09 August 2012

A Day At The Olympic Park

Posted By Happy Homemaker UK

Headlines of yesterday's news

My first and last chance to visit The Olympic Park
during the Games...
A night to remember!

As if you were by my side,
here's 'our' highlights

Walking Out Of Tube Station
Gates remain open for a speedy exit
Pink signage everywhere
Crowds flow out of trains to this 'end of the line' destination
All incredibly well organized

Walking To Olympic Park
Excitement builds as we see The Orbit ahead

Volunteers With Bullhorns
Along the route, volunteers with bullhorns
welcome us to the Olympics and thank us for being there
Wonderful customer service :)

Going Through Security
Airport-like security is fast and fuss-free
No liquids, food allowed, shoes on, X-Ray for bags, and walk-thru metal detectors
All with a military presence (and very friendly)

We've Arrived!
Aquatics Centre on left
Olympic Stadium straight ahead
The Orbit peeking at us

Once we are in the park
the space opens up and is not crowded

Food Vendors
Although controversial,
I'm dying to see the biggest and busiest McDonald's in the world
In its busiest time, it serves 1000 customers per hour
As it is a temporary building
most of the materials will be reused for other local building projects
after the Games

I am not sure if there is seating inside this two story building
but brilliantly there are hundreds of picnic tables on which to eat your food of choice
(picnics are very British)

This photo below shows the following:
a  non-English speaking customer pointing to what he wants to order,
items on the menu,
and 3 order stations just in this photo alone -maybe there are 100 total?-,
and the bustling kitchen behind them

Happy Meals include a plastic Olympic mascot toy

I have no wide angle lens to capture this monstrosity
Picture at least 5 images of this photo strung together to imagine its massiveness...

There are other food vendors too,
such as fish & chips, curry, sandwiches, and jacket (baked) potatoes

Inside The Stadium

Twisted fabric panels on stadium - clever

Selling programs

First View Inside
I don't think its enormity has been given justice on TV
and could be close to filling its 80,000 person capacity

The Events
When we applied for the tickets through the UK ticket lottery in April 2011,
we knew we would see medaling events, but didn't know which ones

We watch Women's Pole Vaulting finals
and are surprised how many competitors don't make it over the bar
I never see that on TV, and it made me appreciate how hard it must be

It is a long event that lasts the entire night

Jenn Suhr (USA) wins by clearing the bar at a height of 15'7''

Curiously, it is a male American voice announcing all the events
I wonder why
(he's actually pretty funny too)

You can bet they play the Chariots Of Fire theme often

And the crowd's cheering is deafening for the Team GB athletes :)

I really enjoy watching the Women's 3000m Steeplechase

Representing USA, Emma Coburn from Univ of Colorado - go Buffs!

Did you know those women run through water?
Doesn't that create blisters?

They hurdle too

You can see the media seats covered in plastic in background
(it was raining at times)

Funniest Moment
A cameraman runs behind the steeplechase winners in their victory lap
but quickly realizes he's being outrun and gives up
So another cameraman on a Segway takes over :)

You have to be an athlete to run a camera at the Olympics!
Yuliya Zaripova of Russia (gold) and Sofia Assefa of Ethiopia (bronze)

Cameraman in hot pursuit of winners in their victory lap

Running Events
Bins are placed at each mark
to collect the competitor's tracksuits
before each race

Here come the athletes
Some of them look so nervous, poor things!

Below we see Carmelita Jeter on the JumboTron
and on the track to the left

Look at all those people!

On your mark...


The red thingy makes the sound
I think the gun is just ceremonious

...and they're off!

Between Events
The audience does the wave

As BBC television commentators often say,
'Despite the cold and rain, the crowd's spirit cannot be dampened',
it is true!
It is cold and drizzly, but we don't care

Setting Up
Next up, the hurdles are laid out methodically

And double checked

Only detailed-oriented people need apply

I have no good hurdle race photos to share, so on to my

Biggest Surprise
which is seeing Bolt receive his medal for the race the night before
(I have no idea why he didn't receive his medal the night he won)

You can see the Olympic Flame here
Pity it can't be seen outside the stadium

The backside of the podium
Blurry - it's a big stadium and we are on the other side

There are many more races
throughout the night

But now it is 10pm
and time to go home

Goodnight, stadium

Goodnight, Orbit

Goodnight, beautiful rings backlit on the Aquatics Centre

Goodnight, lovely spectators from all over the world
with colorful flags I so adore

And goodnight to the police (in yellow) who helped keep us safe


I am about to turn into a pumpkin,
so home we go via tube and then train
(2 hours, door-to-door)

And I fall fast asleep in bed
while visions of jumping, running sugar-plums dance in my head...

Nighty night ;)

- all photos by me -

Source: McDonalds, Olympic Stadium

More Summer Olympics Posts:
Olympic Beach Volleyball
London Dressed For The Olympics
Behind The Scenes: An Olympic Opening Ceremony Performer 
Summer Olympics: I Just Can't Get Enough 
The Summer Games Begin


Robyn said...

brilliant laura-looks so much fun-think it looks fantastic -oh apart from that mcdonalds-hey ho.

Robynne's Nest said...

Great post Laura...and fab photos..I almost felt like I was here too! It's been an amazing fortnight (nearly)...can't wait to see the closing ceremony...love watching the athletes march in and I think we might get a little taste of 'Rio' which should be fantastic visually!! Robx

YONKS said...

