Sunday, 12 August 2012

A shared journey

The timing of my summer holiday was inadvertent brilliance.  I have been able to witness and enjoy the spectacle that has been London 2012 far better than I would have done, had I been at home engaging in my usual routine.  As someone who rarely switches the TV on (except occasionally to watch something I've pre-planned on the basis of a strong recommendation or intriguing review) and seldom, if ever, watches live sport I have been gripped and thrilled by the coverage following my own favourite sports (swimming and cycling) and learning lots about events about which I realised I knew very little. 

It has been extraordinary and I feel privileged to have been able to follow Team GB's progress, especially over the last week - medals, or no medals.  What I have enjoyed most however has been the interviews athletes have so generously given, even immediately after completing their events, or a little later having had an opportunity for some reflection on their performance and prospects.  The intimacy afforded by modern technology has provided rich viewing, and I have been moved on countless occasions by the honesty and willingness with which the competitors have shared moments following the achievements of personal bests, record breakers, the culmination of countless hours of training with dreams coming true, or hopes being shattered. 

These moments shared globally, via television, radio and other social media feel to me to be so precious offering the humble layman a glorious insight into the pinnacle of these talented individuals' careers, capturing once in a lifetime moments, and the wealth of emotion therein.  I have revelled in overhearing snapshots of live dialogue between athletes and their coaches immediately after races, testament to these unique (and highly therapeutic) relationships. 

My interest stems not from simple voyeurism but rather from a deep interest in relationships that foster and enhance and maximise performance that spur individuals and teams to realise and then achieve their potential, laying aside history and expectation.  When a thousandth of a second counts, for me watching this epic event has been about far more than sport - the Olympics has been about raw human emotion:  the remedy for inspiration and motivation.     

Some of my personal highlights...

Greg Rutherford strikes Gold in the Long Jump
He almost quit the sport earlier this year due to numerous health related setbacks

Nicola Adams
The brilliant fly weight boxing champion and first women to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics

Sir Chris Hoy MBE wins his sixth Gold Medal
becoming Britain's most successful Olympian

Victoria Pendleton retires after an emotional and nail biting Games
The six-time world chamption added a Gold and Silver medal to her collection


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