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“Faster, Higher, Stronger.”
-Olympic Motto

I felt a little despondent about the upcoming Paralympics a few days ago when I heard that the Olympic torch passed through the town – at least eight hours after the event. There was no publicity, nothing to say that it was happening. It came and went and you were lucky to see it if you were in the area at the time.

After the success of the London 2012 Olympics, I really hope that the same attention to detail is given to the Paralympics. The medalists from Team GB are being hailed as Super Humans, but realistically the Super Humans are those who have overcome adverse conditions, loss of limbs and whatever else to be there, tonight, at the opening ceremony and for the next two weeks competing.
My faith was restored somewhat after listening to an uplifting interview with Channel 4 Paralympics Presenter Daraine Mulvihill. I wrote my blog in my head on the way home after hearing her on the radio. Her excitement and her own personal story that took her to where she was today was inspiring.
Daraine was a cross country runner with several medals to her name when she contracted meningitis at the age of sixteen. She had both of her legs amputated below the knee and lost all of her fingers. She runs on blades now, and if there is ever a presenter than can empathize and really know what the athletes are going through – she’s the one.

I also had a spare half an hour at lunchtime and against my better judgement, bought Hello! magazine after seeing a six page spread on the elite British Athletes of the 2012 Paralympics. So I’m buoyed once more to be behind my country all the way, and I hope that wherever you are – you might also spare the time to catch up on the Paralympics and support your respective teams. Let’s watch Oscar Pistorius take that gold and Jason Smyth keep his title of the ‘Fastest Paralympian on Earth…’ and let’s be proud of how far we’ve come not only as countries but as human beings.

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“All I’ve done is run fast. I don’t see why people should make much fuss about that.”

– Fanny Blankers-Koen

I saw the Olympic torch procession through the local town today, and whilst there seemed to be a lot of over thinking on the part of council and police – and there was cause for complaint (so many homes were cut off by road closures for two hours!) the actual procession and the patriotism shown was tremendous. When asking a Community Support Officer how people were meant to get to their homes, the reply was “unknown”. However! That aside, it was an amazing event.

Coca Cola, one of the official sponsers/presenters of the torch procession turned up and gave away free tin bottles of coke – Olympic themed so in years to come they will be a nice memento! As well as the torch there were lots of police around who actually did get into the spirit of things (which was a big change) and were quite friendly (another big change).

In fact the police cars that went through were suspiciously full of office looking staff from the station – it seemed that they were making the most of the event and road closure to get out and have a ‘jolly’!

Children came out of school, offices let people out early to go and watch, and people lined the streets in their hundreds from the town all the way up to the end of one of the main roads to offer their support. It was amazing.

So as you’ll see, my photos today are rather candid and journalistic, which makes a change from the normal set up shots grabbed here and there. Unfortunately the torch bearer had his hand in front of his face most of the time and was constantly waving at the cameras and news teams on the back of the bus driving in front of him – rather than the crowd, but that’s to be understood! His moments of fame were here!

Further ahead once he had run his bit, the flame was passed on to the next runner. This was the amusing part, people ran from the crowd (obviously planned) and unfolded a banner behind him, the news teams stabilised and he posed dramatically in the swap of the flame onto a new torch and runner. All very planned – and set up! That’s the English organisation kicking in right there.

There was also a coach full of olympic torches – you can just about see in this picture. It had torches and runners on it – probably spares and the ones for further up the road too. I’m heading out this evening to where the torch is being kept (lit) overnight as I’m lucky enough to have parents who know these things – so there may be more shots to come at a later time! For now though, enjoy our bit of Olympic Support – London 2012!!!

 

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