I’ve just had my first encounter with the Olympics ’ and, happily, it was with the Dutch, Canadian and Italian beach volleyball teams
I’ve just had my first encounter with the Olympics – and, happily, it was with the Dutch, Canadian and Italian beach volleyball teams.
As a 28 year old male, you might think that my motives were impure, especially given Boris’ statement on Sunday that, ‘There are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is splashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers.’
But I turned up because a friend at the Treasury told me that beach volleyball is very watchable for quite different reasons.
And having now seen Marta Menegatti and Emanuel Rego in action, I can confirm that he’s absolutely correct: there’s the subtle blend of defensive team play combined with the raw individualism of the attacking spike, the audience-friendly use of dance and dubstep music between points, and the immortal combination of sun and sand which makes Londoners feel like they are temporarily on holiday.
Seemingly, the news has spread. Whereas I was expecting Horse Guards Parade to be filled with a baying mob of testosterone-fuelled teenagers, armed with binoculars and fervent prayers that the London weather might rise above the 16 degree bikini threshold, in fact the 15,000 seat stadium was filled with families.
And, thankfully, the entire occasion was pitched perfectly to them. A sparky young presenter explained the rules of the sport and gave prompts as to how the crowd could get involved (brace yourselves for plenty of clapping and dancing) while the ushers smiled constantly in a manner that made the Brits feel suspicious and the Americans right at home.
All in all, it’s an extremely bouncy day out – and not just for the reasons that Prince Harry attended.