If by any chance my high school PE teacher
is reading this, or in fact my middle school PA teacher, or anyone who has ever
had the luckless job of persuading me to partake in physical activity, I’d like
to say first – sorry. All those times I ‘had my period’, I didn’t, and all
those times had I twisted my ankle in a sketchily-described incident involving
slippery grass and tripping over a kitten, well, I hadn’t.
But it’s all ok! Because now, suddenly, I
LOVE SPORT. It turns out you were wrong about trampolining and telling me I was
going to die of juvenile heart disease – what it actually takes to get me into
sport is £8bn, a shedfull of elite athletes and the chance to cry noisily in
public at least four times a day. So inspired am I by Team GB that I checked my
trainers for nesting mice and went running this weekend. Twice! In front of
Like most of the rest of the country, between
weeping and wondering what Michael Phelps DOES with all his medals (coasters?
Hands them out to his milkman instead of a Christmas box?), I’ve decided I’m
going to compete in Rio 2016. If Helen Glover can set foot in a boat for the
first time in 2008 and row her way to gold four years later like a steel-armed
goddess, then I can probably work up a passable performance in something
obscure like water polo. I just need a tough, wizened old coach with maverick
methods and a seriously good training montage.
Plus, if nominative determinism could ring
as true for me as it does for Usain Bolt, I’d be really blooming good at it. Or
a low-grade cable TV channel.
I realise I’m not a good sample group,
being that this is the first Olympics I’ve watched voluntarily rather than
because I’m on a family holiday and it’s raining, but London 2012 is the best
Olympics ever, isn’t it? My personal highlights have included the Olympic
parents (“Tell me what you’ve been going through this last week,” said
presenter. “I’ve been laying a patio,” replied Beth Tweddle’s dad), the discovery
of endless well of love in my heart for Claire Balding, and inventing a
drinking game around repeating ‘Johnson-Thompson, Johnson-Thompson’ until it
Then there have been the underdog stories, the
bluffing of sporty terminology (I LOVE a good keirin, don’t you?), the
listening to every presenter’s careful use of ‘union flag’, the Wiggo-fuelled
mod revival, and the fact that almost every single thing I had expected of the
Olympics has been proved wrong. The tube has been a veritable floo system of
easy transportation, the tourists have been lovely, the rain has been
dramatically decorative at worst, and it’s impossible to be grumpy when every
third person on the street is wearing a bright pink anorak.
And if all those things can defy
expectation, maybe my thigh muscles can too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going
to find some synchronised swimming to cry over.