I watched the Olympic opening ceremony with a lump in my throat. It symbolises to me the very best that we can be. Every nation that competes is made up of athletes who have dedicated much of their lives to their sport. It is the antithesis of the football culture that we wake up to most days. Most of us can barely recognise the faces of our Olympic athletes. They dont feature on the back pages of the Sun but day in day out they are training and hoping to be the best. Vancouver paved the way for the games with symbolic outstretched arms. Their diverse cultural heritage groups welcoming the world to Canada.The Greek team has both father and daughter representation. The Georgians walked out in honour of the team member they so tragically lost. The Iranians were led by a woman. The Ghanians represent for the first time ever. Many came out with cameras in their hands hoping to capture the moment for themselves. They are pround to represent their country and excited at what lies ahead of them. For all the political and social unrest in the world the Olympics helps join us under one common love.
I cheered (sorry neighbours) as the Norwegian team made their entrance. I was proud to hear that they are the most successful nation at the winter Olympics. When i was growing up my heros were Bjorn Dahle and Johan Olav Koss. I skated in circles for hours hoping to become as fast as the man i had watched many a sunday morning on the TV. The only letter i ever wrote to Santa was to ask for Koss' skates for Christmas. They were famous not for their wives or lovers, they were not involved in scandals. They were famous because they were amazing at their sports. Dahle was a cross county skiier like no other and his 12 gold olympic medals has yet to be beaten. Koss was one of the greatest speed skaters in the world. We were in Norway during the 1994 Lillehammer games and the nation was gripped. Schools had medal tables and there were constant updates wherever you went. I can still remember finding out that Norway had won gold, silver and bronze in a ski event (i was 9 at the time) and bursting into tears of happiness. Tonight i will be watching the Alpine skiing in a rather multinational group and believe me there will a lot of betting and friendly ribbing going on!
In two years time it will be Londons turn to host the Olympic games and i am planning on being there for many events. It is something that we should be proud to host. I am excited about it, everyday. Yes it may cost money and yes we probably will have more ppl on the tube in the morning. But we will also have the greatest athletes in the world and lay host to record breaking moments. Enjoy the winter games. I certainly will.