I for one am sorry the Games have come to an end, although as I am a bit of a bah-humbug when it comes to these kind of things, I won’t miss the opening and closing ceremonies. They are a bit of a distraction for me from the fantastic sporting achievements of the athletes. One thing has always puzzled me a bit though and that is the criteria they use for inclusion of a sport in the Olympics. Some things seem pretty esoteric to me whereas others and I am not making a special plea here, like say cricket, rugby or golf are just as widely played and supported as other sports which have been part of the Games for many years. It must have been the passing of Sid Waddell over the weekend that made me wonder what he would have made of Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor winning an Olympic gold medal if darts were part of the Games – that commentary would have been worth listening to.
All this takes nothing away from the dedication of the athletes and their support teams who have taken part in the Games and the size of the entourages shows how at the top level it comes down to incredibly fine margins between success and failure so that everything needs to be thought through and analysed. Some of the commentating has also been as entertaining as the sport itself and watching normally composed professional presenters fighting back the tears after another emotionally charged performance has demonstrated the power of the Games to move everyone.
As many commentators have said, the Games were great, but it is their legacy which will ultimately determine their success. The challenge is to harness the enthusiasm which has been sparked by our performances straight away before other things start to distract our young people. I am doing my bit; I have told my four year old he is not showing nearly enough dedication to training if he wants to become an Olympic runner (mind you he also needs to work on his left foot if he is going to play football for England).