One Year On
Can you believe the London Olympic & Paralympic Games were a year ago? I can’t!
I recently revisited the Olympic Park, now known as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to see how much had changed since the games. A small section of the park has now reopened to the public whilst extensive construction work continues to transform the park into a usable space for recreation, sporting events, housing and business.
The Basketball Arena, Riverbank Arena (home to Olympic hockey and Paralympic football) and Water Polo Arena are gone, whilst venues such as the Stadium and Aquatic Centre are now undergoing renovation for their next roles as a football/athletics stadium and a community swimming pool. Another venue, the Copper Box, home during the Games to handball has already reopened for public use and major spectator sports. Before the games, there was nothing here but a stagnant brown field site. Now look at it! In short, when the London Organising Committee promised there would be a legacy to the games, they meant it.
You can find out more about what’s happening at QEOP by visiting the official website.
Forgotten Photos of London’s Olympic Park
I just happened upon an SD card whilst looking through a drawer for something else. Not knowing what was on it, I stuck it into the back of my Mac mini and low & behold, I found five photos I took of London’s Olympic Park. The photos were taken the day before the start of the Paralympic Games, which would explain why there’s hardly anyone in the park and why there aren’t any Olympic Rings to be seen. Instead, the dynamic Paralympic Agitos is stamped on everything.
Happy memories of a summer I’ll never forget.
The Olympic Park (now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park) is currently closed whilst it undergoes a dramatic transformation. You can find out what’s in store by visiting http://noordinarypark.co.uk/.
London 2012 Instagram’d
The London 2012 Paralympic Games came to a close a week ago, ending a magnificent & memorable summer of sport and events in London and across the UK. In the gap between the Olympics and Paralympics, I posted that I was a volunteer medal and flower bearer for both games (though I since removed that post for security reasons) which meant I had loads of access to the Olympic Park and could take some great crowd-free photos. Here are a selection of photos I ‘instagram’d’, some in my capacity as ‘Games Maker’ and some as a spectator.
I’ll post some more about my experience as a member of the Victory Ceremonies team here soon.
Welcome Back To London
There are just two days to go until the world is welcomed back to London for another feast of sporting action. Whether the world will take any notice of the globe’s second largest sporting event remains to be seen. Certainly here in the UK, we’re taking notice. For most, they’ll be taking notice for the first time. While previous games have had limited television coverage, these games will enjoy live blanket coverage across multiple channels.
There’s almost a nervous curiosity across the country. People are excited for the Paralympics but they don’t really know what to expect. Everyone enjoyed the Olympics so much, they want more of it, but they’re not sure the Paralympics will deliver what they desire. Having myself watched TV coverage from previous Paralympics, I’m certain they will. The sport is just as good, just as exciting and perhaps even more inspiring than the Olympics.
London continues to ready itself for the Paralympics. All the Olympic rings have been removed from public buildings and bridges (including Tower Bridge) and replaced with the Paralympic symbol, the ‘Agitos’ (“I move”, in Latin). There’s been some public concern about this, many unaware that the International Olympic Committee and their rings have nothing to do with the Paralympics. The IOC and the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) are linked by a partnership that ensures host cities run both games. Other than that, they are completely separate organisations. Judging by the number of Olympic rings in newspapers and magazines this week, the IPC have some work to do to educate the masses.
This week, I’ll be wearing the shirt pictured above (proudly bearing the Paralympic Agitos I hasten to add). Like in the Olympics, I’ll be playing a small role in ensuring these Paralympics are the best ever.
Where Can I Watch The Games?
If you’re reading this is a country where the Paralympics aren’t being broadcast, fear not. The IPC will be broadcasting five free live streams in English and Spanish throughout the games. You can also follow the action via the official London 2012 website and via Channel 4 who are the UK’s host broadcaster for the games.
Exploring London’s Olympic Park + Looking Towards The Paralympics
I was among the lucky few allowed into London’s Olympic Park before the general public were allowed in, which meant I was gifted an amazing opportunity to take some crowd-free photos. Here are some of them. There will be more soon.
The park itself is vast, around 2km in length. This is why spectators were encouraged to arrive well before their published session start times. Getting from one end to the other takes long enough without thousands of people thronging the thoroughfares and surrounding gardens. On one of my many visits, I had to be at the other end of the park within ten minutes. I’m normally punctual and well organised, but on this occasion, I was so taken by the beauty of the park, I lost track of time. Luckily, I thumbed a lift from one of the many mobility buggies. It was a hot day and they were driving round delivering bottled water to the security staff.
Now that the Olympics are over and everyone has hailed them (quite rightly) as a resounding success, attention now turns to the Paralympics. In just over a week’s time, attention will once again fall upon Stratford as disabled athletes take their turn to ‘inspire a nation’. And indeed, for the first time in Paralympic history, it seems they might well be able to do so. For the first time ever, the major sponsors of the Olympics are sticking around for the Paralympics. For the first time ever, every single ticket is looking like it’ll be sold (currently 2.2 million of 2.5 million tickets have been snapped up). For the first time ever, the UK will have live blanket coverage of the games across multiple channels. For the first time ever, a nation of sport fans are waiting impatiently for the games to begin. It’s going to great!
If your national broadcaster isn’t broadcasting the Paralympics this time round, perhaps consider dropping them an email asking why. Because while this little nation of ours will be buzzing with passion & excitement and watching incredible athletes from around the world achieve their potential all over again, you’ll be missing out.
The last four days have been hectic. On Thursday and Friday, I was working in the Olympic Park. It was a real privilege being in the park before the gates opened to the general public. I took full advantage of the situation and went armed with my camera. Here’s the first of many photos I’m planning on sharing with you.
At the weekend, I switched from being a volunteer to a spectator. On Saturday, I was on the world-famous red tarmac of The Mall to see the Men’s Cycling Road Race. On Sunday, I was at Lord’s Cricket Ground to see the Women’s Archery Team finals. I’ll be able to share more on my spectator experience soon.
London 2012 Underway
Well, sort of…
On Monday, I was one of 62,000 spectators lucky enough to be given a ticket to see the first public rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Since I’ve been entrusted by the organising committee to #savethesurprise, I won’t be sharing anything about the content of Friday’s big show. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you. What I will say though is that the first act is dramatic, the second act is bonkers and the third act is colourful.
In short, you will absolutely love it! It will confirm everything you think you knew about the United Kingdom and the British psyche. When you tune in on Friday/Saturday, make sure the volume is up to 11!
As I revealed a short time ago, I have a small role in the running of the games. I’m not in the opening ceremony, but I am in a ceremony. I can’t say anymore than that now. I will though fill you in once the Paralympics are over and until then, I’ll post as many photos as I can without comprising security. Above are some instagram shots of the Olympic Stadium taken shortly before I ventured in. The weather was glorious and the park looked stunning as a result.
If you’re on instagram, add me. I’m morelligram.
The Journey Begins
Yesterday, I along with 9,999 others, attended an event at Wembley Arena held by LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games). Later in the year, the world will descend on London for the ‘greatest show on earth’ and I will be playing a very small part in its success.
I can’t tell you anymore than this for the time being for various reasons. Rest assured though, when I can tell you more, I will.