London get the 2012 Olympics

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"I bet it didn't take you so long to open the envelope with the bribe in it, did it, Jacques?"

I didn’t think I was all that bothered – London and Paris (and it had looked likely to be one of those two for quite some time) are both pretty close by – either way, I’ll be attending the Olympic games in seven years.

Perhaps it was the brilliantly staged, tension-building show the IOC staged to announce the winner, although that’s unlikely, as I only got to a TV two minutes before the announcement, and even then, it was a TV in Dixons surrounded by other TV’s showing music videos.

Perhaps it was the accidental tension that arose when it seemed Jacques Rogge had forgotten how to open an envelope (did it ever take anyone so long? And why even bother? The vote was finalised an hour beforehand – he knew what was in the envelope already – why didn’t he just tell us?).

Perhaps it was the big sweaty man next to me in the shop who muttered “Get on with it!” just loud enough for everyone to hear – something in his urgent desire to know (one way or the other) spread throughout the thirty lunchtime shoppers who were by then staring at the screen.

Perhaps it was because I still remember the addled nonsense that was spouted by the drunken heckler at Stephen Martin’s presentation in February, and in a way I still hoped that London would get the games just to spite her.

Whatever the reason, as I stood there watching the head of the IOC fumble with the envelope, I found myself violently gnawing a fingernail and willing him to say the word “London”

And so he did. The little crowd in Dixons cheered, in that slightly self-conscious way that a ‘crowd’ of less than fifty people tends to, before breaking into a terribly English round of applause. I joined in, with both the cheer and the clapping. The news has cheered me up.

It’s easy to be cynical – about Live8, about the Olympic bid, about anything really – a well-timed cynical comment gets a laugh every time. But, for all their failings, these things have benefits, even if those benefits sometimes aren’t as identifiable or quantifiable as their costs. I’m going to set cynicism aside for a minute and say that I’m delighted London got the 2012 games.

Just as long as it doesn’t mean I have to listen to Heather Small singing that bloody song every five minutes for the next seven years.


Tim said...

So yeah, the Atlanta Olympics weren't the best ever, but I was here in Atlanta, and I remember the announcement and the excitement it brought. It was even more palpable as 1996 drew closer and closer.

Your cynic remark is right on, and despite all the negative remarks about how the games were handled here, they did make a remarkable positive impact on the city (even if noone uses public transport now).

Katie said...

I think it's absolutely brilliant. I was surprised at how much I actually cared when it came down to it. I know that there will always be negative points to something of this scale, but all-in-all it will be fantastic for London, and the country as a whole. I can't wait!

SwissToni said...

....although it would have been easier for me in Nottingham to get to some of the Olympic venues in Paris than the ones in London.

But hey! Great news!

And think how pissed off the Londoners will be about this too... for me that's the real bonus.


Poll Star said...

I always knew I cared.

A lot.

Maybe too much.

However, I am now confused as to how long after 2012 I need to wait before I can launch Oxford's bid for the games.

What event are we going to compete in? You need to prioritise your attempts at possible sports for 37 year olds-shooting, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics and find out which one we can get into.

James said...

I didn't realise that I cared that much until the big day came along. I even watched the ridiculous "tv show" that wasn't really on TV and all the hideously over egged build up on the Beeb. I really did surprise myself when I punched the air with glee at the moment London was announced and looked around sheepishly in case anyone else in the flat had seen me despite the fact no-one else was in.

C'mon London, in light of recent events, I can't wait!