Why The Olympics Has Been More Than Sport

Over the last two and half weeks London has hosted the 30th Olympiad in true British style. The games are held once every four years in a city chosen by […]

Over the last two and half weeks London has hosted the 30th Olympiad in true British style. The games are held once every four years in a city chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London is the only city EVER to have been lucky enough to host the games three times.

To be honest I have never been into watching or participating in sport; I have been dragged along to Champions League at the pub, cheered along local rugby teams and daydreamed over Wimbledon many a time but I have never felt any passion to either side competing.

Sport has never been something I am naturally good at and I also have little respect for many ‘famous’ sportsmen as to me they are overpaid and their sporting achievements are often marked by apparent lack of integrity. I have always seen sport as a nice idea for someone else and I do wish the media spent more time placing emphasis on breakthroughs in medicine or science than some idiot kicking a ball around for 90 minutes

For London 2012 I eat my words, I have never found myself so engaged, enthralled and excited by anything sports related in my entire life. I found myself cheering on countries I have never heard of before because I love an underdog, singing the national anthem at my laptop screen and pulling out my hair with nerves at the 10m diving final. I felt the people of Britain were happier and more friendly during the games.

As the Games progressed I even found myself starting conversations with random people because everybody had something positive to say. It has been said that the Kate and Wills’ post-wedding kiss on the balcony has been the most uplifting image for the British public in the last 10 years but I disagree. For me Mo Farrah winning gold in the 5,000m on Saturday after literally being carried the last 100m by the screams of the stadium crowd on their feet blows any rags to riches princess out of the water. What a frigging hero.

The London 2012 Olympics will be remembered by me not only for those great moments but also for the far smaller ones. Spain, a sporting giant, losing to Montenegro in the handball semi final. Tom Daley congratulating the American diver on a dive that knocked him down to bronze. Andy Murray finally beating Federer. Two young women, one from Wales and one from Liverpool, each taking a British gold for the first time ever in their chosen sports taekwondo and boxing, consequently smashing every stereotype going.

The games had the on-going theme of ‘inspiring a generation’ which was part of the reason the IOC awarded the games to London in the first place, but have they been inspiring? I would say so. Currently the London 2012 Paralympics looks to be the first paralympic games in history to sell out.

Sports clubs are set to be overwhelmed by a new intake of fresh faces and the figures show that more people are going to the gym and spending longer in there each session. The government has warned that these gyms and clubs must be ready for this and must actively work to keep people engaged and therefore fitter, happier and healthier. Within the Southampton bubble I will be closely watching Dean Jones, VP Sports Development sabbatical, to ensure that SUSU builds on this ‘sporting fever’. Personally I was inspired and come September I plan to join a few sports societies and begin to pave my own road to Rio.

In the words of Jacques Rogge, IOC President ‘I call on the youth of the world to assemble 4 years in Rio de Janeiro for the 31st games of the Olympiad’