The opening ceremony of Olympic sporting extravaganza started at the Olympic Park Stadium at Stratford in London on 27 July 2012. The first interesting event was badminton on July 29. What a grand sight it was, the panoramic arch of Wembly stadium with the Olympic symbol set against a deep purple backdrop! People of all ages sporting their country colours were arriving at the stadium for football matches too. And one of the most attractive events as women’s beach volleyball.
On July 30 the most visible Olympic fans across the city were British and American, though there were many Europeans and Asians as well. The whole arena was deep purple-pink and the gymnastic floor was immaculate. In the team event, Japan was ranked second, after China. The Great Britain team was pushed to bronze. They were greeted by Prince William in the stands as this was the first Olympic medal in gymnastics for GB in a 100 years!
On July 31 the greatest Olympian of all time, American swimmer Michael Phelps, won gold for his team in the 4 x 200 m freestyle relay and silver in the individual 200 m butterfly. On August 4 came the event of the long jump. Team GB’s Greg Rutherford won the event soaring to 8.31 m. The 10,000 m final was won by Mo Farah. During the women’s 100 m final, the crowd went mad yelling with joy as Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce aced the race in 10.75 seconds.
On August 5 in the evening at Wimbledon, Andy Murray took sweet revenge beating Roder Federer in straight sets. And on the sea-side in Weymouth, Ben Ainslie became the greatest British Olympian in sailing by getting his fourth gold in four consecutive games.
On August 6 US swimmer Missy Franklin won four golds and the 16- year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen brought the aquatic centre alive by breaking the world record in the 400 m individual event. Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba bagged her third Olympic gold medal. And for us, there was boxer Mary Kom who showed grit and won bronze. The Olympic did not ignore older enthusiastic either. Hiroshi Hoketsu, a 71-year-old Japanese showjumper was the oldest participant. The evening of August 9 was lit up yet again at the end of the 200 m dash.
On August 11 the football final game was full of Brazilian skills, but they were unable to score except in the closing moments. The 2-1 score in favour of Mexico lit the stadium with green. Germans won the hockey final with a narrow margin of 2-1 against the Dutch. British boxers excelled in the ring, and in wrestling, our Yogeshwar Dutt won bronze in the 60 kg freestyle category. On August 12 our Sushil Kumar won silver in 66 kg wrestling.
India feels the frustration of a great nation with such small returns. A country of 1.2 billion people managed just 2 silvers and 4 bronze medals. Even Grenada (with a population of only 1,10,000) bagged a gold. Can we not show our glory in a more befitting manner in the Olympics?