From the Grandstand by Col Hennessy


 Well did you enjoy the Games more than you expected?  Most of us in the grandstand seemed to have that reaction. That’s probably because we were more successful than we had been at London and Rio. Maybe too, we took extra delight in the fact that during the games we were officially announced as the host of the 2032 Games.

A month or so ago I did say in this column that I thought the Games should go ahead despite all the negative vibes coming out of Japan. Hats off to the Japanese; they really put on a wonderful show under extremely difficult circumstances. Thanks!

Certainly, it lifted the spirits of everyone here with so many of us in lockdown. We really needed some positive stories coming out of Tokyo when every day there are disturbing figures coming out of our three largest cities.

Maybe it wasn’t just the medals we were winning but the sportsmanship shown on and off the track or pool. There are just so many to list and I’m sure you all have your favourite.

They say they were our most successful Games since Athens (with regards to gold medals that is) but a word of caution. Two of our gold medals were in sports that didn’t exist in Athens. I speak of skateboarding and BMX racing.

Speaking of those two sports have you noticed the increased activity at the local skatepark? I have and I think its marvellous. Anything that gets the kids outside and active and away from the screens must be a good thing.

I originally had doubts about the authenticity of such sports belonging in the Games, but I have had to change my mind. I was blown away by the skill level on show by the competitors. The practice they must put in would be on par with the swimmers and the athletes, so good on them and I look forward to more of the same. Now I am not so grumpy with the kids who are building a track in the bush here in the rainforest behind the bowls club at Iluka. Go for it!

From the young to the old. Andrew Hoy flew the flag for us oldies. I met Andrew a couple of times when my daughter was in pony club, and he came up to help them and design a cross country course. I didn’t expect him to be still competing some twenty years later and winning medals as well. What’s more he said he would like to be going to Brisbane even though he will be in his 70’s. Still, I think there was an ageing Bill Roycroft competing for Australia at that age, so who knows.

So, all that’s left is for us to welcome everyone back home whenever the occasion arises. In the meantime, its only a week or two before the Paralympics are on and again, we will see the best of human nature on display.