With due deference to the efforts and accomplishments of all the athletes involved in the London 2012, those who have competed and those whose events are yet to take place, the defining moment of the XXX Olympiad occurred at Eton Dorney yesterday when Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins won rowing gold for Team GB in the double sculls.
Any gold medal is a stunning achievement... those looking on see only the culmination of years, maybe even a lifetime’s dedication and determination. To be able to produce your best in one brief moment however many highs and lows there have been along the way is, I suppose, what makes a champion. The knowledge that after three silver medals at successive Olympics, the opportunities for that elusive gold are naturally diminishing must make the pressure to perform even greater...
So whilst I salute Anna Watkins on her amazing achievement, I hope she will not be offended by the fact that today’s blog is dedicated to Katherine Grainger.
With physical strength and mental resolve way beyond my under-standing, Katherine’s “journey” (and I’m sorry, I really hate that word) to the top of the Olympic podium has in many ways captured the nation... and, although Pierre de Coubertain might disagree, the essence of Olympic competition. To strive to be the best... to come so close yet ultimately prove you are the best... well I was in tears watching the aftermath of the race, so quite how Anna, let alone Katherine must have been feeling I couldn’t begin to imagine.
Every Olympics produces moments of raw emotion... feelings you can’t create... they just happen... yesterday was one of those moments which will stay with me for a long time to come. For two remarkable young women, it will be a feeling that will last a lifetime and I feel proud and privileged to have been able to have watched their success and somehow share their joy... sport simply doesn’t get any better than this.
All my own work... almost.