2012 is the first year that every nation competing has a female athlete in their team. This is a significant step given that in the first modern Olympics held in 1896 women were excluded and it wasn't until 1900 that Charlotte Cooper, a British tennis player, became the first woman to win an Olympic medal.
But as soon as I entered the Olympic Park, my fraught journey became a distant memory. Suddenly I wanted to be there all the time, every day, for all the events. I wanted to be part of this amazing atmosphere, among all these friendly people from all over the world (granted, the sunshine probably helped). Spare tickets, anyone?
Long after the last athletes and spectators have left the Olympic Park in September, London 2012's organisers will be obsessing over the much-hyped Olympic Legacy. London won its bid for the Games on an explicit promise of 'greater inclusion' for all communities. Recent research conducted by the University of Cambridge for Stonewall's School Report 2012 reveals something that should seriously worry those responsible for achieving this worthy goal. In light of these findings, it's unsurprising that gay people are almost invisible in professional athletics (in Team GB there are just two openly gay athletes). But remarkably, London 2012 has done little of value to make sure gay people share that Olympic Legacy of 'greater inclusion'.
The London 2012 Olympic Games, which run from 27th July to 12th August, coincide with the Muslim month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar. One of the five pillars of Islam is to fast during this holy month. All able-bodied Muslims are expected to fast, unless they have a valid reason not to, for example those that are travelling, sick or facing heath risks.
This is going to sound weird, but for many of our Olympic athletes, the best thing they can do right now is forget about it all for a while and have a good laugh with friends. Hang out, go to the movies, go sightseeing in London... anything to take their mind off the fact they've spent their entire lives preparing for this moment.