As an avid sportswoman I had been counting down the days to the London 2012 Olympics. By the 27th July, Olympic fever had well and truly struck and having watched the opening ceremony with keen anticipation, the sight of Sir Steve Redgrave passing the Olympic flame to eight young athletes of the future, only added to the excitement for my own Olympic experience that was to follow – Weightlifting on Monday 30th July.
As a sports enthusiast and a keen rugby player, I have taken up a bit of weightlifting over the last 7 months to help with my speed and strength on the pitch – so what better way to motivate myself than to see Olympians in action? Nothing could prepare me for what I experienced on the day, an atmosphere I could never have imagined and weights I am inspired to lift.
My Monday morning started alongside the day-to-day commuters, only on a double length train, a very good idea I must add as we all got seats. I was bubbling with excitement and as we drew closer and closer to the Excel centre the nationality themed clothing became more apparent and the vibe of the games was infectious.
Finding our way from the station through to the Excel centre and the weightlifting arena was easy and well signposted. It was clear from all the new, but permanent looking signage around, just how much time and effort had gone into planning and executing the day’s events and the weeks to follow. The Magenta army were all around us offering help, guidance and even providing photo opportunities for the six members of our party to all join in and capture memorable photos of our day.
Whilst the sight of empty seats in the arena was slightly disappointing, this was soon forgotten as the event got underway. The Men’s 62kg was up first and what a fantastic performance, the weights they lifted in relation to their body weight was unbelievable. The enthusiasm of the crowd was so much that it could not fail to rub off onto the competitors. In particular the Micronesian competitor who hailed from one of thousands of small islands in the Western Pacific Ocean. He bound onto the platform and lifted the weights with spectacular and faultless technique. The feedback between competitor and audience was not something I could ever have ever imagined, nor did I think I would ever feel an experience like it.
The second half of the morning session saw the Women’s 58kg category (my weight category) and GB’s very own 18 year old Olympic hopeful, Zoe Smith. It still brings goose pimples to my skin as I write… the atmosphere was electric and it felt like every single person in the arena was chanting Zoe’s name, an overwhelming feeling I can only begin to imagine. Zoe performed amazingly and broke the British Women’s 58kg Clean and Jerk record to push it up to 121kgs, despite still being a junior competitor.
This experience is one I will never forget and has motivated me to be better and stronger to achieve my full potential in my sport. Whilst it is doubtful that I will ever even be close to competing at the Olympics, let alone be a medal winner, I can safely say that this will not be my last Olympic experience. I look forward to seeing Zoe and the rest of Team GB in Rio in 4 years time and that’s only after I continue daily to try and get more tickets to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics events.