Tag Archives: team gb

Invictus Games Closing Ceremony

The Invictus Games closing ceremony was how I originally found out about the whole thing!  

The ‘Foo Fighters’ were to headline the closing ceremony concert and play in the UK for the first time in several years; several other artists would also give their support by playing: James Blunt, Rizzlekicks, Bryan Adams, Ryan Adams, Ellie Golding and my own favourites, Kaiser Chiefs.

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However, the closing ceremony was far more than that; the main stars were the athletes from the games…..and wow, how they were applauded!?! 

Everyone came onto the stage and 40,000 people gave several minutes of racious applause in appreciation from the athletes who came from all over to take part. 

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Certainly, the two biggest cheers came for the USA and team Great Britain; but everyone was celebrated, and quite rightly so.

Prince Harry gave a great speech and would not be rushed by the hungry crowd to allow the Foo Fighters to begin their set (even he was chomping at the bit to see Dave Grohl).

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The Foo Fighters played some incredibly relevant and fitting songs to play out the heroes of the games; what a band!!!

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It was the perfect end to an amazing weekend for me!  Huge respect to the organisers for getting it all together in 7 months!!!

Ladies and gents, I salute you.

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Invictus Games Weekend

I can honestly say that attending the Invictus Games was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

The Invictus games are sporting events for injured service men and women from several countries around the World; Prince Harry was apparently inspired to create the whole thing after seeing the American ‘Warrior Games’.

I was privileged to attend the Wheelchair Basketball, weightlifting and Sitting Volleyball events; all of which were held around Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.

It was the perfect setting for such amazing athletes to show families, friends and supporters how sports had helped them reclaim their lives after receiving life-changing injuries whilst serving in the military.

There were representatives from The United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Georgia, Estonia, France, Italy, Afghanistan, Denmark and Great Britain.

The home crowd got behind the British team, but everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, was applauded and encouraged as they gave their all for their teams.

Inspiration was around every corner.  From wheelchair basketballers righting themselves after going over in their chairs due to breakneck speeds, to seeing amazing men and women lift more than their body weight after losing limbs to IED’s and terrible burns.

Israel Del Toro of the United States, absolutely conquered the weight lifting and that was a stand out moment for me.  He suffered terrible burns, but stood up as a perfect example of “I Am The Captain Of My Soul”. 

Life does go on; these amazing people epitomise that.

I know I can get very mushy and emotional in my blog, but the Invictus Games brought out some of the best moments of humanity that I think I’ve ever seen.

Prince Harry is a credit to us all in Great Britain and I have nothing but admiration for the organisers and participants; I only hope that I will be lucky enough to get tickets at the next Invictus Games.

Amazing!

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Team GB vs Senegal – Olympic Football 2011 – Old Trafford

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Old Trafford yesterday, everyone has their Mecca and OT is mine.

OT was a fantastic venue for the game, I drove up in a hired Vauxhall Zafira which was a very comfortable alternative to my Ford Fiesta Zetec; my nephew Kai, my Uncle David and good friend Dave (yes it got confusing) made it to the ‘Park and Ride’ facility at Trafford Centre in good time.

The park and ride transfer from car park to OT consisted of a 1950’s double decker bus which made me feel like I was in an episode of ‘On The Buses’, especially when the driver got lost and went around the one way system several times.  By ‘eck it were ‘ot!

Once we made it into the stadium, the heat fatigue ebbed away and I felt spiritually cleansed as I walked up the steps and saw the epic Theatre of Dreams. I felt my Dad smiling down on me for having returned with my Nephew; miss ya Pa.

When Kai and I last visited it was 2007 and we stuffed Villa in the FA Cup, back then Kai was only tiny and he is now getting a gruff voice of his own and stands up to my shoulders!

Old Trafford eventually greeted lofty Uruguay and plucky United Arab Emirates with a genuine warmth that felt awesome compared to various club and international games that I have attended over the years.

The British love an underdog and the crowd got behind UAE as Uruguay pretentiously strutted around until they were shocked by an early UAE goal following an impressive show of skill that saw them dominate the 1st half.

I loved how the crowd booed Suarez in reaction to the racist remarks that he made to Patrice Evra AND the deliberate handball in the last world cup.  He did not do anything to endear himself to the public; he whinged, cried, potested and play acted to rouse Uruguay who eventually got their act together to win 2-1.

The Team GB game was a little less exciting due to the physical presence of dirty Senegal tackling along with the lack of creativity offered by the home side at times.  That said, it was great to see the Welsh players get the credit they deserved by putting in a shift; Bellamy, Ramsey and my idol, Ryan Giggs.

Giggsy never disappoints me, he rolled back the years to make a world class touch late in the game; 38 years old and forever will be my favourite player of all time.  All you modern fanboys can stick Messi up your arse!

Senegal creeped an equaliser in just as we were off home (we left 5 mins early to beat 73,000 people home!) which is a shame as I thought we deserved a win; our boys were kicked black and blue!

It was a wonderful atmosphere at Old Trafford and a night I shall never forget;  one that epitomised the a genuine air of fair play and respect for all concerned FAR better than FIFA could ever manage with it’s media campaigns and political spin.

Oh, I got the car home without a scratch at 3am.  Am I fucking hardcore or what!?!