London Calling: Richard Fidler previews the Olympic Games

The Olympic Stadium. Picture: PA Wire
The Olympic Stadium. Picture: PA Wire
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THERE’S a good chance a tear will be shed by the time I finish writing this column.

Because it’s about the Olympics, and the Olympics (for some reason) make me think of that Heather Small song ‘Proud’, and that makes me think of my mum because it was her favourite, and that makes me sad because she’s no longer with us, God bless.

But more than that, the Olympics are about stories. Stories that break your heart and stories that make you jump in the air with joy.

It’s my job to tell stories every day. That’s what my son thinks I do - I write stories about sport and a man draws a little picture next to them to make it look better.

Many people say this, but I truly believe I have the best job in the world.

Having a frontrow seat in London to watch the best of the best do things that mere mortals can only dream of is as good as it gets for me.

The Olympics are the pinnacle of sporting endeavour. And because of this the stories get even better.

Odds overcome, a dream fulfilled, back from serious injury to a gold medal, the realisation of a talent.

Over 17 days in the capital this summer we’ll have all that and more.

I can hardly wait to get down there and start writing.

It’s not just what our local sportsmen and women do on the track or in the pool, on court, off the coast, or wherever they are competing, it is how they got there in the first place.

What drove them to give up their weekend nights out as teenagers so they’d be ready to be in the swimming pool for 5.30am on a Monday morning before school?

How much did that family sacrifice to travel around watching their son or daughter competing instead of a having a summer holiday?

What keeps them motivated to believe that they can take on the best in the world and beat them?

There’s so many questions and quite often the answers haven’t been thought about. ‘It’s just what I do and have always done’, is a reply that hides so much.

No one will be at the Olympics without a back story of hard work and dedication.

We’re lucky in our area that we have a fair few taking part in either indivdual or team sports.

Some are born and bred in South Yorkshire. Others are here by virtue of being attracted by university courses, sports facilities or just a happy coincidence of both.

They all deserve, and will get, our support.

We’re an area that looks after its own. Hopefully the good wishes we send will help in bringing back a medal or two by the middle of August.

So, here we stand. Just 100 days before the greatest sporting occasion this country has every seen.

Every morning, whether they admit to it or not, our athletes will allow themselves to imagine what it will be like coming back north with some precious metal tucked safely away in their luggage. Then they’ll go out and train just that little bit harder to try and achieve their dream.

And we’ll watch them when they compete and we’ll cheer them on in the hope that a little bit of their glory rubs off on us, because they’re from around here.

So many stories will be told between now and July 27, let alone in the days leading up to the closing ceremony on August 12.

If you love sport, if you love life, you’ll be fascinated by the Olympic Games.

And I hope the stories we tell make you feel proud of our competitors.