Thursday, August 07, 2008

Not long now till the Olympics start.

OK, I'll get this out of the way first: I didn't understand it at the time it was announced, and all these years later I still don't understand why the IOC awarded the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing.

But they did, and there's not much we can do about it now. The knives are already out, with some critics branding it a flop before it's even started. Time will tell if they were right.

I've always loved the Olympic Games since I was a child - Munich 1972 was the first one I remember, (sadly for all the wrong reasons) and each four-yearly event after that has its own special memories for me, with only the Atlanta 1996 Games being the most forgettable for me. Maybe it's my age, I don't know, but two of the most special Games for me were Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, despite both hit by retaliating boycotts, they still managed to produce some amazing sporting memories.

I said at the time that it would take a lot to top Sydney 2000, which (IMHO) put on the best opening and closing ceremonies I've ever seen, so Beijing's got a lot to live up to.

I'm not patriotic in any way, but it would be quite nice if Team GB could pick up the odd medal or two. I'll be cheering them on in the cycling and athletics anyway, although I'm not so keen on those equestrian and shooting things! It's been an incredibly low-key build up over here, with more media attention being focused on the political aspects of the Games, and the health hazards of the smog than how many medals we'll win. A far cry from the golden age of the 1980s and early 1990s when British athletes were never far from the medals podium. (My favourite event back then was the 400m individual and relay races, and that probably had everything to do with Roger Black...!)

Anyway - good luck to all the athletes from all the competing nations big and small, and hope that it will be a Games to remember. Over to you, Beijing...

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