I watched the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics in the large, airy living room of the flat that Helen had just bought in Didsbury, Manchester. We had not long moved in and didn’t have a lot of furniture, so it seemed very spacious indeed. But I had a pair of large, comfortable sofas and a small colour television, so I was made up. Oh, and Helen was out at work, so I had peace and quiet, too.
I remember being impressed with the archers who fired flaming arrows into the rooftop cauldron to light the Olympic flame, and yet not being surprised when it was exposed as a fake a while later. It was a Games where, like those archers, I missed a lot. I was at my parents’ house when Linford Christie won the 100m, but didn’t see the race, although I remember watching Sally Gunnell win the 400m hurdles and then telling her husband that he had to get her pregnant.
I do vividly remember seeing the Searle brothers win the coxed pairs rowing and cox Gary Herbert crying during the national anthem. Two years later I would be living about 100 yards from the rowing club where they trained. I also remember watching Britain’s women’s hockey team win the bronze medal in an absolute downpour, and one of the coaches announcing afterwards that the win was ‘…worth getting your knickers wet for’.
That aside, though, it was the first Olympics where I had been working full-time all of the way through and in those pre-internet days work really did get in the way of enjoying the Games.