Does anyone else have vivid memories of sitting in a school classroom watching a cartoon which involved animals competing in the olympics in preparation for the real Olympics being held in LA in 1984?
I was 7. I spent years trying to find someone else who remembered that cartoon - every time I asked I got blank looks until a few years ago when I asked the usual question and someone said yes, finally, and confirmed I'd not been imagining things.
For some reason it left a really big impression. I was only 7. I was a bit of a sprinter when I was younger, on teams and things before I got even skinnier and ended up being a long distance bunny for a bit. I ran 100 metres in 16 seconds when I was 10, much later, and chucked a javelin around a bit - I've loved athletics for a long time and the Olympic Games and its ideals for just as long.
I love the buzz skinny tyres make on track boards. I love the molecular displacement 'whoosh' as the peloton goes by. I love synchronised swimming, trampolining, gymnastics, mountain biking...I'm glued to the television every four years, to be honest.
So I'm quite narked right about now. Narked that 1.5 hours of diving, for example, will cost me and my partner £40. That there's little point in just going to London for the day and that by the time we've actually identified the events we want to see, we've racked up potentially thousands of pounds worth of tickets. And because most people will be applying for the cheaper tickets, we are unlikely to get any of them. So of course, the sensible thing to do would be to apply for 2 tickets at £200 and be guaranteed of getting them. But I don't want to just go and see one session for 1.5 hours and pay £200 for the privilege. Nothing, to me, is worth that much.
Not even considering the fact that payment will be taken out of my debit account for tickets the organisers wont deign to inform me I've been successful in applying for until some weeks later, not considering the potential for accidentally tipping into overdraft if things are not militarily planned for, not taking into consideration that the resell website wont be available until next year meaning if you actually get more tickets than you bargained for, you're going to be out of pocket for about 6 months and Visa are going to be earning interest on your not inconsiderable sums of money, not considering the nightmare of accommodation and the hideousness that I suspect will be transport, nor the advise for disabled people which amounts to...wait for it...leave home early - don't be surprised if you see a lot of empty seats at events just like in Beijing.
In fact I can honestly say after rummaging around the London 2012 site this evening that I will be shocked if there are not swathes of bare red seats glowing in front of the cameras next year.
We're in a recession. Thousands and thousands of people are about to be made redundant and they think they're going to get people committing to pay for tickets they might win but might not win but if they do win more than they bargained for will not be able to get the money back for 6 months?
I appreciate I don't live in London. I appreciate that strictly speaking I'm not the target audience for these games. But the games will never come back to this country in my lifetime. They just wont. It is, quite literally, the chance of a lifetime.
One I wont be taking part in in any way at all because the prices are ridiculous, one event is pointless to apply for when you take into account the £70 in petrol needed to get to London and the cost of accommodation, and you know, there go the dreams of the 7 year old me.
I made the mistake of believing the games would be for all.
They're for Londoners. If you're a Londoner you can pick n mix. If you're not, it's not worth it. Pop me in the gutted category. Because I really am.