June 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, July 20, 2012
It came, it burned, it gave everyone a buzz
Even the most hard-hearted, anti-Olympic misery guts must have been just a little bit moved by the remarkable week during which the Olympic Torch Relay hit Kent.
Because however much animosity or apathy there may be among those not thrilled by the prospect of the world’s greatest sporting event being held on our shores, the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets created a genuine feel-good moment – a buzz only achievable through the coming together of communities, united by a common theme.
All of which adds a little credibility to the Olympic ideals which normally require a ‘pass the sick bag’ response.
But the three-and-a-bit days the torch stayed in Kent did prove to be a genuine major event for the county.
There must have been some concerns that the crowds wouldn’t turn out in force, yet the moment it crossed from East Sussex and arrived in Tunbridge Wells it was clear the people of Kent would flock to the flame.
It was estimated some 25,000 people lined the streets of the royal town to see it – and the same figures were replicated in each and every town it passed through.
Even the sun made a rare appearance as the spa town rejoiced en masse.
With the exception of an idiot who made a grab for it in Gravesend only to feel the full force of the accompanying security men jogging alongside, the crowds were keen to celebrate the flame – and cheer on the torchbearers.
The Olympic Games is a very different animal to a FIFA World Cup – there is none of the pack mentality and rabid patriotism of nation versus nation among the crowd, instead there is a delight in watching those at the very peak of their talent do battle on a global scale.
The Olympic Games may be built on some gut-churning ideals but the event is one we should all embrace and enjoy – and relish the fact it is all taking place on our doorstep.
We’ve all seen the flame, now we’re ready for the world’s best to entertain us.
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