Can't imagine by now that, if I tell you the subject is the Olympics, anyone is going to shout "rubbish!" That amazing opening ceremony - witty, funny, touching, but above all, terrifically British. Apparently a well known American broadcast network cut some of it because "it wasn't tailored for a USA audience" - well good, Danny Boyle got it right then! This is OUR Olympics, in OUR country, and indeed, for me, in MY city, and by god I'm proud of that! The Opening Ceremony set fluttering nerves at rest - those who had been concerned that we would mess the whole thing up somehow were silenced, and the doubters won around.
One thing that has been hugely noticeable this year is the number of Union Flags around. In England we're all used to seeing the St George's Flag around - mainly sadly when there is some football tournament or another going on. For a few weeks every few years numerous people feel the waves of patriotism flooding over them, only for those waves to flood away again just as fast when England get knocked out again! In Scotland they have a tendency to display the St Andrews flag a lot more, and not only for sporting events either!
This year the combination of first the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and now the Olympics, means that the Union Flag is getting a good old outing. Flying from cars, in people's windows, on tee-shirts and shorts - wherever you look there is that Red, White & Blue fluttering away. It's a flag that lends itself to all sorts of designs,those bold colours, that strong design, no wonder now people have discovered it they are happy to display it proudly!
The overwhelming thing we keep hearing from the British athletes competing at London 2012 is the support they get from the crowd - that "wall of sound" I commented on hearing at Putney for the Cyucling road race has been repeated at every venue across the games it seems, from the South coast and the sailing at Weymouth, to the usually reserved atmosphere of Eton Dorney and the rowing. They all seem humbled and thankful for the chance to compete at a "home games" with its attendant home support. Britain being Britain though, our fans have been cheering others, too - winners regardless of nationality are getting huge ovations - one of our swimmers having just competed in his heat at the Aquatic Centre pleaded with the crowd to just cheer for him in his final the following day, not the other competitors as well!
So far at least we appear to have proved that we can get it right, the travel worries have faded, threats of gridlocked roads subsided after the first few days of the Closures and Olympic Lanes, and the Underground has performed well so far, with people being able to switch travel options when there have been problems, and no drastic issues with travelling to venues being reported. Great Britain appears to be proving why it's GREAT!