Even though I have already watched the women's football (and I don't even like football!) matches on Wednesday, the Olympics don't start until after the opening ceremony. And what a ceremony it was.
I realize it was not the best (whatever that means) opening ceremony of all times, but it was AWESOME. This was the most wonderfully quirky, absolutely kooky, inherently British best thing.
I like that they show presented Great Britain's history and not just the merry times. I like that they didn't try to up the Chinese one but dialled it down a bit. I believe showing off literature and culture at a sporting event was wonderful. Coaxing out JK Rowling and having her read my second favourite childhood book was absolutely thrilling.
Being all quirky and getting the Queen to play in a short that ends in her jumping out of a helicopter was fun too but I loved the subtle things better, the things you have to learn about before you fully understand them. The connection between Peter Pan and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for instance. That's what makes it an unusually educated opening ceremony.
But this is not why I love the Olympics so much. Bombastic opening and closing shows are part of it. But the Olympics are so important because for a couple of weeks every four years thousands of people come together to celebrate one simple thing that unites them. Sports.
It doesn't matter where you're from or which sport you play, you are part of something so much bigger. Something that has always tried to make the world a better place.
The Olympics have always tried to show to the world that diversity needs to be celebrated, that you have a chance of changing things in the world and that with a lot of hard work great things can be achieved.
Watching Olympic events holds so much emotion for me and judging by the looks on their faces, for the athletes too. There is anger and disappointment, there is frustration and pain. But there is also happiness and tears of joy. And there is success in all possible ways. Individual and global.
One of the first big successes happened even before the Games started. These will be the first Olympic Games where all countries participating have women athletes to represent them. This is important to note, especially taking into consideration how long it took Saudi Arabia to get over themselves and give their women a chance to prove themselves to the world.
There are a lot of things that the Olympics need to do better even (like showcase the minority sports even better) and there a lot of things that I'm very ambivalent about (the political grey zone in which the Olympics sometimes meddle), but I'd say all things considered they are doing a tremendous job to celebrate Sports, the Athletes and everything else that is attached to all that.
They inspire so many people to get off their couch and start moving and lead healthier life styles and that has to count for something. Even to those who "don't get sports".
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