A mutual excitement lingers in the air of London today in anticipation of the 2012 Olympics hosted by the capital. With the main Olympic park venues finished in construction, the aquatics centre was the only remaining. To celebrate the definitive moment Tom Daley, our very own diving champion who was ranked world 10m platform champion in 2009, will make the very first dive into the Olympic pool which has a 25m competition diving pool and 50m competition pool.
The one-year celebrations which are happening at the newly completed £269m stadium are continuing all over London, including live music acts from bands such as The Feeling, which initiate at 7pm in Trafalgar Square. Among spectators including David Cameron, Lord Seb Coe, the London 2012 chairman, was treated to a symbolic No1by synchronised swimmers.
The enthusiastic well-wishers of the Olympics were given a treat in the form of Boris Johnson. Smoothly walking up to his post to The Clash’s London’s Calling, the ever eager City mayor noted that the forthcoming event is a “Symbol of resilience” and then reverted back to his usual bumbling ways with comments like, “the hotels will be ready…the bicycles will be ready…”
Amongst clichéd beefeaters and routemaster buses was the unveiling of the Olympics medals, the gold and bronze of which featured engravings of Wolff Olins’ controversial 2012 symbol.
Amidst our high spirits, we could almost forget that there’s a competition (or, rather, quite a few) at the end of the tunnel. The standards in athletics are advancing spectacularly, and the world record-breaking Jamaican Usain Bolt who clinched the 100m Gold in 2009 at 9.58 seconds has told of his competitors running at the same pace in training.
There will always be the worry of a humiliation at home as practiced well by South Africa’s dismal World Cup performance in 2010, so who should we be looking out for to keep the Olympics dream alive for man and for country?
The most consistent and promising of all appears to be our cycling group who received 14 medals at Beijing. With his recent victory in the strenuous but popular Tour de France, Mark Cavendish will be our safety net of medal winners and, at only 26, we can hope to keep our national pride safe in his hands for a few more years to come. Lizzie Armitstead who aims to compete in road race and omnium has enjoyed a string of medals and acclaims in recent years in team pursuit, omnium, scratch and team races. Britain’s most successful female track cyclist of all time, Victoria Pendleton, will be hoping to contribute to the dreams of gold by competing in individual sprint, team sprint and keirin but at 31 during the Games (old in terms of an athletics career), there is more of a question of her maintaining her fitness levels as she has been evidently been performing at her peak for 6 years straight.
The 2012 Olympics can’t be brought up without the mention of Tom Daley. As a nation, we’ve taken the 17-year-old under our wing ever since his participation in Team GB’s diving competitions in 2008 at a tender age of 14. But after a sloppy synchronised dive recently with partner Pete Waterfield which culminated in a 6th place finish at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, the diver’s maturity and strength have been questioned in expectation of the 10m individual platform and 10m synchronised platform in 2012. Especially with fierce competition from China who left with 10 gold medals at the championships, the British hopeful’s will have to work hard to get gold.
In 26 competitions, Team GB are training for their lives, and for some this could be their last chance to shine. Beth Tweddle, the talented and hopeful gymnast, will be aiming to perform at her best at the age of 27 next year; it is unlikely she will compete in an Olympics again and impossible for her to compete in an Olympics event at home. All we can do now is sit back and wait. Let’s make next year an unforgettable one, as it is highly unlikely that this historic event will ever be repeated in your lifetime.