I’ve fallen for the London 2012 Olympics.
I know I’m biased because I’m an indirect beneficiary – I work in Newham. Even so, I supported Ken’s initiative to use the Olympics to regenerate east London. Unfortunately, it was one big reason he was voted out of office.
As someone from Jamaican background, I’m finding it very easy to support Team GB (why isn’t it Team UK?). I get a emotionally attached to competitions in which GB is competing. I was a little upset that Rebecca Adlington didn’t get a gold. And I’m kicking myself for going out for a drink on Saturday and missing Jessica Ennis, Mo Fahar and Greg Rutherford (who?) win their gold medals. I so enjoyed seeing Andy Murray win gold and shake off his hoodoo.
My Jamaican background is a bonus. There’s a bit of pride to see Bolt, Blake and Jamaica in the 100m and track and field events. Bolt is a global, positive figure of Jamaican achievement – which we don’t usually see.
This is all despite the fact that half of Team GB are privileged private school girls and boys, that it all cost us £11bn, money was wasted on some non-existent Arab terror threat, it was planned as a show for the (what-are-they-doing-to-save-our-economy) corporate sector, and that politicians are going to use this to get us to forget about the economic mess they helped to put us in. The Olympics was also a massive missed opportunity for black businesses and for ‘disadvantaged’ people who could have earned money and train while working on the construction.
And isn’t it ironic that most British people hated the idea of the Olympics only a few years ago? Now, we’re under orders to love it and most of us are happy to do so. (Mind you, there was a massive shift in public opinion after GB had a surprisingly very good Bejing Olympics.)
But I can’t help regularly looking at the medal table to see that GB is third.