Did the Opening Ceremony make you yawn?

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By Kelly Exeter

Posted on July 29, 2012

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If you found yourself getting bored during the Parade of Nations at the Olympic Opening Ceremony then Kelly Exeter has a slap on the wrist for you!

Photo credit: Carine06

Did you catch the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympic Games yesterday? I sure did and evidently all my twitter friends did too given my stream was wall to wall commentary on the event as it unfolded. As always the Parade of Nations came along hours into the ceremony and after Australia made their usual early appearance the twitter natives started to get restless:

“Oh my god, we’re only up to Morocco?”

“Alright, this is boring now.”

“Can’t we fast forward to the lighting of the flame?”

And while I understood their sentiments, I didn’t share them. At all.

Maybe it’s because I have had the privilege to march in two Opening Ceremonies. Sure they were for Commonwealth Games and not Olympics, but pretty exciting all the same. I will never forget the emotions I felt walking into the MCG for the opening of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. It had been a long wait – and I am not just talking about the three hours we had spent in Rod Laver Arena, our Opening Ceremony holding pen.

It was the years of training I’d done to even be good enough to represent Trinidad and Tobago (the country of my birth). Following that came a lot more years of setting my alarm for 5am. Packing a bag every night for two training sessions plus a full day of work the next day. Wishing every morning that I could just stay in bed for a change. Getting to the end of a working day and wanting to do anything but go to training. Getting cranky at my boyfriend and my coach and my long-suffering training partners. The ever-present fatigue and soreness. Rinse and repeat, week after week.

I wasn’t anyone special, I wasn’t going to win any medals but I was the best female triathlete Trinidad and Tobago had to offer. I’d qualified and earned my place and there I was, about to enter Australia’s greatest sporting cauldron with the rest of the team. The acoustics at the MCG are astounding and when there are 90,000 people in the stands, the noise is mind blowing. Walking out from the tunnel and into the arena I felt a huge rush of emotion knowing that my family, both in Trinidad and back in Perth, could see me (me!) on their tv. In fact, the second she saw me appear, my sister sent me a text that said “I am so proud of you.” It took everything I had not to collapse in a sobbing mess right there.

Then, unbelievably, I managed to pick out one of my best friends in the crowd of 90,000. She was jumping up and down waving at me from her seat and the jerky video I was taking at the time got even jerkier and featured some eardrum shattering, delighted screams from me. It still makes me smile to think about it now.

So yesterday when the athletes were parading, I wasn’t bored. I was looking at their faces, revelling in the pride and excitement and satisfaction and sheer emotion reflected back to me. Fact is, a large number (the majority even?) of athletes at the Olympic Games are just like the version of me who marched in Melbourne. They’re not household names, they’re not medal chances and they probably fit their training around full time work. But they’ve done the hard yards and they’ve all qualified to be there and at that moment when they walked into Olympic Stadium, they stood equal with all their fellow athletes. That was their gold medal moment and it deserved all of our attention and celebration.

Kelly and her coach Jon at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

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Kelly Exeter.

Kelly Exeter is a blogger, designer and writer who has contributed to Marie Claire, Mamamia and The Hoopla. She believes that a busy life need not be a stressful life and enjoys the challenges of being mother, wife and person while juggling three businesses and several creative pursuits. She blogs about this and more at A Life Less Frantic.

Website: http://www.kellyexeter.com.au

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  • Dee

    Love this new website. Exciting, interesting & so different. Women’s business all wrapped up in one site. Fantastic.

    • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

      So glad you like it Dee!

  • http://mum-abulous.com/ Mumabulous

    Does anyone agree with me that there’s a strong argument in favour of a Parenting Olympics. Help me make a pitch to the IOC.
    http://mum-abulous.com/2012/07/27/go-for-gold-at-the-parenting-olympics/

    • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

      Great idea!

  • http://www.twitter.com/lipglossmumma Jodi Gibson

    Well, there’s a little nugget of information I didn’t know. Congratulations Kelly! Must have been an awesome feeling. And a great piece from a perspective that most of us will never know.

    I didn’t watch the ceremony, but caught Sir Paul McCartney and got a bit teary during Hey Jude. It would certainly be something that those athletes, the best in their chosen fields will never forget.

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Ha! And a nugget of info I didn’t know was your real name … and now I do :) I LOVED Hey Jude, finished off the ceremony so well!!

      • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

        I loved reading your story Kelly. What an amazing experience it must have been and my what a talent you are.

        As for the opening ceremony, I loved the Mary Poppins bit.

        • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

          Aw thanks Jane!!

  • http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/ Lisa Wood

    We havent been able to watch the Olympic Games because we cant get TV where we are parked (in our Motorhome). Hubby even went into Mackay and bought a bigger aerial antenna to put on the outside, yet it still wont pick up TV.
    I was so looking forward to seeing the games ~ guess I will have to rely on reading about it online :)
    Yep can imagine how proud you must have felt ~ I reckon the open ceremony and the closing ceremony rocks.

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Oh Lisa – what a bummer! I love the Olympics – I reckon I will feel quite bereft when it’s all over in a couple of weeks!

  • http://www.nappydaze.com Donna @ NappyDaze

    Kel, I had no idea you were such an elite athlete! What an amazing honour that would have been!

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Well it’s not something that really comes up in polite conversation ;) And it WAS, a really lovely honour :)

  • Marian Mouttet

    Loved the article and the sentiments, Kelly.

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Thank you Mom!!

  • http://www.geniemedia.com.au Rory

    This post gave me goose bumps when thinking of your goosebumps :)

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Ha ha it was a pretty awesome and highly emotional moment :)

  • http://www.givingbackgirl.blogspot.com Lisa Schofield

    What a wee trick you are Kelly – that is one massively cool secret that we all need to know! And what a great perspective to see this incredible event from the eyes of someone who know’s what it must feel like from the “other side”. We’re all armchair critics of the worst kind, it’s nice to get a reminder of that with this perspective. Love this post Kel, and loving the site Jane. Go girls x

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Thank you lovely Lisa :)

      • http://www.copingwithjane.com Jane Copeland

        Thanks so much Lisa!

  • Shannon Hildebrandt

    This is an awesome article Kelly! I’m glad Uncle Denise mass mailed the link! :)

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Oh thank you Shanny Bannany!!!

  • Lisa Lee

    Kel, what a fabulous honour!! I’ve been watching the (recorded) opening ceremony over the last couple of days, it always makes me a bit teary.
    John and Bell have been sitting down to watch the highlights every night, and it makes me laugh that when Australia are doing well she’s an Aussie, but if China are winning she’s Chinese. I think she’s a bit of a fairweather supporter :)
    Great job on the beautiful website girls! xx

    • http://www.kellyexeter.com.au Kelly Exeter

      Aw thanks Lise :) And honestly that is so cute!! I think it’s nice having a couple of countries in your repertoire so you can hedge your bets ;)

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