My posts on the Olympics have been a long time coming, but I wanted to make sure I gave them the full attention they deserved. Here is the first of three….
I’ve mentioned before that this has been a summer to remember here in England, and the Olympics added so much to the memories. We watched both of the Opening Ceremonies from the comfort of our couch. And, both times, I was completely and utterly blown away by the magnificence of the performances. I found myself with tears in my eyes through many moments of it, especially when you see the smiles on the faces of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. I found myself so moved by the dedication of the athletes as well as by the effort and dedication of the volunteers that went into making those ceremonies possible. I felt so proud to live in this country, that like any other country has it good and bad points, but for these Olympic and Paralympic Games, I saw the United Kingdom, and London especially, really show the world how amazing it is here.
Oddly, I found myself much more connected to the British athletes than the US athletes because I knew the stories of the Team GB athletes. Do not misunderstand me and think I did not cheer my heart out for Team USA because did I ever cheer for my home country! (You should hear my embarrassing yelling on some of the videos we took at the events and the Brit and I had a nice little country rivalry going.) But, because I am in England obviously much more attention was placed on the Team GB athletes, which led to my becoming more emotional than usual as I had two countries to support.
We were so filled with Olympic spirit and wanted to enjoy as much of the Games as we could, so since we were already going to be in London for a few days, we chose to go a bit earlier and catch the women’s marathon. The weather was rainy, but the the vibe was incredible so the rain didn’t seem to phase anyone in the crowd. We set up camp on the Embankment with a view of Big Ben and the London Eye. Our spot also offered us the opportunity to see the runners five times throughout the race, which was pretty amazing.
We stood right behind a Hungarian family who had this catchy chant they would shout in Hungarian when their runners went by. I would scream my lungs out for Team USA (even calling Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan by their first names, which led to me being asked if I actually knew them…haha!). And then, the Brit and I would cheer loudly for Team GB. You couldn’t help but yell and clap for the woman who was the last runner. She might have gotten louder cheers than the leaders, and it was so incredible to be part of this group of people from around the world who just wanted to see others succeed. When the runners went by the final time, it started to rain harder so we ducked into Walkabout to dry off, have a drink, and watch the end of the race on the big screen.
It started to brighten up, so we headed toward Covent Garden to meet up with our friend in a pub to watch Andy Murray play Roger Federer. Oh my goodness, what an amazing afternoon because I think every one of us in that pub was imagining being at Wimbledon as we all just screamed and cheered Andy to victory with “Come on, Andy” and “Let’s go, son” filling the air! When that match ended, we of course stayed to watch him play in the doubles final with Laura Robson, so one beer turned to I-don’t-know-how-many beers and we ended up seeing it through to watch Usain Bolt win the 100 meters final. It was a long day, but seriously awesome to be part of the spirit in London!
If you got caught up in the spirit like I did, what was your favorite part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games?