The sailing is held in my neighbouring town and due to the increasingly aging population I seemed to suffer with endless complaints regarding the changes to bus timetables, the disruptions to the roundabouts and the ‘god awful amounts of tourists’. Constantly listening to this was driving me a little bit mental and I grew to resent the Olympics and everything they represented more and more. This was primarily because I thought they represented tasteless sponsorship campaigns, materialistic vulgarity that led people sell their torches online and a forced enthusiasm which made me want to flee the country. Despite my best efforts I had been coerced into an Olympic opening party which was, typically, fancy dress and out of a desire to distance myself from the United Kingdom I donned a sari and went to represent India.
However, come Friday morning I sensed a sort of change growing inside of me, despite being disgusted to say it, I was actually excited. After constantly rejecting anything Olympic related, after such annoyance that an event which hadn’t even started yet already seemed to have lasted five years, I unintentionally contracted a serious case of ‘Olympic-hype’. I don’t know why I felt such a dramatic change, I fear pure reluctance set in – it was a sort if you can’t beat them, join them party.
Somehow I’d gotten into the whole swing of it, I’d bought a lottery ticket and was convinced (along with the majority of the country), that I’d win a million, Tom Daley and Bradley Wiggins were my new heroes and I was eagerly anticipating what the mastermind Danny Boyle would create. If someone told me last week that watching the opening ceremony would actually fill me with pride and happiness I would have laughed at them, for back then I was full of scorn, but no longer. I’ve never really harboured a great affection for my country, but I am embracing and enjoying this change in attitude. I am now 100% team GB.
With a dubious start comprised of maypoles and twee farmers I prayed we wouldn’t humiliate ourselves in front of the world, however, somewhere in between Isambard Kingdom Brunel reading out Shakespeare and the banter the Queen herself provided, I remembered that I love Britain. It was heart-warming to witness the undiluted praise for the NHS and Great Ormond Street – coordinating 300 children is no mean feat! This massive celebration dedicated to the glorious wealth of children’s literature and iconic musical influences throughout the decades just reminded me how awesome we are. It felt pretty good to know that one billion other people would be coming to that realisation too. There was something so spectacular about seeing the Olympic rings being forged, their merging and culmination only emphasising a sense of union and elegance – this seemed to be the true spirit of the Olympics - which I’d forgotten a long time ago. The beauty of the cauldron epitomised Boyle’s celebration of creativity, of incredible innovation, and the sheer brilliance and pure spectacle of the event, which was both refreshing and invigorating. The disgusting politics of the Olympics were forgotten when it wasn’t some gaudy famous face lighting the cauldron, but young, incredibly talented individuals – literally the future of the event. This ceremony wasn’t about showing off, it wasn’t Hollywood sparkles and glitter, but nonetheless it was perfect - it was simply British; it was done as a gift to us all with in-jokes only we’d understand. It was funny and clever and beautiful all at the same time. I had pride not only in Britain, but somehow in the whole world. Incredible, inspirational people filled the stadium from all over the planet and there was something enormously impressive about the meeting of that wealth of talent irrespective of socio-political issues. This year marked a massive development; every country had female participants, this enormous equality milestone only emphasised the importance of events like this.
So, I’d like to congratulate Boyle on bringing a little bit of magic to England, the whole ceremony felt distinctly ours, so much so that I almost felt protective over it in the face of scorn from other misunderstood countries. If the whole world was watching, I feel we did them proud. Hopefully this festive team spirit will continue for the duration, as I am sure that there will be the need to celebrate GB’s undisputed and endless victories. For someone who is wholly uninterested in sport, Olympic fever has defiantly overcome me – long may it last.