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Divided opinion but joy anyway
Even as the £27 million Opening Ceremony concluded on Friday night in London, there were still many with divided opinions on its legacy, given the tremendously difficult position announced by official economical status this week. The figures reveal that Britain’s economy has fallen into the worst double-dip recession for more than 50 years. The economy shrank by 0.7 per cent between April and June , the Office for National statistics stated. And of that it was revealed that UK sport spent over £100 million each year for four years since the Beijing Olympics in an effort to win more than the 47 medals they collected then, when they placed fourth on the medal table. Clearly there is a lesson there for all who say they support sport in T&T.
However most of the spectators that occupied the massive Olympic Park at Stratford appeared oblivious to the happenings away from the Olympic Village, as thousands of people made their way for the grand opening. The Shopping mall was closed five hours before the event to ensure that there would be adequate security and accessibility and given some of the leading names in the World attending, including Her Majesty, The Queen of England- Queen Elizabeth and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, who gave an encouraging talk to the USA team. It was a very colourful affair with lots of entangling intrigue on the lifestyle and traditions of the British ensconced in its portrayal. This Olympic pageantry has been termed by some as too working class with its concentration on the industrial revolution, but for many of the spectators who purchased their tickets online, it meant more to just be part of history and 65,000 people witnessed the excitement. Located in Olympic Park, The Orbit is 35 stories high and was designed by international sculptor Anish Kapoor. It is made of all steel and is the only vertical object in the Olympic Park. This is London’s moment and earlier in the day, bells rang for three minutes all over the city.
Marc Burns was a proud man and at 29, probably in his last Olympics, but his penchant for teamwork and team spirit more than anything sums up a man seeking some history. His goal, like many others wearing the red, white and black, will be to reach the final and then give his all. There is some irony in all of this because while everyone is already counting and claiming medals from USA, Jamaica and The United Kingdom, not much is being said of T&T’s chances in the athletics stage of the Games. So over the next few days, as the experienced pair of Roger Daniel (Shooting) and George Bovell (Swimming) do battle there will be a lot of expectations. Daniel will be in action on Saturday from 7am(T&T time) while Bovell will enter the 100m backstroke on Sunday from 6.53 am. As most people know, I love horse racing. So when I accidentally stumbled across a betting shop in St Pancras, I felt as if it was ordained that I visit to ensure what I saw on the outside of this location (a sign called Ladbrokes) was authentic. And yes it was true, but what captured my attention was not the extremely gorgeous teller nor the horses getting in line for a race at Newbury, but rather the small screen in front of me, that was showing only betting on Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake to win the 100m and 200m races.
In some cases you could actually bet the field against him, and the heats have not yet started. It was almost as if the bookmakers had already made this a two-horse race. Both of T&T runners were long shots; Keston Bledman at 66-1 and Richard Thompson (silver medallist from Beijing 2008) at 100-1. Of course everyone knows what I did… the rest is history. For good measure, I inquired about Kelly Ann Baptiste and learned that she is at 16-1 to win the Women’s 100m, while Njisane Phillip is at 25-1 to win the Match Sprint and 50-1 to win the Keirin. So maybe this is good, as our athletes will have a chance to excel without much pressure on them from the international media as well as the majority of the public. Only time will tell if this will work, but there is a sense of pride and exuberance in this team that promises to surprise…fingers crossed…and many Sunday prayers as well. As for me, I am heading out, not in any particular direction, but should I find something, you can BET, you would be the first to know.
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