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After the Olympics

Posted by Tania Kindersley
Tania Kindersley
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on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
In the post-Olympic world, everything creaks and groans and settles itself back to normality. Mr Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate, a tremendous devotee of Ayn Rand called Paul Ryan. France and Germany have released their economic growth figures to reveal that there is no growth. (The markets were braced for much more dire results; no growth is now regarded as a triumph, and the bourses and exchanges all went up on the news.) If you want real bathos, the number one most read story on BBC Scotland’s news website has the headline: Women injured in toppled toilet. Some mean youths, defying the Olympic ideal, pushed it over for a lark.

The weather has reverted to its previous sulky state. Practically the moment Boris handed over the flag, it started raining again, as if the very sky was mourning. I went up to the horse this morning through hills swathed in cloud. You just drive into the cloud, and stay there; it’s quite disconcerting.

And yet, I keep getting happy little flashes of the last two weeks. They are mostly undifferentiated ones of ordinary people smiling and whooping, of crowds going wild with delirium and waving their flags, of walls of sound. (My niece’s husband worked as a technician in the Excel centre, and reported that during the boxing he clocked the crowd noise at the same number of decibels as a Formula One racing car. ‘I think it’s actually illegal,’ he said. ‘I’m surprised health and safety didn’t have something to say.)

I remember the ecstatic rowers and the weeping cyclists and Wiggo and his sideburns and the way his fingers caressed the handlebars of his bike as if he were playing a Bach suite. I remember the horses, jumping and dancing and running their hearts out. I remember the amazed athletes, who never thought they would get near a medal, and the crushed ones, who wanted the gold so much that silver was no consolation. I remember one little boy, caught on camera by the BBC, right at the beginning, saying: ‘It’s like being in Wonderland.’


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