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It’s five years since the London Olympics and Paralympics – here are nine moments to make you feel nostalgic

By Time Out London contributor

Can you believe it’s been five years since the London Olympics and Paralympics? Us neither. But cast your mind back to 2012 when everyone was glued to their TVs, watching everything from volleyball to the javelin throw (or seeing it live, if you were lucky enough to nab a ticket). 

It’s hard not to look back at some of these memories without being proud that London played such a big part in it. From the inspiring moments by the athletes to the stories from the volunteers and people who came to watch, there were countless moments of unity across nationalities. No city stays the same after hosting the Olympic Games and you can still see the impact of it in people’s attitude to disability and in encouraging young kids to take part in sport. Five years on, here are nine moments to make you feel all nostalgic.

1. Okay, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone could forget the incredible opening ceremony of the Games, but let’s refresh your memory just in case. It was an inspiring celebration of British art, design and culture – but the highlight was definitely the Queen and James Bond (Daniel Craig) parachuting into the stadium.


2. We might be biased, but when our very own athlete Jessica Ennis won gold in the heptathlon, shattering her own personal best and the British and Commonwealth records with an incredible score of 6,955, it was a pretty big deal. The inspiring moment made her a real role model for young girls who wanted to take up sport. 


3. While we’re on the subject of great British athletes, remember when Mo Farah became a double Olympic champion? In case you need a reminder, he only went and won gold in both the 10km and the 5km, celebrating with his signature move – the ’Mobot’ – and dedicating each of his gold medals to his adorable twin daughters. His success in the 10km race resulted in this excellent moment from the BBC commentators:


4. It wasn’t just Mo Farah who had a signature celebration move. Back in 2012, if people weren’t doing his ‘Mobot’, they were imitating Usain Bolt’s ‘Lightning Bolt’. Oh, and he won a casual three gold medals. Plus, he helped Jamaica make history in the 4x100m relay with Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Yohan Blake, who smashed the world record with a time of 36.84 seconds.


5. But enough about the athletes, already. Let’s just take a minute to remember when former Mayor of London Boris Johnson got stuck dangling from a zip wire while wearing a hard hat and waving around a couple of Union Jack flags. Glorious.


6. Okay, back to the real stars of the show. The Paralympic Games did a huge amount to raise the profile of Paralympic sport, and it was a big moment when Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds won two gold medals and set a new world record in the 400m freestyle, taking five seconds off the prior world record time.

7. Despite the lack of medals from Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani, her involvement was hugely significant: she was the first woman from her country to ever take part in the games (and she was only 16!).

8. But it wasn’t just about the athletes – incredible though they were. You can’t look back at the Games without considering the 70,000 volunteers or remembering the Twitter hashtag #bigupthevolunteers as a way to acknowledge their hard work. Dubbed the Games Makers, they played a huge role in the Games. They told of being on the tube at 5am surrounded by other people all dressed in the same purple polos on their way in to volunteer. Whether they were checking swimmers on and off the bus at practice pools, escorting athletes who had just won races to press conferences or just helping people with enquiries, they played an essential role.

9. Just one more Boris one, we promise. Here he is throwing some shapes when everyone’s favourite ‘90s girl band (the Spice Girls, obvs) reunited to perform at the closing ceremony. Sure, it’s probably not the Olympic legacy the organisers had in mind, but hilarious all the same.


By Afrin Ahmed

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