Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gymnastics, Athletics and Triathlon

In twenty years I will look back on these blog posts and say "Why? Why didn't I write more during those heady days of the London Olympics?" Answer: hmmm. Have been spending all my time watching the Olympics.

So a return to blogging! I haven't actually been to see any ticketed events yet (that's tomorrow) but I have wandered around the North Greenwich Arena while the gymnastics was on, and I saw the cycling leg of the men's triathlon today.

I went to North Greenwich firstly to go on the bouncy castle Stonehenge that looked like it was life size, but IT WASN'T THERE. I was very disappointed, but decided to make my way through security and into the arena anyway. The North Greenwich Arena is also known as the O2, and I have mentioned it before. It's the giant white circus tent that James Bond once slid down. The actual seats and stage are in the middle, and there are lots of restaurants and a cinema around the outside. You can get to them without a ticket, but you have to go through x-ray machines and have all your water bottles, hair gel and deodorant confiscated.

The elderly lady after me had a walking stick that set off the beeper, so they had to search her with a wand. One of the soldiers on the x-ray machine got out the rubber gloves and Vaseline, then murmured to me that she probably wouldn't appreciate the joke and put them back. The next guy through the x-ray was wearing jandals/flipflops and the soldier told him he wasn't allowed open-toed shoes and was very convincing for at least a minute. The x-ray soldier confided to me that they were a bit bored.

Inside the arena it was packed. I've never seen so many people, and Olympics signs and t-shirts were everywhere. I wandered through, enjoying the atmosphere, and came right to the end where guards were stopping people going behind the scenes. I heard one tourist talking to a security guard, asking if there was something going on in here. He seemed very surprised to find out the Olympics were on.

I was looking for a big screen, but there wasn't really much. The screen outside by the queue shows adverts and nothing else. Apparently there'll be a festival on there soon, but it hasn't started yet.

On Saturday we went to Blackheath where they do have a big screen set up, and watched a lot of sailing (a big cheer went up when they finally changed the channel) and then the Super Saturday athletics with its three British Golds. So much cheering my ears were hurting.

And then today the triathlon was on! It went past Buckingham Palace at lunchtime, so at noon I ran (literally) all the way to Buckingham Palace and joined the crowds standing around the track. I got a really good position right by the fence, and ate my banana while I waited for the next lap.

First came the whistle. The stewards who were lining the pedestrian crossing hurried everyone to the sides, and the first two motorbikes came past, followed by the breakaway group moving very fast and a few more motorbikes. Everyone waved their flags and flashed their cameras and cheered. A minute later the peloton arrived in the same way and then we were back to waiting for the next lap.

It was a lot of fun, and great to actually see all those athletes close up. When the last lap had gone past, I ran back to work to catch the end of the race on the BBC live video. I was afraid that the triathletes would be able to run ten km faster than I could run two, but I was back in time to see the last lap of the running track Unfortunately the New Zealanders weren't quite up there with the medals, but it was fun to see it anyway.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Taekwondo. They changed the draws of the matches so I won't actually see any kiwis, but I guess it will be good anyway. I will report back!

1 comment:

  1. boy, watching sports requires almost as much fitness as taking part lol


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