After over two weeks of excitement the Olympics are over and a lot of us are left with a very flat feeling indeed. No reason to sit in front of the television with nerves on edge, hoping against hope for that gold medal. No more watching the news reports and drinking in the interviews with the medalists. I am not an Olympics kind of person, if such a kind of person there is. My main source of exercise is carrying the groceries to the car or chasing the vacuum cleaner around the living room. Yes, I'm exaggerating, I do actually walk for an hour every day, but that's about it. I don't swim, play hockey, take part in marathons. Hitherto, the sight of lightly clad athletic bodies scooting around the arena, legs and arms going like pistons, did not cause so much as a quiver of my heartbeat. Much less long-legged pole vaulters or those seriously scary diskus throwers. But then, on that fateful Sunday night, I turned on the television to "have a quick look" at the opening ceremony and I was hooked. Watching the lighting of the Olympic fire touched some primitive long-forgotten chord of pride in the human race as a whole. The competing nations parading with their flags and hopes held high gave me more goosebumps than a Christmas turkey. Here they were and they had been training for so long for this moment while most of us had happily carried on with our lives, totally unaware of the hard work and dedication. I might never have heard of half of the disciplines in which these athletes would take part but I was swept up in their enthusiasm.
And now the last gold medal has been awarded, the closing ceremony is about to take place and will no doubt prove just as impressive as the opening one, and we are left to our own devices again. It was a wonderful time, an enchanted time and I for one am grateful and humbled by having witnessed it.