parade in London watching beach volleyball.

For yes, whether you like it or not, this time next year all the hype will be at its peak and we will all be engulfed in a full day of action at the start of the London Olympics.

The sheer variety of those sports mentioned above are, to me, what really makes the Olympics so special. If none of those three appeals, then on the same day you could indulge in a spot of fencing, judo, cycling, tennis, boxing, equestrian, gymnastics, volleyball, handball, football, weightlifting, table tennis or swimming. And that's all in just one day.


It's only when I actually looked at that typical day schedule that I realised just how excited I am about the Olympics hitting our turf.

I've always loved the feast of sport that occurs every four years and I love it as much for what it represents as the sport itself. We say that the world is a divided and divisive place but by and large all of this is forgotten when the world comes together for this remarkable jamboree.
Of course, the problems of the world don't go away and the tensions between countries are never far from the surface - whether they are friendly local rivalries or something far more sinister - but over the course of a few weeks it is who wins a running race rather than who wins the arms race that becomes most important to us all.

So I, like many of you who probably also missed out on tickets, will be there next July 28 staring at a TV screen watching sports I don't watch more than once in every four years and cheering on the Brits whether they are handballers (do we even have a team?) gymnasts, boxers or even beach volleyballers - a sport, I hasten to add, that I like purely for the high volleyball content.

And if you are one of those who feels horrified at the thought of your TV screens being dominated by all these weird and wonderful sports for a few weeks then regard this column as doing you a favour. It gives you fully 12 months to book your holiday to run away from it all.

But be warned. I suspect, you won't be able to go anywhere in the world where London 2012 won't be visible. Like death and taxes the Olympics will be impossible to escape from.

Yes, even the handball.

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