London felt like a different city during the Olympic Games. (Perhaps it still does, as the Paralympics haven't finished yet.)
On the buses and trains you could tell who was off to the Games by their happy faces. The volunteers who directed us around the venues, helped us find loos and places to eat, and saw us on our way afterwards were usually smiling. And they teased, sang, danced and joked, so that we too always had a smile on our faces. Even the army was cheerful and chatty.
I watched beach volleyball, trampolining and athletics live, and judo and gymnastics and diving and boxing and lots more on television. I was awestruck to see people so skilled, so practiced, so highly trained, and so dedicated to being perfect.
At the events I went to, the spectators cheered British and other athletes alike, and we waved, and chanted, and stood up to urge them on.
|Greenwich Park: spot the camera!|
|(in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts)|
|Taken by Yair Haklai in 2008, St Petersburg|
No cameras in Ancient Greece, of course. In those days the media consisted of painters and stone and bronze sculptors. Most of the visual records of the Ancient Olympics that have survived are in stone or are painted on vases. Bronze statues, of which there were thousands, were made with the cutting-edge technologies of the time. Themis, the hero of The Boy with Two Heads, learns some of them during the story. Sadly the vast majority of large bronzes have been melted down - often recycled as weapons ...
(If you've been following my blog, you've seen this wrestlers picture before.)