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Subject: London 2012 - a great success rss

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Richard Gough
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What an excellent Olympic Games that was! I'm delighted that London has put on a brilliant Olympic Games proved wrong those who expected it to fail. I've put some of my thoughts on the Games below and I would love to hear about others experiences, live or via TV. Particularly if you do not live in the UK I would love to hear how the Games came across,

London I was amazed how friendly London was during the games. London, but not as I knew it. It was great to chat to strangers as I travelled around discussing where they had come from and what they were going to see.

Volunteers All the volunteers were absolutely brilliant in every way. Even the volunteers who were just standing outside a station directing people did so with a smile on their face having great fun. They were superb and the Olympics could not have happened without them. I salute them all.

Armed Services The armed services were brilliant too doing the security at each venue efficiently and quickly but with the humour and fun that that you would expect at the Olympics.

Travel Thank you so much to all the commuters who stayed at home and made my drives up and down the A12 very easy indeed. As the Games went on I was driving in later and later because there were no traffic jams at all.

Empty Seats I am so proud that the United Kingdom put on the first Olympics ever where every ticket for every session was sold and I hope we will do the same at the Paralympics. The empty seats issue was blown out of all proportion by the media. Where there were big blocks of seat empty these were seats held for athletes, coaches and the media. There were too many of these at qualifiers of course but I assume it is difficult to get the numbers for these correct. When I was going to the events I could not understand what the fuss was about but when I watched sessions back that I had attended I realised there were a lot of empty seats. I think that this was mainly because there was a lot of movement during sessions. Unlike a football match where most people are in their seats during the action during a three hour session there was a constant movement of people to go a use the facilities and purchase food and drinks. And in the team sports where there were two matches many people only watched one of the matches.

Queuing One of my biggest concerns before attending the Olympics was long queues, particularly with Mrs Han Shot First 8 months pregnant. Due to the brilliant work of the armed services and the volunteers there were no queues! I queued only three times attending 11 events, queues for trains after leaving the O2 and Wembley and a queue to get into the ExCel when 10000 Irishmen and women turned up at the same time to see Katie Taylor. Even those queues were only around 20 minutes.

Tickets LOCOG/Ticketmaster seemed to screw up tickets in a great variety of ways but, in the end, I don't know of many people who wanted to go to the Olympics who didn't, apart from those who gave up trying after the first ballot. Indeed I hardly even know of anyone who wanted to go to athletics that did not get tickets in the end, if they put a bit of effort in. So although they messed it up I have to give them some credit for getting tickets into the hands of the public eventually.

Commercialisation Actually at the Olympics there is very little in the way of commercialisation other than the fact that you can only buy one kind of burger/beer/soft drink/clothing brand etc. I was expecting there to be load of adverts all over the place for the sponsors but actually it did not feel that way it always felt like the sport came first.

Gymnastics I saw the men's qualification subdivision 2, which turned out to be USA, Japan and Italy. They did the scoring in a clever way. After each piece of apparatus they showed the scores along with where subdivision 1 had been at the same stage of the competition. I had kept up with the morning session though, so the drama of GB ending up second to USA was lost on me. My lowest category seats were great, quite high up but in line with the parallel bars and the rings. They did not feel too far away and the view through the binoculars was just right. I was surprised how many gymnasts fell off apparatus etc. I guess if I am watching gymnastics on TV it is usually the finals where only the best competitors get through.

Football I saw the double header of Uruguay vs. Senegal and GB vs. UAE at Wembley. Olympic men’s football is always going to have that friendly feel to it, especially in the group stages but it's still football and at £20 for a double header it was great value for row 6 of the upper tier. I particularly enjoyed booing Suarez doing the first match. I overheard the bloke behind me comment on the high number of Man United fans in the stadium, booing Suarez. I turned round and pointed out to him he was being booed for his racism, not because he plays for Liverpool. The chap’s response was that most of the fans booing him are more racist than he is. I pointed out that I was not booing him because he was Uruguayan, I was booing him because he refused to shake hands with Evra. Watching team GB was a lot like watching England as they made very hard work beating well organised but inferior opposition. I loved the irony of all the card machines in Wembley not working during the break between matches when the entire stadium was trying to buy food. Epic fail for VISA.

