Don’t put your Olympic bunting away just yet. We’re only at the half way point. Tonight the Paralympics kick off. And whilst the IOC made much of the fact that 8 of the 10 biggest Olympic sports were either invented or codified in the UK, it’s the Paralympics that are truly coming home. These games are directly descended from the Stoke Mandeville Games, first held in 1948, at the same time as the London Games.
Great Britain has historically done pretty well at these games. I guess that’s not entirely surprising. We’re a country who goes to war on a pretty regular basis, producing potential competitors of a generally athletic nature. And we have a decent public health system too. Not that this is probably a particularly good thing. And not that all competitors are war veterans. Far from it. Although those first games in 1948 were created for veterans.
The opening ceremony tonight was very positive. And fun. The Queen arrived alone. Whether that’s because Philip is still ill, I don’t know. Other factors may have been involved. It may simply have been decided that, with his track record being what it is, it would be safer if he watched them back at home. A whole stadium full of potential victims for an inappropriate gag would just have been too much for him to resist. The old chap’s 90 now. The excitement would have finished him off. Anyway, here’s a look at the Channel 4 ident, for a quick taster.