2012 Summer Olympics - I was there.
Summer Olympics, London 2012.
Summer Olympics, London.
Summer Olympics, London, 2012. I was there. It was August 8th, my friend had won a lottery draw for tickets. The British Olympic Committee had run the lottery to give thousands a chance to attend any event of their choice, and she had 6 tickets to an Athletics heat in the main Olympic Stadium. The ticket allowed free transport within London for 24 hours, which we joyfully made use of. Two friends who had traveled to England with us were not so lucky; my friend did not have enough tickets, so those two went on a tour of Shakespeare's country instead.
An English house
Going to the Olympic Park
Most of the events we were going to were only the heats, but the excitement was palpable, all the way in the London Overground from Crystal Palace to the innards of the London Olympic Stadium. We left the flat in Crystal Palace in SE London before 7am. The walk to the train station took us past many beautiful old homes behind their tall hedges, a sight so very English you know you're in good ole England.
Commuters to work got on the train at every stop. They must have absorbed some Olympic spirit, for their famous ‘stiff upper lip’ was not so apparent. On the contrary, there were a lot of friendly returned smiles.
Team GB supporters
Inside the Olympic Stadium
At the Olympic Park
At the Olympic Park, there was a vast milling crowd, shepherded towards the Olympic Stadium by hundreds of merry volunteers in their pink life-jackets. Children of all ages were caught up in the excitement, running alongside their adults or being pushed in their pushchairs. All were here to support their home team, Team GB, flags draped over themselves or worn as capes, and Union Jacks painted on their faces. One happy handsome young man had two little flags sticking up in the back of his pony tail. His name was George, as likeable a Brit as you'd ever meet.
At the Games
Our seats in the Olympic Stadium allowed a bird’s eye view of all the concurrent events - women’s hammer throw, men’s high jump, long jump, men’s track, women’s track. Most of the 80000 seats were filled. A surprising and welcome ‘first’ at this Olympic were the Muslim women entrants from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei. Afghanistan, Oman and Yemen had had women before, but their entrants this year were there for the first time.
Wojdan Shaherkani, Saudi judo entrant.
Wojdan Shaherkani, female judo entrant
16-year-old Saudi judo entrant Wojdan Shaherkani was labeled ‘Prostitute of the Olympics’ by her country’s clerics who moved heaven and earth to block her from participating. Her family suffered extreme racial abuse, but she was finally allowed to enter if she covered her head.
Tahmina learns to smile.
Tahmina Kohistani, Afghan female 100m sprinter.
23-year-old Tahmina Kohistani from Afghanistan overcame fierce male obstacles, from clerics and lay people alike, to make it to the 100m Olympic sprint. Training facilities were almost non-existent or woefully inadequate for females. They were pockmarked with bullet holes. All her training sessions were gate-crashed by up to 200 male hecklers shouting abuse.
All the Muslim women had to cover themselves from head to sole, a glaring mistake in speed performance. Understandably these brave women lagged in all the races, but the British crowd showed warm appreciation and their ovations accompanied the women the last few meters to the finish line.
Hopefully, these trail-blazing Islamic women will not suffer harrassment in their own countries now they are home.
The Memory Tree
A Sweet Memory.
The 16 days of the Summer Olympics - July 27th till Aug. 12th, hosted 10500 international athletes from 204 countries in the Olympic Village. They took away with them wonderful indelible memories, of nightly get-togethers outside of their accomodations. They will remember ‘beautiful fellowship’, ‘spectacular food’, a fortnight of magic among the world’s best athletes.
Terminal 4 in Heathrow was disguised as a London Park to say farewell to most of the athletes and Olympic-related visitors. A purple memory tree there had the athletes hanging messages with their favorite Summer Olympic moments. Jamie Redman cited, ‘Mo’s 10000K run!’. Others praised the 70000 volunteers, the Olympic Park, and several mentioned the Spice Girls.
Meanwhile, the Dutch, Belgian and French athletes left from St. Pancras Station on the special Eurostar train, and Stansted Airport was also used by some of the departing athletes.
The Medals Tally, and two of GB's heroes.
The 2012 Summer Olympics featured 36 sporting events with a total 302 individual event competitions over the entire Olympic period. From all these, the final score among the first 4 countries : USA: 46 gold, 29 silver, 29 bronze. Total 104.
China: 38 gold, 27 silver, 23 bronze. Total 88.
Russia: 24 gold, 26 silver, 32 bronze. Total 82.
UK: 29 gold, 17 silver, 19 bronze. Total 65.
The Brits are extremely proud of their team GB. Their star is Mo Farah, the double gold medallist for the 10000m and 5000m track. And of course, Andy Murray broke Britain’s 104-year tennis medal drought by taking gold from Roger Federer in three sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. He was ‘inspired by Mo’s 10000m performance’.
There are so many more British champs that I have to leave out in this hub. Britain has done very well indeed, in this their third Summer Olympics, coming in 4th but with the third most golds.
Closing Ceremony,2012 Summer Olympics
The 2012 Summer Olympics had its Closing Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium on the evening of August 12th., and it was spectacular, with many of Britain’s show business stars participating.
Cost of 2012 Summer Olympics
Now it is all over comes the accounting. Many citizens are asking, ‘ Was it worth it?’ in this period of mass unemployment? Was it necessary to spend all those millions on any one of the several sculptures commissioned for the Games?
Like ‘Jurassic Stones’, by Richard Harris, which cost 335,000GBP and which greeted motorists entering the sailing events in Weymouth, Dorset. Truthfully, they are just large brown stones atop metal tubes and set in a sort of circle. Quite ugly. Of what use will it be after the 2012 Summer Olympics?
And the 22.7million GBP ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. It is right next to the Olympic Stadium. Although London Mayor Boris Johnson persuaded steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal to donate 19.6 million GBP towards it, that still leaves 3 million to the public. This Orbit is to be a monument for London’s 2012 Olympics? Will it help recoup the enormous cost of the Summer Olympics - from increased tourism maybe?
Olympic Village - to become a community.
Now consider the Olympic Village, which cost over 500 million GBP to build. It has 17320 beds, giving each occupant 170 sq. ft. of space. The plan was for the Olympic Village to become a new neighbourhood of 1400 affordable houses and 1400 rentals post-Games. The Village has been sold to the Qatari royal family, in a deal which includes a profit-share agreement to recapture some of the 9.29 billion GBP of public money the Summer Olympics has cost (the final accounting isn’t in it yet. It has been estimated to be up to 24 billion).
It is hoped that the 2012 London Olympics will be the impetus for a large increase in tourism and that there is a big payback for the large investments of time and money made by the public. When the dust has settled, hopefully many Brits will say with satisfaction, ‘I was there’.