Wednesday, 1 August 2012

My Olympic pictures

Chelsea Football Club Stadium
It was so thrilling to be in London to watch some of the Olympic events live. We arrived Friday afternoon at St Pancras Station expecting to be half-crushed by the crowds but were pleasantly surprised by how un-hassley it all was. Volunteer 'Games-makers' were literally everywhere to meet and greet people where ever you went and to point you in the right direction or answer questions and give you information leaflets. 

We had an equally un-hassley tube trip over to Chelsea (you know we got to sit down on virtually every tube train we went on - now that's unheard of in 'normal' times!) We stayed at an hotel in the grounds of the world famous football club, Chelsea. The photo above is their stadium.  

We watched the opening ceremony in our hotel room, sitting on the bed eating pizza and drinking red wine! I thought it was great, a bit baffling at times but entertaining and very British! When did the Queen learn to parachute out of a helicopter? I thought the way they lit the cauldron was fantastic too! 

Hubby and I waiting for the road race to pass!
On Saturday (and just by luck) the men's cycling road race was going past our hotel. We were on our way down the road to catch the tube into central London when the crowds started cheering and we realised the race was just about to go past, so obviously we stopped to watch and I managed to get this photo! The photo's taken just a few minutes after the race started. The whole pack just whizzed back in about 2 seconds so I was pretty lucky to get such a clear shot....
Leaders in Men's Road Race

Olympic Rings on the Thames
Our visit to the Beach Volleyball wasn't until the afternoon so we spent a couple of hours milling around the South Bank Centre on the Thames, soaking up the atmosphere and getting a coffee. London has just become a giant Olympic stadium - it's just everywhere. Here's a photo of the Olympic rings floating on a barge in the middle of the Thames. You can see the London Eye in the background....

Airport style security at Horse Guards Parade
 We arrived in good time at Horse Guards Parade to avoid long queues to get in. As expected we had to go through 'airport' style security but they had so many stations and staff (the army) that it only took a few minutes. We then entered a huge spectator area where there were lots of food stands, toilets and grassy areas to sit until it was time to enter the actual stadium. 

If you have ever been to Horse Guards Parade before you would not have realised that such a huge stadium could be constructed on that spot! It can accommodate 15,000 spectators.
Me at Horse Guards Parade stadium
The atmosphere inside the stadium was amazing. I've never been to a beach volleyball tournament before so I presume that rock music, bikini clad dancers and Mexican waves are the norm!  

Before things got under way we were treated to interviews with Lord Coe (a former Olympic champion himself) and
former Olympic athlete Colin Jackson.                                                                                                                                                       

Then the tournament began. I managed to get a few photos, though the zoom on my camera is not too great!

Austria vs Czech republic

Brazil vs Mauritius

China vs Switzerland

Great Britain vs Canada

Sunday required an early start - 5.30am. Our next event, judo, started at 9.30am and we were supposed to arrive a good 1 to one and a half hours early. The event was at the Excel Centre in the East End of London. Chelsea is in the West End. So we had to get right across London for about 8.00am! 

Excel Centre
I was amazed by the size of the Excel Centre. I thought only judo was scheduled for this venue but there were in fact seven events going on so you can imagine how many people were all arriving at the same time! Never the less we still got through security in a matter of minutes and inside the centre. (I can't really fault the organisation of the games)

Looking back at crowds at Excel centre. London Docklands in background.

Inside the North Arena - the judo mats
We grabbed a coffee and made our way to the North Arena. I was amazed again at the size of stadium they were able to construct inside what is basically an exhibition hall (I'm easily amazed. You've probably noticed!)

Knowing that most of the crowd won't have watched a judo competition before they helpfully showed a few short videos outlining the rules and basic techniques of judo. Again I was a bit far away to take really good shots but here's a taste of what I got...

The guy in blue is Israeli but I can't remember who the other guy is!

The guy in blue is Colin Oates - GBR, he won this round

You would not believe the noise when a Briton came onto the mats - it was ear shattering! Sophie Cox and Colin Oates were competing for Britain in the half heavy weight category. Unfortunately Sophie was knocked out in her first match but Colin got through two rounds before being knocked out by a golden score in the quarter-finals. The support they received from the crowd though was phenomenal! 

All in all it was a brilliant weekend in a wonderful Olympic atmosphere. I'm so glad we were able to go and experience it first hand - an experience I'll never forget. However, it was tiring and we both came home completely shattered! Just like this dog who we saw in St James's Park:

Dog tired!
No it's not me!


Felicia said...

It looks and sounds like you had an amazing time, Sue. I hear Judo and TKD are in the same venue (as are wrestling and weightlifting), but I don't think anything other than Judo has started yet - not sure.

Sue C said...

Hi Felicia. Yes the weightlifting, boxing and table-tennis were all going on at the same time as the judo. TKD hasn't started yet - must be next week...

Charles James said...

Wonderfully told itinerary of your time at the games :-) Really cool.

The Strongest Karate said...

Sounds like you had a real blast. Next time The Games come to the USA I'll have to snag some tickets.

Sue C said...

Thanks Charles:)

Brett, why not go to Rio?

Unknown said...

Very jealous! Sounds like fun. So far, London seems to have done a fine job hosting the Olympics.

Not personally a fan of the TKD, but I'm looking forward to the streams of the wrestling and weightlifting.

Sue C said...

Hi Steve, I think London's doing a great job too! Thanks for commenting...


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