In 2012, there were the London Olympics. A grand success resplendent with memorable moments including Usain Bolt’s celebratory pose en route to breaking the world 100m record, its tagline in Britain was ‘Get Inspired’.
On Sunday, after a week spent being academically inspired in the classroom, culturally inspired in trips to palaces and life in colleges, and creatively inspired in drumming sessions and an interactive theatrical performance, ORA’s students gathered together at St Catherine’s College to be inspired on the sports fields of Oxford.
In its time, Oxford has seen an impressive number of great sporting achievements. Sir Roger Bannister, for instance, attained the historic first ever four minute mile at Oxford University’s running track in 1954. ORA’s students embraced this legacy, and the inter-campus Olympics were a competitive but warm-spirited event. The different campuses fully embraced their adopted colleges, too: much of the morning in Balliol was spent creating customised red T-shirts and flags, often featuring the lion rampant of Balliol College itself. On arrival, it was discovered that the ORA students in Queen’s College and St Catz had also kitted themselves out: arrayed against the Red Army were ORA athletes in white and blue.
The Olympics themselves were wide in their expanse, and included events in which almost everyone could show off their prowess. For the strong of arm, there was the welly-throwing contest traditional at British church fayres; for the fleet of foot, there were the hundred and two hundred metre races traditional at, um, the Olympics themselves; for the competent at dressing, there was a costume race (in which competitors had to change their outfit every ten metres) traditional at, so far as I know, ORA alone. Maja and Joe have reason to be particularly proud of themselves, having emulated Mr Bolt in carrying home the coveted titles of 100m winners: but overall, it was the students in Balliol who can return to their college most earnestly patting themselves on the back, with a titanic effort winning them the event overall.
After the sports were over, the students returned to their colleges tired out but happy to enjoy free time and a well-earned relaxing evening spent watching The BFG.