A couple of weeks ago I stood in the rain to watch the Olympic flame go by. Actually I saw it twice, because it had a lunchtime stopover in our town, so I watched it arrive, popped into a café for a latte and a pecan Danish, repositioned myself at the other end of the town and watched the circus leave.
Despite myself, I was quite moved by the whole experience. There was a lovely atmosphere on the streets and thanks to the wonders of technology we were given real-time updates of the torch’s progress, until finally someone shouted: ‘It’s two minutes away!’ Then we all got very excited, even cheering the forward guard of policemen and support vehicles.
Certainly the sponsors weren’t backwards in coming forwards and the advertising element was a bit in your face – but I suppose I can’t complain about public money being spent and then grumble when commercialism steps in to help. Funding has to come from somewhere.
As to the events themselves – and let’s not forget that this is a sports competition, and not just a massive opportunity to showcase London as the tourist destination of choice – well, I can’t be doing with all the strutting and fretting that goes with the track and field, and based on the GB football team’s first outing the other night I don’t think there’ll be much there to captivate me. I’ve had enough of tennis for a while and I don’t understand the rules of quite of a lot of what’s on offer.
But I heard an interesting radio programme about some of the less well-publicised events and that has whetted my appetite. For instance, water polo sounds like it might be worth a look-in; and no doubt there’ll be back stories and tales of personal triumph that bring a tear to the eye.
So I won’t be glued to the telly for the whole extravaganza, but I shall definitely watch some of it. And I honestly want it all to go well. I want the transport system to work, the security to be effective but unobtrusive, the stadiums to be full and I want the sun to shine. And I really want Bradley Wiggins to win gold.