I’m sure most of you know I’m in London for the Olympics. It’s so great to be home for any reason at all, so the Olympics are just a bonus, but a massive one. I have tickets for 3 events : table tennis (I have to resist the urge to call it ping pong as they call it in China), artistic gymnastics and diving. All events where the Chinese are expected to do well.
But even without tickets, just being here and experiencing my home town during this time is great. I’ll pre-empt the age jokes by confirming I wasn’t around the last time London hosted the event back in 1948! So far I have been glued to the TV. There’s always so much going on and the commentary is top notch. If I was in Shanghai, I’d have to watch in the middle of the night, the commentary would be incomprehensible and of course, they would naturally focus on the strong Chinese events. I’m keen to watch those of course, but I also want to see some of the sports where the Chinese aren’t in contention, like football, cycling and so on.
Commentary might not be so important for sports I’m familiar with, but it’s so nice to have good commentary for sports I don’t know well, so I know what’s going on. Cycling is probably one of those. I was watching the women’s road race and I had no idea about the whole strategy, when to break from the pack (know as the peleton), etc. It was a thrilling race too, with the British rider, Lizzie Armitstead losing by just a bicycle length to Marianne Vos and giving Great Britain it’s first medal of 2012.
I am such a sucker for all the emotion and drama, and of course the controversy. I was stunned to see US coach John Leonard coming out and calling China’s Ye Shiwen’s 400m win “unbelievable”, “suspicious” and “disturbing”. It REEKS of sore loser with the emphasis on LOSER. To be clear, I am not saying there are no banned substances involved, but I do think it’s a slippery slope if every time something “unexpected” happens in sport, we immediately call drug abuse. EVERY medal winner is drug tested, so let’s wait for the results before slinging dirt. Did anyone cry cheat when Phelps won 8 golds in Beijing?
Sadly I missed the opening ceremony – I flew to London a few hours after it ended and at the time I was having a couple of hours sleep. I’d been out till 1am the night before so only had a couple of hours to pack and get a bit of sleep. So I can’t comment on how it compared to Beijing’s stunning opening ceremony or if it even matters. All I do know is that the Chinese may have a million drummers beating in sync, but they don’t have 007 and Her Majesty The Queen!
I’m afraid I don’t have wifi at my parents’ place, so my updates are going to be fairly infrequent, but I’ll do what I can to update when I can. Today the 4th full day and my first event is the table tennis tomorrow afternoon. Can’t wait!