After two weeks of warm up, followed by seventeen days of recovery, came the real olympics, where applause and cheers were offered up for personal life triumphs, rather than for just winning on the track. The ordinary Olympics prepared the way, and put people in the mood for the Power-olympics.
The inevitable commentator solicited audience enthusiasm, occasional music burst from the ample speakers suspended from the canopy, and over sixty thousand bodies roared and clapped.
The silences too had an effect: including the momentary quiet that followed the request at the start of the men’s 100m T11 semi finals — so the visually impaired runners would be sure to hear the starter pistol.
The next day we were positioned at the corner of Cornhill and Gracechurch Street for the marathon. The drumming in front of Leadenhall Market Arcade tugged at the viscera, nudging the spectators into readiness. First came the escort cars and motorbikes, then three-wheeled racers appeared from nowhere and turned the bend within inches of outstretched arms and cameras.
Sports can be moving after all, which is what bodies do, however they are assisted.
See Accidental people, Panoptic man, Mad crowds disease, E-motion.
“Athletes who are blind compete in Class 11. They are permitted to run with a sighted guide. Field athletes in this class are also permitted the use of acoustic signals (voice, electronic, clapping etc) in the 100m, long jump and triple jump. Class 13 athletes have more useful sight than Class 12 athletes.” Anon. 2007. The London 2012 Guide to the Paralympic Games. London: London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd, p.44 PDF