Grace Dent: My ten shortcuts to Olympic fever


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The Independent Online

1 Not that fussed about getting tickets? Not any more! Get into the Olympic spirit by frantically trying to buy tickets in sports you don't understand for ludicrous amounts of cash, using a shonky internet system currently being run from a Spectrum ZX81 in Seb Coe's back bedroom. Gasp with glee as you place 4 tickets in your basket for £25 to the men's 100m finals, as your ecstatic kids hoot with glee. Wait 28 minutes, get told there are no tickets, drop-kick a guinea pig into next door's garden.

2 Marvel at how lucky the Duchess of Cambridge has been in the ticket lottery. Yes, some have suggested the Duchess is work-shy and practically unemployable but when it comes to securing a group booking of 10 for the men's gymnastic finals, she's an internet ninja.

3 Become a sporting expert. Last Saturday all you knew about judo was it's a lot of folk in dressing-gowns trying to knock each other over, mainly done in community centres by divorced men with anger issues. Cut to today and you can bore on for hours about Teddy Riner, Gemma Gibbons, ippons and waza-ari and yukos. Know you've achieved full bore status when your arrival at the pub has the same effect as teargas.

4 Vow to take up a minority sport you've been watching on the red button. Call Costco and put in an order for a trampoline. Clear a space in the garden, pre-warn your local NHS Trust. Boing five or six times, pre-accident, feeling like Team GB's Kat Driscoll. Go to A+E and sit with all the other trampoline, javelin and high jump injuries.

5 Award a prize every day for Best Olympic Mum based on "quality of screaming", "tearful and biased appraisal of her little dewdrop's loveliness" and "biggest banner". Move over Mrs Phelps, rower Alan Campbell's mum took my rosette yesterday for remaining twinkly depite her son being so exhausted by his race he could barely stand up.

6 Load extra amounts of pressure on Jessica Ennis to achieve superhuman greatness and NOT LET US DOWN by changing your name by deedpoll to either 'Jessica Winner' or 'Gold Ennis' or getting a terrible full-back tattoo of Jessica holding 6 gold medals before calling your local paper.

7 Enjoy how happy pundit Ian Thorpe looks when he's allowed to hang out with Claire Balding poolside instead of being trapped with Gary Lineker.

8 Work on a cheery, inoffensive version of "God Save The Queen" that all parts of Team GB and NI can sing with integrity. My effort: "The queen, she is our rock/ always a lo-vely frock/ and a smart hat/ she isn't big on hugs/ but she likes boats and dogs/ she sometimes WEARS white gloves/ God saaave the Queen."

9 Begin to believe secretly that with dedication and sacrifice, you could win a gold in Rio 2016. Gold medalist rower Helen Glover hadn't been in a boat until 2008. Lizzie Armitstead didn't take up cycling until she was 16. Put on "Proud" by Heather Small, take a good look in the mirror. Make a lovely sandwich and carry on watching the red button wearing pyjamas.

10 Feel like a gold medallist by spray-painting your nearest Royal Mail box gold and standing near with a chocolate medal around your neck selling pics of your Usain Lightning Bolt pose to gullible tourists. Be sheepish and apologetic when police arrive. Blame "Olympic fever".