Olympic support, success for Great Britain at all-time high

The bell sounded the end of the third round and both fighters took to their corners. The audience was noticeably nervous to hear the judges announce the final result, but still bellowed with the support of a home crowd.

“And the winner, with a judges score of 14-11, is Luke Campbell of Great Britain!”

The crowd erupted in elation. Campbell threw his arms in the air, returning the crowd’s love. His job was complete;  he knew he had made his country proud.

Photo by Tim Dix
Photo by Tim Dix

This was the scene last Saturday at Excel Arena, where Campbell became one of Great Britain’s 29 gold medalists. In a Summer Olympics where hosting the games seemed exciting enough for many supporters of Team GB, they have managed to have their most successful Olympics in history.

“Really quite nothing like it in recent memory. Not football, not the Tour (de France); this has got to be the greatest moment in Britain’s athletic history,” said Oliver Perkins, of London, who had just returned from watching some of the Olympic events with his mates.

After winning the Tour de France in mid July, Bradley Wiggins, affectionately known as “Wiggo,” kicked off the games by winning gold in the cycling time trial. While supporters of Team GB were ecstatic with Wiggo’s gold, they had no idea of the dominance the game’s host country would display during the rest of the Olympics.

“I never thought it would go this well for Team GB, but I must say it is brilliant we’re doing so well,” said Tom Bellack, a gamesmaker. “It really has added to the all-around success of the games.”

Talk of Wiggins being knighted by Her Royal Majesty was rumored when Scotsman, Andy Murray, won gold against arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer, in the men’s tennis singles final. After Murray’s redemption of his Wimbledon final against Federer, the dominoes began to fall.

Jessica Ennis won gold in the heptathlon, Zara Phillips (granddaughter of the Queen of England) won silver in equestrian, and then Team GB’s dominance of the Velodrome began. Winning 7 gold medals in just 10 events in the Velodrome, the results had other countries in bewilderment of how strong the British performances were. Isabella Gautheron, France’s cycling chief, even went as far to suggest they were using dirty tactics and “magic” wheels.

“They hide their wheels a lot. The ones for the bikes they race on are put in wheel covers at the finish,”  said Gautheron to French newspaper L’Equipe.

Photo by Scott Hutchinson

While some countries have questioned how they are doing it, Great Britain’s overall success cannot be denied. Team GB finished third in the final medal count, amassing 29 gold medals and 65 medals overall, making this statistically the greatest Olympics in their history. Team GB finished fourth in medal count at the Beijing Olympics, but that has not compared to the national pride felt from winning in these 2012 games, according to David Ackley, a fan of Great Britain and the Olympics. Being the host of the games as well as one of the top medal winners has support of Team GB at an all-time high.

“Having them do so well has really sparked Londoners interest in the games,” Ackley said. “I’ve never seen the city bursting with so much pride for our athletes.”

While larger countries like America and China dominated the overall medal count, Great Britain’s success has made the people of the UK proud, Ackley said.

“Hosting the games and competing like we have, has really made us all proud.”

It’s a celebration of humanity in London during 2012 Olympics, locals say

Seven year old, Jessica Pace shows her pride for Team GB at the Men’s Gymnastics Individual Medal Round on Wednesday.

The London 2012 Olympics is something that residents all over the U.K. have been preparing for a long time.

The expected congestion and mounds of tourists that would flood the city caused some to flee for the 16 days of Games.

“It’s a combination of not being fundamentally interested, thinking that I could probably see a lot of it on television at home and just simply having not enough will power to face the crowds,” Matthew Lacey from Surrey said.

On the other hand, some locals are pleased to have the most popular sporting event in history and all of the outsiders that flock to their city.

“Everyone who is in this place just seems cheery and happy to be here so its not so much tourists, its just like a big world family in one place,” Anna Hallissay said.

Although Lacey is not a fan of crowds of tourists, he agrees with Hallissay that the Games are ultimately good for the city.

“I think that it’s a fantastic opportunity to advertise Britain,” he said. “I think that it is a wonderful fact that they are here and I just hope that we do the Olympics that everyone visits, proud.”

Even the competition between the countries has been fairly friendly thus far. Hallissay said the atmosphere at the Men’s Gymnastics Individual Medal Round on Wednesday was congenial.

“Everyone’s team has done so well that to think it’s kind of an appreciation for what is being performed that just brings everyone together rather than like a football match, everyone is so opposed,” she said. “Its just a celebration of humanity, really.”

Michelle Bradley, coach of male gymnast Kristian Thomas who represented Great Britain in the Individual Medal Round said  the crowds have been fantastic.

“I mean the crowd has gone behind everyone — not just the GB lads — but behind everyone so I just think its been a really good atmosphere in the arena,” she said after the Individual Medal Round Wednesday at North Greenwich Arena.

The sportsmanship of the diverse crowd was even noticed by British seven year old Jessica Pace who was rooting for Kristian Thomas.

“I think everybody likes Kristian a lot. They’re all cheering and he makes everyone happy,” she said.

Lacey said it’s not just about Team Great Britain though, but instead about the Olympics and athletes as a whole.

“But in the end, I just hope that whoever wins does so spectacularly and whoever doesn’t win still feels they’ve achieved something,” he said.