The Olympics are almost upon us and probably by the time you read this they’ll have kicked off properly.
Despite some ridiculous rows about security and the highly embarrassing use of the South Korean flag for the North Korean ladies football team, I think it’s gone really well so far.
Up until a couple of months ago it felt as though things were being over hyped a bit, but then the Torch relay began and it seemed to catch the nation’s imagination. I have to say I’m a bit of a cynic about these things (the Torch relay, not the Olympics) but there was something about it that caught even my imagination.
I think it’s because I’m 44 years old and the Olympics will never come back to Britain in my lifetime and so this was genuinely a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of something.
After checking the internet for the right times I set off at a brisk walk from the office to get to The Meadows – a huge park in the centre of Edinburgh – in time to see the procession
The problem was that I left the office a bit late and ended up having to run to catch up with the torch.
I eventually found it not at The Meadows but a bit before, and I’m really glad I did. There was quite a cavalcade… a couple of police outriders, the Olympic branded cars, some guys on bikes doing tricks and then the runner himself, flanked by the running police officers.
I don’t know who the guy was but I guess he was in his late 60s, grey haired and a little bit portly… but he looked very proud. And the crowd responded. There was spontaneous cheering, clapping and, it felt to me, a real sense of being part of something…
Dare I say it, maybe even a sense of community.
Anyway. I thought I’d get a second look at the flame and so I upped my pace along the back roads and arrived at The Meadows at just the same time as the flame. Here there was a real show, bands, dancers and lots of entertainment. It was a party atmosphere.
The brilliant thing is, it seems as though this sense of community has been replicated across the county. I was having a beer with a client last night and he told me (unprompted), quite proudly that he’d seen the Olympic Torch earlier in the day and how good it had been.
So here’s to a fabulous games; let’s hope the politicians don’t get their hands on it and try to score points against each other.