Greatest moments of the decade: London 2012 Olympics Super Saturday .


There was already a beautiful momentum to the 2012 Olympics as Super Saturday came round. Except of course it was just Saturday when you woke up. Home golds had been coming and you hoped others might be on their way but no-one really guessed quite how supercharged those coming daylight and evening hours might become.

To be there was to be lucky. To not be there was to be caught up in a glorious communal game of Chinese whispers.

You walk to the station to get the train into Stratford. A stranger looking at their phone lets out a quiet woo-hoo, glances up and gives you a massive smile.

You look at your own phone. News from Dorney Lake, out in the flatlands west of the city. Gold for the GB men’s four? You give a little fist-clench of your own.

Onto the train heading to the east. A woman on the seat opposite asks why you’re smiling. You tell her. She starts grinning too. “It’s the rowing,” she says to someone a few seats along.

A few stations going by. A man gets on and asks us if we’ve heard about the rowing. Yes, brilliant, wasn’t it? The boys brought it home.

He looks confused. No, it’s Copeland and Hosking. Women’s double sculls.

No-one was quite sure what to believe and when because no-one had experienced a day like this.

Into the Olympic park, grey clouds overhead but dry for once that summer. People sat out among the wildflowers by the river and canals and ate picnics and looked thrilled just to be close to it.

You could see the Copper Box one way and the velodrome to the north and then the great bowl of the Olympic stadium at the southern end. All that waiting for the Games, all the rows about budgets and logos and security, and the whole point of it all was suddenly making sense.

More news, coming from radios, from headphones and from text alerts. Murray and Robson into the mixed doubles final over on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Cheers breaking out and high-fives. Murray already into the men’s singles final against Roger Federer on Sunday, a month on from being beaten by the same man at Wimbledon himself. At least he’s guaranteed a silver, you thought.

I walked up to the velodrome. It had been cooking there for a couple of days already, Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes winning team sprint gold on the Thursday, the men’s team pursuit and Victoria Pendleton in the keirin adding two more golds on Friday.

All the seats were full and most of the spaces in between. There was supposed to be an empty concourse running between the two tiers but that was packed too with anyone who had the accreditation to stand there and plenty more who didn’t.

The unlikely was becoming commonplace, which was why the sight of Paul McCartney conducting the crowd in a massed singalong to Hey Jude seemed almost normal.

The final of the women’s team pursuit. You knew Dani King, Laura Trott and Jo Rowsell were unstoppable. The collective energy across the capital and country was pouring into that little couple of square miles around the park and sucking everything along with it.

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