In fact, I bet scores of the estimated 40,000 people who lined the banks of the River Tyne for the over-hyped Olympic Torch Relay spectacular missed it when they sneezed, or bent over to pick up their kid’s toy, or turned round to see what the commotion was in the crowd behind them.
I was one of them.
Desperate not to miss out on what was being pitched as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience by the media, taking place on my doorstep on Friday, I headed to Newcastle’s riverside to watch the world-famous macho man hurl himself 195ft off the Tyne Bridge.
As one of hundreds of chosen torchbearers currently keeping the Olympic flame alight on its 70-day tour of the UK, Bear Grylls (no you’re not the only one struggling to find some link between the TV adventurer and our northern city) – true to adrenaline-junkie form – was to zip wire over the river, clinging tightly hold of the Olympic Torch.
Faced with a giant rippling crowd waving at us from Newcastle Quayside, we decided to stay on the other side of the water. The crowds were sparser, we had better views, the wire precariously hung above our heads with the landing pad just metres away, and it just seemed a whole lot easier.
With 15 minutes to spare, we picked a prime spot and joined the crowd in focussing our phones/ cameras/ video cameras at the distant white dot that, if you used the zoom button you could see was Bear getting into position. Then again, it could have been a bird nesting among the arched iron branches of the bridge, it was that blurry.
Either way, the crowd was poised. Ready to capture the spectacle, a sea of phones and cameras were in position. No-one dared move. So much so that the coaches carrying the torchbearers, their faces bursting with pride as they waved to a wall of backs, eyes fixed the other way, passed by un-noticed.
The 7pm lift-off came and went. Arms grew tired but people persisted, knowing full well that Sod’s Law would come into play as soon as they gave way to the dull ache that was quickly spreading.
At the 7.05pm mark, the growing ache won and people relaxed. Shook out the crick in their necks, let their arms hang heavy by their sides.
But the rest breaks were a minor reprieve, interrupted by a sudden roar erupting from the crowd opposite where there was a big screen capturing Bear’s every move up close, then a frantic rush to return the cameras to their position, at the ready to snap Bear mid-manoeuvre.
This routine grew tiring, and with no indication as to when Bear was actually going to begin his 400 metre feat we were at the mercy of the crying crowd opposite.
And so it was that Sod’s Law kicked in, and just as I thought Bear – the man who has crossed the North Atlantic Ocean in a dinghy and para-motored over the Himalayas, had chickened out of the challenge, a flash of white whizzed down the wire.
As if on cue, the second Bear catapulted himself from the bridge my tired camera slipped into sleep mode, punishing me for keeping it waiting so long. Panic spread like the yoke of a smashed egg.
A quick fumble and I managed to salvage the situation with a stab-in-the-dark shot (yes, the black dot in the corner of the photo is indeed Bear Grylls) but in the brief few seconds it took to compose myself I’d missed the whole thing.
Thanks to the Internet generation, I could, if I wanted to, watch the whole thing again but I won’t. At least I can say I was there.