She has the charm that the poets know, a charm that outlasts time; she gives us that moment beyond words. Her name is Bryony Page.
We were home, in England, when this story began. We were watching the Olympic Games on the television.The Olympic Games has a spirit – but it’s sometimes hard to find it beneath the deluge of golds, the focus on winners. But Bryony Page reflected that spirit: she gave us the meaning of the Olympic games. She gave us a fullness of being – all emotion: joy, tears, relief, pride …
The television had suddenly turned to show us the brilliance and grace of trampolining.
It was the final: the final had eight women – and we met them, one by one. No one had alerted us to this event but there it was: two women from Britain, two from China, two from Belarus, one from Canada and one from Georgia. They looked strangely perfect – dressed, somehow, like idylls; Bryony Page was amongst them. She was in the final; an English women, a member of the British Olympic team.
Bryony was introduced and she smiled, an endearingly natural smile. When you see that smile you feel really good, you feel for her, you feel for the world. You sense the expression of an almost old-fashioned virtue.
And then the competition began.
It was a fabulous display of supreme elegance and complete gymnastic skill, of hard work and courage. There’s a song called ‘Defying gravity‘ …
But Bryony rose and rose – she rose higher and higher – she found those shapes, those geometries in line and space – just like the forms of Plato, just like the golden age of the Greeks, just like the Old Masters’ paintings – all full of truth and beauty.
I think she gave us the very best that there is; she showed us what is possible – our humanity, our resolve, our beauty and our grace.
She gave us the best moment of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
A silver better than all the gold.