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after André Gide

Positivity and the Olympic Games

August 10th, 2012

Brilliant post from Damh the Bard, which I’ve pinched while he’s out of the country and pasted in here!

Maybe it’s who I hang out with. Or maybe it’s who I see on my social network feeds. Maybe there’s a whole negative vibe still out there, but from where I’m sitting the vibe of this country has really been lifted by hosting the Olympic games.

Look, I was a bit cynical myself in the lead up to the opening night. Seeing the missile launchers on the tops of buildings in the London, the ticketing issues, and the general idea that this country’s just a little too crap to host something of this scale and it not be a flop. But to be honest all of that evaporated when I sat down with friends over a few beers and watched the opening ceremony. It was quite simply jaw-droppingly amazing. I have to say that from my perspective it seemed mainly for us brits, and I think for good reason.

For a long time now there has been the idea that we are a bit crap at this kind of thing. We have also been on the receiving end of a few jokes about our attitude and lifestyles (some of these jokes have been quite warranted to be honest). However, what this opening ceremony did for me was to remind me just what an amazing impact this little island has had on the worlds of culture, literature and music. And that our wonderful NHS system (which is still the envy of much of the world) is to be celebrated. It also acted as a little reminder to the rest of the world watching just what this nation has achieved and what it stands for. The parts with Rowan Atkinson, pogoing weird punks, and James Bond and the Queen parachuting into the arena also demonstrated our love of not taking ourselves too seriously. I sat, watched, laughed, cried, but I also knew that it would be alright. We aren’t crap, we are amazing. This island is amazing.

Since then the media has been awash with coverage of the games. Almost all day on the BBC, then the opening stories on the news, and so far it has been a endless flow of positivity. I’m sure there are still bad news stories happening all over the world, but for this two weeks the top stories on the news have been tales of achievement, of successes, of people overcoming obstacles, and fulfilling dreams. This has got to be good for the psyche of this country. It’s certainly doing me good.

Instead of people who have become famous for appearing on a reality TV show, and then milking a career of dubious notoriety, we are watching people who have dedicated their lives to their crafts and skills, and succeeding. Instead of seeing sports people who are so obviously led by the promise of huge sums of money, we are seeing sports people representing their country who are led by the idea of success. If only a few of the young people watching turn their gaze away from the celebs in junk mags, and notice a better way, a way of dedication and talent creating success, then what a gift that would be!

Couldn’t agree more Damh!

More on Damh’s blog here

2 Responses to “Positivity and the Olympic Games”

  1. Friends of mine in the States commented on the NHS bit in the opening ceremony as I had ‘moaned’ about how long I’d been waiting. I, and many of my friends, swiftly replied that although we moan we wouldn’t want to lose it.
    I think we, as a nation, do ‘BIG’ events extremely well. Just wish we put Paul McCartney out to grass (sadly).

  2. “I sat, watched, laughed, cried, but I also knew that it would be alright. We aren’t crap, we are amazing. This island is amazing.”
    Philip, I swear I had exactly the same response, even though I didn’t know why I was watching it as I’d expected to feel so cynical. Which I’m not, as a general rule. It’s been tough living in England for the past few years, I think.
    My mum was away in Anglesea with no telly, so she missed the first week of the Olympics, but yesterday over lunch I found myself saying to her, “honestly mum, you’re not watching celebs who you envy, you’re watching ordinary people just like you, but people who have worked hard with passion, people you want to emulate, people that have created success that is actually within our reach and worth something.”
    The most meaningful aspect of the coverage to me has been the constant, positive portrayal of women. Powerful, respected women. They’re competing. They’re presenting. They’re winning medals. Nobody is batting an eye. It is as it should be. I never want things to return to the way they were the day before the BBC coverage of the Olympics began.

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