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The day after the Olympics ended, I returned to London. There were remnants of the games all over Heathrow — signs telling the athletes and their families where to go and arrows pointing people in the direction of different Olympic arenas. The tube, or the underground, was still scattered with pink labels depicting the locations of the Olympic Park, Wembley Stadium and Horse Guards Parade.
But, the spirit in the air had clearly faded. There were few tourists on the tube or on the streets. The masses of business suits that had ruled the tube and the streets of London before the games had returned. Monotony of real life began to sink back in.
My mom, on the other hand, was enthralled by the Olympic banners still hanging all around the city. This was her first time ever visiting London, and to her, the Olympics were still a fresh memory. Her excitement over what had already past was refreshing, and it reminded me of the excitement that was in the streets only a few days earlier — groups and groups of different people and countries coming together for an event that happens once every four years.
The media had moved on as well. Not completely off of the games, but instead, highlighting the Paralympics. It was nice to see the Paralympics getting a little attention. There’s clearly a kind of lacking spirit surrounding this upcoming event. Before this year, I honestly didn’t know this aspect of the Olympics existed. Granted, before this year, I wasn’t the biggest Olympic fan either. I wonder why the Paralympics don’t get a little more love from the general public — the BBC was all over it, promoting the upcoming games like crazy. But, other than that it would have been hard to tell there was still another big event on the sporting horizon.
Some Olympic excitement did return on my trip back to the U.S. As I was waiting for my plane, there were two people dressed head to toe in USA gear. No one paid much attention to them — until we got on the plane. They were moved to first class and the pilots and flight attendants started taking pictures with them. Heads started popping up over the seats throughout the cabin to get a glimpse of the athletes, and those who were brave enough walked up to first class to try to get a photo.
Once we landed, the athletes were gone in an instant. There were no pink 2012 signs at Dulles airport, and no special sporting advertisements anywhere to be seen. The games were officially over. No excitement was in the air. At least I had some souvenirs in my bag to take me back to those two weeks when London was alive and the world was watching.
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