Sunday, 5 August 2012

An afternoon visit to the Olympic Park by Ben Dines

In the afternoon of Thursday 2nd August we set off for the Olympic park, the transport was easy until we got onto the DLR where crowds of international fans from around the globe. The Dutch supporters were in bright orange.
Immediately off the DLR we were channelled down a pathway towards the park. Every so often you could see glimpses of the park and the large numbers of people who were there. As we walked up towards the Security at the gates you could see the whole Olympic Park which was not how I imagined it would be as it seemed all the venues were squashed together in one line.

After all the kerfuffle about whether it would be a good games or not with everything coming together at the right time, there is no doubt that up close the Olympic Stadium looked amazing just as had been promised.

We saw the tall, weird Orbit which looked better at night than during the day. We saw the University of MacDonald’s but MacDonald’s was not the only food concession - there were “healthy food” options available but funnily enough these did not seem so popular!

We then watched the Track Cycling on the big British Airways sponsored screens – Team GB led by Sir Chris Hoy won Gold in the Team Sprint event.

The crowd in front of the screens were cheering loudly.

 It was a good position to view the other Olympic park venues.

We could see the amazing Velodrome, the awesome Aquatic Centre, the Riverbank Hockey Centre - the stands here were so steep and at the end of the rows the sheer drop could put off anyone from watching- and then the Basketball Arena looking like an oversized tent. The Copperbox which houses the Handball looked like a copper box.

We spent a lot of time in the 2012 Megastore looking for souvenirs for the Fencing and other events. I managed to get a Fencing T-shirt but unbelievably they had sold out of many of the T-shirts and said they had been caught out by how popular they were. In the shop were lots of Olympic merchandise you could buy like the GB cycling kit which costed £80, most of the stock there was this price.

The other impressive thing was the number of volunteers around. They were all really friendly and helpful and singing random songs. In fact everyone was generally in a good mood.

The time in the park went by quickly and we did not do the river walk so missed out on seeing the Royal Barge but, hopefully, we might get a chance to go back before the Games end.

Having experienced the Fencing at the Excel Centre and now having been to the Olympic Park my overall impression of London 2012 is great.

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