The Olympics were really, really good.
I started out thinking that I would detest them. I really don't have a lot of time for track events, something that I think is rooted in summer PE lessons in Primary School consisting of "I'll go over here, have a cup of tea and read a book while supervising you lot, who will now spend the next three hours running in circles around the field". I'm still not that enthused by them, but the whole thing caught my imagination. There was something sort of pure about the whole thing, it was quite pleasant. The members of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team (James was right) just seem like ordinary, decent people. They were not the arrogant, ignorant and wealthy millionaires that one becomes accustomed to seeing in football, but just talented, educated, humble people. It makes me reflect on my own favoured sport and wonder if the whole thing is spoiled, corrupted by the excessive levels of cash flowing into it. I'm not being completely naive. I know that, for example, the British cycling team wouldn't have performed anywhere near as well as they did without massive investment. In fact, you could say the same about any of the British medal winners. That money has all gone into the right hands though. It hasn't lined the pockets of agents who've worked massive pay-off clauses into contracts, or transformed the sport into little more than brands, with the sport's traditions slowly killed off. While the officiating hasn't been perfect (how exactly do you disqualify a cyclist for going on the wrong side of the line when they did so under the influence of a large elbow smacking them in the side of the leg?), nor the conduct of the Olympians (Spanish men's hockey team), it's been nice to watch something where the referee hasn't felt the need to poke in every 30 seconds and indulge the most handsomely paid competitor as they feign both contact and injury, while getting decision after decision wrong. Seriously, balls to football.
Handball looks really quite fun. I wish I could get a few people together to play that. There was a canoe event that also impressed me quite a lot. I can't remember the name, but it was two people racing together down a rapid and they had to go through checkpoints. Britain won gold and silver. I was watching that and thinking that if I were to attempt to do that, there would be an alarmingly high chance of death or serious injury. They really were quite remarkable.