Having recovered at last from all of the excitement of London2012 I am reminded of a comment made to me by one of my children at the end of last year. As I opened the envelope to reveal the results of recent exams I reacted with unbridled delight to the thinly veiled surprise of my son. “What did you expect Mum?” was his retort as he turned on his heels and went off to play football with a group of friends.
I’d like to think that everyone involved in that wonderful spectacle that took over our world for two weeks this August is reacting with similar insouciance. Because after all, what exactly were we expecting?
The UK boasts (we’re not good at using that word) one of the world’s finest event and exhibition industries, packed with brilliantly creative employers, employees and freelancers, backed by exemplary technical expertise and sound health and safety practices. Across the country there are thousands of students studying the intricacies of all aspects of event management and every day teams of hard-working and downright clever individuals are producing some form of festival, exhibition or meeting. Year in, year out very talented people create mass events such as The Edinburgh Festival, Trooping of the Colour, Glastonbury, Glyndebourne, Goodwood etc*… with the odd Jubilee and Royal Wedding thrown in for good measure. And if you have been to the West End recently and seen what a proficient and professional technical crew can create in what is a relatively small space then the wonderful sets at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be celebrated as a showcase of the mastery of this particular craft.
There are so many, many things to celebrate: our attention to detail (though I think David Brailsford has now set the bar just that little bit higher); our ability to create laughter and joy; our respect for every culture and idiosycracy (including our own); and just how good we are at events.
So go on: give yourselves a pat on the back; walk tall; talk yourself up; look the world in the eye and say:
“Of course it was great. What did you expect?”
p.s. and a huge pat on the back to every athlete whether they were a medal winner or not, Katherine Grainger in particular.
* events that popped into my head at random