Monday, 13 August 2012

The Olympics

I'm still making my way through my various different projects. There's no point talking about them until I've finished/gotten more than half way through them. Besides, in case you've been living under a rock, something else has been happening over the past 2 weeks. The London Olympics.

First, I have to preface this by saying: I am South African. I support South Africa in everything, I love to see South Africa do well. I may have lived in the UK for the past 17 years. Which is more than half of my life. But I still support South Africa, and I probably always will. I am also sports crazy. My parents had 3 children, I am the eldest, and only daughter. My middle brother loves his football. But me...well, I'll watch pretty much anything and get very into it. My boyfriend doesn't have to worry about me resenting him watching sport. In fact, in the previous Euro's, I was happy to find a TV in a pub and watch with him. He can watch whatever sport he likes, as long as I, in turn, can watch whatever sport I like.

So what, you say? This isn't going to be an article about how well South Africa did at the Olympics. We exceeded expectations in some areas, and disappointing in others. We did better than we did in Beijing, which is great. And Chad le Clos's dad, Burt, became an internet sensation. I screamed at the TV, I wept for joy, I jumped up and down willing our athletes to do well. I was a proud South African...

...But at the same time, I always, always get caught up in the other stories. When there's no South African involved, I find myself supporting someone else. Whole heartedly. Perhaps not as vocally, but I come pretty close. I have wept with joy. I have beamed with happiness. Because I find there is something about the Olympics, and athletics in general that allows you to become drawn into the tale. Whether it's Ruta Meilutyteq, the 15 year old Lithuanian who did so amazingly well. Or Mo Farrah, crossing the finishing line after winning the 10,000 meters, his wife and daughter pushing past the security guards to congratulate him. It's wonderful. Then there's the times when you watch an athlete get injured, so close to the finishing line. I willed  Merve Aydin, the Turkish athlete who was doing so well, then got injured, over the finishing line. I had tears streaming down my face as I watched her, cheering her on. And so did the crowd. Athletics, unlike team sports where you rarely cheer quite as loudly for another side, seems to be something where people take joy in sport. Celebrate with winners from other countries. Cheer on the underdog loudly, with no sarcasm.

And it's brilliant. If only it could continue. But soon the Premier League will start and the diva's, divers and arrogant supporters will come out of the woodwork. Rio seems very far away.

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