Courtesy is one of the major watchwords at the London Olympics. It is evident in the work being done by the Organising Committee and is critical to the success of the Games. Prime Minister Dave Cameron has stated that he expects to generate revenue in the vicinity of £13 billion from these Games, and while the opposition Labour Party is calling it a pipe dream, there is merit, at least in the courteous nature of the thousands of volunteers. The volunteers caused me to scratch my head yesterday. It was 7.30am and I was on my way to the swimming at the Aquatic Centre and had to get something to drink. I wanted a particular type of drink which I had not yet seen in London over the past five days. I asked a long haired blonde with a beautiful smile who was simply no help. Then, there was the Spanish looking brunette who suggested I tried something else, since she too, had not seen what I was searching for. It was left to an old man in the group to tell me where I could get my drink. This was how it went: “Take a railway station in King’s Cross; go left for about 100 metres; take the first right by the second traffic light and walk for 200 more metres, before taking a right by the greengrocer; Walk 50 metres and you will find Sainsbury’s, where you will get your favoured drink.”
I thought long about the directions and looked into this aged gentleman’s eyes for any sense of West Indian trickery. I could find none. So I walked. I figured age was not as important as many think because we have a 71-year-old man from Japan, Hiroshi Hoketsu, who is taking part in the dressage. Hoketsu made his Olympic debut in 1964. The good news is that all Hoketsu has to do, is sit on his horse, Whisper, who is just 15-years-old. If Hoketsu’ participates at the Games in Brazil in 2016, he will succeed Oscar Swahn of Sweden who was 72 years old when he won a silver medal. Hoketsu will have to hope his horse is still up to it then. Anyway. I got lost in trying to follow the directions and by the time I arrived to watch George Bovell swim in the 100 metres, it was just in time to watch Lane 2 in Heat 4, empty. I realised I could have stayed longer and kept looking for my drink.
As it was chef de mission, Annette Knott, explained that all was well with Bovell who is not injured. A decision was for him to devote his energy and effort into the 50 metres. This was a good decision. Even if Bovell had made the qualifying time for the 100 metres freestyle semi finals, it would have been difficult to reach the finals today. And with the 50 metres due to start tomorrow, where Bovell has an outstanding chance, it was really a no-brainer. There was sad news for Caribbean athletes when St Kitts and Nevis female sprinter Tameka Williams was sent home after admitting to taking a banned substance. This is not good and will unfortunately only continue to heighten the talk about drugs and sports, particularly in light of the ranging questions over 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen. Anti doping officials have revealed that cleaners and security staff have been asked to spy on athletes and report anything suspicious. However, as I left the Olympic Park and headed out of Stratford, I could not help but remark on the need to find some peace and find this elusive “healthy” drink. So, I looked around for help and watched many courteous volunteers dressed in blue and pink and decided, enough was enough, that drink will have to come another day.