Friday, 29 November 2013

Fantastic Friday - Olympics 2012

So it is the penultimate day of national blog posting month and it feels kinda weird that I am so close to the end, especially with how poor my writing has been as of late. After the one poor attempt at throwback thursday a few weeks ago I thought I would try again but with a twist. Why stick to the conforms of it being on a thursday? Today I want to write about fantastic Friday. You never know it might catch on? Rewind to 2011 and there were riots galore in our nations capital.  From Hackney to Croydon, gangs of teenagers fought running battles with police, making roadblocks from burning cars and ransacking shops. No, it is not that period that was particularly fantastic for the country and the city of London but a mere 12 months later and the summer of 2012. The Olympic Games came to this great country of ours. Much has been written and said about that summer, but why was it fantastic for me? Well truth be told it didn't start so fantastic for me. I had applied for various Olympic tickets but didn't get any. I got over it and enjoyed watching the Games on my television and following online and the radio whenever I wasn't in front of a TV. Then, I was thrown a lifeline. My friend had a spare ticket for the open water swimming event in Hyde Park. There was a little bit of a snag, I had very little money in my pocket or my bank account for that matter. I had to get to London somehow though, I couldn't not. It was my home Games, a once in a lifetime opportunity! Megabus to the rescue, I bought a return ticket for £11 from Preston to London. I've tried to forget the long tedious journey but I haven't forgotten how I felt when I arrived in the city. I was in awe of the huge buildings and the bustling streets all around me. I met Ollie just outside the coach station at Victoria after travelling all day but the first place I wanted to go was Buckingham Palace. I recently went on a tour of the state rooms but I am always in awe of the place, the history of the Palace and everything it represents. 

Me & Ollie being very patriotic 

We went for a bit of a tour around the city, a pint and a chat then headed back to Ollie's house in Benfleet ready for our Olympic adventure the next day. What a day it was, we started bright and early and headed into London. There were Games Makers at the station and were incredibly friendly and very helpful. London was truly splendid, the sun glistened in the sky and shone off everything. There were members of the armed forces everywhere acting as security for the various events happening across the city and they made me feel safe and secure rather than looking scary. People were chatty and friendly and one woman even gave us the best advice on where to watch Olympic events on the big screen if we wanted to drink outside to. Ollie and his parents showed me around London, the ease with which they managed to navigate the underground just astounded me. We went to Hyde Park to watch the swimming in the grandstand, the sun was beaming down on us and the banks of the Serpentine were packed with spectators. Most of them were there to cheer on Keri Anne Payne. Astonishingly she is the same age as me but a double world medalist and an Olympic Silver medalist. It was a fascinating race but unfortunately she finished the race back in 5th place. 

Kerri Anne looking stunning
 One of the unique things about hosting the Olympics is that each nation has a particular house in that city showcasing upcoming world events. So we visited Brasil house to see a taste of what we are to expect in Rio in next summer's World cup and the next Olympic games. A place what really impressed me though was Qatar house. They are planning to build not just new stadiums when they host the World cup but whole new cities!

one of the new cities

London in an Olympic year was truly something else and it made me fall in love with our capital. Hopefully I will catch the next one in Rio and see how that compares, because after that summers experience I am well and truly hooked! 

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