THE Olympic Games are the pinnacle competitive event for most sports people and eyes across the world will focus on London later this week for the official opening of the 2012 games.
Thousands of athletes, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of spectators and supporters, have arrived in London for the 17-day event, starting this Friday, July 27, and continuing until August 12. Among them are eight athletes from the Redlands who carry with them the best wishes and support of everyone in this city.
To win selection to compete in the Olympics is victory in itself – a reward for the hours and hours of dedicated training and competition to reach the peak standards required for the games.
They are simply the best of the best and meeting the elite athletes from other parts of the world generates the healthy and friendly competition that has become the spirit of the modern Olympics.
Often the relevance of the games has been questioned. Are they necessary? Are they too expensive to run? Do they really achieve the goals of their charter?
The Olympic Games plays a crucial role in recognising the importance of different cultures, societies, races and countries. They help break down prejudices, racism and elitism and consequently generate a better understanding of peace, unity and tolerance as we all live together in this rapidly changing world.
Not only do the athletes vie for sporting honours, they are on the world stage playing out roles far greater than just competing in their various sports. They carry the hopes and aspirations of nations across the world, but more importantly they march under the banner of goodwill, humanitarianism and peace.
So to our chosen eight – Alicia Coutts (swimming), Nathan Deakes (race walking), Sharleen Stratton (diving), James Connor (diving), Arnie Dickins (judo), Thomas Edgar (volleyball), Larissa Miller (gymnastics) and Thomas Pichler (gymnastics) - good luck and good will to you all. Redlands is already proud of your achievements. To win selection for London is an outstanding achievement and recognition of the completing the hard yards. So enjoy our well deserved Olympics. Now, let the games begin!