I’m watching the montage and crying again. Moments of glory and defeat scrolling across my screen, heros crossing finishing lines, looks of disbelief and joy on their exhausted faces, the feted weeping on podiums as eighty thousand people sing the national anthem in their honour.
We’ve always been accused of being reserved, frigid even, but I think we British have been wrongly judged. We feel as deeply as anyone, we just don’t shout about it like some. This summer, this amazing summer, has allowed us to say out loud what we often feel. How proud we are, how moved we are, how much being part of something greater than ourselves means to us. Turns out it means an awful lot.
We’ve talked to strangers on the tube, screamed in stadiums until our throats hurt, jumped up and down and hugged in the manner of people on the X Factor. Maybe we’ve even been on a journey, but I wouldn’t like to cheapen it by talking like that.
We’ve always felt things deeply but I do believe we’re different now. We who were there, we band of brothers, shared something so special, that we’ll always be linked by our experiences this summer. When we meet and talk, there’s a spark of recognition, of shared wonder at the gloriousness of it all. When I talk to people who went away, who weren’t here, they don’t get it, how special it really was. I feel sorry for them.
We were lucky enough to go to the closing ceremony on Sunday. It was the perfect end to a perfect summer. We clapped and cheered and cried and stood up time and again to show our appreciation for everything that had passed. As we wearily made our way towards Stratford Tube after one of the finest evenings of my life, one of the ever cheery Games Makers, sitting on her high chair, sang the ‘So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye’ song from The Sound of Music and the snaking crowd replied. Then, as we walked through the station to the trains, the Tube staff lined up and said, one after the other “Goodbye, safe journey, we’ll miss you all.”
It really was something, wasn’t it?