It’s probably safe to say that the Olympics have enthralled our whole country, and brought together nations from all over the world. Even though they cost an absurd amount of money, in a city that’s known for its grumpy attitude and high-pressure lifestyle, the Olympics spread a benevolence that was totally infectious.
While some people have been glued to their TVs for two weeks, and others took a late holiday to escape the crush, it was practically impossible to miss getting caught up in Olympic fever. Looking back over the past two weeks, we remember some of the heart-in-mouth moments from London’s third Olympic Games.
Old Friends Switch Poses
We loved watching the antics of the Jamaican sprinter; did you see him flirting with a track official just seconds before winning gold in the 200 metres? He also borrowed a photographer’s camera to snap some pics afterwards. But when Bolt and Mo Farah, who have known each other for over a decade, swapped race celebrations (Bolt did the “Mobot” and Farah held his arms out in “To Di World”) London went crazy.
Bolt said: “Me and Mo we go way back… we have been through ups and downs. I’ve seen him train. It was good, it was a joy for me to see him get the double gold medal, so it was wonderful.”
History in the Making
The first women’s Olympic boxing tournament got off to an unforgettable start when Nicola Adams, a gutsy 29-year-old flyweight from Leeds, won gold for Team GB. Although competitive and non-contact boxing has been on the rise in recent years, the Amateur Boxing Association of England predicts that this Olympic success will encourage “a new generation of young people into boxing”.
Adams said: “It’s a dream come true. I’ve just wanted this all my life. To think I’ve finally done it, I’m finally here. All this support has really made my day.”
The Value of Taking Part
There have been a few events where the placements have mattered less to some competitors than simply taking part. It was a particularly moving moment when Sarah Attar stepped onto the track to run the 800 metres, even though she’d received criticism from many in her home country. Covered up from head-to-toe in lycra and finishing more than half a minute slower than her nearest competitor, she became the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete in the Olympic track and field events and received a huge roar of support from the crowd. Shortly afterwards, 16-year old judoka Wojdan Ali Shaherkani, also from Saudi Arabia, made her international debut against Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica, losing in just 82 seconds but inspiring countless people around the globe.
Attar said: “This is such a huge honour and an amazing experience, just to be representing the women. I know that this can make a huge difference.”
The Games Makers
There were approximately 70,000 volunteers involved in the organising and running of the Games, whether they were Team London volunteers, LOCOG ambassadors or Transport for London volunteers – many of whom contributed a minimum of ten days each (a total of eight million hours), all for free.
Richard Williams writing for The Guardian said: “If only a fraction of the trouble and ingenuity that went into putting on these Olympics can be applied to give kids the opportunity and encouragement to do sport, then an important step will have been taken.”