Tuesday, 4 September 2012

London Paralympics 2012

Apologies for the undoubtedly sentimental bit of waffling that will follow but I was lucky enough to visit the Olympic village and watch some of the London 2012 Paralympics last night.  For me it combined awe inspiring feats of athletic ability, the best of the British weather, and an evening of genuine national pride.

I've had to travel by the Olympic village at Stratford quite a bit recently for work but until we walked up to the park I hadn't truly taken in the scale of it all.  Thankfully the clever seating design made you still feel part of the action as I was worried we wouldn't even be able to see the track from our seats in the gods...

I think we managed about five minutes inside till we welled up and the tears of pride came rolling down.  Stephen Osborne had taken to the track for the 100m T51 wheelchair final and the roar of crowd when his name was called was just overwhelming; he gave a self conscious nod and a smile as the waves of noise crashed round the stadium.

He was unfortunately outclassed in his race but went on to place a respectable fifth.  Later on though Mickey Bushell took the gold in the T53 final and the crowd just exploded.

We saw some stunning performances in the T11 1500m and T12 5000m; these athletes are effectively blind so I have nothing but respect for the hard work that got them into the finals.  The most impressive event of the evening by far though was the F42 High jump final.

I’m six foot two and at school I think I was bested 1.4m with TWO LEGS.  So watching the Fijian Iliesa Delana clear 1.74m with one leg was staggering.

It wasn’t all great; the world got to see something of the pantomime that is British politics when George Osborne presented medals for the mens T38 400m.  While hilarious at the time in retrospect I can’t help but feel that it tarnished what should have been a very happy moment for the medal winners.

All in all though it was a fantastic evening and I feel a very special shout out should go to all the Olympic volunteers who lined the routes to the park throughout the evening.  Always smiling; waving, giving high fives to all and sundry, and generally working hard to disprove the reputation that Londoners are an unfriendly lot.

It's such a shame that it's almost over.  Sad face.

1 comment:

  1. Love it. A little tear nearly popped out again... x