I know I blogged before about how I love all over the Olympics. And I do, I really do. The Saturday night where I was sat in the Olympic stadium as team GB won three gold medals genuinely was one of the best nights of my life. And the diving final was incredible, and I loved the Lochte-Phelps swimming, and I gorged on gymnastics and went out to see the cycling road race. I sang the praises of the BBC’s website, and planned my evenings about what events were going on.
But there was a little part of me that couldn’t actually wait for it to be over.
And it was because of those last two points; the amazing ability to watch ALL OF THE SPORTS ALL OF THE TIME, and the planning of my life. They seemed at first like fantastic and sensible things, but slowly I found myself being subjected to some kind of scary Olympics-creep whereby it began to take over everything.
Yes, the Olympics have a history becoming all-consuming; Beijing is the only thing I remember about the summer of 2008 that isn’t related to my dissertation. Back then it was great escapism from a world in which I sat in the library from 9 til 6 writing things about holocaust literature. I expected the Olympics to be the same this year; great escapism from a world in which I sat in an office from 9 til 6 writing things about telecommunications.
But even though it started out that way, it didn’t stay like it.
Because I found myself being smushed by some kind of Olympic-guilt-pressure. There was so much going on, and I wanted to watch all of it. Even the dancing horses. But I couldn’t, so I had to choose. Every single moment of every day, I had to make a choice; gymnastics or canoeing, rowing or fencing, eventing or cycling. I’d settle on one sport only to worry that I was missing something brilliant on one of the other channels, but I couldn’t bring myself to switch because then I’d have to make a choice all over again.
And at the same time, I started worrying that I couldn’t step away from the Olympics because to do so would be traitorous and bad and wrong to my Olympics-fanatic self. I HAD to sit there, and I HAD to watch it because it was a once in a lifetime thing to have the Olympics in my hometown. And I’d said I was going to watch all of it, so I bloody well had to.
I felt bad going out for walks. I felt bad if I had to cook dinner. I felt bad hanging up the washing, or planning to meet friends because that was time I should’ve spent watching sport while I still had the chance.
And that was all before we even got to the tension of the competition itself.
So by the end of the first week, my anxiety levels were ridiculous and I was starting to go a bit cross-eyed. I was in danger of destroying my own Olympic love by just being TOO DAMN ENTHUSIASTIC. The whole thing had me so het up that I gave myself a migraine and ended up spending the entirety of Sunday in bed, rising just in time to catch Murray’s tennis gold before having a nap until the 100m final. After which I took an executive decision to step away from the Olympics a bit, and maybe just watch my self-made highlights by flicking about on the BBC website each evening.
And that worked better; I was able to actually enjoy the second week of the games, and to even go places and see people. So that’s a lesson learned for 2016; I should probably be less of an Olympic junkie.