I’m going to eat humble pie. I apologise profusely. A couple of weeks ago I moaned about the Olympics, about how I wasn’t looking forward to the wraparound sports coverage on TV and in the media, and how disillusioned I had become in the lead up to the whole affair.
Well, I take it all back. Well, not all of it. I still think the stadium is uninspiring, and the sponsorship wrangles ludicrous, but as for the games themselves, they were captivating. Their absence on TV every day will leave a huge hole in my life.
The Olympics succeeded where my husband and I have failed – in prising my teenagers away from their mobiles and laptops.
All they have wanted to do for two weeks is watch the Olympics.
Even when we were on holiday we tuned in as a family for an hour each morning, then at night for the highlights. Normally, while away, I wouldn’t even switch on – but this was different.
Everyone was swept away by it. On the train, young lads were chatting about the athletics to pensioners sitting opposite.
I’ve watched and enjoyed sports that I wouldn’t have dreamed I’d have the slightest interest in – fencing, discus, judo, yachting.
I loved watching the hammer throwers crazily spinning around before letting go, the amazing moves of the gymnasts on the pummel horse and the balletic synchronised swimmers.
And I’ve learned a few things: that what I always believed to be rowing, using two oars, is in fact skulling, and that rowing has only one oar per person on alternating sides of the boat. I discovered that vaulting poles were once made from wood, then bamboo before present-day fibreglass, I now know how to properly pace myself if I ever have to run the 400 metres against stiff competition, and, after that embarrassing mix up, I also know the difference between the flags of North and South Korea.
There were a few irritations – the medals were way too big, more like the ‘World’s Best Dad’ chocolate medallions for Fathers’ Day.
And what’s wrong with coming second or third? There were too many people, both competitors and commentators, bleating about the ‘devastation’ of getting a silver or bronze medal. Surely to be given a medal at all, or even to make it into a final, is great.
But overall I loved it, from the mind-blowing opening to the equally quirky closing ceremony, and I will miss it.
To think I actually moaned about having to miss my favourite TV shows. If I had the choice this week I know which I’d choose. Roll on Rio.