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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cumbria at the Games

CN Media sports writer Paul Turner was in London to report on Cumbria’s athletes in the Olympics.

He also wrote a daily diary on life in the capital during the Games.

Here, in his final entry, Paul reflected on the most exciting fortnight in his career and a lifetime of memories he will never forget:

TODAY is Day 17 of the Olympic Games. You won’t see it on any of the official schedules, but those of us who were here know.

The events will include the London Euston dash – the only race requiring more paramedics on standby than BMX – the Lancaster platform switch – where positioning is everything – and the luggage-rack lift – requiring great strength to manoeuvre a bag twice as heavy as it was when you arrived into position.

Last night saw the Games officially end with the closing ceremony, but no-one who went will ever be able to get the last two-and-a-half weeks in London out of their system. When I make my way home today, I will expect smiling volunteers, resplendent in purple and red jackets to be pointing the way with their huge foam fingers.

The chances are, when I got ready this morning, after putting on my polo shirt and trousers, the next thing I went to wear was the Olympics lanyard that has hung proudly from my neck to allow me entry to events.

When I get on the train, I will be wondering why BBC sports editor David Bond isn’t in the seat next to me – great guy, very tired, but happy to talk and honestly surprised when I told him how good the Beeb’s coverage has been – and why Brendan Foster, Steve Cram, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wladimir Klitschko aren’t in the next carriage along.

Things will be different now though.

For 16 days, the capital has been transformed, the country has come alive, a new national pride has emerged – we have all become better people.

Some of the moments I have been lucky enough to witness first-hand will live with me forever. The Super Saturday at the cycling and in the Olympic Stadium, all three of Usain Bolt’s gold medals, the Brownless brothers excelling in the triathlon – I can say I was there.

And I probably will. Repeatedly.

Ad nauseum.

Those of us in the press can say that we have been in a privileged position and I don’t think any of us have forgotten that.

I can only hope my workplace has had a massage parlour installed downstairs if my back ever starts to ache, that a relaxation lounge has been put in so we can all go and lie down after a long shift and that the desks have been moved outside so I can soak up the sun while typing away.

Oh yes, it’s been hard at times!

It has been tiring, starting early, finishing late, dashing across the capital from venue to venue, sport to sport, but definitely worth it. I may never experience anything like it again in my life.

Here’s to tomorrow.

Day 18 and the freestyle lie-in followed by the under-57kg lunch eating.

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