This morning I got up far too early, drove from London to Reading and parked in The Oracle car park. No, this wasn’t just for fun, it was to see my mum carry the Olympic Torch through Reading. Myself and my brother had nominated her for the role around eight months ago for her just being ace (the real reasons can be seen here) and it felt quite surreal that the day had finally arrived.
We took up a spot with the family at the point where she was changing over with another torch (they call this moment a ‘kiss’) and waited patiently for her to arrive. A juggler and street dancer kept us vaguely amused before they announced she was on her way. Then almost out of nowhere she sprinted torch-in-hand into the arena like a contestant on Gladiators to huge local applause. Like a red carpet professional, mum then fulfilled requests from bystanders for photos and a feel of the torch. The kiss then took place and she was off down the street with a purpose that Usain Bolt would have envied. It was a simultaneously amazing and amusing moment but one that definitely felt historic, if only for us.
The atmosphere for those 20 minutes or so was terrific and there was a total sense of community among the onlookers. I guess that’s what an Olympic spirit is. I’d certainly recommend Londoners to soak it up when the flame rolls into town in the next couple of weeks. Tom Young
To find out when the Olympic Torch is heading your way, see london2012.com.