It’s been emotional (Olympics, part 3)
Way back when the Olympic tickets first went on sale (remember those days?), I attempted to be one of the first in the queue. I filled out my forms, signed over my bank account (at least in theory if all the requests actually became a reality) and crossed my fingers.
On the second go round, I decided to try and find something to attend that probably would have less demand than athletics, swimming, diving, gymnastics and the classically ‘olympic’ sports.
Success. We got women’s hockey.
Of course, from there, with our summer of emotional Olympic feel-goodness starting to wash over me, we started to think about the paralympics as well and managed to grab some athletics tickets for that second fortnight of inspiring sport.
As a side point, I have to say that the transport links were fabulous. We drove 20 minutes to Ebbsfleet International and the kids didn’t even have time to finish visiting the loo before we were at Stratford and the Olympic stadium. Superb and not too costly either given that our kids’ tickets included a travelcard.
Anyway, as we got on the train, who was standing next to us but Mr Steve Backley OBE. I recognised him. My wife was a bit slower on the uptake. Of course, my three kids were too young to have watched Steve throw the javelin and were fairly oblivious to his presence.
We sat down. My son Nathanael began to talk and the conversation went like this:
N: I’d like to be an Olympic athlete
Me: That’s great, what sort of sport do you think you would like to compete in
N: Maybe running, I like diving with Tom Daley. I’d really like to throw the Javelin.
(Steve looks up)
Me: Well, if you want to have a go, we’ll try and find a club for you to do so you can learn. Work hard and you never know. Maybe one day soon, we’ll be coming to watch you.
Steve then was kind enough to give us some tips on where we might find an athletics club, how there are turbo-javelins for young kids to use and so on. He commented “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a five year old say that they would like to throw the javelin. That’s the Olympics!”
Quite so. It is obviously so vital now that the promise London sold to the Olympic Committee, the promise of legacy, is honoured. I am delighted that my kids have been so inspired this Summer, and that they have some sporting role models who aren’t likely to insult anybody on Twitter or sleep with their team-mate’s wife.
But now comes the hard part… now comes the need to take that inspiration and turn it into participation and perseverance.