Three Day Eventing Finals After a much needed day off I headed down to Greenwich Park for the show jumping. I had problems getting to this one as my usual route into London was the central line which was not working due to fire. I was pleased not to miss any GB riders though. The cheapest seats turned out to be great value once again. I was in the very back row of an enormous stand but this provided an excellent view across the whole course and was still close enough to get some good photos. The team round in the morning had something of an anti-climax because Germany had already won the gold before the final round of jumping occurred, but the battle for silver went right down to the wire and the home crowd were delighted with the silver medal behind the hot favourites. Lunchtime offered the opportunity to go out around Greenwich Park and inspect some of the cross country jumps that I'd been watching on television the previous day. I had high hopes for an individual medal in the afternoon with GB riders sitting 3rd and 4th overall but sadly they both knocked two fences down in their final rounds. After the team medal ceremony I did not hang around to hear the German anthem a second time.

Badminton Early start next day for the first session of badminton knock out matches. The controversy of the previous evening’s badminton had mainly passed me by while I was returning from the three day eventing so I was not aware of the reason for the large media presence. No GB players in the knock out stages unfortunately. Still a great atmosphere though as the home crowd got vocally behind anyone who wasn't Chinese. It was a good format - I got to see singles and doubles matches. My seat was pretty bad but Wembley Arena is a small venue so could see the court nearest me well enough and concentrated on watching whatever match was on that one.

Diving My first visit to Olympic Park was for a day in the Aquatics Centre, women's 3m diving prelims followed by swimming finals in the evening. I was very pleased to get diving tickets because it's a sport I used to do. Even from high up in the aquatics centre it was a good sport to watch live. It was non-stop action because I'd watch a dive live, then watch it in slow-mo on the big screen, by which time the score had come through and then the next diver was up. There were lots of families in the audience. It seemed a poor choice of ticket for them because it was three hours of the same thing, some of the kids seemed to be getting pretty bored and other spent most of the session playing on their phones. The two British girls scraped through to the semi-final.

Swimming Finals I was delighted to get tickets for Rebecca Adlington's 800m freestyle final. Her American opponent went out so fast I kept thinking it was OK, that she would tire and Adlington would speed up. It wasn't until about 600m of shouting myself hoarse I realised she was not going to catch up. What I thought would be a close race between Adlington and Freise turned out to be for the bronze medal. So, obviously a very disappointing result, but a great atmosphere. Different from the family atmosphere in the afternoon this was full of people from many nations, particularly from the nations who had medal hopes - lots of Americans making themselves heard. I'd had enough of the Stars and Stripes by the end of the night and so had the American bloke next to me. He did not even stay for the last two medal ceremonies! Why is it that Americans do not sing their national anthem? The French fans sung theirs with great gusto! We made Becky cry by chanting her name during her medal ceremony despite her winning 'only' a bronze medal.

Volleyball I went to the volleyball next morning and much to my surprise this turned out to be one of the best visits I made. The second match on was GB against Poland and the crowd was around 50% Polish which made the atmosphere amazing in the big indoor venue of Earl's Court. The huge number of Polish flags decorating the venue made it like a home game for the Poles and they did not disappoint their fans. Like the beach volleyball there was music, cheerleaders and entertainment in between points/matches/at timeouts. I was very happy with my cheap seats next to the commentary area. In the afternoon I made good use of my complimentary travel card to go to see the Chariots of Fire stage show over in the West End.

Table Tennis While the rest of the nation was watching GB pick up three gold athletics medals I had some disappointingly expensive seats a long way from some table tennis tables where the women's team quarter finals were being played. Even more unhelpfully I was unable to get radio reception inside the metal box that is ExCel so I was unable to listen to what was going on elsewhere as I usually did at events. I was very pleased to watch some table tennis though, a sport I'd played extensively in my youth. As usual the home crowd were supporting the underdogs and as usual they were disappointed.

