Well it’s been way too long since my last blog post! Work and a whole lot of other things in between meant I did not have enough time. So let’s try and re-launch this blog again after a setback. You know, a bit like Andy Murray trying to re-launch his career with a gold medal after a few setbacks. That’s right; we are talking about the Games of the 30th Olympiad!
Being that I am only 22, I have only ever watched three Olympic Games fully - Athens, Beijing and now, London. And these London games by far have been the most exciting and enthralling of the lot. What a truly grand spectacle of sport they have been! I never knew the day would come when I would say I just spent one hour of my life watching something called Dressage and genuinely enjoyed it! Read that sentence again to allow it sink in. Dressage!? DRESSAGE?! And that to me is the beauty of the Olympics. Watching sports you otherwise would never get a chance to watch and then thoroughly enjoying it for the same reason you enjoy “normal” sports – regular people showcasing their breathtaking talent and skills, watching all their passion and hard work play out in front of you and a million others, and stretching themselves to perform at “superhuman” levels.
I present to you Dressage!
I have never before been bothered about how coordinated two men jumping from a 10m platform were (Synchronized diving), or how well a lady waved a foot in the face of another (Taekwondo). Or how hard a lady punched another in the ribs (Boxing), or how fast someone can canoe downstream through raging rapids (Canoe Slalom). Or for that matter I never really cared about fencing, table tennis, judo, sailing and probably a couple more sports. But now after watching these brilliant Olympics? Well… (Thinking)…OK I still will not actively seek out these sports, but if it is on TV, I guarantee I will not flip channels as rapidly as I used to!
I expected to be thrilled by Bolt, Blake, Phelps, Jessica Ennis (she is gorgeous!), Bradley Wiggins, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Federer and Murray, the athletics in general, swimming, track cycling and the US basketball team. I trusted and knew that these athletes would delight by their utter genius. (Yes I just included Saina Nehwal in the same sentence with Bolt and Federer along with the words “utter genius”. That is the partisan Indian in me, sorry!) But I never expected to find that the moments I will remember would be so varied and wondrous! That would be my personal legacy of London2012, the way in which my eyes and mind were opened up to so many other remarkable sports and their supremely talented athletes.
The Olympics had its downside, no doubt about it. Swimming has way too many events and medals to keep track of, synchronized swimming with the cheap glittery outfits was weird, and team sports like hockey and football were a bit of a letdown. But it feels a bit churlish to be focusing on this. What I will really take away from these two weeks is how inspiring it all was. The Olympics was a parade of people trying their utmost, straining their sinews, testing their minds, and in the case of two Arabic women, the symbolic gesture of simply being there and crossing a finishing line, even if it was after the next race had commenced. It was inspiring.
I will never forget the night of the 200m men’s final. With the final on Friday early hours India time (a working day), I was tired and made the mistake of thinking I would just record it and watch it the next day. But then I thought about watching Bolt streak down the track past all his rivals, in his own inimitable cocky style, as if he were in a race against himself and the clock, and realized there was no way I am missing the opportunity to watch one of the greatest athletes ever. Just the mere thought of what greatness might happen was the adrenalin I needed to bounce back out of bed and sit glued in front of my TV. No surprise, Bolt waltzed through the finish line. I was inspired.
And even if all of us cannot even begin to imagine swinging on a bar like Epke Zonderland, or pedaling a bike like the awesome Bradley Wiggins or Laura Trott, or float across the land at top speed like the graceful Allyson Felix, we can cherish the fact that others can, and relish the moments in which we give witness to it. And we were all witness to some awe inspiring moments.
I will miss the games of the 30th Olympiad. The countdown to the 31st has already begun!