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The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are finally here!
High Life's columnist — and champion heptathlete — wants to savour every single joyous, tearjerking and exhilarating second of it all
Well, the moment we've all been waiting for has arrived! The buzz of anticipation that started with the Torch Relay, which began in May, culminates with the last piece of the jigsaw — the Opening Ceremony. What will London's statement to the world be like? It's bound to be spectacular,
but what will artistic director Danny Boyle draw on — London's great history or a cosmopolitan capital? I'm sure there will be surprises — London 2012 has been full of them — the logo and the Team GB and Paralympics GB kits to name a few, so why would the Opening Ceremony be any different?
There have been some spectacular shows in the past — Sydney was impressive with its breathtaking aerial display, there was the archer lighting the cauldron in Athens — and who can forget the iconic lighting of Atlanta's cauldron by Muhammad Ali? Now the big question of who will be lighting the London 2012 Olympic Cauldron will finally be answered. Will it be a sports person? I'm not so sure, but I know we'll all be waiting with bated breath.
The Opening Ceremony is watched by a global audience of millions, and gives an insight as to why the Olympic Games is so special. All the flags and athletes of the world together, the excitement, the explosion of flashbulbs — it's a real celebration. I always enjoy looking out for the key names within each sport and, of course, the uniforms of the countries taking part.
For the athletes there will be a surge of adrenaline as the moment they have been working towards is finally upon them. There's a real mix of excitement and nervousness, and for me in Sydney 2000, it was just the trigger to let me know that I was ready. But spare a thought for those athletes competing towards the end of the Games, trying not to expend too much energy getting caught up in the roller coaster of emotions watching team-mates. It's tough trying to remain composed and focused, yet still supportive and involved.
It's been a long seven years since we won the bid back in 2005, and at times it felt like this day would never arrive. Team GB was hugely successful
in Beijing, but it's what the team does now that really counts.
I feel an immense sense of pride about our Olympic Park and the fact that we've pulled it all together so well — I'm very confident that the Olympic and Paralympic Games themselves will be a great success. There is a palpable energy around the city right now. So get ready to cheer, cry, scream and shout.
Read more: Denise Lewis on inspiring young athletes, her memories of the Games and coping with the pressure of competition.