Olympics reminds me just how special athletes are

Shooter Steve Scott
Shooter Steve Scott
Karel Doubleday, who used her mum's blue badge so she could park close to her workplace

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Picture the scene. I’m sitting on a blue cloth-covered chair in the Victory Lounge at Fratton Park, keeping one eye on the Olympic rugby sevens on the big screen and the other trying to read a pamphlet.

I can hear the beeping of machines and low murmurs of people who, like me, are waiting.

I’m writing this, sitting on my blue chair, while waiting to be called for my turn to give blood.

It’s a special session for me, because it will be my 10th.

The Give Blood people were very kind when they realised it would be the 10th armful I’d be donating.

But really I’ve been giving blood for about 10 years, so it’s not that great a number.

I remember this time four years ago getting an e-mail or similar from blood.co.uk.

It told me that, because of the Olympics in London, there was likely to be unprecedented pressure put on blood stock and would I mind terribly helping them out with a pint of Judd blood.

Of course I didn’t, and giving blood again this week, four years on, has a very nice symmetry to it.

I don’t know about you, but the Olympics have once again reminded me of how special these athletes are, giving up so much for their sport and the chance to win a medal.

How can you not be moved when you see a pair of divers, one of which had to have his spleen removed and was given a five per cent chance of surviving, clutch each other in tears when they win gold medals?

How can you not be touched by Steve Scott’s humility after winning bronze in the double trap shooting?

And what about our women’s gymnastic team being as ecstatic with fifth place as the Americans clearly were with their gold?

If I can sit here, nibbling on a pre-donation ginger nut and listen to the pinging and binging from the machines and do something that might help someone else, then that’s enough for me.

A 10-time donor is a nice thing to be, but it’s nowhere near achieving a podium position at the Olympics.

AT LAST I’VE GROWN UP AND NOW APPRECIATE THE TASTE OF GIN

Isn’t it strange how you can spend years and years hating the taste of something, only to ‘grow out of it’, even though you’re in your mid-30s and really should have grown up ages ago.

It seems my taste buds agree with my parents when they say I’ve still got a bit of work to do in the growing up area, because recently I discovered a taste for gin.

It meant I could go to the Gin Festival held in Portsmouth and sample some of the finest Mother’s Ruin to be distilled.

It was phenomenal. Sold out weeks beforehand, it’s no surprise it was well-supported.

The last time I was at an event like this it was a beer festival and I’d just been offered my first job in journalism. Times really do change!

I HOPE THAT A SOLUTION CAN BE FOUND TO STRAIN ON OUR POLICE

I write quite often about the range of public events we have in this area, but I was pleasantly surprised to read that Hampshire puts on the second-highest number in the UK.

What I was less pleased to read was that this dedication to giving us all a good time was being blamed for the extra strain being put on Hampshire Constabulary’s resources.

There has been a lot made about the cuts to the force in recent years having an impact on how it copes with the extra work big events create. But it would be wrong to have a surplus in the quieter times.

I hope a solution is found, not least to ease the pressure on the officers and staff who have to work longer hours to help us to enjoy the summer and all the events it brings.