At last, a little bit of respite from all things Olympic

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone
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The subject of this column will not be the Olympics.

That will be the only time I use the 0-word in this particular article. If you want to read more about the London athletic jamboree, I advise you to turn to the sports pages of this newspaper.

Instead, this is a call-to-arms to those who might not actively dislike the event, they’re just a little bit fed-up of seeing it plastered everywhere. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it, we’re just asking if it could be toned down.

I am not dismissing the great lycra bunfight outright. I admire anyone that can summon the dedication required to spend years of their lives running around in circles, tossing lumps of metal across fields or jumping over fences.

‘Ah!’, I hear you cry, ‘the track and field races don’t start until next week, you’re moaning about events that have not yet taken place!’ I know this. I have no choice in knowing this. Anyone who has watched television news or casually glanced at a national newspaper in the past week must have the entire games schedule ingrained in their memory, thanks to the remorseless reminders that are fired at you with military precision.

I could tell you more about the medal chances of the Turkish weightlifting team than I could about my schedule for the coming week.

Page after page, and hour after hour of drivel, sorry, I mean coverage. As a journalist (if only part-time) I appreciate that some events are more news worthy than others, and deserve that bit more attention. But there is such a thing as overkill.

The BBC has four channels available on Freeview, plus all the others that magically appear when you press the red button. Could they not have kept all the adults gala day events to one channel?

But even when I’m at my most crabbit, sitting down to watch Eastenders after a long day at work only to discover there’s swimming on, I can still see the good the games brings out in people.

Like the story of Kieran Maxwell, a 13-year-old from Darlington who lost a leg to cancer last March. After having a prosthetic leg fitted, he took part in the torch relay when it passed through Bishop Auckland.

The joy on his face at running down the street was touching to see.

This week, it was revealed that Colin and Chris Weir, the couple from Largs who last year won £161 million in the lottery, will pay for Kieran to have a new, advanced prosthetic leg fitted which will allow him greater mobility.

All credit to the Weirs. Now, some will say they can easily afford it. But they’ve still taken the time to help out, which not everyone would do in their situation.

And if wasn’t for Kieran carrying the torch of a certain sporting event, then maybe they would never have heard his story. Moments like that make it all worthwhile.