Admittedly, this subject doesn’t fit in to my vague, ill-planned notion for this blog, but I feel compelled to write about it, so I hope you’ll indulge me.
Yesterday evening, I was lucky to be given a ticket for the athletics at the Paralympics at short notice. I was slightly dismayed not to have time to gather patriotic paraphernalia (I stopped short of painting my face with biros and Tippex from the office stationery cupboard) so I decided to make up for my lack of red, white and blue by being as vocal as I physically could be. As it turns out, I’m not sure I could’ve held back my cheers if I had tried.
We were fortunate to have quite a few finals in our session, each of which was inspiring and admirable in its own way. Highlights for me included Fiji’s first EVER medal in either the Olympics or Paralympics, courtesy of Iliesa Delana, who won gold in the high jump, and gold for Great Britain’s Mickey Bushell in the 100m T53. How proudly (and loudly) I sang the national anthem in that magnificent stadium.
Perhaps my favourite feature, however, was the incredible support the crowd offered to the underdog of the 5000m, Argentinian José Luis Santero who ran determinedly with his wonderful guide Jorge Luchik, despite being lapped by other runners. As the pair travelled around the track, the roar from the crowd preceded them by approximately 100m, and all 80,000 of us went absolutely nuts when they finished. For this, and many other reasons, I do love my fellow Brits.