I don’t wanna stop at all…

I know I’ve had a Much Love Monday brought to you by Queen with this very track before now, but it’d be so rude not to play it again, even if it is sponsored by Adidas. This is TeamGB celebrating the most epic Olympics ever. Full stop.

How fab is Sir Chris Hoy? How lovely is Jennifer Ennis? How cute is Louis Smith?

I have loved the Olympics, as you can tell. It’s been great. I’ve got a massive great big gap in my life now. I even watched right to the very end, with the final medal for the women’s pentathlon. And a Lancashire lass – Samantha Murray – won the silver. It couldn’t get any better. Not only that, she was in fourth place as she went into the shoot/run, but she just powered it through. I watched the handball with the closest game ever between France and Sweden. Not sure what was going on with the Swedish coach’s Bjorn Borg-style hairdo, but it was entertaining nonetheless. He gets gold for the centre parting. I watched the basketball and though it was great to see the USA win gold, Spain put up such a good fight.

It’s just been contagious fun and there’s been such a good atmosphere. Whether it was Denise Lewis getting carried away when Mo came running in, or Mo and Usain doing this:

It’s just been a joy from start to finish.

I’m also Much Loving the BBC coverage. The BBC get a lot of stick. And so they should, sometimes, since they’re playing with taxpayers’ money. But I don’t think any television broadcasting company in the world did the same job as the Beeb. I’ve heard from American friends that they wanted to see some OTHER teams or athletes, and likewise the French. In fact, I’m pretty ashamed that France isn’t showing the Paralympics AT ALL. That’s crap. Boo Hiss to France. But I bet they’re not the only ones.

It brings me to a conversation I had yesterday. GB, as a nation are fairly humble. Hear me out before you start reminding us of our colonial past and the Empire. Only Great Britain would show ALL the games, as they do most of the time, whether we’re in it or not. I was saying I wondered whether we might finally get a World Cup football tournament now.

How silly of me.

Most people use their positions of power to nefarious ends. If they’re on an Olympic committee, well, they don’t play fair. And only British people seem to think that they should. Look at FIFA for instance, with Sepp Blatter. In fact, seeing the popularity of Boris during the Olympics (well, and before, to be honest… it’s a cult!) it reminds me that we British like our politicians honest. We don’t care how qualified they are as long as they are determined and honest. And we’re truly disappointed when they turn out not to be.

So I’ve loved the Olympics for that, because despite our size, we’ve put ourselves up there with the USA (five times our population) and China (twenty times our population) and Russia (over twice our population) and it’s not just the elite with their boats and horses, but the underdog with her boxing gloves, or the hardworking ‘normal’ girl, the determined teenager and the emotional refugee. It’s a celebration of normal people, people who you wouldn’t recognise in the supermarket. And it refocuses ‘celebrity’ on honestly-acquired fame, rather than ‘fame for fame’s sake’ or the secret lives of our overpaid, overindulged footballers who wouldn’t know how it feels to really put their heart into it.

Like in the European Cup. I was quite pleased to see John Terry playing a bit like he wanted to win. Like it meant something other than a pay cheque. But if the crowd did the same to him as it did to Samantha Murray as she powered past the person in second place almost as if they were standing still, then England would have won the European Cup.

So Much Love to the Olympics for putting good feeling at the top of the agenda on the news and in national consciousness. No politics. No crime. No acts of terrorism. No religion. And Freddie Mercury beamed high over the stadium like the real Queen of England, twenty years after his death.

And no, I didn’t want it to stop at all.

Dah-dee-dahhhhhh….. dah-de-dah-dah-dah-de-daaahhhhhh-daaaaah….


7 thoughts on “I don’t wanna stop at all…

  1. Sorry, but the Olympics register on my toleratometer at the same level as most other live theatrical performance. It just makes me grumpy that I am expected to sit through it and enjoy it. Added to that I find tribal posturing abhorrent. I thought the closing ceremony created a terrific party atmosphere and was slick and stylish, but really, who could be bothered to watch more than an hour of it?

    1. I think it was something that gained more and more momentum as it went on – it was just great to see a nation come together for once, not tear itself apart – and the world come together, too. I thought it was contagious to share in other people’s happiness. And yes, the 100 m men posture and pose, but Mo’s was invented by a horse-racing commentator on a game show as a joke. I know he’s attracted criticism for it, but I think it’s a whole world away from footballers’ OTT celebrations. And I watched all the Closing Ceremony – some bits were slow, but other bits were wonderful. I think most of my UK friends watched all of it!

  2. For someone who is at best lukewarm about sport I found myself glued to the tv screen every night and was hooked.
    I think it has been amazing to see how well and smoothly it ran, how good the BBC coverage was and what wonderful people the athletes were. The Brits were humble and grateful when interviewed, some of the other nations were rather less humble I thought. But as you say, if you count up the medals per head of population we were way ahead.
    The whole thing was heartwarming and made me feel proud to be British again – something I have been feeling less in recent years.
    The closing ceremony was bonkers but magical. I loved it and watched every minute.
    I hadn’t seen the Adidas video before – thanks for showing it !!

    1. I know how you feel Jean. I’m not an armchair sports fan very often, but I think the incredible talent and drive of these people was fascinating to watch. I’d agree with you about the proud to be British bit – whether Scottish, Irish, English or Welsh – it’s almost been embarrassing to be English, and having a sense of Great Britain as an entity isn’t something we are good at doing. It brought us together as a nation, and the world together as an entirety.

  3. I’m not too bothered by individual athletes doing a little happy dance when they’ve won. Good luck to them – they’re having fun. What bothers me is the testosterone crowd driven national (ie tribal) posturing. It’s all about settling the pack order – my country’s better than your country; we are higher up the pack order than you; and more importantly, you are lower down the pack order and we want to make sure you know it. This sort of competition has tribal posturing built into it – a ritual designed to build what is essentially an entertainment spectacle into something that matters. Manipulated crowds make me nervous.

    1. I don’t know… that’s what I love about my friends and the BBC – it was about everyone. I was as happy to see Uganda get a medal for the men’s marathon and the women’s marathon where the top three fought it out. It was about endurance and achievement and celebration to me. I don’t really care that it’s a money-making thing as long as it gives a boy from Mogadishu the same chance as a grand-daughter of the Queen. If you ask me, it’s not about rank or position or a global pissing competition – maybe to China, perhaps – but it’s about everyone coming together. Having seen my country torn apart by scum and riots and bankers, it’s nice to see it come back together. And that’s not at the expense of other countries. Remember, England won only one gold in Atlanta 1996 – and it went to thoroughly decent blokes who deserve to be idolised as an inspiration. As Samantha Murray said after the women’s pentathlon (possibly the toughest of all – since it needs you to be well-rounded) it’s about the ‘normal girl’ and how she can achieve anything. It’s about the only time in life when dedication, determination and commitment are rewarded and perhaps it’s only because I’m British that I don’t see it as a global pissing contest. It might be ‘entertainment’ but to me it elevates us beyond what we are most of the time. You might as well classify all music, theatre, art, literature, sport etc as entertainment spectacles. But without them, what are we left with? Drudgery, work and an essentially hard life where we work and we die. Cultural events of all types make me feel a little more positive about humanity, pointless window dressing as it might be. Still, I’d prefer the Olympics as a pissing contest than a war. :/

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