Thursday, 27 September 2012

Being there

I didn't say that I did go to two Olympic events. I went to a football match and to see the sailing.

The women's football games were in Cardiff. We had great seats, I was looking onto a goal. From the time we crossed the bridge into Wales there were signs telling us 'Olympics use jct 32'. That was really exciting. I had never attended a football match, never visited the Millennium Stadium and never been to an Olympic event so I felt  happy to be at the first event of 2012.

Despite all the stuff about security things were straightforward and clearly they are used to large crowds. There were a lot of women present who were like me and had never been to  see a football game so we didn't know the way to behave. I did think some instructions about the etiquette at a game would have been useful eg you cheer when the teams emerge with their flags; you cheer Team GB when they get within 20 feet of the goal and you groan when they miss.

We also wanted cups of tea at half time. The bar staff were polite, but clearly thought we were strange to be asking. Also if they do want women to go along to matches then they need to think about the food offerings. A bacon sandwich might be ok, but a scone and a cup of tea was what was wanted.

The sun shone down on us while we boiled, I had taken my sun hat and felt smug. At 9.15pm when we got back to the car it was 22C. In Cardiff!

I noticed that the Team GB Women were on tv last week. More coverage of women in sport would be a great legacy and a full stadium for the Wembley Games shows they do have support.

How do you know when a sailing race starts? I thought there would be a cannon firing. Instead there was a lot of moving around so I didn't know when it had actually started. It took the family next to us to confirm that things had got underway. That and the two helicopters overhead. Security was fine and failry low key for the crowd, but there was a large warship in the bay.

The town was en fete with some beautiful yachts dressed with flags and a number of Europeans and Aussies supporting their sailors. Again the sun shone and the bay looked lovely.

I still know nothing about sailing, but sitting in the sunshine watching the yachts and the people around you is a good way to pass an afternoon.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

It can't be all over yet...

Seeing the flame go out at the Closing Ceremony after the Olympic Games was heart wrenching for me. For a few days I felt so sad. But then I realised that the Paralympics were coming along and cheered up, took time off work and sat and watched Channel 4 just as much as I could. Even when the sun shone!

After the Paralympics the flame went out again, but it was made clear it was being passed on and so that was ok. I am not sure how much more excitement and tension I could have coped with! This was my first experience of watching Paralympic sport and how fantastic it was. I truly just saw the sport and not the person's disability.

Highspots for me were British Cycling generally and Sir Chris Hoy in particular getting a further two medals. I did cry when he was presented with the second one. David Rudisha in the 800 metres. He ran so smoothly and what seemed to be effortlessly. He also ran like I have seen in newsreels of Jesse Owens. The crowds cheering fit to burst, particularly when there was a Brit involved and Jonny Peacock's 100 metres. Then afterwards him saying, "Oh that's annoying, I could have done it better." 

I have a new hero, as Sir Chris is retiring, David Weir. 4 gold medals in a week on different distances. I had to go and get those stamps.

I always believed the Games would be well received, but I never expected just how much it caught people's imagination. The Torch Relay started it off and then it even stopped raining for most of the actual events.

As the news stays gloomy and we get into the winter and cold and fed up then I will think about the fun and excitement of it all and watch again on BBC or on the DVD due out at the end of October.

My final thought today was realising we are Team GB too. All of us.
And didn't we behave so well!