Monday 30 July 2012

Deafinitely Girly at the Olympic Games

As a Londoner, I'm not really meant to be a fan of the Olympic Games. In the seven years since we won the bid, it's been drummed into me just how much it's costing me, what chaos my life will be thrown into, and how we couldn't possibly get it right and make it a success.

I remained detached from the hype. I didn't apply for tickets and the most excited I got was buying a Paralympic scarf from Next, but that was more because I thought it looked pretty.

I was indifferent.

Until last Thursday that is, when a colleague suggested we go and see the torch pass through Trafalgar Square.

The Writer was beyond excited about this suggestion. She was close to combustion as we made our way up to Trafalgar Square and then, as the police bikes went past, the official buses, the people, the cyclists and the the torch, I finally got it. This was bloody amazing and it was happening on my doorstep.

I didn't even get to see the torch that night, it veered off to the right just ahead of where we were standing. But as I joined friends for a drink afterwards and we stood in the heaving streets soaking up the atmosphere, I realised what I actually had was a free ticket to what could be an awesome party... a party that some people had travelled halfway around the world for and I really should be grateful for that.

Friday saw the Olympic Opening Ceremony. The Singing Swede and GBman threw a party. We ate Olympic coloured cupcakes (sorry LOCOG) and clapped and cheered as the TV screen was filled with once-in-a-lifetime images before hanging out the window to see the real-life smoke of the Red Arrows as they did a u-turn over west London.

Ok, the subtitles on the TV weren't great and I had a nap from G-S as the countries were parading out, but it was still pretty awesome, and as I finally got to bed at gone 2am, I had to pinch myself when I remembered I had tickets to the Games for Sunday.

You see, some of my friends caught the Olympic bug ages ago. They're faster learners than me, and so Penfold and Dangermouse had four tickets for the hockey. So they, along with me and Fab Friend headed over bright and early to the Riverbank Arena spectate. Ready for transport chaos, braced for queues. 

There were neither.

Instead there was a quick, crowd-free tube across the whole of London, a saunter up to Victoria Gate where extremely smiley security people met us and X-rayed our bags.

All day this happiness continued. When the rain came down in bucket loads, we donned bright orange recycling bags as skirts, which drew envied looks from wet-bottomed people and witty announcements on megaphones from games stewards. We were part of the party, and it felt great.

And the park? Well, lunch cost what it would in any London sandwich bar and there was no queue. There are tons of toilets and there was no queue. There are two big gift shops, with slight crowd control to get in, but so many tills and people organising you, that there was no queue.

Even getting into the hockey venue, there was no queue. Getting out again, there was no queue.

You're getting the gist of things here right?

And what about the match? Well we watched China vs South Korea – won by China, and then Argentina vs South Africa – won by Argentina, and both games were brilliant.

The rain bucketed it down during the warm up and stopped as play began on both occasions, and apart from a brief shower in the closing play of the final match, it was mostly sunny until we were walking back to the tube, but by that point we didn't care.

It's fair to say that I loved my Olympic experience. I went there, I did that, and I got a rather lovely T-shirt.

And truth be told, I feel a bit guilty about my 7-year Olympic grump. But then, to get it finally, in the awesome summer sunshine of central London last Thursday, well, I wouldn't swap that euphoria for anything.

Goooooooooo-oooooo team!


Anonymous said...

They are!!!! They rock! Long live team GB!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to sum up the euphoria of the games. I really envy you being able to be there. Glad you became a convert.
Chris Osborne (friend of your mum's)

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