So this post may be a day late and a dollar short, but please indulge me for a minute. Last week Thursday I woke up in the pissiest of moods and for the life of me I couldn’t work out why. Now don’t get me wrong, getting up at 5.45am will never be anything to shuffle and jive about, but this particular morning I felt more ratty than usual. It was only when I caught sight of the solemn expressions on the faces of my fellow commuters on the tube that the penny dropped – OLYMPIC FEVER WAS ALMOST OVER! Arrrggh!! Now what was I going to do?
For 14 days my whole life had revolved around the sporting activities taking place in my capital city. For 14 days I spent an inordinate amount of time (even more so than usual) on my social networks, analysing and dissecting every single performance from the athletes, transforming overnight from a hair magazine editor into a sports expert on par with Michael Johnson, Colin Jackson and Denise Lewis. It was such a remarkable experience, and even though I never managed to make it into the stadium as I hoped (which also added to my sadness), I’ll cherish the fond memories from the Games for the rest of my days.
So the press are terming this collective emotional comedown that we are experiencing as POD – Post Olympics Depression. I hear that. As mentioned, I definitely felt a huge pang of sadness last week, but I’m hoping that the Paralympics will lift our spirits and it certainly deserves to have the nation behind it as well.
But before we anticipate the forthcoming Paras, I really wanted to tell you my highlights of the games. There were so many to choose from but I managed to narrow it down to seven memorable moments.
7. FELIX’S ONE MOMENT IN TIME.
Let’s be honest, the Olympics are just as much about dramatic sub-plots and back stories as sporting prowess. And no one loves a good triumph over adversity or comeback story as me. Cue Felix Sanchez, the veteran 400 metre runner who reps the Dominican Republic. Sanchez failed to pass the first round in Beijing due to receiving news of his grandmother’s death the same day he was due to run. Now four years later at the practically ancient age of 34 (in sporting terms, obvs), no one really considered him as frontrunner in the finals in London. But not only did he win, but he won convincingly, practically obliterating the competition. When he crossed the finishing line I distinctly remember him letting off a series of grunts which didn’t go down too well with my Twitter chums. It was only when he stepped on the podium to collect his medal and the ocean of tears began to flow that the world realised just how much this triumph meant to him.
6. FAB GABBY!
Man, I tell ya, for someone who works in the hair business I’ve been totally impervious about the hoopla surrounding Gabby’s tresses, and here’s why. I think the amount of column inches spent discussing this non-story has detracted from her remarkable achievements. So a few folks decided to throw a few disparaging comments about her hair. So what. Twitter is designed for mindless banter, and I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and admit that I’m a frequent participant. And trust me, hair comes up a LOT on my timeline. From Aston’s (JLS) preferred choice of relaxer, Kelly Rowland’s never-ending selection of lace front wigs (X-Factor 20111) to how my girl Charlene White’s sleek tresses always looks on point. While others were wasting sweet precious time discussing the politics of black hair, I sat in front of my TV transfixed by the power, grace and agility of this little pocket rocket! Can’t wait to see her bring it in Rio.
5. TEAM USA ROCK IT LIKE A RUNWAY
I was kinda conflicted about the US women’s relay teams because I wanted Team JA to win so badly. But I had to give props, they outclassed us in both the 100s and 400s. And the most frustrating thing of all? They did it with such style. How is it possible to run so hard, so fast, and still manage to look like you’ve just stepped off the catwalk once you hit the finishing line? From Alyson’s chic little bun, to Sanya’s honey coloured extensions with the goddess braid – these sprinting super-heroines inspired me no end, reminding me that the words sporty and stylish isn’t an oxymoron.
4. READY, SET, MO.
I’ve never been one for long distance races but that’s definitely changed since Mo Farah stepped onto the scene. This dude runs with such heart, such passion, such intelligence – I love watching the careful methodical approach he takes when plotting to break away from the pack and steam through on that final stretch. After he took the 5000 I wasn’t sure if he could do the double but once again he maintained his trademark cool demeanour and ran a mature but spine-tingling race.
3. THREE THE HARD WAY – NO ENGLISH, STRAIGHT PATOIS!
Just typing this makes me smile. This was definitely one of my favourite moments during the Olympics. I knew that there would be two races during the 200 metres, one between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, and the race for third place which could be anybody’s. I only became aware of Warren Weir during the heats and instantly became enamoured by this baby faced champion in the making. By the time Bolt and Blake reached the last 50 metres, battling it out like the sprinting titans they are, I was more concerned about whether Warren would get a medal considering the US sprinter Wallace Spearmon was hot on his tail. But he showed great confidence and maturity by maintaining his composure and crossing the finishing line in third place. He also showed personality by the bucket-load in his post-race interview when he uttered the now famous words “No English, straight patois” bigging up his whole parish in Jamaica as if he was in front of the video light at Passa Passa. Ha! Eat your heart out David Starkey!
2. 4X100S – YES.WE.CAN!
Nothing gets the heart pounding as much as the sprint relays. Will they or won’t they drop the baton? So many great teams have fallen apart at the seams during the relays and with the USA and JA looking so strong during the heats, I knew my poor old ticker was in for another hair-raising 40 seconds. Well it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Jamaica ran a flawless race, annihilating their fierce rivals as well as smashing the previous record they set in Beijing.
The personality. The talent. The strength. The charisma. The GSOH. The super confidence. The inner joy. The rippling muscles…okay, I’ll stop now. But my point is, how can anyone not adore Usain Blake? Like, seriously. To dislike Bolt is surely like not being a fan of life too much. The man is such a life force. Everytime his face splashed across my screen his ebullience was so contagious. I was so scared that he wouldn’t deliver at this Games but he did ten fold. And to do so in London (which is like a mini Jamaica IMO) and to do so on the anniversary of Jamaica’s 50th independence from Great Britain was too damn poignant. And too damn emotional *reaches for box of tissues*. I really don’t know where he’ll go from here now. In all honesty, I’d rather him him depart at his peak than have him come back four years later and struggle for form.
So there goes my Olympic highlights folks, please share some of yours.