London Olympic Games

The London Olympics marks, or marked, the first time the Olympics have come to our rough vicinity. With a hop skip and a jump we could make it to London. Taking 5 hours from door to door by train, you really can’t get much better. As luck would have it I have parents who are interested in the Olympics and are willing to put up with me and my sibling for a week as well as extended family who let us into their house. Anyway we took the train bumped around Belgium and France before going under the channel and got to London, yay.
Before going I was more or less ignorant of all things Olympic, I knew some of the athletes, was vaguely aware of the sports we would be watching and knew there was some deal with several countries having houses.

I knew the night we would be arriving in London we would be going to the ” Heineken Holland house” which would be The Netherlands House, the party house supposedly, but I had little idea about what it was going to be like. I pictured a somewhat rustic bar with some flat screen TVs a bunch of happy Dutch in Orange and some Heineken. Free Heineken, we somehow figured. Instead the venue was a palace, they had some several thousand happy Dutch, some rather pricy Heineken (pricy compared to free that is) huge screens complete with stands placed with real and the occasional cardboard person, and the list goes on. A pretty damn big affair.  It was very atmospheric and we even left while a live singer was signing off with a dutch lullaby.

Quick overview. We would be spending a week in London with family and seeing Olympics on three separate days. Day 1(Monday) gymnastics. Day 2ish (Thursday) Beach Volleyball. Day 3 (Friday) Athletics. There would also be a stop in Bath for some culture, but we won’t talk about that here.

Day 1 Gymnastics.

Pictured above is the inside of the millenium dome before the event started. If i’m not mistaken the basketball games were also held here. The picture was taking from our seats which were absolutely fantastic. Ended up sitting next to the Dad of Yibing Chen the silver medalist in the rings which was really interesting. He put up a great performance and it would have been great to see him win Gold. Alas, twas not to be.

Beside the rings we also saw Women’s uneven bars as well as Men’s Vault including the medal ceremonies. Below is a small sample of some of those pictures.

The next event was the Beach Volleyball. With the beach volleyball we had seats quite a bit further away, though still incredibly reasonable.  Each day, stadium and event brought a rather different atmosphere with it. The beach volleyball bronze medal match and finals was obviously the place to be, full of atmosphere, full of vibrant fans (with the Brazilians making accounting for most of the enthusiasm) We saw the dutch play and loose to Latvia and then the Germans taking on the Brazilians. My sister, dad and I added to the defiant cheers of the Germans, for no other reason than that the Brazilians had plenty of support going their way.  It must have worked as they won.

Day 3 was athletics, an 80,000 seat stadium stuffed with people. When the crowd got going you could not hear yourself scream. At that point I gave up cheering for any country and spouted random nonsense about apples pears and fish, with the occasional GO USA, GO GB, GO BELGIUM, or whoever else happened to be running thrown in.

All in all the olympics were a fantastic experience and while I did not take as many pictures as I usually do I’m glad I took up the time to soak up the atmosphere and give myself up cheering for foreign teams in Volleyball and Athletics. I also really enjoyed my time in London, we had great weather, the family we stayed with was welcoming and fun, and the city itself was much more impressive than I could remember.

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