I’m a Londoner born and bred and being British, wasn’t looking forward to The Olympics descending on my home town this year. I grumbled quietly about the road closures, complained about the parking restrictions, worried about the transportation systems imploding, feared overcrowding throughout the city and, found the whole idea of weeks of sport featuring athletes I had never heard of – one great big yawn.
I was the kind of girl that always had a note to get me out of sports lessons. I have some horrible affliction that means I can’t judge the speed of any ball headed towards me, shut my eyes when firing a gun, played hockey once or twice but “retired” once I received a black eye and find that due to an over abundance of mammary glands that all kinds of running just hurts!
Then having witnessed the 2011 London Riots, I had grim forebodings of big,big trouble once London was on the world stage…not to mention our ever growing enclave of potential, if inept, terrorists.
Our newspapers stoked the gloom. Security was a nightmare, troops were called in, unpaid volunteers were going to be used as slaves, London was going into meltdown, it was all costing way too much…
The Opening Ceremony
I was prepared to watch this through my fingers given the embarrassment of the London Bus sequence at Beijing. As the ceremony started, I was gripped in a mixture of horror and fear. Sheep? Peasants? Huh?
This is what I posted on Facebook:
Possible foreign misconceptions following the opening ceremony:
1. The British are a large sheep rearing nation
2. The English peasantry haven’t changed much in 100 years – they seem to be high on something, possibly involving apples?
3. The British particularly like children
4. We are very proud of our steelworkers
5. British businessmen still wear top hats and frock coats just like in the movies
6. The old fashioned women in sashes are our beauty queens
7. Mary Poppins features in a Harry Potter story
8. The British worship something called NHS
9. The Queen is actually a transvestite stunt-man
10.French is their first language
And by the closing ceremony, I wrote:
1. It didn’t rain that much.
2. Team GB were sweet, funny, talented, humble and inspirational winners
4. Transport worked
5. Schedules kept
6. A unique opening ceremony
7. London looked amazing
8. We got to see the Camerons and Boris dancing!
9. TV coverage was great
10. We’re so proud of them all
Just two weeks to turn a cynical, sport hating Brit into a fan. Some kind of miracle?