Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
Sixteen days of athletic glory and heartache begin with the opening ceremony at London’s Olympic Stadium on Friday night.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has promised the greatest show on earth in coming weeks. It is the most complex event to stage, bigger even than the Soccer World Cup, producing hiccups that have raised doubts about his pledge.
Ticket sales have sometimes been in disarray. Traffic has been congested with the introduction of Olympic-only lanes in the congested British capital; bus drivers and border control staff have threatened strikes. Londoners have been told they must put up with missile launchers on their roofs in one of the most stringent security operations in the world.
More than just a glitch, the company tasked with guarding the Games couldn’t provide the manpower. The armed forces have been employed to fill security holes, an embarrassing row that is sure to rumble on beyond the Games.
But tonight the historic city will shrug these off. The opening ceremony has been kept top secret and the organisers have vowed it will be as good as, if not better, than the Beijing spectacular four years ago.
The athletes, in their nations’ colours, will follow their flag-bearers into the stadium with pride and the hope that they will leave with coveted medals when the Games end on August 12.
South Africa will be represented by 125 athletes, led in by flag-bearer Caster Semenya, whose own struggle to compete has been Olympian.
Over the course of the next 16 days, nations will be rooting for those taking part on their behalf, cheering with the winners and feeling the heartbreak of those who don’t make the podiums.
But all will remember this: just their achievement in taking part in the Games is a measure of success on its own.
We wish all the athletes, particularly our people, more glory than heartache.