Monday, July 30, 2012

London 2012

The Olympic Games have arrived in London and with us Londoners the entire world is celebrating outstanding performances, competition, dedication and fairness for two weeks. This is the fairytale vision. Reality is different but it still means that the most significant athletic event is happening across the city and it's fascinating entertainment.

After three days of competition today, it must be said that the Games have started with a mixed reception after a very enjoyable opening ceremony. Needless to say that an event of such magnitude would spur controversy, let along in London. Before the event had started, it was mostly the controversial issues that kept a conversation going. One issue that, with certainty, always makes headlines is the weather in London. No surprises here.
Seeing sways of empty seats in the arenas on the other hand is more than controversial, it is frustrating to see.

On the sport side, Alexandre Vinokourov's win of the Olympic cycling road race was also more than controversial, it was disappointing. Vinokourov is a controversial cyclist after his disqualification from the Tour de France in 2007 on doping charges and his continued but unconvincing denial of being involved with doping. And it was disappointing because I was hoping to see some of the very talented fresh faces, which made headlines during the Tour de France, sending the Vinokourovs into retirement. Although the Brits are by no means fresh faces, I had my fingers crossed for them making the entire nation fall in love with cycling.

A different controversial issue has echoed the world of sports since just before the previous Games in Beijing: Should Oscar Pistorius, also known as the Blade Runner, be allowed to compete in the Olympic games with other able-bodied athletes. The entire controversy circles around his carbon prostheses, which might or might not give him an advantage. I think it is equally controversial to think that the disability of lacking both your feet could be perceived as an advantage.

Luckily, the Court of Arbitration for Sports has established that he is allowed to compete in the Olympics and I am very much looking forward to seeing Oscar Pistorius on the track of the Olympic Park. It will remind us of how much we can achieve as a collective. Nature might not give a disabled person a natural chance and I dare to recall that disabled were outcast from society in the past. We've come to our senses and we keep striving for less barriers. I am happy that we did not build another barrier for Oscar.

So lets put a smile on for the superb company we have visiting from all over the world. Tomorrow will be my first visit to the Games: Volleyball. Great Britain vs. Australia I believe. And on Saturday, Oscar Pistorius' blades will hit the Worlds favourite track. No doubt, good reason to be excited.

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