Grace Dent: It's not just the sport – London 2012 is a festival of daftness, too


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The Independent Online

It's a week since Danny Boyle's warriors gave us the Industrial Revolution and the Queen fell out of the sky, and still nothing has harshed my Olympic mellow. There's a lot of joy in Olympic-land. My notepad overfloweth with tales of daftness: of dangling Boris with his pound shop flags requesting a ladder and the requests on Twitter last night for tickets to see "tomorrow's dangling Boris session".

I loved Pooty-poot Putin swanning in to supervise the judo (we all knew he had his kit in the car) and that footage of the floppy-limbed, disqualified Badminton players playing the game with the enthusiasm I showed in Year 10 before sloping off for a Regal King Size and a Highland Toffee. Add to this gangs of laughing patriotic supporters prepared to send themselves up: Mexicans in sombreros and ponchos; Americans making the pilgrimage to Manchester dressed in Statue of Liberty headbands to "watch the soccerball"; Aussies waving blow-up kangaroos; and the Jamaican family on rolling news yesterday claiming – tongue in cheek – they'd got Usain Bolt tickets "via the power of holy prayer". It's all good.

I don't want the Olympics to stop. We're having a giggle in my house, on Twitter and in the local pub, where day drinking and sauntering off for a day nap has now lost its stigma. People are happy to snap up tickets to watch sports they don't understand, played by countries they couldn't find on a map, and Ian "the thorpedo" Thorpe is on my telly in a pleather jacket with denim lapels shooting the breeze with Dame Clare Balding (she's a dame to me) from dawn to dusk.

And not forgetting Wiggo

Wiggo on his crushed velvet throne. Wiggo and his vodka and tonics. Wiggo slagging off the whole concept of celebrity culture, as the country wears novelty Wiggo stick-on side-chops, just before he's handed a Royal Mail stamp with his face on it and shown the pillar box in the village that the Royal Mail has sprayed winning gold.

Add to this Ryan Lochte's tiny mother on breakfast news admitting she loved her boy so much she'd be happy to watch him swim lengths underwater.

Then Chad Le Clos's lovely wobbly-bellied dad reaping the rewards of 1,000 lifts to the pool and back. "My boy, my lovely boy, isn't he boooooootiful."

Those magnificent women

There are so many brilliant women on my TV every day being fierce and exemplary and being judged for their skill not for how pretty they are. Like those lovely regal equestrian ladies, all jodhpurs and japes, chatting about their horses as if they were people.

"Well, he was startled by the statue, but he recovered himself from his dark mood beautifully. It really was suu-paa."

Then there was the roar of the crowd behind Team GB Women in Monday's football, like no roar for women's sport I'd ever heard before – and without that constant, bitchy echo-chamber from men about how they're all "probably lesbians" who should stop playing a sport that no one takes seriously and "get the kettle" on.

And a lovely moment yesterday when Team GB judo star Gemma Gibbons pummelled France's Audrey Tcheuméo, then mouthed "I love you, mum" at the sky as "Song 2" by Blur stirred the crowd at the ExCeLcentre into a tiny, tearful riot.

A run (or two) for my money

I've managed to find a ticket for next week's athletics and am currently fudging the issue to my family about how much I've paid for it. (Don't ask.) However, I'm glad the local pub has good Wi-Fi as I might be writing the next column from there, next to the big screen, wearing a Team GB lanyard, when I'm forced to move in completely.