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2012 London Olympics


djbhammer
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Apparently North Korea have thrown a mardy and are refusing to start their game... over a dispute with their flag (source).

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/07/25/london-olympics-football-bosses-spark-diplomatic-row-with-north-korea-by-flying-south-korean-flag-86908-23912812/

“You can understand the Koreans being upset. It’s like putting up an England flag at a Scotland game, except we don’t point missiles at each other.”

well, maybe we should!

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We have tickets to handball and hockey - does anyone know if there are restrictions on how early we can get there and thus into the park beforehand?

I haven't seen anything that suggests there is. I'd guess you'd be fine. If you're turned away for a few hours, it's easy to kill time at Westfield. Let me know what happens when you try.
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Oddly enough, the BBC's coverage from the Olympic park got me a bit more excited. It sounds like it's been done on a pretty ambitions scale and I think I'm beginning to see how easy it is to be anti olympics if you allow your experience to be restricted to getting outraged about hilarious G4S fuck ups and relentless marketing campaigns.

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Getting so pumped for this. Been enjoying having the occasional browse of Twitter lists of some of the competitors. Their enthusiasm is quite catching.

Here's a few if anyone's interested. Couldn't find a list of the Aussies.

Team GB - https://twitter.com/#!/TeamGB/team-gb

Team USA - https://twitter.com/...mpic/london2012

General list of Olympians - https://twitter.com/...n2012/olympians

The PS3 app is brilliant and works really well so far. I can imagine using it a lot in the evenings for the catch up on demand stuff.

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Some of the big parks will have screens and stuff. Hyde Park is meant to be the main one if you want to watch stuff on a screen in a crowd.

There are screens showing live Olympic events in some of London's major parks as part of the London Live celebrations (btlondonlive.com).

Hyde Park has four screens and Victoria Park three. There's also the chance to try different sports and enjoy live music from stars such as Feeder and Tom Jones. You can book guaranteed entry to each venue (£3.50 per booking) in advance or wander in free of charge if there's space.

There are plenty of screens in locations outside central London, including Blackheath Common in Lewisham and the Town Square in Walthamstow. Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry, Dover, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea, and Swindon also have big screens.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/jul/26/london-top-five-free-olympics?newsfeed=true

Link also contains details of the free public events: cycling road race, triathlon, marathon, open water swim.

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I was in Central London on my bike, and on my way home when I thought "why not try out the Olympic Road Race course?"

So I did! Went to the Mall (or at least as close to it as I could get, the actual start line is fenced off already.) then joined the course and bombed it through to Bushy Park before turning off for home. So much fun- you can follow the route without looking at a map because it's got the metal fences and signs all along it. And of course they've chosen wide, fast roads so I was proper bombing it along pretending I was Mark Cavendish. Really keen for the opening ceremony tomorrow!

Also, this tickled me when I spotted it at the start line of the bike race:

VKQER.jpg

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From the ridiculous to the sublime. The sublime being Boris Johnson. The ridiculous being the 'chase your dreams' bullshit. Least Boris is the only person who recognises that most people just want to get one over on our neighbours.

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OK, just back from Old Trafford. Random thoughts, some of which may or may not apply to the thing as a whole.

The spectator / visitor experience was massively reminiscent of Manchester 2002 - Got the train into Piccadilly, there are volunteers every 20 yards, a helpdesk with maps. Free shuttle buses to OT for those who didn't want the tram. (Not sure if this is standard for Man Utd game - it wouldn't surprise me if they ran pretty much the same plan.) All volunteers helpful and smiley. Lots of Team GB people about, including travelling up from places down South. Lots of foreign visitors.

Got to OT. Quite a heavy police presence - I would say it was equivalent to a high profile United home match. LOCOG clearly took over the programme stalls, putting a fairly puny amount of merchandise in them. They weren't doing massive business. The big stalls had a much better range and doing a decent trade. Sellers helpful and polite. Team GB footy shirt looks good in some views, not so much in others. (To be blunt, if you are skinny it looks great, a beer-bellied football fan... not so much.) Finally found an actual programme seller, got the official Olympic Programme (£10) and the Football Programme (£5). Very decent value, recommended.

Quite a few England shirts around, but massive amounts of Union Jacks, Team GB gear all being worn. Very good atmosphere... not intense or football like, more like a big day out for everyone. So maybe not everyones cup of tea but *shrugs*.

Volunteers handing out clear plastic bags. You have to empty everything into it, wallet, phone, keys, pockets, bags. Tricky, especially if you have just bought merch. Thorough pat down for everybody before getting to the turnstile. They have thrown bodies at it, so not long queues. Oh, and even people in suits, who looked like IOC or LOCOG people, were getting patdowns.

Speaking of which, the police had lanyards with security passes on them. Which, if you think about it, is really odd. Like standard police issue uniforms aren't good enough, they had to go through the LOCOG security system as well. Possibly a result of covering for G4S?

Haven't been in OT since 1987. Bloody hell, great stadium. 77,000 capacity but feels tight and compact. Apparently there were food shortages and stuff - I got a couple of 500ml bottles of Coke. £2.30 each. Announced crowd of 72,000. Would have shaved about 5,000 off that. 90% full sounds about right.

Ended up watching last 20 mins of the UAE-Uruguay game. Was two rows behind the Uruguay fans, which was an experience. Very passionate. Fun to hear the stadium booing Suarez whenever he touched the ball. He was bloody awful as well. When the final whistle went, the Uruguay fans went mental. And then went.

An hour wait for Team GB vs Senegal. There was an announcer, whos first words were anti-United. Something like "the home of the second most successful club in England". Really badly judged start, IMO. He seemed very... local radio, too. DJ Spoony-esque. Anyway, during the wait we had some films on the screen, inspirational stuff about sport and kids, especially in Africa. Which was nice, until you realised it was on a three minute loop, so we had to hear the same Beckham introduction about four times in a row. For some reason, announcements are in French first, then English. (IOC rules?)

Another realisation - especially for those who are sick of the branding of the Games. There are no adverts in the ground. None. There is a big Nike logo painted on the seats of the East Stand. Half of it has been painted over - they are thorough. No ads outside the ground either. Not even adverts on the screen between games, or at half time. All clips focusing on the events or the Games. The clips (one backed by Muse, I think, or possibly the most blatant ripoff of Queen I've ever heard) were pretty well done.

The fake merch sellers were very close to the stadium - closer than a normal match day, I reckon.

Game was alright. Pearce couldn't manage a bowl of rice. Atmosphere was a bit odd - very school sports day. Positive. Happy. Lacking an edge. No idea how the "GB" chants came across, but they were loud. Anyone who starts a Mexican Wave ten minutes into the game should be shot in the face. Bellamy is such a horrible man. Giggs did some nice stuff. Defence was woeful. Senegal were, at times, agricultural. Twenty years of watching/working ice hockey has spoiled me, got sick of diving and faking injury and wanted the odd punch up when the ref failed to give what seemed like two stonewall penalties. Sturridge should be arrested for impersonating a footballer. Seen something about booing Stuart Pearce - didn't hear it. Team GB should have won, really.

When we were leaving, there was a clip on the screen showing a large array of famous people wishing us a safe journey. Nice touch. Again, shuttle bus out, less volunteers, same amount of police and GMPTE for the transport.

Overall, if this is what the spectator experience is going to be like, it is going to be a very good Games for it. It is what I suspected - the stuff around the events is a load of annoying bullshit, but the actual events are run like clockwork and a very good experience.

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