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Tony McGale and his wife Mandy celebrate with an Olympic adventure
HE was bitten by the Olympic bug while watching the 1984 games on a black-and-white portable television – and now a York man has celebrated his 50th birthday and silver wedding by witnessing history at London 2012.
Tony McGale and his wife Mandy vowed 15 years ago to come to the 2012 games, wherever in the world they were, to mark the double celebration.
Now the couple are back home in Copmanthorpe after three weeks in London watching the games, including Mo Farah’s dramatic 5,000-metre victory and the record-breaking Jamaican team’s 400-metre relay win with Usain Bolt.
Mr McGale, who runs Copmanthorpe Sports centre, said: “It was something we had been planning for years. I was born in Singapore and it was seven years ago in Singapore that the announcement was made that London had the Olympics.
“I remember my interest started years ago with the Los Angeles Olympics. I took two weeks off work and watched on a black-and-white portable TV in my flat and I have had the bug ever since.”
After applying for tickets for London 2012, the couple managed to get three events. However, Mr McGale scoured official websites in France and Finland and was able to obtain more, enabling them to see football at Wembley, badminton, synchronised swimming, volleyball and archery as well as athletics in the stadium.
Other highlights included being interviewed by Olympic journalists and appearing on the stadium’s huge screen, meeting BBC presenter Phil Jones and holding the bouquet given to Usain Bolt during a gold medal presentation, which he gave to a group of fans.
Mr McGale said: “It was a different world – it was a whole different planet for three weeks. I look back on it and think ‘I was there’. it puts all other sports in perspective.
“We are now talking about going to Rio. Who knows? This has given me the bug.”