Unless you’ve been literally living under a rock the past month, it won’t have escaped your attention that my fabulous home city of London just played host to the 2012 Olympic games. Having been excited about it since it was announced 7 years ago that London would be the host city, there was no way Will & I would be missing out on being part of it. After a bit of drama actually getting our hot little hands on our tickets (combination of moving abroad and the fact that Locog would not let us change our delivery address months in advance of delivery), we managed to pick them up from the post office when we popped back in June.
We were still in Singapore for the opening ceremony but we managed to watch quite a few events before we left, such as seeing Bradley Wiggins win gold in the road race time trial. There was something magical about seeing a British athlete winning gold, cycling through areas that I’d grown up in, around Hampton Court and Bushy Park. It actually got me a little choked up and definitely pining for the UK.
Before long though, we were back in London and, despite having landed at 5am, were heading up to Wembley arena to watch Mexico play Senegal in the football. We met up with our friends Adrian & Camilla, who also had tickets to the same game.
After watching Mexico beat Senegal in a surprisingly action-packed match, we headed down to Hyde Park to experience one of the free to enter Fan Zones. The Fan Zones were spread over London and allowed people to come together to watch the different events. Well, we picked a great evening to go down! It was the evening that saw Mo Farah win the 10,000 metres, as well as Jessica Ennis scoop gold in the heptathlon, finally proving to all her critics that she was indeed worth all the hype. The atmosphere in Hyde Park was incredible – the crowd roaring and cheering, the tension watching Mo Farah creep up to the front of the pack, the sudden rush of adrenaline when we realised he was going to win – amazing!
The next few days passed in a blur of seeing friends and family, and soaking up everything London and the UK has to offer. It was so wonderful to be back on familiar territory. Will managed to go to Hyde Park with his sister, to watch some of the triathlon (she competes in triathlons herself), but I was up in Yorkshire seeing my Granny!
Thursday saw our next dose of Olympic excitement, with a visit to the Olympic Park over in Stratford. We took one of the high-speed Javelin trains from St Pancras to Stratford which was great fun. Luckily the sun had come out, so the whole park was bathed in glorious sunshine.
I really loved the Olympic Park. It’s vast with the aquatics centre, velodrome and the main athletics stadium. The landscaping was really pretty, with lots of green spaces filled with wild flowers. There was something really ‘British’ about the whole place. We had a good wander around, as we’d arrived super early to soak up some atmosphere. This included eating a traditional British curry (!) down by the riverside, as well as enjoying some English cider in the sunshine. We met some terrific people, who we just got chatting to, who were incredibly friendly – they even bought us drinks … this NEVER usually happens in London! I think one of the things I loved most about the Olympics was how happy and friendly everyone was. The volunteers did a superb job of being really cheery but hugely helpful, and all of the members of public that we met were so excited and happy to be a part of it. It was like all the cynicism and British whining had been sucked away! The patriotism blew me away as well – there was barely a single person who wasn’t wearing some kind of team GB t-shirt or who didn’t have a Union Jack transfer stuck to their cheek!
Before too long, the sun had started to lower in the sky and it was time for us to head into the Olympic stadium for some athletics action! We got really lucky with the session we went to, as we got to see Usain Bolt compete, and take gold, in the 200m final. We also saw some of the closing events in the decathlon – javelin and 1500m. We also got to see a World Record be broken by David Rudisha of Kenya, in the men’s 800m.
The stadium was full of noise the whole time we were there – everyone was cheering on all the athletes, regardless of what country they were representing. During the track events, there was a ‘wall of noise’ that followed them around the stadium. I can’t imagine what it felt like competing there, but I got some serious goosebumps at times! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud of where I come from. Can you imagine what I would’ve been like if we’d won a gold that evening?!
Being a part of London 2012 was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments for me. Congratulations to all the athletes who competed, in particular to Team GB of course! Best medal haul yet!
I’ve never felt so proud to be British, and a Londoner, and I really want to say thank you to everyone who made it a reality – you did an incredible job and these memories will stay with me forever.
You can see more photos from London 2012 over on my Flickr set by clicking here.