London 2012

Well, here it is: the opening ceremony day of the London Olympics, 2012. For Londoners, this has been a long anticipated (or dreaded) day. For years now, talk has been running high about Olympic bids, Olympic facilities, Olympic legacies, Olympic heat-seeking ground to air missiles on your tower block, and Olympic displacement of travelling residents. Oh, and the topic of Olympic tickets!

Asking whether someone has tickets to the Olympics has become like talking about the weather.

Normally, when I’m at a bar-b-que or similar function, the weather is the go-to topic of conversation with strangers, since you can’t really offend anyone with weather-talk. This year, dinner parties and networking events have been heaving with chit-chat about whether people have Olympic tickets, and what they’re for.

There was a swell of interest among my male personal training friends who were excited to have female beach volleyball. I don’t know anyone who managed to get tickets to finals in the main stadium. I think perhaps all of the G4S employees bagged those tickets. That’s probably why they were several thousand people short of their recruitment targets 2 weeks before the games.

A friend of mine who is on her son’s Parent Teacher Association committee wanted to plan an Olympic fun event for the school. Everyone thought it was a fantastic idea, until she discovered that they weren’t allowed to use the words “Olympics” or “The Games,” and they couldn’t use the Olympic rings symbols. Even if they were drawn by the 3 year olds in the reception class. It’s surprising since you would think they’re helping to promote the whole thing and instil a sense of positive pride in the games among the children of the host country. Thinking of it, perhaps I shouldn’t be using any of those terms here!

Olympics

Perhaps that’s why Islington Council put an interesting display on the town hall?

Islington Town Hall

But despite my sarcastic cynicism, I truly am all for the games.  I absolutely love watching professional athletes realise the pinnacle of their careers, and perform their event in front of the world following years of training, commitment and dedication. I find it truly inspiring. In fact, some truly spectacular events bring a tear to my eye.

My husband and I set out yesterday morning to see the torch wind its way down a local high street.  It was pretty incredible seeing how many people of all ages and backgrounds were driven to come out before work to support the flame and the emblematic spirit of the games.

Torch relay city hall

I know that the Olympics are about more than sport and peak physical fitness. On a personal level, they are about strength, courage and incredible human feats. On a global scale, they’re about the nations of the world coming together on a level playing field (albeit with vastly differential funding resources available for them to make it there).

But apart from the geopolitical relevance of the games, the Olympics clearly come down to the physical performance of athletes, and the mental concentration required to achieve their best. Perhaps this is why London selected the tagline “Inspire a generation.” I assume this must have something to do with inspiring young people to be active, dedicate themselves to goals, and to get involved in sports and fitness programmes.

I was surprised to discover that (according to the The Economist) the Olympics doesn’t actually increase overall engagement of sports in Olympic host nations. Apparently there is an increase in certain sports, but there is also a relatively equal parallel decrease in other sports, suggesting that people who are already active are inspired to switch lanes and try out new and different activities.

I’m not sure these Olympics will see me giving up my current routine for Judo or Modern Pentathlon… but you never know. Trying new things is good for our fitness.

It certainly has been a nail-biting lead-up to the Olympic events, and I can’t wait for it all to officially begin. I’ll look forward to watching the opening ceremony tonight on the TV and I’ll also look forward to seeing Women’s Tandem Springboard Diving in person on Sunday! I can’t wait, and I’ll be sure to post pictures from the ground, as it were.

I’ll leave you with photos of the torch relay and some Londoner 2012 questions (check out Eileen Hobson’s inspiring story– after two decades spent lying on her back in hospital, she’s managed her illness enough to get up and functioning with help from her dog, Sailor. She carried the Olympic flame with his help on Monday!).

Do you have Olympic tickets?

Do you think McDonald’s should be served at the Olympics?

They’ve built the world’s largest McDonalds in the Olympic Park.

torch relay

About Melissa

I'm an Advanced Personal Trainer and Nutritional Advisor, based in Islington, London. I love living a healthy lifestyle and helping others to do the same. I share fitness and nutrition information on my blog at betterfitpersonaltraining.com/blog/ and I support my clients to get fit and healthy through my personal training and nutritional advice business, called Better Fit.

11 responses »

  1. I am so excited for the Olympics. It is on 24/7 this time of the year.

  2. Karen says:

    I was doing casual work in a childcare centre in Sydney when the torch came through in 2000 and the owner let us all leave in small groups (at different times obviously – no children were left alone) to go and see the torch. I am still thankful to this day as it was such an amazing experience. Tandem springboard diving sounds awesome, can’t wait to see the pictures !

    • Melissa says:

      Wow, that sounds like a fantastic experience- and must have been great fun for the children (hehe- glad you didn’t leave any unattended!)

      I’m really looking forward to the diving!

  3. Haha one of my friends works in my company’s London office and they’ve just told her not to come in for a month because traffic will be so crazy!

    • Melissa says:

      Oh wow, that’s quite understanding! I’ve heard of offices being relaxed about start and end times, but not allowing people to stay home!

  4. omg I am uber jealous you get to be there during the Olympics.. I have family in London and we were dumb and didn’t go this year.. ugh.. the one year we dont go!

    • Melissa says:

      Yeah, it’s really exciting actually. Maybe it will come closer to you at some point!
      We saw women’s synchronized springboard diving yesterday and it was amazing! I’ll do a post on it this week 🙂

  5. Jess says:

    That is such a shame about the school fundraiser! But I agree the Olympics are so inspiring! I love watching people with so much determination. Amazing! I think it is ok for McDonalds to sponsor and be involved with the Olympics, if they are selling their healthy options menu and promoting good nutrition. There is something not quite right about kids going to watch athletes whilst eating fries and slurping down coke.

  6. Steve says:

    I am still thankful to this day as it was such an amazing experience. Tandem springboard diving sounds awesome, can’t wait to see the pictures . agree the Olympics are so inspiring! I love watching people with so much determination. Amazing! I think it is ok for McDonalds to sponsor and be involved with the Olympics, if they are selling their healthy options menu and promoting good nutritionThere is something not quite right about kids going to watch athletes whilst eating fries and slurping down coke.

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