|Even as a young child, I wasn't much into doing anything really physical. I couldn't even dig in the sand without distain.|
Through the years, Atlanta, Nagano, Sydney, Salt Lake, Athens, Turin, and Beijing were always fun to follow, but I never really LOVED the games until Vancouver 2010. This time Canada was the focus of the games, and I was determined to go and experience the fun. I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Gold Medal Men's hockey game, gambling on the fact that Canada would be in the finals. The country was slow on the medal count, but the games finished like a fairy tale ending. An overtime goal by Sidney Crosby to capture Men's Gold, the Canadian Olympic Team set an all time gold medal record by a host country at 14 gold medals, and some incredible tales of triumph from athletes like Joannie Rochette, who lost her mom before she was to skate, made you tear up like a 40 year old single woman watching Titanic for the fourteenth time on a Friday night with her cats.
|Going buckwild after Canada wins in overtime. One of my best moments of life ever.|
So, when London 2012 crept closer, and I realized that I would be in Europe for the summer, there was no question that I would stop by this city to enjoy the games. Thankfully, my friends Alex and Sandy have conveniently moved to this city, so free accommodations mean cheap Terence can spend more money on booze. (And trust me, I have).
The Opening Ceremonies
After a day of walking around the city with Sandy and our friend Laura, we went to Canada House in Trafalgar Square to see what it had planned for the athletes. We were disappointed to find that all they had for us were pins (we took them nonetheless) and they directed us to the Maple Leaf bar in Covent Garden. We were joined by Alex, Phil (another friend from uni) and Phil's friend Jamie and we celebrated the Opening Ceremonies with at least 400 other Canadians crammed into the bar. There were several moments of SHHHH! to try to listen to what was happening. Other moments of laughter at the British sense of humour including:
- Free health care promotion (an obvious F you to Mitt Romney who was visiting and made some rather silly comments about the Olympic games)
- the Queen jumping from a helicopter with James Bond
- Three dozen Mary Poppins flying into the stadium
And of course, cheering for the countries as they marched into the stadium. We cheered the loudest for Canada and Team GB, but as we got drunker and drunkier, we started clinking our glasses for Team Swaziland and Uzbekistan...haha...who comes up with these names?
Speaking of drunk, one of the highlights of the bar, was this couple from the West Coast. The wife got hammered and started hitting on Phil and Jamie. She tried with Alex, but Sandy shot her some Asian cuteye and she backed off. They still stole our seats that we had occupied since 5pm. Lesson learned, don't be nice.
However, we were unceremoniously all kicked out right before Sir Paul performed and people were losing their minds. Very unCanadian like behaviour was displayed and we all went home with a bitter taste in our mouths - or perhaps that was from the vomit after nine pints of Strongbow.
Day 2 - 3m Women's Syncronized Springboard Diving
Our only ticket to the games was to the diving event at the aquatics centre on Sunday. We were lucky enough to get seats to this event - little did we know that we'd be watching Canada get it's first medal. It started with Canada doing really well, and in true Canadian style, we lost the lead and China, being the powerhouse they are, won Gold. We were sitting in the nosebleeds but I truly believe our cheers reached all the way to the platforms 4,000m below us.
|This is with 55mm zoom. We were still super far.|
The Olympic Park is located in London's East end, notorious for being the shady part of the city, has been refurbished to be the most sustainable Olympic Park ever. The stadium, Aquatics centre, Velodrome, football and hockey fields are all located in this park. A big wildflower field also serves as a live TV venue for those coming in and out of other events. Alex wore his Union Jack and I wore the Maple Leaf flag. The spirit of the games made the Olympic Park into a grown up version of Disneyland where everyone was smiling and greeting people with "hello, how are you?" or a "woot! Canada!!!" The Olympic volunteers were so happy, I think they inhaled a bag of happy gas before starting their shifts. Here are some selects from the Olympic grounds:
|Wildflowers are present all around the park.|
|The orbit - telecom tower and observation deck.|
|Very Polka Dot Door.|
|One Eyed Monster Mascot.|
|Jump for the Olympics!|