Wednesday, 15 August 2012
A Post-Apocolympic Sporting World
If you're being honest with yourself, as a British Sporting fan, did you really think we would have quite such a successful Olympics?
Surely something is amiss when we experience this level of genuine success with no 'buts' and particularly when all the logistical side of things ran so smoothly as well. A lesson in how to defy multiple British self-perceptions in one spectacular fortnight. After years of being faithful (and perhaps ever so slightly masochistic) spectators of great anticipation preceding deflating and disappointing sporting performances something was very different this time. It is unlikely that many of us will have in our lifetime either another London Olympics or a time of such unified national fervour and support. Similarly it's pretty unlikely that any time soon Team GB or its composite nations will see a repeat of such unbridled sporting success.
There was such a build up that frankly most of the country was pretty sick of the whole thing before it even started and yet as a nation we were won over by relentless success. Barely a day seemed to go past when we didn't win a medal in a sport that we barely knew existed, alongside overwhelming dominance in the likes Cycling and Rowing. Suddenly the whole nation, sporting-sceptics included, found itself being swept along about Canoeing, fired up about Trap Shooting and struck by Taekwondo.
So now we find ourselves back in the regular swing of things. The football season has begun again in earnest, with the League Cup, Charity Shield and random irrelevant international friendlies. It's hard to see how anyone can stop City from dominating the Premiership this season. A slow start might put them under pressure and make the race interesting, but the strengthening done by the chasing pack doesn't seem like enough to make the difference. Chelsea and Arsenal have spent a lot and brought in some excellent players but have lost their respective talismen with Drogba departing and Van Persie making his intentions clear. It seems as though Utd have sealed the RVP deal so they could seriously threaten, as they almost always do, but the likes of Liverpool and Spurs, if anything, seem weaker than last year. That said, the new manager effect is an unpredictable enigma at the best of times. At least we don't have much time to wait to find out.
Meanwhile, the rest of the sporting world continues as though it is any old August. London 2012 and the great success of Team GB has no bearing now on the England - South Africa cricket series, the US Open tennis, the AVIVA Premiership rugby and Formula 1 returning to action from its mid-season break. Plenty to keep us interested then.