So the Olympics are over.
As someone who has loathed team sport since about 1994, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this year's Olympics. Maybe it was Danny Boyle's stunning opening ceremony. Everything from setting it inside the song Jerusalem to forging the Olympic rings was inspired, especially considering most people had been expecting us to fall far short of the Bejing ceremony. Maybe it was the fact that we excelled at something for once or that this year I was more invested in the atheletes because I was watching the little human interest segments. Maybe it's because after my own graduation I appreciate acheivement not just as a personal thing but as something that affects a whole family: I think I was more keen for my parents to be at my graduation than I was. Them seeing me there was the point. So the emotional dramas seemed a lot closer to home this year.
I didn't think the closing ceremony could top the opening one and it didn't but I think it was about equal. There was a different atmosphere, far more wind down than warm up and I found it very interesting.
Anyway, as I'm still frantically trying to sort things out for next year, I'm going to end this with a list of my favourite things from the Olympics:
1) The two unknown female rowers who won gold when they weren't expecting to get into the medals and who were completely shellshocked during the interview. My favourite quote of London 2012 may be: "We won the Olympics!"
2) Jessica Ennis crying tears of sheer joy on the winners podium.
3) An athelete (I forget whic one) thanking all the people cheering at home... about twenty seconds after I'd told my mum and brother to 'be quiet: they can't hear you.'
4) The fifteen year old newcomer from Lithuania who completely sledgehammered the competition.
5) The way everyone fell in love with Mo Farrah.
6) And Tom Daley.
7) Princes William and Harry being interviewed together as brothers. Not an athletics thing; I just think it's nice the press remembers they're still brothers after the Royal Wedding (I have to capitalize it or they'll revoke my British license and then I won't be allowed to wear bowler hats).
8) The heavily pregnant torchbearer.
9) The judo womens silver medalist mouthing 'I love you, Mum,' into the air to her late mother.
10) Jade Jones. Just Jade Jones.*
11) The opening and closing ceremonies. Of course.
12) Watching Brazil beat Korea live in Manchester. Mostly for the mexican wave that lasted about five laps of the stadium. And my mum being one of two people in the entire stadium to support Korea (apparently they had better kits).
Weirdly even typing some of that is making me weirdly emotional although I'm pretty sure my uneasy truce with team sports is now over. The thing that made the Olympics for me this year was the hundreds and hundreds of personal stories.
Normal service will be resumed shortly.
*I used to do Tae Kwon Do and it is the only sport I have ever really loved. Even if it wasn't I suspect seeing the British champion win by about fifteen points to one would have made me deeply happy.