On your marks . . . get set . . . go!
A global sporting event may be upon us, but for some this summer matters of even greater personal significance are happening closer to home. Adrian Tod puts things into perspective.
This August there will be a great deal of huffing and puffing going on in East London. There will be running and jumping, throwing, swimming, rowing, diving, sailing and cycling - plus much more.
But for some, who won't actually get much closer to a stadium than their sofas, there will be another demanding prize to compete for this summer – a new home. Competitors won’t be representing their country but they may well be representing their families.
Like top-flight sport, house buying takes a great deal of preparation. It is not an easy undertaking. It takes the long distance stamina of a Mo Farah and sometimes the sprint speed of a Usain Bolt. It takes the versatility of a Jessica Ennis, the grit of a Steve Redgrave, the tactics of a Ben Ainsley and the agility of a 16-year-old Russian gymnast, named Olga. Buying a home is not as pretty as Tom Daley in a 10-metre dive or perhaps as explosive as Chris Hoy in the velodrome. But winning this discipline - and it does take discipline - means dedication, planning and some sacrifices.
Winning the perfect house is a great personal achievement. But unlike so many sports there are no silver and bronze medals for being a runner-up. There is not even a gold medal for winning. But, besides satisfaction, comfort, safety, investment and shelter, there is one other prize for the winner - he or she can choose to plant a laurel in their new garden.
Whether you are competing for gold or for a new property this August, we wish you well.