It’s the middle of the night in parts of the US, but here in London a
day many have been waiting years for has been under way for hours.
A few hours ago bells rang out from every corner of the city.
Under cloudy skies, locals who were hurrying into Tube stations, police casting
watchful eyes, tourists trying to find coffee—they all paused, as if inhaling
before a giant burst of energy is let go.
That’s the atmosphere here. While negative stories about
these Olympics — London’s ability to host them, the weather, and the
possibility of a disruption— tend to stand out in the headlines, that’s not the
vibe on the streets.
Yes, there’s a steady beat of military helicopters overhead
at the Olympic Village, it looks odd to see police armed, and you think twice
before cramming into a crowded underground train with hundreds of strangers. But
all that appears in the background. In the foreground are people from every
corner of the globe, smiling, snapping pictures of the amazing spectacle that
has been created. Even locals, supposedly world famous for being down on
everything, appear to love the attention their vibrant, colorful city is
Asked at a pub near our apartment last night whether they
were ready for the Olympics to leave town, a handful of occupants at both nearby
tables seemed puzzled by the question. They are having the summer of their
lives here in London, I was told, and feel lucky to live here.
Maybe it was the pints, or the humidity from the Tube
station, but I agree with them. I came here expecting to enter nothing short of
a war zone, with terrible crowds, rain, and bitter locals. It has been exactly
the opposite. As we were reminded in a meeting this morning by the executive
managing editor at FOXSports.com, “We should pause and just think of how
fortunate we are that we get to be here.”
As I fight through the crowds on their way to the Olympic
Village and get stopped at every conceivable checkpoint today, I’m going to try
to keep that in mind.
Let the Games begin.
<span style="font-family: "Calibri","sans-serif"; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;">Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/GettyImages