What’s the biggest party you have ever attended?
Well, I am all excited and ready for the biggest event in London in our lifetime!
Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the last few months, you would know that London is holding the 2012 Olympics. And now we are just hours away from the Opening Ceremony.
It all began as the Ancient Olympic Games as a showcase of the prowess of Greeks and were held in Olympia.
But the event about to kick-start in London is now a huge monolith which has involved the efforts of literally millions of people over the last 7 years since London was given the Olympics that fateful day in July 2005, just a day before 7/7.
Here in central London, I can really feel the excitement building as the torch makes its final journey through the City today in readiness for the opening tomorrow.
And yet, it’s also a little subdued as many Londoners seem to have left the City to avoid the expected crowds, congestion and traffic chaos. Also, quite rightly there have been concerns about the security, the ticket allocation, the heavy-handedness of the “licensing police” and so on. I’ll come to those later.
I for one am really excited about the next few weeks and plan to thoroughly immerse myself in the many sporting and cultural events happening around London.
Here are my reasons why we should all embrace the London 2012 Olympics:-
It Brings People Together
1. The Olympics are a symbol of all those things so noble and great about us as a race. It is an opportunity for us to come together as a people and unite as nations. It shows what a group of people can do if they put their mind to it.
2. People from around the world coming together, either by visiting London and the UK or watching in their own homes and countries.
3. The games will create many new friendships amongst people from all around the world.
4. London communities can come together and heal our differences a year since the riots.
It’s Creating a Legacy for the Future
5. The Olympics have the potential to inspire a generation of youngsters in the UK and around the world
6. London is creating a sporting legacy for generations to come in the UK and elsewhere. The sporting facilities created albeit at great cost, are truly world class.
7. The sheer intensity and excitement of the sporting events will inspire young people around the world give them something to aspire to.
It Showcases Sporting Greatness
8. Most of the world’s best athletes and sportspeople are taking part – this is the only time every 4 years that all the top performers in so many sports come together
10. Many athletes will achieve their personal bests – and even if they finish last in their event, this will mean a lot to them. For many participants, just taking part is all that matters
11. The London Olympics will be the cleanest ever with the most stringent drugs testing ever. So in theory anyway, the winners will have won fair and square.
It’s a Unique Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
12. It’s only going to happen in London once in the life time of most people. So grab this opportunity to get involved in any community activities and to get behind the athletes, no matter what country they represent.
13. The Olympics are the supreme and ultimate test of one’s athletic and sporting powers – it will be awe-inspiring to see so many athletes giving their all.
14. There are a huge number of other sporting and cultural events taking place around London and the UK – there are so many events happening that even I can’t get to cover them all!
It’s a Boost for the UK
15. The Olympics are an opportunity to showcase British hospitality, generosity and creativity – so just make sure to put forward your best side:-).
16. There has already been a huge boost to UK tourism – and this will continue for a while. It all started with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in June and London is already so full of tourists.
17. There has been a boost for the UK retail and hospitality service industries – right now our economy needs all the help it can get.
It Will Inspire You
18. The Olympics are a truly unique opportunity to get inspired about your own life and make it happen in the key areas of your life!
In the coming days and weeks, I expect to be moved and inspired by many stories of the ultimate sporting success, backed up with supreme endeavour and a result of years of sacrifices and hardship.
I am so looking forward to finding new heroes – people who I can emulate, learn more and share their stories.
19. With so much going on, I am looking forward to watching and learning about new sports which I don’t yet know much about
20. If like me, you can never be just an armchair supporter, then why not take up a new sport? Yesterday I had my first ever attempt at handball! And my shoulder is still stiff:-)
It’s Party Time!
21. The next 2 weeks will be a huge national and international world party – and this is an opportunity for you to hold your own Olympic parties with your family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours.
Just be sure to invite me!
Now those are the reasons why I believe we should be embrace and support the Olympics and get immersed in all that’s good and great about the Olympic movement.
And yet, there are so many downsides and negatives which have been documented elsewhere but are worth mentioning here.
The Olympic Negatives
There have been justifiable concerns about security, crowd congestion and traffic chaos, but these are inevitable with an event of such size and magnitude.
Londoners are a hardy bunch and we can cope with any perceived “hardship”. Road closures, traffic holdups, airport queues, security scares – come what may, we’ll survive!
Also, the crass commercialisation of the Olympics doesn’t resonate with the original Olympic ideal. The tickets seem to be well over-priced and their distribution hasn’t been the fairest or well-organised.
There are a number of people who are against the way the Corporates have taken over the Olympics and there are various websites which chronicle their viewpoints and actions. Check out the Counter Olympics Network.
A group of runners have even organised their own “real relay” with a baton instead of the torch. This was after they discovered that the official Olympic torch actually gets put away each night and taken to the start point for the next day!
The extreme “nationalism” doesn’t resonate with me either – it’s okay to support and cheer for your own nation or country of origin, but don’t let that spoil your enjoyment and the achievement of other competitors. They have earned their right to be here – and they deserve to be winners too.
The worst bit is the over-zealous licensing policing which has prevented so many retailers from getting into the Olympic spirit. Even the father of Olympic branding has come out and stated how his original rules are being abused.
Let the Games Begin!
Over the coming days and weeks, let us acknowledge all that’s best and so noble about the human spirit. And when the Olympic Cauldron is lit on Friday evening, let that be a signal for us all to strive for World Peace.
Coincidentally, I got a beautiful email this morning with a messages from the lovely people who run Cygnus Magazine (thanks Louisa, Ann, Geoff, Sam, John and the rest of The Cygnus Team!) which completely resonates with my own thoughts and feelings:-
”You see we have been eager to support this initiative since we received an email from a Cygnus Member, sharing with us details of this wonderful idea along with a letter that had been sent to the Olympic Committee regarding it.
The idea is for everyone to focus on World Peace at the moment when the Olympic Cauldron is lit on Friday to mark the opening of the Olympic Games.
This can be done in whichever way feels best to you – through prayer, positive mental focus or visualisation.
We will be using visualisation at that moment, opening our hearts, seeing the infinite light within them expanding and pouring out like healing balm, dissolving the fear, greed and confusion that hold so many people in their thrall, since this is the root cause of all war. And asking that our own heads and hearts, hands and feet be firmly directed in the ways of peace and truth.
We love that this is happening and will wholeheartedly join in. We won’t pretend to be enthusiastic about the whole commercialised event of the Olympics but, the way we see it – with so many corporations cashing in on something that started out to be a test of strength and honour – let’s use this opportunity for something actually wholesome and good!
Tradition tells us that the ancient Olympics were started by Hercules, the heroic demi-God who bravely battled monsters to protect others. The more recent history of the games doesn’t quite match Hercules’ valour but we can do him proud and take on the charge to do good for humanity, with the power of prayer and the power of thought and positive visualisation. We’re game for that! ”
Let the games begin – and may world peace prevail…
All images personally taken by me:-)