Published Thursday, 09 August 2012
Here are five fundamentals...
First Fundamental- Tickets:
We are fast approaching the finishing line, and like many, you may only be catching Olympic fever now as Usain "Lightning" Bolt takes to the men's 200m final and our local athletes prepare to bring back at least six medals for both Team Ireland and Team GB.
If you feel as though you have missed out, don't fret. Around 50,000 tickets are still available for events such as athletics, volleyball and hockey. However, those lucky ticket holders will pay in the top price bracket for the privilege. Here's a tip, with time running out to see the spectacle that is the Olympic park, the Velodrome affectionately known as the Pringle and the Aquatic centre- perhaps focus your efforts on securing a Paralympic pass for the end of the month. There are still 500,000 up for grabs to go and support local Paralympians such as medal hopes Jason Smith and Michael McKillop.
I was lucky enough to get a last minute corporate seat ticket to the Aquatic Centre for some of the first swimming heats. And just to make you greener with envy, I had one of the best seats in the house, front row with a close up view of all the successful swimmers as they emerged from their races. Various sports channels were perched just below us waiting to broadcast interviews with the swimmers around the world.
If you can secure yourself a ticket to the London 2012 Olympics- don't miss out!!
Second Fundamental- Travelling:
Travelling through London was so much easier than I had expected. The Olympic volunteers are the ones to look out for. They were located throughout the London Underground helping to lead the way. Here's a tip, get the "Javelin" from St Pancras and avoid the Circus Line. I got to Stratford in less than 6 minutes by following this advice while other commuters suffered cramped tubes and long waits.
However, the latest news from Transport union RMT on Thursday is that tube cleaners working for Initial and ISS will strike. They are scheduled to be out in force at Stratford and other key locations as they kick off a 48 hour strike for pay justice and Olympics recognition at 5:30am.
This could prove disruptive so allow some extra time to get to your Olympic event... and bring some anti-bacterial hand cream while you're at it.
Third Fundamental- Security:
I had camped out at a music festival in England just days before travelling to London. The exhaustion was nothing compared to the massive suitcase I had to drag behind me to the Aquatics event. I was Belfast bound that evening with mucky festival wellingtons in tow.
In fact the suitcase proved to be useful in assessing G4S and their tight knit security. Ahem. I was informed prior to the event that there would be restrictions on the liquids we were allowed to bring in to the Park. Perhaps similar to airport limitatations. However, I strolled through the detectors with my 500ml can of hairspray and three bottles of nail polish without a problem (these items are optional, not necessities when travelling to the Olympics). However, I was later stopped on my way to a fast food restaurant inside the Park, "Excuse me Ma'am, you can't go in with that suitcase". I instantly felt guilty, as though my can of hairspray was an explosive and my three bottles of nail polish contained some kind of performance enhancing drug. As I turned around red faced, the soldier, come security guard for a day, laughed and said, "Just joking love".
This leads me on nicely to the fourth fundamental.
Fourth Fundamental- Soak up the atmosphere:
There was a very relaxed and fun atmosphere in the Park. The staff and volunteers went to an enormous effort to keep the masses in high spirits. I had arrived for my Aquatic event at 7:30am. It was a two and a half hour wait for the event to begin, in chilly, drizzly weather conditions. This would usually be enough to ruin any day, but didn't dampen the spirits of the bubbly volunteers who encouraged the waiting crowds to do Mexican Waves and shake their tickets in the air.
The event was spectacular. We were entertained by the Men's 100m Freestyle, 200m Breaststroke, 4x200m Freestyle Relay and the Women's 200m Butterfly.
Team GB clearly had huge support that day. The crowds erupted as Michael Jamieson approached the blocks for his 200m Breaststroke. He later secured silver. The United States competed in their 4x200m Freestyle Relay heat, taking top position. With the help of the unstoppable Michael Phelps, the team went on to pick up yet another medal. However, if medals were allocated based on the enthusiasm of a country's supporters, Japan would have walked away with Gold.
One of the final heats was the men's 200m Breaststroke. Andrew Willis from Great Britain came out to greet a roaring crowd that was only rivaled by Japan's support for Kosuke Kitajima. The young man from Frimley reached the finish just 0.10 secs ahead of the Japanese swimmer to take 1st place in that heat. This was the highlight of the morning event as the atmosphere lifted the roof.
Fifth Fundamental- What to take:
If you are fortunate enough to snap up a ticket to London 2012, take lots of pictures and memorabilia as who knows when such an enormous sporting event will be right on our doorsteps again.