Opinion: Sporting brilliance has brought the Olympics to life
The EDP and Norwich Evening News's local government reporter Richard Wheeler was lucky enough to get tickets to see volleyball, football, beach volleyball and handball.
Here he tells us about his London 2012 experience.
A unique occasion with an amazing atmosphere
While a large number of moans about London 2012 stopped following the opening ceremony, sports fans already recognised beforehand the atmosphere makes any major event.
When things get under way, many millions more get swept along.
- 1 Large aircraft in shape of whale spotted above Norfolk
- 2 Mysterious 'large black animal' spotted roaming in fields near city
- 3 Rare sighting of Northern Lights captured above Norfolk
- 4 City pub to reopen with new owners hoping to bring back 'good old days'
- 5 Farmers call for Norfolk hosepipe ban
- 6 Why is Norfolk not introducing a hosepipe ban?
- 7 Firefighters battling forest blaze near Sandringham
- 8 New planning bid to re-use long-empty pub
- 9 Coastguard hunt for missing woman in early morning search
- 10 Two women in hospital with serious injuries after A47 slip road crash
Together it creates an unique occasion – and London 2012 is no different.
The atmosphere at Earls Court crackled as neutrals gathered behind South Korea's women's volleyball team to cheer the underdogs against the mighty USA.
At the Copper Box, thousands of handball novices, me included (beyond bored afternoons watching Eurosport), screamed themselves hoarse as the plucky British men were defeated by the vastly more experienced Sweden.
And beach volleyball? It was impossible not to smile thanks to a combination of brilliant athletes battling it out on the sand, clapping upon clapping from the crowd, dancers and Benny Hill music blaring out as volunteers raked the court.
Even GB football, a team of English and Welsh players willing to pull together and try, erased some of my nightmare World Cup moments of watching England in South Africa 2010.
Five days is where it stops for me, until a late athletics visit next week.
Sure, things can be very superficial – everyone has fun, appreciates the efforts of those Olympians and then goes home only collecting memories and merchandise.
It will be easy for any feel-good benefits to stop by the time the Paralympics closes the whole thing next month.
But I hope something more emerges, as people act upon any new enthusiasm for sport, community, friendliness and life the event may have generated.
I've got an idea of what I'd like to find next, a fire reignited in part by the last few days.
And I'll probably know within four months, rather than four more years, if any legacy has been left.
When the sport stops, the rest is up to us.
What do you think of the Olympic Games so far? Write to Evening News letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email email@example.com