I love the Olympics.
The London 2012 Olympic Games were two of the best weeks of my life.
I completely immersed myself into Olympic-fever, and every waking moment I tried to absorb as much action as I possibly could.
And the 2016 Games in Rio is turning out to be almost the same.
Unfortunately, because of the time difference (and the bully-ish style of the US TV networks) a lot of the ‘main’ action isn’t until the very early hours of the morning – but that isn’t stopping me from keeping as up to date with Team GB as possible.
And boy have they been doing well!
Although the successes won’t emulate the overall medal totals of London 2012, the achievements of Team GB four years after are pretty special.
As I mentioned, in 2012 I absolutely immersed myself in the Olympics – I would watch the coverage whilst eating my breakfast, would listen to radio updates on my drive to work, and have alerts and the internet keeping me up to date whilst at work.
I even kept a day-by-day diary, full of notes, pictures and stats as a keepsake from what is likely to be the only Olympics in my home country in my lifetime.
I still have it kept safe alongside my ‘Pride’ the lion mascot, and it helps me remember so many moments from 2012 – I would probably fair quite well on a Team GB / London 2012 pub quiz!
For instance, I remember the first few days and the anxious wait for the first Team GB gold medal – and I remember standing in my living room, telling Matthew and his mum they would have to wait for us to to go out shopping because Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were about to win their Gold medal in the rowing – and the country breathed a sigh of relief.
One of the things I love about the Olympics is being able to watch and support sports that are less likely to be covered by the media – in 2012, for me, that sport was Judo.
I remember sitting in my cupboard-sized office at work, and hearing that one of GB’s female judokas, Gemma Gibbons, was doing quite well – I found a live stream of the coverage, and watched her win her silver medal.
However, the moment that still gives me goosebumps to this day, is when Gemma, after winning one of her matches and looking incredibly disheveled, her hair a mess, her judo jacket pulled open, looked to the skies and mouthed “I love you mum” – Gemma’s mum had sadly passed away and wouldn’t see her win her medal.
I sat there and cried, hoping that none of my colleagues would come to see me.
And then there was Super Saturday
Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, and Jessica Ennis-Hill all won Gold for Team GB within about an hour of each other.
Again, I cried – seeing people who have clearly worked incredibly hard, sacrificed so much and had achieved their goals was so inspiring.
After the Games, Matthew and I regularly watch the Opening Ceremony (yet another one of my absolute highlights – the ‘Queen’ parachuting out of a helicopter…what’s not to love?!) and the daily highlight reel that was put together still allow me to relive and enjoy some of the wondrous moments.
And then 2016 comes along.
In all honesty, I was extremely dubious as to whether it would be even slightly enjoyable to watch.
But I have well and truly caught Olympic Fever…again!
There have been some phenomenal performances (so far – there’s still time left!) – as I write, the GB cycling team are dominating in the velodrome – Laura Trott, Bradley Wiggins, Jason Kenny, the list goes on of the athletes who simply make you watch on the edge of your seat, jaw on the floor, in complete awe of their achievements.
The GB gymnasts have also been extremely successful – eight…yes, eight, medals…we only won four in 2012!
And then some of the lesser known sports – diving, sailing, shooting, canoeing, trampolining….yes, even trampolining – have all added medals to the GB total.
Unfortunately Mo, Greg and Jess couldn’t achieve an exact repeat of Super Saturday – but they each won a medal, with Mo Farah still with the opportunity to achieve a second in the coming days.
So for the next few days, and then again later in the month when the Paralympics start, you’ll find me in front of the TV, or on social media, keeping up to date with some of the most wonderful athletes, and inspirations that Great Britain has to offer.