Tag Archives: Olympic

Paralympics for the win!

T54 5,000 metre Gold Medallist, David Weir, winning a thrilling race at the Olympic Stadium in London on Sunday September 2nd. Image via Guardian.co.uk/picture by Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

If you’re anything like me – a bitter old cynic, possessed of a smoking husk where his heart once was – this summer has been the proverbial game changer.

I started the year not caring a jot about the Olympics and wishing that the hype would go away – I had no intent of watching the Games and intended to spend the event self-consciously shunning it in a pointless and self-aggrandizing one man protest.

Then the Olympics began.

Picture via Guardian.co.uk/ Image taken by Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

To say that the spectacle, competition and atmosphere won me over is something of an overstatement.   My wife, always a fan of athletics and pretty much any sport which isn’t football, played some part in that conversion by knowing what was going on and explaining the significance of individual races, events and seemed to have a running Team GB medal tally on her person at all times.

The Games ended and I found myself wondering whether the same countrywide fervour and open-minded embrace of all things sporting would extend to the following Paralympic Games – because history seems to indicate that people who’ve just enjoyed the quote-unquote ‘main event’ seem to find their attention wandering when Paralympians converge to compete on the world stage.

Rather brilliantly, and in a way which actually has me slightly tearing up as I type, it would appear that my worries about a mass exodus of interest have been comprehensively quashed as viewing figures in the UK for Channel Four‘s coverage are high and the various stadia for the individual events are attended by enthusiastic fans whose love of Team GB has extended to this utterly inspirational and fantastic display of athletic endeavour.

Without wishing to offend any American readers, I’ll take the exhilarating spectacle of wheelchair basketball over the US ‘Dream Team’ steamrollering their competitors any day of the week.  Similarly, as exciting as it is to watch Usain Bolt routinely smash through the established wisdom of how quickly a human being can run, I found the 200m duel between South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorious and Brazilian Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira an utterly riveting race, not least because of its unexpected conclusion.

“Don’t focus on the disability – focus on the ability” was Pistorious’ request to the media (and by extension, the World) prior to the Games opening ceremony and , after nearly a week of fiercely fought and utterly compelling sport, who would argue with his assessment?  That these athletes face unique physical challenges before ever getting to compete is obvious a key factor in the existence of this competition but the obvious thing to take away from the Paralympics is that this competition is every bit the equal of the Olympics in terms of quality, thrills and inspiration.

I find myself wondering why we don’t get to see this kind of competition on a more regular basis on TV – Channel Four have been doing a brilliant job in the run-up to London 2012 of positioning Paralympians and their sporting disciplines into their schedule and making sure that we knew the Games were on their way but I now wonder whether this commitment to athletes with physical challenges will extend beyond the end of this Summer.

Isn’t this the kind of sport which belongs on Channel Four – whose remit has traditionally been to offer perspectives on the world which are outside the norm?  I like to think so and I really hope that they continue to bring us more of this brilliant, life-affirming sports coverage long after the glory and ceremony of the London Games have faded from memory.  Give me real athletes like those of Paralympic Team GB rather than the overpaid, talent-light, half-wits of the Football Premiership any day of the week

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Run To The Hills!

Image

Tired of Olympic hype?  Try living in the UK.  Your humble (and normally quite reasonable) blogger has had it up to his Musketeer-style chin beard with all things sporting after a year or so of relentless build-up to London 2012 and would happily go into suspended animation until the whole thing is over.

Go Jess!

As a dyed-in-the-wool, adopted Sheffielder, I obviously wish Jessica Ennis well in her heptathlon campaign but I really would rather ignore the vast majority of the Olympics – a feat made quite challenging by the approximately 906 channels being devoted by the BBC to the imminent hostilities  glorious sporting spectacle about to unfurl.

To distract those of you who can’t get that excited by athletes doing things slightly more quickly than they did them previously, take in the joyful image above of Iron Maiden‘s mascot Eddie, as originally found on the Metal Hammer website.

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Matt Smith – he does running now. Running is cool.

Leave it to our tiny planet’s most fervent defender to get in some Olympics action.

Yep, TOTALLY getting why he’s a nerdy lust object from that picture…

Not content with being a kooky and suave master of awesome, time-tripping whimsy, current Doctor Who Matt Smith is going to be running with the Olympic torch in Cardiff on Saturday 26th May.

And with a gait as astonishing as Matt’s undoubtedly is, who can blame the organisers for scoring some valuable publicity points by enlisting a celebrity who might actually do a better job at this athletics lark than some of the nominal pros.

If the London 2012 Olympics organisers could somehow be convinced to build a corridor around the 100 metres track this summer, my money would be on the lanky dude with the bow tie winning that event convincingly.

 

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Olympic Property Boom

I'm guessing Iron Man was busy. Or not real.

Missiles stationed on top of flats – UK News – MSN News UK.

Well, it’s one way to deal with those annoying drunk first-years who were seemingly born without volume control when alighting from their cab at 1:00am.

Having noticed the amount of armed police in London whenever I’ve been travelling through the more tourist-packed areas of the city, it doesn’t come as much surprise to learn that the London 2012 organisers are making it clear that any potential terror threats are going to met with an appropriate counter response.

This underlines to me one of the most undeniable truths about the forthcoming Olympics – if you had anywhere else to go whilst the Games are on, why the hell would you want to stay in the Capital?  It’s going to be a nightmare to move around, the normal tensions of city living are going to be ramped up 200% and on top of that, the top of your apartment building could end up looking like a “Call of Duty” level objective.

No thanks!

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