Track Cycling Finals After a day of rest on Sunday Monday saw me back in Olympic Park. I went earlier this time to give myself the opportunity to properly explore the park. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and get away from the crowds but there's not actually a lot to do, not that I was expecting there would be. I headed to the big screens to watch the athletics in the morning, where there was a good atmosphere with GB athletes being cheered all the time. I wandered around the park to take a look at all the venues from the outside. Other than that it was mainly places to eat apart from the obligatory trip to the London 2012 megastore. (Why is everything a megastore these days?) Coca-cola reps were doing a lot of street theatre. Other than that a good time was to be had drinking beer and soaking up the friendly all nations atmosphere. Headed to the track cycling in the afternoon and this was the highlight of the Games for me. I had what I considered to be the best seats in the Velodrome, high up so I could see the whole track; right in line with the start/finish line so I was not reliant on the big screen to let me know who had won and lost. This happened to be the only day when GB were not the hot favourites to get a gold medal. The only medal event was the men's sprint. I was greatly relieved and delighted by Jason Kenny's performance. I was beginning to think I would not see a GB gold medal. I also witnessed Vicky Pendleton in the women's sprint quarter final the start of Laura Trott's ultimately successful Omnium campaign. Laura was +0.005s off the pace halfway round her flaying lap but won that event by -0.001s surely due to the vocal support she received. This win of course proved crucial to winning the overall competition.

Athletics Finals After the medal ceremony had finished we had to rush from the Velodrome across Olympic Park to the stadium but I don't think we missed anything important, certainly not any races. Watching the cycling had been so physically and mentally draining the athletics atmosphere seemed quite flat in comparison. Of course on reflection I realised that this was not the case. I loved the way a Mexican wave of sound followed each race around the track. I was surprised that the home crowd supported all the athletes in the women's pole vault, cheering them when they succeeded and groaning when they failed, despite the fact that British medal hope Holly Bleasdale was in the final. Unfortunately she missed out on a medal, as did Dai Green coming fourth in the 400m hurdles but who could begrudge Felix Sanchez the gold medal? He got and audible ah as he broke down in tears during the medal ceremony. I also got to witness the only gold medal won that was subsequently withdrawn due to drugs use in the women’s shot put. Sad, she was so excited to have won. On a similar subject I had the opportunity to boo Justin Gatlin as he received his 100m bronze medal.

Freestyle Wrestling And finally back to ExCel with the afore mentioned 10000 Irishmen/women. I was not there to see the boxing though. When tickets appear to be very difficult to get hold of I splashed out on some expensive wrestling tickets and was rewarded with the worst seats I had the whole Games. They were quite near the front of the stand but on a corner with an awful view. Seats right at the back horizontal or vertical to the action would have been much better. While it was the least interesting thing I saw, mainly because I know nothing about the sport, it was still enjoyable to be in the Olympic atmosphere.
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Boaty McBoatface
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As I have said I was surprised with how well it went, and thanks for saying nice things about the service personal. They were not supposed to be acting as basic security and were called in at then last minute because of the useless tossers that are G4S.
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Darren Martin
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With reference to the Armed Forces at the Olympics, take a look at this bad boy. It was written by a Royal Marine I've served with, but as his name has been crossed out (to protect the guilty) I won't drop him in it


http://www.arrse.co.uk/naafi-bar/186490-blaggers-guide-olymp...
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Matt B
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TLDR; I thought London did well and really enjoyed watching these Olympics.
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Boaty McBoatface
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pincher wrote:
With reference to the Armed Forces at the Olympics, take a look at this bad boy. It was written by a Royal Marine I've served with, but as his name has been crossed out (to protect the guilty) I won't drop him in it :)sqaudie


http://www.arrse.co.uk/naafi-bar/186490-blaggers-guide-olymp...


Typical sqaudie, glad they got something out of it.

I like the “Grateful 4 Soldiers”, maybe they could give each sqaudie whoi bailed them out a thankyou gift (like a paid holiday to make up for the leave that got cancelled).
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Richard Gough
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pincher wrote:


Superb. I assumed that the armed forces would quite enjoy getting to see some of the Olympics in exchange for security guarding. Though mountain training in North Wales sounds fun too.
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Richard Gough
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Paralympics I was never intending to go to the paralympics but I had such a good time at the Olympics I decided to pick up tickets for a couple of evening athletics sessions. They did not disappoint. The atmosphere in the park and the stadium was every bit as good as during the Olympics. I feel this reflects very well on Great Britain. I was there on Tuesday evening where the highlight was a David Weir gold. I spent all day in the park on the Saturday watching the big screens. In the stadium in the evening attention focus on Oscar Pistorious in the 400m.
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