There is no escaping the 2016 Olympics and Para-Olympics at the moment. It has been thrust into our lives whether we like it or not.
So how can those of us who are not sporting superstars make the best of the Games? What have the Olympics ever really done for us? With a nod to Monty Python’s ‘Romans’ sketch, from the film Life of Brian, here are five reasons why the Olympics and Para-Olympics are so brilliant for those of us who are not elite athletes.
1. A sense of belonging
You belong to the world. Don’t be afraid to be part of it.
~ Thomm Quakenbush, Flies to Wanton Boys
Many of us regularly follow particular sports. For me and Hub, it is mainly cricket, rugby and tennis, with a spot of golf and snooker thrown in from time to time.
Both the summer and winter Olympic and Para-Olympic games provide the opportunity for total sport immersion, often in disciplines about which we know very little. How easy it is to become instant experts in the differences between fencing with a foil or épée; the importance of a good pike in diving; and the advantage of an ankle pick in a wrestling bout. Yes, we suddenly find we can speak with confidence over dinner about the finer points of the modern triathlon. So what? Without noticing, we have expanded our minds; learned new things; seen a broader vision of the world. We might even be spurred on to take up a new sport, having been shown what is possible. But most of all, we get to feel like we belong, as part of an incredible global community.