Flame of hope

ONCE AGAIN, the great British underdog mentality has triumphed much in the way that Olympic bid chairman Sebastian Coe used to win his races on the track. A late and powerful burst off the last bend overtook favourites France at the line in Singapore to secure the 2012 Olympic Summer Games for London.

Further rivals, Moscow and New York, were already left behind after the second ‘lap’ of voting, while Madrid fell away in the third ballot. Paris was finally overcome 54-50 to spark off celebrations among the London delegation.

Perhaps the turning point in this riveting contest was Lord Coe’s impassioned speech addressed to the gathered delegates of the International Olympic committee, evoking memories of his childhood, his Olympic dream and, ultimately, his success. A major factor was also London’s multicultural ethnic mix and the fact that the bid encompassed children all over the world, attempting to instil hope and interest, in and for the future through the medium of sport.

These ideals were immediately challenged the following day, when innocent people of many nationalities were targeted by terrorist bombs all over central London. A bitter blow had been dealt, but the torch, which will burn brightly in England’s capital in seven years’ time, will never be extinguished.