16 September 2012

Perfect Role Model to Get Freedom of Edinburgh

Today sees the conclusion of an extraordinary summer of sport. 

I have not blogged about any of it since that dire cup final mainly because there has been so much to   say  that i can't see the wood for the trees. But we have had the  most remarkable three months .

To say it started with Andy Murray getting to the final of Wimbledon would be unfair. It probably started for London with Chelsea becoming the first London club to win the European Cup.

Murray's Wimbledon started the summer as a truly all British affair. His emotion at a close run thing won him many new admirers who thought we was another dour Scot. That feat was amazing  but quickly topped by our cyclists with Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France, branded with characteristic self modest by Sir Chris Hoy as the greatest sporting  triumph in British History.

A week later and we moved to the Olympics. Actually one four days later for me. I found myself at the football in Glasgow watching a much fancied Spain being humbled. The Olympics! In Glasgow! I couldn't believe it. It was also what the SFA are missing out on. A great family affair. There was about 35000 there and  there was none of the usual horrible tribal stuff  you normally get at almost all matches in Scotland.

The opening ceremony was so quirky.and so quintessentially British. I mean  the man of the hour was a side-burned mod with a passion for lambrettas and the Small Faces! The only thing  wrong with the opening ceremony was that absence of Ray Davies and the Who  probably because they were being saved for the  closing ceremony.

All that and I still haven;t got to the sport. Our Athletes excelled themselves. Murray struck me as being like one of those sprinters who wasn't  at their best until you put them in a relay team and when they got the baton in hand  for their team and team mates they just up their level.  His Olympics completed him as a player.

Anyho'  a remarkable set of results for our Olympians and Paralympians winning hat fulls of medals many of them gold.

Last Monday Murray then won his first Major in new York after 5 hours. How many other athletes have to compete at that level for five hours.

Today Murray goes home to Dunblane to a hero's welcome and also to see his Gold Post Box - for readers outside the UK the Royal Mail put every gold medallist on a stamp and a mail box in their town was painted gold! A truly wonderful moment was the rower who leaned over to her partners totally exhausted  and said "We've won the Olympics. were gonna be on a stamp!"

Today though Edinburgh will welcome our Olympians and Paralympian on an open topped bus parading through  the city. We will give the now 6 time Gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy the Freedom of the City. There have been fewer worthier recipients. 

This is a man who has raised a sport which has enjoyed mass participation but had been treated by the media as a minority support until he and a few others , through athleticism, through force of personality, though their competitive spirit dragged to into the heart of the public's affections.

He has won more than any British athlete has ever done and he has conducted himself with modesty and dignity - the ideal role model for future sportsmen and women. The perfect Champion he is such a great ambassador for his city.