Boat Loads of Fun!
by Harrison Hawker

The final day of the rowing regatta of the 30th Olympia at London 2012 was anticipated to be an exciting event, and it did not disappoint.

The day stared for me with a 5am alarm followed by an hour or so drive to the Upton Court Park and ride for our designated time slot of 6:30. The park and ride took us to Windsor Racecourse and after a 30 minute walk we arrived at Eton Dorney and the 2012 Olympics.

The venue was incredible, well organised and well-made combined with the excitement and anticipation of the day’s events and the fact Team GB would be competing for three gold medals.

We place ourselves as close to the main stand as possible right next to the 1500m marker. This gave us both a good view of the finish and the big screen.

Team GB were not in any of the first 7 races and as each was finished you could feel the excitement rising till finally Team GB took to the lake.

As the women double-sculls came into view the wave of noise increased. When they rowed passed us the crowd were cheering so loudly that you could not even hear the coach’s on their bikes screaming at their respective rowers. The women went passed the grand stand in first and the noise was so loud that they increased in speed and won the first gold medal of the day for GB’s rowers.

The men’s coxless 4 were next and are renowned as the main event in the rowing regatta. It was GB verses Australia for gold and the GB men motivated by the atmosphere and noise delivered and oar inspiring performance to win GB’s second gold.

The men’s light weight doubles got off to a choppy start with the wheel of one of the seats breaking just inside the 100m limit where by the race could be restarted and GB would not have to forfeit their place. The performance by the 2 men was amazing and after leading the whole race they were just piped to the gold by Denmark.

Overall it was an incredible day and the medals won contributed to the most successful day for British athletics ever. I was very proud to have been part of it.


Sun block and Hockey!
by Iain Laing

JUST how I managed to get sunburnt and soaked at the same time whilst watching women’s hockey at the Riverbank Arena, I can only put down to the wonderful vagaries of the British summer.  It seemed only fitting that the weather added its own very British touch to the occasion, fully justifying its place in Danny Boyle‘s imagined vision of Britain.

Here are a few other musings on ‘British’ observations from my day at the Olympic Park:

• Having to pack sunglasses, sun cream…and raincoats
• People wearing shorts, flip flops…and raincoats (including you, Mr Dave Edwards)
• Respectfully standing for other countries’ national anthems
• Having no idea where those countries are or what language they speak, let alone what they are singing
• Queuing 50 minutes for the Megastore for a key ring, as that’s all that was left under £50
• My children talking in excited terms about sports other than football, and finding new sporting heroes
• Feeling the collective pride of a nation in the achievements of Team GB, which have been inspirational

Now it’s off to the shops as the kids want a new tennis racquet, bicycle, running shoes, table tennis bat, javelin, canoe, rowing boat..


On the fence
by Louise Proehl

When my brother offered me his tickets for the fencing, I admit I did think that it would be a bit boring and there were far better sports to be watch at the Olympics. However on further reflection, they were Olympic tickets and this wasnt likely to be an opportunity that would be repeated so I decided to go.

Turns out at Fencing was more exciting than I thought!

London when we arrived had been transformed from the normal version of London Town to a Olympic vision. With the riverbank created into an Olympic walkway with colourful versions of Wenlock and Mandeville, it was a triely magical walk to London Bridge.

Arriving at the site of the Olympic park, it was so crowded but there was a buzz of excitement in the air which really got you in the spirit of this fantastic event.

After being escorted out of the Olympic park by Army Personnel after trying to get in with Excel centre tickets (very embarrassing- please all, check your tickets!) we made our way to the right venue to watch the Fencing. Note to all those going to the Excel centre, if you think you might get hungry, take food. It is £7 for a pasty and £4 for an ice-cream.

We were called to our seats and entertained by a military band and then motivational Olympic videos of the athletes we were about to watch. The game of Fencing was then explained so that the people who were new to the sport could get involved knowing the basics of the rules.

We ended up watching the semi-finals, bronze match and gold match of both the Mens Epee and the Womens Sabre which were both as exciting as each other. Something that has surprised me is how much I would now like to try fencing and I do feel that this is what the Olympics is all about- getting people to embrace new sports.


Fages forward planning
by Jason Fage

So having booked our hotel 2 years ago to get a deal we set about entering the ballot with block bookings across 28 sessions only to get 1 set of tickets for a Monday morning session of Athletics. Not a bad one to get I know but with 3 days to fill we were determined to get some more tickets to make the most of the Olympic experience. With the help of Google and Twitter I tracked down Co-sport and paid slightly over the odds for Tennis, Beach Volleyball and Water Polo to fill up the weekend.   Saturday… So our Olympics weekend started at 5am in Chesterfield and the train to St Pancras. We headed for the Triathlon in Hyde Park which was a free event although much walking was required to get close to the action but a good event to whet the appetite for what was to come. Then it was on to the Beach Volleyball in the evening which was fantastic even if I had little clue what was going on, a womens match Brazil Vs Czech someone had to do it! Great half time entertainment though and the location was superb.

Sunday…Tennis. Our tickets were for Court 1 which was a Bronze medal game Djokovik v Del Potro but with Murray playing on Centre for Gold the atmosphere was great. Then we had to make a mid afternoon dash over to Olympic Park to the Water Polo. Again We hadnt got a clue what was happening in front of us but all I can say is the Womens Water Polo is a fairly brutal sport with lots of underhand/Underwater tactics going on. The Olympics park at night was something else. Finally onto Monday and the grand finale .Athletics tickets in the Stadium.

The whole Olympic Park is immense in size and I feel there was much more to see than we had time for. The stadium is fantastic and our seats behind the Olympic flame were excellent. One request..Would have been good if Seb could have put the flame out for a couple of hours as it got a bit warm and the haze also distorted our view….should I write him a letter of complaint ? Perhaps not !! The whole place is like a small town and the organisation was superb. Having spent 3 days at the Olympics it actually felt we had been to something really special and everything we experienced was organised 1st Class. Was it really Great Britain where this was all taking place? It certainly was and fantastic to have experienced it close up.

Jason and Rachael Fage


Horrah for Handball
by Annette DAbreo

Well I drew the Hot Ticket this week – Iceland v Hungary Mens Handball Quarter Final. It was fast paced, physical and very exciting to watch, especially as they were drawn after 60 mins, and then again after 10 mins extra time, with Hungary winning by just 1 point after another 10 mins of extra time. The many Hungarians in the Arena went crazy. I loved the music, dancing and clapping that permeated the whole game. Best player – Laszlo Nagy – doppelganger for Ashton Kutcher.

I went with my friend Ali who appreciated the beautiful flowers along the canal and the royal barge Gloriana. We saw the NBC area from where they broadcast Good Morning America live every day, and had a good view of Matt Lauer, Al Roker and their special guest the actor Jimmy Fallon who came over to say Hi to us. Travel to and from Stratford was easy and not too crowded. But it is getting warmer and it smelt as though the Handball teams were in my tube carriage – before they showered.

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