If anyone sees me going anywhere near a boat again, they have my permission to shoot me
It being August, Britain, and the school summer holidays, naturally I’m looking out of my window at a grey, wet, dreary morning.
The Markit Construction PMI was out this week for July and makes for pretty grim reading, with the post-Brexit fallout knocking confidence for investment, unless it’s a) been planned so long ago that you can’t back out now or b) involves something where a weakened sterling is in our favour.
What we need (apart from a time-turner to take us back to June 22), is something to cheer us all up. To make us feel that we’re not all going to hell in the proverbial handcart but that we can actually achieve something pretty damn good.
Enter, on its four yearly cycle, the spectacle that is the Olympic Games. Now, I do know that not everyone is as Olympic-obsessed as I am and that to many of you it’s colossal waste of money and time, especially when all the exciting stuff will be happening on TV in the middle of the night here.
However. Cast your minds back four years to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Games. We had spent a fortune on hosting the Games and that ceremony gave us every penny of our money’s worth. Not just for the spectacle, bonkers in its brilliance and its story-telling, but for the way it included a team of the construction workers who had worked on the stadium who were included in the entry of the Olympic flame to the stadium.
By all accounts, Rio is still battling to get the finishing touches completed in time for Friday night’s spectacle but London showed what the UK construction industry can do, given the chance (and, OK, the money) and I think we can still be proud of that, four years on.
Since then, we’ve had a lot to be proud of on the sporting stage: Andy Murray’s won Wimbledon – twice, our gymnasts are world champions, our rugby team hit the floor and reinvented itself in spectacular style, the toughest cycle race in the world has been won by a Brit, Chris Froome -three times, Joe Root…
London 2012 saw Team GB’s best results in the modern Olympics, partly because it was our home turf – Jess Ennis says the crowd carried her round that final 800m – but partly because investments in sport over the years is finally paying off.
So the next few weeks will find me cheering and crying, hoping and praying, screaming and leaping around as the rowers, the gymnasts, the dancing horses, the runners, the rugby players, the triathletes etc… get going.
See you on the other side of the Paralympics.