I have a bad case of Olympic fever. For sixteen days I lived the action: charged up the hundred metre straight, gasped breaths between strokes in the pool, grunted with each tennis serve, panted and grimaced my way to impossible weight lifts and span my imaginary pedals at the velodrome. I should be exhausted but no, I’m still on a high.
The sporting achievements were truly impressive but these days world records are nothing unless delivered with glamour. The athletics showcase events, the 100m and 200m sprints, threw up almost predictably stunning results by Usain Bolt and his Jamaican cohorts but did you check out the diamond earrings, the gold neck chains and the designer sunglasses colour coded to match the one-piece Lycra suits.
The price of failure is high and with this in mind competitors were spurred to ridiculous lengths. At least two weight lifters were all but crushed beneath the crippling weight of their loaded bars; the coach of the losing Russian women’s volleyball team has since committed suicide.
However with former middle-distance track giant Seb Coe at the helm it was never in doubt that London 2012 would deliver big. For Team GB Andy Murray was always going to thrash arch-nemesis Roger Federer at Wimbledon; Mo Farah was destined to overhaul all his African cousins in the 5k and 10k; Chris Hoy simply HAD to pedal his bike to a record fifth Gold and little Jessica Ennis was nothing less than a certainty for the women’s heptathlon – a gilt-edged, copper-bottomed dead cert!
I can’t take some events seriously: beach volleyball is a cross between sunbathing and soft porn; rhythmic gymnastics (while doubtless a highly demanding physical triumph) could be dismissed as girly ball-bouncing and ribbon-jiggling; I’ve never watched it but sailing is probably just a few laps round the Isle of Wight and a nice glass of Chianti; BMX biking was something we did over the common and got punctures – (hey, don’t you know your saddle’s way too low?); table tennis, good grief we played that at the Youth Club as teenagers and now the Chinese seem to dominate the world!
This Olympiad was not without a wryly comical side, for me at least. I was still shaking my head in disbelief at yet another flawless dive leaving barely a ripple in the Aquatic Centre when the commentator (doubtless some chlorine-soaked old wrinkly) hooted in derision at the over-rotation, loose shoulders and general sloppiness of the performance. Diving beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder.
In this age of visual excess and clamour for Warhol’s fifteen minutes The Games were a platform for the movers and shakers to be seen moving and shaking. No opportunity was wasted by competitors, reporters, statesmen, celebrities or spectators to see and be seen. Prime Minister-in-waiting and friendly buffoon Boris Johnson even gauged a period of comical suspension from a zip wire would do his self-promotion no harm at all and he was probably right.