CHARLES GRAHAM - Hoping for peaceful Games

SOME folk may look forward to retirement from even further away, but I cannot think of anything in my lifetime which has been given such a long and big build-up as London’s staging of the Olympic Games.

Some of the contests have already now started and the spectacle proper officially begins tomorrow night after a whopping seven years of waiting.

Perversely the thing I am looking forward to most is the moment that I can look back on it all with pride.

I know it is very odd to be anticipating the end of it all, especially as I am very interested in many sports and love seeing those which usually get scant coverage - including my beloved table-tennis - getting a proper airing once every four years. Perfectly understandable for sport-haters to wish it over (and there are quite a few out there).

But I am that nervous about some kind of terrorist incident that I am finding it ludicrously difficult to sit back and relish the moment.

I would like to think that anyone with a political axe to grind would be very unwise to drop a bomb on a gathering of every nation in the world. Talk about alienating your cause.

But there are clearly risks, as shown by the huge security operation and the number of arrests already made which suggest some folk are indeed in the business of causing far more than an irritating disruption.

Confidence in thwarting such plans hasn’t been bolstered by the shambolic shenanigans involving G4S either.

I can understand there can be problems training someone up to be an experienced security guard for just six weeks and then telling them they haven’t got a job anymore because the Olympics and Paralympics are already over.

But if they weren’t up to preparing for that strange eventuality they shouldn’t have taken on the contract in the first place, big financial rewards or not.

The real people who would, one hopes, identify any terrorists would be MI5 and the police though but even they can’t be all-seeing and all-knowing.

This is an uncommonly downbeat article on the eve of the biggest spectacle this country has ever seen, I know.

But perhaps as the days go by I can start to relax and enjoy it a bit more. And in my memory banks I have already got the treasured memories of the Olympic torch coming though a tide of cheering people in Wigan and also managed to get a picture of it going past my mum’s home in Yorkshire a few weeks later.

The Games are, if everything goes to plan, going to be a terrific showcase for Britain and I am sure that one day I will be very proud and realise how silly I was to worry in the first place.