Sunday, 2 September 2012

Blood, sweat and tears

I rarely watched sport until the Olympics and the Paralympics, now my head is full of athletes and I cry at least once a day, yesterday it was Ellie Simmonds, I happened to turn on TV and her race was on. I think with Paralympians you get even more of a sense of the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this moment, a moment that can  truly make or break you. Jody Cundy may not have been very professional with his outburst - I'm not wasting four fucking years of my life - but I fully understood his despair (am still unclear whether it was a mechanical fault or whether he started too soon). It seemed horribly unfair he was disqualified.  I love wheelchair basketball, players get knocked over, do half-somersaults in their chairs, then right themselves and resume play, like it was nothing. I flinch every time. Breaks my heart that the Ghanan team are using donated track chairs,  you can't ignore that these games, while celebrating the human spirit and sheer physical endeavour, highlight the haves and the have-nots. The opening ceremony was dazzling, but you also saw the difference in technology, poor countries do not have slick, cutting edge chairs or decent training facilities. The contrast is very obvious in the Israeli and Palestinian teams.  The very engaging Ben Quilter - bronze medal winner in Judo - made me smile. I loved his comment after winning that now he could concentrate properly on his wedding and hoped his fiancée hadn't spent thousands on flowers. And wheelchair table tennis is utterly compelling, once you start watching you can't stop.

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