The Olympic Park in east London is really called the Queen Elizabeth Park as the area moves on from the Olympics but I’m sure most people, including me, will carry on calling it the Olympic Park as it holds such happy memories of the London Games of 2012. Continue reading
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|
|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
Visiting the Olympic Park is an exciting experience whatever you go there for. I’ve been out there a couple of times, once for the technical rehearsal which was in my blog on 24th July when I couldn’t spoil the surprise by telling you anything about the show! My second trip was this week when we had day passes and although we didn’t have any event tickets, we had time to explore and enjoy the whole park.
Arriving for the technical rehearsal was a special experience and the excitement level of the crowd of specially invited volunteers and others connected with the Opening Ceremony, was so high you could light up the stadium with it! Being there to see the show was a once in a lifetime moment. We didn’t have the videos so Mr Bean and James Bond’s appearances were a surprise as was arrival of David Beckham and the beautiful lighting of the cauldron in the full show. To be in the stadium to see the transformation from the countryside to the industrial scene with massively loud, driving drums was breath-taking. The gasps when the chimneys came out of nowhere and the intricate choreography of thousands of people weaving round each other was extraordinary to see. The wildly energetic dancing to a run down of so much stand out British music was great fun and I could see everything as the views in the stadium from my top seat were splendid, and I saw quite a few bits that didn’t make the TV. The scope of what was going on in front of us was immense and there was something happening in every inch of the stadium floor and in the sky and in the stands from the lights that were in front of each seat. I’ll never forget it and it was made extra special by knowing a good friend was actually performing!
A few photos to take you back to the greatest show on earth:
|The bell that starts it all going – rung by Bradley Wiggins|
|Yours truly in the stadium|
|The countryside with farm animals|
|Jaw dropping scenes as the countryside becomes industial|
|The Olympic rings are forged|
|The NHS section – kids trampolining!|
|Lyrics racing around the stands from our seat lights|
|Music and lights – full on!|
|Tribute to Tim Berners-Lee – father of the internet|
|Orbit by night – with a blimp|
It took me a few days to recover but I was keen to return to the Olympic Park and we managed to bag day tickets which gave us entry to the Park but not to any venues – a bargain at just £10! We had the usual weather for summer 2012: sun, rain, cloud then blue sky and then all over again…. The park is huge and it took us ages to wander around, checking out the venues but also the amazing amount of lovely flowers, all planted by volunteers to come to their peak right now. There is plenty of catering and seats but little cover – we, of course, found the undercover champagne section so dodged the rain! The big screens are good and clear and we watched in a state of nail biting tension as Zara and her team mates jumped for Olympic glory – the gasps and oohs and aahs gave the moment a special feel. We loved being there and in the end it didn’t matter though a ticket to see live sport would have been the icing on the cake.
Here are some photos to show you the amazing park:
|Riverbank – hockey stadium|
|The elegant Aquatic Centre|
|The imposing Copper Box venue, busy with handball|
|Zara jumping on the big screen|
|The Velodrome – there may be GB gold in here!|
|Crowds watching with the Aquatic Centre behind and Orbit|
|Very appropriate art work!|
|Velodrome, BMX site and basketball venue|
|The park is flowery and landscaped|
|The wonderful stadium|
|We know how to have fun in the rain!|
Fingers crossed for Team GB and to all other teams competing from every corner of the planet.
Bye for now,