As we approach the end of 2012 and with my self-imposed challenge to take a photo a day almost complete, here is a photographic summary of what has been a very eventful year.
I was lucky enough to be invited to act as crew on an Amel Super Maramu, a 52′ Ketch that was taking part in the ‘Typhoon Series’ of offshore yacht racing in Hong Kong waters today. In very light winds and grey, overcast conditions, this was the scene at the start of our section of the race, with the crew of ‘Kiasu!’ adding a dash of colour to an otherwise pretty monochromatic palette. Now, in normal circumstances this would have topped most things that I could have been doing today, however, what I wasn’t doing was using my ticket for the evening athletics session in the Olympic Stadium in London at which team GB won 3 Gold Medals. Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon, Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres and Greg Rutherford in the long jump were roared on by the rest of my family on an evening I had been looking forward to for months; sadly it was not to be – the demands of work and the lack of availability on flights meant that this was one ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ that was destined to be a ‘never in a lifetime occurrence’.
I’ve read a reasonable amount of negative comment about corporate sponsorship of the Olympics and MacDonald’s part in that debate in particular. The argument goes that it must be wrong for an unhealthy fast-food giant to have anything to do with elite athletes, the lifestyle choices that they make and the inspiration that, hopefully, they are engendering in the youth of the World to be fitter and healthier – fair enough, that is one point of view. Let me give you another. After my first marathon, I tried refuelling my body with all the ‘right’ foods and I felt terrible for days afterwards. For my second marathon I refuelled immediately afterwards with a Big Mac, large fries and a giant cup of heavily sugared tea. My recovery was such an improvement on the ‘proper’ way of doing it and so successful that I have used the same strategy in all my subsequent marathons, triathlons and long bike rides. Think about what you’re getting in this meal – from an athletic recovery standpoint – protein, carbs, fat and salt (electrolytes) is the perfect mix. Now I don’t advocate a meal like this every day, or even every month, but on the right occasion it is completely justified. Unfortunately, today I couldn’t truly justify it, but I fancied one anyway!
Thanks to some altruistic and gifted individuals in the world of technology and software; Tim Berners-Lee showed the way ahead when he invented the internet and ‘gave it away to the world’ – plus my ability to follow an idiot’s step-by-step guide – I was able to connect my phone to my laptop, download some software and then watch live BBC TV over the internet from today. The Olympics is what I really want to watch and coverage in Hong Kong doesn’t appear to be available on free-to-air, it’s only available from one cable provider, you have to sign up to a 24 month contract, the rest of their programming is rubbish and I don’t even have a TV here yet. Here’s the weather forecast for tonight’s London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, the backdrop to which is yet more rain here in Hong Kong.