Wow Laura,
You either had really good seats or a big telephoto lens! Great pictures, you have captured the atmosphere :-) watching on telly, I can see how you would miss 90% of what's happening, the noise, the activity, it must be stirring! Great post.

miss b said...

I enjoyed your post so very much as I felt I was reliving the same wonderful experience I had on Saturday night. We too were curious about the American voice announcing the events and we also found security and the ambassadors to be really friendly too. Great photos and I loved your pictures in your last post too! You may be interested in my observations in the post I've just published.

Romy said...

What a fantastic inside perspective, I'v been wondering how it must look and the logistical details behind it all.....and now, thanks to you, I know! Even about the drizzle and the looks on the athlete's faces.......! How fabulous to have actually been there, what special memories. Rx

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Popping over now... :)

Sunray Gardens said...

Great photos. I can't even imagine going some place that packed with people, but would sure do it if they ever played here.

Cher Sunray Gardens

louise said...

A super post and you were so lucky to get a ticket! The games have been such a success despite all the doom mongers. I'm off to the women's football final tonight at Wembley - USA v Japan

Holledayz said...

Thanks for the tour of inside the Athletics stadium and the races. You must have had good seats - your pictures are great!
Aren't we lucky to be in London this summer!

Pom Pom said...

Hi Laura! Thank you! How wonderful to see it all from a different perspective!

Liene said...

Thank you so much for taking us with - we're following the Olympics like crazy right now, but it's definitely not the same as being there. I'm already waiting for the next Games!

topchelseagirl said...

Fantastic photos! You were so lucky to get tickets.

Terri said...

I'm LOVING all your posts on the Olympics and the behind the scenes! You're getting me very excited to visit London in 2 months!

Ariana said...

Loved this post! We won't be able to make it to any events, sadly, but I felt like I was right there with you. Thanks, Laura!

AliBlahBlah said...

Thank you so much for this!! I felt like I was there (complete with glowering London sky). NBC coverage in the States has been atrocious - unless you like beach volleyball. What is the Orbit? That's something I must have missed.

ann said...

I really enjoyed your view of the Olympics. We cheered on the US high jumper last night. She comes from Shreveport, MIssissippi that was destroyed by Katrina, so of course we really wanted her to win. Actually, I think the coverage on TV has been pretty decent. Not at all like being there, but the profiles of the athletes have given us reason to cheer on others than just our favorite Americans. Our Colorado swimmer Missy Franklin was amazing. And cute precious little Gabby Douglas. These young women are set to do whatever they want to do in life. Thanks for being our inside pass to the games.

Grammy Goodwill said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's almost like being there.

Noelle the dreamer said...

Loved the tour! Thanks for sharing! It felt like being there and it is so nice to see how well everything is turning out!
McDonalds? Really? Ugh...Never could get use to it (or any fast food!). Nasty stuff!
All the best,

Down by the sea said...

Laura your photos of your personal view of the Olympic games is wonderful. I'm sure you will treasure those memories for ever. We have found it so exciting having the sailing taking place in our home town.
Sarah x

Emm in London said...

Wow, wow, wow. What an amazing post! I absolutely felt like I was there at the Olympics with you! Your photos are incredible but my favourites are the three night times ones from when you were leaving the park. Fabulous!

Denise said...

Hi Laura,

These are GREAT pictures!! How wonderful that you were able to attend an event at the Olympic Stadium! It is a pretty stadium; we've been watching from home. I enjoyed the equestrian course and the way the hurdles were designed to represent scenes in London. Very clever. It's been fun to follow your up-close and personal coverage of the 2012 Olympics; thanks for sharing your perspective. I thought it was so cool that you were able to walk to the cycling event.

I just published a post of our trip to London in 1999. A lot has changed since then. :)

I hope you have a great weekend!

Denise at Forest Manor

My Garden Diaries said...

Crazy cool! It is much more interesting to see it from your perspective rather than the tube! Thank you for sharing! ...still can't get over that McDonalds!

Sandra said...

I enjoyed seeing all the photos of your experience! The stadium is incredibly impressive! What a wonderful experience for you!

Pet said...

You are so so kind. These has been a treat, the closest for me of having actually been there. Much much much better than watching it on TV. Thanks thanks thanks.
Btw your are a great reporter, I'm sure I am not the first to subscribe to it!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I look forward to the closing ceremony too - everything has been so impressive so far :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

We had good seats, but I think they appear better than they were (it looks like we were first row, which we definitely were not). I did bring 3 cameras to try to get the best shots :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Yes we are :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Wonderful! I hope you have a fantastic vacation :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I'm so glad you asked - I'm surprised the US media hasn't mentioned it, as it is such a landmark at the Park - people say you love it or hate it. It is a red metal art sculpture that has an observation platform. To me, it looks like a bundle of arteries; someone else described it as looking like a roller coaster track. Read more here: http://www.london2012.com/spectators/venues/olympic-park/orbit/

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I do miss having the athlete profiles. They don't really do that here like in the US. It definitely gets the audience more connected. Missy and Gabby had great success at the Games, didn't they?

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I would have loved to have seen it in person. We've been watching on television :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Popping over now... :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Thank you, Pet :) You make me blush...

Zosia said...

Thank you for the front row seat at the Olympics :-).

likeschocolate said...

Slightly jealous! How were you able to get up close?

Happy Homemaker UK said...

We had good seats, but we were not as close as I think it appears in the photos. I confess to bringing 3 cameras & a long lens :)

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Love your take on your day at the Olympics! Haven't we been so blessed to experience it while living here?