HERE’S THE THING...
As I write this, we are still midOlympics, although as you read it, the Games are about to draw to a close tonight. What an experience it’s been to broadcast live from the Olympic Park every day as we’ve been doing on BBC Radio 2. With so much going on, I feel it’s been important to lap up as much of it as we can. I’ve been arriving in Stratford at about six each morning, just as the Park wakes up and begins to rumble with anticipation of another momentous day. I’m one of the first to go through security when it’s relatively quiet, so I’ve had the chance of some morning banter with the fantastic servicemen and women, who were drafted in at the last minute to make the Games safe.
A big highlight for me of the first week was getting caught up in the wake of the royal convoy — Princes William and Harry, the Duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — as they were sped towards Greenwich Park to see Zara (‘I gotta silver medal’) do them proud in the eventing on Monday afternoon. The police outriders shooed my 1989 Jaguar XJS out of the way. Not that I minded; it was quite an honour. And what do you know — five minutes later I was shooed over once again by yet more close protection motorcycle bobbies. This time it was for David Cameron. Blimey, you can’t move for corteges when the Olympics are in town.
only encounter with Cameron, as later the same day I almost collided with him in the press scrum outside the Aquatics Centre. We were both trying to sneak in to watch Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield in the men’s diving (although DC was having more trouble sneaking in than me). More moments of note included Katherine Jenkins and her mum nearly running me over in a golf buggy. They were being ferried over to watch the swimming and assured me it was unintentional. That’s as maybe. But it’ll still cost KJ a drink next time I see her at the rugby.
and anyone who says otherwise is just being miserable. Conscious of what an honour it is to be on the air, I’ve paid supreme attention to everything taking place, whether on the track, the field, all of the various arenas and in the pool or on the water. I’ll only get to do this once in my life and I wanted to have at least some idea of what I’m supposed to be talking about.
I love sport, but I’m in no way a geek or a pub quiz champ, so I’ve been reading, watching and listening to anything and everything Olympic. The listening part of which has necessitated the purchase of a small radio for when I’m down the garage and an even smaller, personal one for when I’m on the move. The latter has confirmed something I’ve always suspected but never been sure of until now: my ears are definitely the wrong shape for those little stick-in-your- ear headphones. I’ve tried employing them in the past and always blamed the design when they fell out. But having had to persevere this time, I can now declare my ears uselessly shaped for such a purpose. Just another physical failing, to add to my super-sensitive skin that blisters at even the slightest chink of sunlight (which is why this washout of a summer has been my most enjoyable summer ever, by the way). There’s also my complete lack of muscle tone, which means I have to call upon my three-and-a-halfyear-old, Noah, to help twist off the tops of the troublesome jars in our food cupboards.
if your kid is special when it comes to physical ability? There have been some fascinating stories this fortnight of how parents came across their kids’ talents. These got me thinking about Noah and Eli, and how important it is to let them have a go at as many things in their young lives as possible — just in case there’s a spark of something special, be it academic, creative, spiritual or physical. Every child will find something they stand out from the crowd at if given the chance, time, support, space and love. It’s up to us to make sure they get that chance.
that computer games do not qualify for the above. On the contrary, they may well spell the beginning of the end for a kid’s social skills, creative thinking, health and fitness. I’d go further and say they’re steadily obliterating thousands of years of amazing evolution.