Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympic Fever

Too overcome by Olympic fever to write a word. There shall be words, but just not now. Last night was so unexpected and deliriously wonderful that I ran out of adjectives. I shall think some up, and get back to you tomorrow.

In the meantime, forgive me, as I sink into an Olympic haze, muttering under my breath, faintly, falteringly: Go, Team GB.....

The Team GB athletes were showered in white tickertape and cheered to the rafters by the home crowd
Lovely photograph of Sir Chris Hoy waving the flag for dear old Blighty, surrounded by our athletes, at the astonishing opening ceremony, where Danny Boyle instantly won the hearts of an entire nation.

Oh, but I do have the energy to take my hat off to two of our great equestriennes, who started the day with a bang by riding lovely dressage tests in the first phase of the three-day event. Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz is currently in 16th place overall, and Mary King, who rode an almost flawless test on Imperial Cavalier, is in third. 

Wowed by the crowd: King

Mary King, smiling after her test; photograph by AFP/Getty Images.

Solid start: Nicola Wilson and Opposition Buzz

Nicola Wilson, who rode beautifully on Opposition Buzz, and was, I thought, rather harshly marked by the judges. (Dressage judges are an inscrutable lot.) But don't they look fine? 

Photograph by the PA.

Finally, here is my sweet Equestrian Team GB fact of the day. Despite their posh competition names, in the stables Imperial Cavalier and Opposition Buzz are known as Archie and Dodi. I hope they get a lot of love and carrots tonight. They really, really deserve it.


  1. I am delighted you are so enthused, and look set to have lots of fun shouting Go GB! but I am afraid I am just hopeless at being partisan, and cannot get the least bit patriotic about all this. Which isn't to say I shan't enjoy any of it, but I will just enjoy seeing the best(wo)man on the day win and celebrate the fulfilment of all their dreams and hopes.

    I was disappointed but not surprised by the churlishness of the comments when Team GB's cyclists didn't pull it off and get their chap over the line first in the 250k road race. There has been SO much hype and PR and something rather dangerously close to certainty about the cycling coverage. Thing is, that degree of national "self" belief has a slightly deluded aspect to it which doesn't seem to allow for how well the other chaps and gals have also trained and prepared...

  2. I agree, Goldenoldenlady-- I always sort of limply hope the US does fine, but I don't feel like I'm basking in any reflected glory if it does-- and I do so love to see the people from the more ignored nations bring home a medal and put their home in the spotlight for a bit. The US seems to be as sanguine about our Women's Basketball team (which I do hope does well because the WNBA is brutally mocked here) as GB was about the cycling.

    The opening ceremonies were quite something. Here in the US, though, we are all indignant to discover that what we all thought was a very oddly-placed interview with Michael Phelps (who cares!!) was in fact being used to black out a tribute to the victims of the London terrorist attacks. NBC is a horrible network, alas.

  3. You are right, Ellie. Credit where credit is due, and let's encourage people to try to be magnanimous and gracious in both defeat and victory. I was delighted to see Italy win a gold by a whisker in the archery aganst a USA team of young men who, it was said in the commentary, had lived and eaten together, and trained together as much as TWELVE hours a day for four years. This isn't practice and effort, this is OBSESSION, only possible if there is so much sponsorship and state backing there is no need to hold down a job or earn a living.

    How a small developing country can possibly invest in its Olympic contestants to that extent one cannot imagine...

    1. I did not know that about the archery team-- oddly it makes me sad for them, all that effort for what certain vocal lunatics around here are referring to as a paltry (their words are uglier) silver medal-- but at the same time, indeed, it is obsession. But that silver medal brings out the worst of "patriotism," which somebody rightly pointed out is in fact jingoism, which Tania is certainly not advocating-- loathing of other countries, fury when your own "superior" nation fails to prevail over the others. But the positive emotion-- pleasure and pride in your own nation-- need not contain any negativity towards other nations. I wish somebody would tell a large chunk of America about that, though.

  4. Try catching the deleted section on YouTube at some point. If you look for Emeli Sande singing Abide With me (which she did SO beautifully) you can see a studio version of the music used

    The hymn resonates in the UK because a verse is traditionally sung by the crowd at every FA Cup Final (soccer) and England rugby match.

  5. Oh the opening ceremony....I actually wept three times watching it.
    Danny Boyle is a genius.

  6. Olympics? Meh. Dressage? Now THAT'S exciting! 8-)


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