The Olympics: An armchair expert’s dream

By Adam Bull

Gam-jeoms. Tacks. Tail whips. Ippons.

If those words resonate with you, then you’ve probably been watching the Olympics as intently as I have.

As someone who could sit and watch just about any sport for an afternoon, the Olympics makes me feel like Augustus Gloop walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Instead of Willy Wonka, I’ve got Alex Scott and Clare Balding. Instead of Gobstopper toadstools, I’m devouring hours of Hammer Throw. Instead of Sherbet cherry blossoms, I’m feasting on everything BMX Freestyle.

Yesterday, I dove headfirst into a chocolate river of Velodrome action. And to be honest, I hope the Oompa Loompas don’t try to rescue me until I’ve drank every ounce of Omnium I can possibly take.

That’s the beauty of the Olympics. Sitting for hours on end, watching a sport that doesn’t cross your mind for 4 years, but then suddenly becomes the most interesting thing in the entire world. Or sports that you’ve written off previously, turning into something you wish you’d tried when you were younger. If only I’d jumped off the 3m board at my local swimming centre as a child, I could be knitting in the stands with Tom Daly wearing a gold medal around my neck… alas!

I can’t be the only one furiously WhatsApping mates with my own brand of Olympic punditry, offering expert wisdom built over many, many minutes of experience.

“There’s no way that’s a fault!”

“No one’s pulled off that trick since 2013! I can’t believe she’s gone for it!”

“A spinning-kick in the last 10 seconds when you’re 3 points up?! Is he crazy!?”

It helps having great broadcasters breaking down complex elements of the sports to a complete novice like me (special shout out to Lutalo Mohammad for making me love Taekwondo, and the pure, joyful energy from the BMX and Skateboarding commentary teams).

So as The Games begin to come to a close, I’m already planning my route to Paris 2024’s BMX Freestyle final (probably with a ticket in the stands, but you never know…).