The Olympics

I'm still digesting the intense summer of sport we've been treated to - day after day it was a televisual feast of human endeavour reaching its physical limits.
Being in the stadium one night was a privilege - any strands of cynicism blown away by the sheer mass and might of the crowds and the fallibility and frailty of the world's finest athletes. These people seemed so human on the spongy track under the floodlights, lining up on their starting blocks, adjusting their lycra. Just them and the track or the jump or the pool or the javelin. Such sport is not an allegory for anything else; it is real and pure. I won't forget Mo Farah's gleaming forehead as he rounded the bend of the track (absurdly fast) and the sinews and muscles moving under his skin.
Steven Connor, author of the Philosophy of Sport, expresses it far better than me. Sprinting, he says is the "enraptured attempt to escape the capturing drag of mass". We see this too in dogs and horses and children running as fast as they can, beyond the constraints of time.


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