Bathing in the Olympic Glow

Apparently there has been some kind of sports tournament going on in London…The streets are free of roadworks, the five colourful rings are gleaming from Tower Bridge, and there is a tangible fizz of delight and positivity flowing through the city.  At Pinsent Masons, that same energy has been swirling through our rotating doors…

My Olympic experience began on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in June.  The squeak of court shoes and shouting signalled a change from the click-clack of keyboard tiles and hum-whizz of the photocopier.  It dawned on me that I was not at the office, but in fact at the National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace where I was about to pull on some shorts and be put through my paces by the GB ladies handball team, for whom Pinsent Masons is a proud sponsor.

The charming ladies team took us through the rules and techniques before letting us battle to victory in a final match.  By the end, all of us agreed that our tale of the day would inevitably grow until we are eventually telling our grandchildren that we all played for the GB handball team in the 2012 Olympics.  Just between you and me, none of us quite made the cut.

Time dashed quicker than Usain Bolt and it was suddenly July.  With the Olympic stadium visible from our 16th floor and the opening ceremony imminent, the office social committee laid on a celebratory afternoon tea to build our excitement in the final countdown to the Games.  Just a few days later, I sat in the Office restaurant and watched the same handballers that trained me on a huge screen, giving their all on the world’s biggest stage.

Besides handball, my colleagues and I amassed upstairs a couple of times a day to watch and enjoy all of the big GB medal contests.  Each success was met with cheers and whoops; and the narrow defeats with agonised groans and commiserative applause. Olympic fever had spread through the office and everyone was sneezing joy and excitement.

Not to be outdone by Team GB, Pinsent Masons again hosted its own annual charity indoor rowing challenge.  This year, three of our own teams competed against clients and other firms in a lung-bursting relay; with each person sprinting on a rowing-machine for six one-minute bursts.  Pinsent Masons narrowly missed out on gold, but proudly took silver and bronze.  At the end, we all collapsed in an exhausted heap on the floor, but happy in the knowledge that we had raised £1230 for the London Youth Rowing – a cool charity that gives children from all backgrounds an opportunity to experience the sport and perhaps a start to the Olympians of the future.

All in all, it has been great to be working at a place that encourages us to enjoy the biggest event that London has ever seen. Now bring on the Paralympics!

Neal Gruer