I like to call my history, Heinz 57 Celtic. Throw a dart at a map of the British Isles, and no doubt one of my ancestors came from there. Though I am mostly Scottish and Irish on my mother’s side, my father’s side is 100% Irish, with the exception of a twice-great Grandfather who married a German woman then came to the US. It’s from their line I come from.
So I found myself watching this Olympic games as more like watching a party at a friend’s house, then some event many thousands of miles away. And I found myself cheering for Team GB more often than not, especially as their unprecedented success in the equestrian events came to light.
As a Celtic Wiccan, I loved Glastonbury Tor in the opening ceremonies. As an equestrian, in my mind, I jumped every jump and raced across every cross country jump. Mostly, I think this Olympic games activated my Celtic DNA, for I found myself invoking Cerridwen and Epona. In the rock songs playing during both opening and closing ceremonies, I heard echoes of Taliesn the bard. Merlin’s magic might have been more spectacular than the fireworks show, but would it have been as beautiful?
Britain might not be seen as an athletic nation, but it is one with a rich and vibrant history. And yes, after these games, I think we can agree that Britain is an athletic nation, too. But unlike the Beijing Olympics, where many of us felt as if curtains were being drawn back on a culture many of us know little about, these London Olympics felt like old friends returning. Yes, we thought, we remember that bad, or that country, and in a news cycle dominated by austerity and the “Eurozone”, for two weeks in August, Great Britain showed us power, majesty, triumph, beauty, and inspiration.
And that was a exactly as it should be.