I, like everyone else in Britain, am suffering from a break-up. We had a long, beautiful summer together the Olympics and us; we laughed, we cried and more than once we begged her not to leave. We felt like a better people with the Olympics by our side.
But now she has left us for a more exotic country. Apparently she moves on a lot.
Before she arrived it was safe to say we all had our doubts, safety being the main one. The day after we were bestowed the vast victory of securing the games, London was changed. Timetabled and quiet London was left scarred and scared following those acts of evil that cracked London’s veins. A question swarmed around our silent lands after 7/7: “who are we now?”. The Olympics has helped many people get over that day, especially Martine Wright.
Wright was running late on the morning of 7 July because she had stayed out the previous night with marketing colleagues celebrating the Olympic win. Her journey that day caused her to lose not only both legs and 80% of her blood but, her life as she knew it when Shehzad Tanweer’s suicide bomb detonated 3ft from her on a Circle line tube train at Aldgate. She competed in the Paralympic GB team from volleyball and, despite not winning any medals, she did something so much greater; she showed that we as a nation can not be terrorised.
I was lucky enough to get tickets to two events (one in the Paralympics and the other the Olympics) as well as a ticket to wander around the Olympic park. I can’t put into writing all that I felt and all that I still feel for those fleeting weeks. I’ve tried for so long and failed every time in every sentence.
One thing I will say is that it has re-instilled British pride.
We have a swagger about us now, so many doubters now left dumbstruck. We were told we could not match the money explosion that was Beijing. We didn’t match it, we conquered it. We showed ourselves as a proud nation, a funny nation, a successful nation and a nation with great heart.
Our Prime Minister once called our country ‘Broken Britain’ and the Olympics went a great way to glue it back again. It was perhaps a remedy rather than a cure though, for our nation divided. Our flag, the Union Flag, flew for exactly that; union. While the united elation was strong then, in the eye of the storm, even now it starts to weaken. The question that fills me with trepidation is: how do we keep this feeling rolling? You can only ride a wave for so long before it comes crashing against the shore of everyday life.
We were separate people from countries worlds apart. Yet we hugged and cheered together, strangers embracing strangers for another stranger whose name we will soon forget.
So she has moved on and we are left with photos of us together; they adorn our mantlepieces as a reminder of our summer love. Though she may be gone we will always have London.