|London 2012 - Artist's Impression|
|The shrouded Rings in St Pancras|
|The new velodrome:|
dubbed "The Pringle" because of it's roof shape
|The good ole days|
After mortgaging the first-born, I was at both the Opening and Closing ceremonies. North and South Korea marching in together. A roar for the New Zealanders almost as loud as that for the home team. Cathy lighting the flame. Peter Garrett and Midnight Oil singing; Yvonne Kenny singing (with a huge bogon moth brooch). Sydney was a benign and happy place in that pre-911 world; we all wore lanyards around our necks to hold our tickets and mimic the athletes; and took (efficient!) pubic transport everywhere. We learnt the finer points of Greco-Roman Wrestling and and were there when Eric the Eel hitched up his baggy Speedos and swam his 100 m heat alone after everyone else broke; when Svetlana the Gymnast fell on her bum because they hadn't lowered the vault horse from the Men's event (and all three little Eastern Europeans who won Gold, Silver and Bronze were disqualified for drinking coffee or something); and when the Women's Marathon contestant from the newly-born nation of East Timor fell on her knees, clasped her hands, and sent up a fervent prayer when she made it into the Stadium (only to have a sheepish official run over and point out that she had a lap tog go).
|Lord Coe encouraging me to come along|
The London Opening ceremony will be held on Friday 27th July 2012, presumably in balmy London summer weather. You can read all about it at the Official Site. You'll have to click through to see the logo they are using - there's no way this little black duck is going to risk reproducing the Olympic Rings, a fiercely protected trade mark. I have "registered my interest" in the Games and am sent the occasional email newsletter. I assume these will build to a frenzied torrent as July 2012 approaches. Meanwhile, I also have a booklet which lists all the tickets available. The Brits - somewhat spooked by the "empty stadium syndrome" of Beijing - have adopted a somewhat freer approach to ticket sales than the thicket through which I slashed my way for Sydney 2000. Joe Public is invited to apply for any tickets to anything, in a six week window of opportunity between 15 March and 26 April 2011. there are, in general, four or five price categories. If events are oversubscribed, all applicants will be put into a ballot. There doesn't seem to be an option for 'cascading' down (or up) the price categories as we had in Sydney; which is simpler but eliminates some opportunity. It is claimed that 90% of the tickets cost less than £100 and prices start in all sports at £20.
|London 2012 branded - er, stuff - anyone?|
I must consider the matter closely - and suggestions are welcome, especially if you have done this before or have a degree in Quantum Physics - but it seems to me that I should go for a nice mix of heats (less popular) and a big swag of finals (very popular so unlikely to get them, but maybe one or two will come through). Hmmm...even as I type that, it seems hopelessly unscientific. Then there is the question of applying for things on overlapping dates and times, to maximise chances, but needing a Plan B in the event (no pun intended) that that overlapping ones come through. Luckily I have a couple of months to nut this all out. I'm serious abut the suggestions. Anyone into on-line gambling? Blackjack? Waddaya think?
|Melanie Farquhar and Emma Vickers (England)|
These events will all be grouped in and around the new Olympic Park at Stratford in East London. My chances of finding my way to a rowing, sailing or equestrian venue are a little dodgy; and as for the soccer -- wow, I'm not going near an English soccer crowd for love nor money. I considered Diving, but that was probably the most disappointing spectator sport in Sydney 2000 - moments of tense anticipation and then - whoosh! - you blink and you miss the actual dive. Better to see the underwater camera views on a big screen somewhere.
The venue building schedule seems to on track - at least, I haven't seen too much hand-wringing in the press. The main site is on 250 acres of derelict industrial land in the Lea Valley in East London (an Olympics building project is always a good way to reclaim mucky messed-up land - compare Homebush Bay in Sydney). I have noticed a squabble about which football team will take over the Stadium as its home after the Games are over, but sad to say I don't really concentrate on football stories. Life is too short. The Guardian reports today that the main Stadium is s
|The London Olympic site in mid-2009|
It is not often that you get a sports-relating post on this blog, but The Olympics are an exception. How exciting that they will be held in the city where I live! Although I may have to be of strong character when the Australians beat the Brits...what's that you say? Just a little friendly rivalry? I recall hearing an interview with one of the British organisers shortly after the bid was won. "And do you think British sports men and women can get up to world-beating standard by 2012?", the interviewer asked. "Oh, we don't have to do that", was the reply. "We just have to beat the Australians."
Let The Games begin.
Some images from: