It’s over! The greatest show in the world leaves London.

When Boris, Mayor of London, handed over the Paralympic flag to the Mayor of Rio, you could almost hear the crowd shout out: ‘ Boris, don’t give it to him’!  We didn’t want it all to end, the fun of hosting the biggest sporting shows in the world had got into our blood and we wanted more.

The final days were wonderful and we made the most of it!  On the final Sunday the wheelchair marathon hit the streets of central London, the closing ceremony was live on the big screen in Trafalgar Square, the Mayor’s Thames Festival had a night parade and fireworks alongside those at the Olympic Park.  Monday could have been a dull day after all that but we had the massive excitement of the victory parade for Our Greatest Team where the Olympians and Paralympians joined together on a 21 float parade in front one million flag waving people. So watch out for a long, long blog post!

The marathon was a great day out in the sunshine with huge crowds cheering on every competitor as they raced past at incredible speeds. I was lucky enough to see both Paralympic GB competitors whizz past – David Weir and Shelley Woods, gold and silver medal winners. 

David Weir half way through

Crowds!

David Weir heading for home

Shelley Woods (yellow racing chair)

The athletes’ parade was a wonderful outpouring of cheer on the streets of London as our heroes, medallist and non medallists, Olympians and Paralympians, went past on 21 floats. They waved, they smiled, they said thank you, they took photos and they tweeted – and so did we! The streets were lined hours ahead of the parade’s arrival and as the floats approached the noise level zoomed sky high. The police were in fine form, high-fiving from the motor bikes with lion mascots on board! We were treated to 2 carnival lions, acrobats and a band and then came the floats and it was brilliant to see our athletes in the flesh.

Crowds gathered early….

Hi fiving the police!

The mascot – ahhh!

GB lions head the parade

Here they come – excitement mounts…

Mo Farrah

Jess Ennis
Clare Balding, broadcasting star with David Weir – hidden!
Johnny Peacock
Boxing heroes Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua
Victoria Pendleton
Lee Pearson and a float full of athletes
Guess who? Tom Daley
Zara Phillips
Ben Ainslie
Kath Grainger

Red Arrows celebrate and end the parade

Missing from the athletes parade was Andy Murray who was continuing the golden spirit by winning the US Open, the first British man to win a Grand Slam since 1936 – well done Andy!

The Mayor’s festival on Sunday ended with an impressive fireworks display over the Thames, matching our exuberant mood, so here are a few shots to sign off with and look out for St Paul’s Cathedral lit up by the rockets!


Bye for now,
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon

London 2012 just got better – it’s the Paralympics!

London’s very special Summer Like No Other continues to amaze even the most jaded   Londoners who are used to incredible stuff happening all the time in our great capital city. After the Diamond Jubilee, Olympic Games and Notting Hill Carnival, now we have the Paralympic Games!

We’ve had another emotional torch relay before the Games themselves set up camp in east London and brought the Olympic Park alive again with thousands of enthusiastic fans rushing in to see wonderful sporting events.

I was lucky enough to catch the torch relay at Lords Cricket ground and see several people take their turn at carrying the famous flame.  The considerable support was very moving as people were running alongside the route to watch as many carriers as they could.

My next Paralympics moment was in Trafalgar Square where the big screen is attracting huge and vociferous crowds who cannot get to the Olympic venues to see the sport in person. Tickets are very hard to get hold of, especially for events in the Olympic park so the screens are a great alternative.  I had another reason to visit Trafalgar Square as my sister is a Paralympic Ambassador, helping people find their way around London and a great job she is doing there.  As were walking around the Square Team GB won a cycling gold medal so the excitement levels went through the roof – if there had been one!




I was lucky enough to have tickets for the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium itself so we set out to Stratford full of expectation and excitement. Settling into our seats at the stadium, found ourselves just next to the wonderful Thomas Heatherwick Olympic cauldron. There was so much happening that it was hard to keep up with all the different sports going on, often several at the same time and with very short breaks between starts. We saw 100 metres heats men and women, 1500 heats, shot put, discus, javelin, 400 metres heats men and women and long jump, all in one morning!  Our Team GB heroes delivered us a silver medal in the womens’  long jump and a brilliant gold in the men’s discus! 

Stef Reid goes for silver for Team GB

Add caption

Aled Davies proud gold medal winner for Team GB and Wales!

We really smiled at the remote controlled Minis used to collect the javelins! What a great job for those 2 in the ponchos to have at the Paralympics.
 


To complete our day we wandered around the wonderful Olympic Park to the basketball arena to watch a closely fought game between Canada and Germany. It’s a rough sport with incredible skill levels and the crowd are encouraged to the make the venue vibrate with noise so it’s a great place to experience the Paralympics!


I’m following the rest of the Paralympic events on TV and there are plenty more top class sport to enjoy in the next week. 

Bye for now
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon 

London’s Olympic sized hangover!

We are having a summer like no other, as the Mayor of London’s slogan tells us on billboards, leaflets and even T-shirts, but it’s not over yet. We are just taking a breather at the moment and recovering from our Olympic hangover!

London 2012, it certainly is…..

That Olympic sized hangover is pretty big and hard to shift after the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics-  it’s a bit like we have been mixing our drinks at a very long party. It was such fun to be in London for both major events with so much going on around the major set pieces thanks to the London2012 Festival and everyone else jumping on the bandwagon to lay on great side events. 

Here are just 5 of the great things I’ve enjoyed since the Jubilee kicked off on June 2nd which are unique to this summer.  It was hard to pick just 5 and they are in no order: 

  1. The Jubilee River Pageant from Tower of London 
  2.  Olympic Opening Ceremony – I got to go to the rehearsal which was amazing
  3.  BT River of Music with Jools Holland, Beverley Knight and the Saxophone Massive
  4. The flags of the world in Regent Street
  5.  Urban Classics combo of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and urban artists including Fazer from N’Dubz


 

River pageant
Opening Ceremony

Jools Holland’s big band

Welcoming the world on Regents Street

Fazer and BBC Symphpny Orchestra

The day after the Olympic Games closing ceremony I had so many people ask me: ‘what am I going to do now the Olympics are over, isn’t it going to be really dull?’  There were no more gold medal highs, no more strange sports to watch and become instant armchair experts on and no feel good buzz around London. We were missing our fix so what to do? Taking a deep breath we had to look ahead and see what was that appearing in the viewfinder – the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s biggest street party.  That’ll do the job so I’m getting myself ready – Jamaican t-shirt and breads, loud whistles, cans of Red Stripe and a gang of mates to come along and enjoy the fun.

Lifting our heads to the week beyond Carnival, the Paralympics are coming and we’ll be jumping back on the roller coaster of sport and hopefully cheering Team GB to lots of gold medals.

There is always something great happening in London and I’ll make sure I bring the highlights in this blog.

Bye for now
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon