So it’s finally here. Seven years after it was announced that London would be hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, the biggest sporting event in the world is currently taking place in my home city. Now anyone who lives in the capital will be fully aware that this hasn’t been an easy feat. We’ve had rows about extortionate ticket prices and controversial lottery style ticket bidding, fears about lack of security, and just a few weeks ago hundreds of us took to the social networking sites to express our disdain at the BOA’s (British Olympic Authority) decision to deny accreditation to the UK’s biggest and longest-serving black newspaper, The Voice, (thankfully the authorities saw sense and revoked their decision). In truth, it’s been a pretty emotional affair and it’s a wonder we’re still on speaking terms as a nation. But as I tweeted mere minutes before the Opening Ceremony, the whole process has been like one big family wedding. We’ve fussed, fought and fallen out along the way, but we came together when it mattered. And weren’t we collectively one big, blubbering mess once the countdown to Danny Boyle’s spectacular production began?
I chose to watch the ceremony with thousands of others on Blackheath Common where they are hosting a live site called The Big Screen. We literally got there as the “The Queen” was descending into the stadium with James Bond and thankfully found a patch of grass where we could put down our blanket and sit down and watch the ceremony. The atmosphere was amazing. People from all walks of life sat down and cheered, laughed and clapped as we witnessed Boyle’s vision unfurl on the screen.
Us on the heath. I strongly recommend this as a great space to watch the games.
I couldn’t fault the production at all. I loved the tribute to the NHS, as well as the journey through Britain’s colourful, turbulent past. I danced heartedly during the homage to British music and smiled like a proud mother when Dizzee took to the stage bubbling away to his floor-filler, Bonkers. When Emeli Sande took to the stage to sing Abide With Me in honour of the 7/7 victims it was a touching moment. As a whole, I thought the production was innovative, reflective, honest, quirky, humorous and inclusive.
When it was time for the athletes to enter the stadium it started to get breezy on the heath but best believe we braved the elements and waited to cheer Team Jamaica on. As soon as that was over, we jumped on bus and headed home to watch the rest of the proceedings from the comfort of our sofa.
We screamed like frenzied teenage fans when Team Jamaica entered the stadium
It was nice to see Team GB do their thing as well, although the dodgy white tracksuits didn’t go down too well on the social networking sites, and some of the comments did make me chuckle. With my emotions already running high, I fought back the tears as Muhammed Ali stood up to light the cauldron. And then when the fireworks went off we ran upstairs to our rooftop to see if we could see them. And boy, could we indeed. It was a remarkable ending to an amazing night, one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. How did you feel about the Opening Ceremony and who will you be repping during the games?
As fearless, resilient and inspiring in sickness as he was in health, we salute you Mr Ali.