Monday, 3 September 2012

London 2012

I just woke up to the physical hangover of a fairly exciting fortnight and all I can think about now is a bed. The exhaustion was dominating me last night, turning me into a bit of a cynic while setting my first foot in Stratford. Deep down inside of me, I was really enjoying, to the point that I couldn't sleep very well last night.

Nevertheless, I can happily affirm that I have survived the Olympic Games; London 2012 and all related to it, totally painless. In fact, I just realised this morning how beautiful days are since we are not receiving TfL's disruption newsletter every Friday. Because, let's admit it: we are used to it now, and it will all go back to normal after the 9th of September.

But my story started probably a month ago. Sitting in our basement, with the housemates, watching Ennis or Bolt strutting their stuff on the red Olympic track; And it is when it hit me: What are the odds of ME living almost round the corner from the Olympic Games in the future? Considering that I'm not planning to move to Brasil and that Madrid has sort of given up trying: Highly remote. I run upstairs rather confused and went into the most feared searching field: Olympic tickets. But this occasion was different than when I tried the time before. I chose the Paralympics tab and full of hope and convincement clicked on SEARCH. And there it was, a rainbow of cheapo 20-quid tickets up for grabs. And when for the most obvious: Final of Men Athletics. A month ahead.


And there I was yesterday evening, warming up in Hackney Wick, gaining strength so start my Olympic journey. Because entering a super hygienic and highly sponsorised military zone can only be prepped with good pizza, locally brewed ale and complimentary raspberry muffin.

We entered officially, from Victoria Gate, just on the Green Way, and only known entrance for my without counting the official Startford monster. After walking peacefully paths of artificially grown lovely garden and fenced alleyways, there we were: full on, hordes of people dressed in red blue and white. I took the compulsory A-là Bolt photo and tried to blend in into the crowd.

The thing is that after spending so much time in dodgy London, land of the scruffy and up-cycled coffee shop, this fresh-paint smelling site, full of brands, pristine concrete and unbranded but branded food stalls was kind of disturbing. But it is not a critique. It is sort if like a cultural shock. At the end of the day, London has to be the best dressed at the dance, at least for a couple of months and that can only be achieved the way it has been done.

Even ALL the volunteers were too nice and upbeat with everybody, helping with directions, high five-ing everybody and taking countless pictures of us tourist without complaining and having a good laugh with us.

Leaving corporations aside, the experience was pretty exciting

Erm, we were almost on the last row, high up in the Stadium, but still impressive. Thankfully, almost all the seats were occupied.

Wait a minute, are those Olympic volunteers playing remote control cars in the middle of the Stadium?

Those Minis (massive product placement, amongst others) were actually carrying the Javelein or Discus Back to the athletes. Sounds lazy, doesn't it?

And just when we thought that we were just there to see the final of men wheelchair finals, it turned out to be almost everything involving the track: Javelin, Discus, Long Jump... spot on!


Precise as Swiss watches and coordinated like Chinese Army, so were the London 2012 volunteers. As impressive as the athletes.

The gun dude was pretty scary

Wheelchair 100m. Full of stamina.

Visually impaired runners also quite impressive. Admirable work the one carried out by the guides. They are supposed to arrive a bit before the athlete to the finish line and if their athlete wins a medal, so they do. Cool!

And the kings of the night: the blade runners. The carbon fibre blade lower amputees, all of them below knee from what I could see. Fantastic display. Enjoyed every second.

I saw Pistorius losing to the Brazilian double amputee. I even recorded it. Intense, very intense.

To sum up

The best: the people. The spectators, the athletes and the volunteers.
The worse: the overpriced food.

But we are kind of used to it.

Bravo London. You did well.

Let's meet to see what's up with the legacy. That's going to be another story.

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