With 25 days, 05 hours and 41 minutes to go until the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the excitement levels here in the UK are rising by the minute. In spite of the doom-and-gloom economic and financial news we’re bombarded with every day, doubled up – so far – by the most miserable summer weather on record, the host nation is getting into the Olympic spirit and seems determined to enjoy the Games.
One of the brilliant initiatives of the London 2012 Organising Committee was to have the torch travel within 1 mile distance from 95% of the population of the UK. That’s like having the Olympic torch visit your back garden. To achieve this ambitious plan, the torch is being carried by 8,000 torchbearers up and down the country over a period of 70 days, up until the 27th of July.
Today, it was our turn to cheer and welcome the flame. A once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed event, especially since all 8,000 torches were made by a local company here, in our city. This little detail made the event even more special, as there was a feeling of entitlement and pride running through the crowd.
Luckily for us, the procession was scheduled to reach our corner of the world between 7.30 and 8.00 in the morning, which gave us plenty of time to go see it and still make it to school on time. We went out early – too early, thanks to Brianna who couldn’t contain her excitement – and occupied a strategic position on a traffic island, in the middle of the road. The 15-20 minutes wait gave us time to soak up the atmosphere.
And then they started coming.
First, there were a lot of police officers on motorcycles… Some of them were solemn and serious, whilst others worked the crowds, beeping their horns, waving and shaking hands with the people lining the road.
Then the sponsors’ procession arrived…
…followed by the torch and its bearer, flanked by two runners on either side…
Cheers, applause, more cheers, and then it was over. The torch had moved on to the next roundabout to be cheered by other people and we returned home to get ready for school. But the feeling remained. We felt joyous, proud and energised. But, above all, we felt inspired.
*** If you want to read more about the Olympic torch, its history or its route, click here. If you want to watch the Torch Relay live, click here.