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06 August 2012

London 2012 Olympic Games

written by: Don

We had a fantastic Olympic weekend in London, enjoying the Games and watching some of the exciting actions.

We probably need to go back to as far as 2006 to start telling the story: 2006, that was the year when Germany hosted the Football World Cup, while we lived in London and missed all the action and the great atmosphere everyone in Germany was so enthusiastic about. To add insult to injury, we also missed out on every single round of ticket ballot.

So fast forward to 2011: when we decided to move back to Germany, we knew we were about to miss all the action during the Olympics in London again - unless we can get our hands on some tickets and come back to London during the Games. So we went all out in the first round of ballot on the official London 2012 website and ordering as many as £2500 worth of tickets. Predictably, in the end, we won exactly - 0. Worst of all, we heard weeks later that as German residents, we were actually eligible for purchasing tickets from the contingence of the German NOC directly, and that was a simple first-come-first served online shop. Of course, by that time, it was all sold out. Arrgggh!

Pretty disappointed, we just gave up and did not bother, until we heard about the reopening of the sale on the London 2012 website in May 2012. So, in the end, after some very hectic clicking, we finally got three pairs of Olympic tickets, and that gave us something to look forward to the whole summer.

As expected, the whole experience was amazing! London is, in its own way, a perfect city for the Games. People are so friendly and the crowd is generally very enthusiastic about every competition. The fact that people from all around the world live in London also means that every team get its fair share of support. The only pity as far as our visit was concerned was that despite our great hopes, no German qualified for the competitions we watched, so all the flags and fan articles we brought along were for nothing. Never mind, we just kept on flying the German flag everywhere! :-) That actually prompted a random guy on the street to say to me: "Did you find that flag? That's not your flag surely?" "You bet it is!" I replied. "Get out of here!" lol?

The first session we visited was badminton: men's doubles semifinals + women's doubles bronze medal match, and it was a highlight. While the China vs. Malaysia match was pretty one-sided, the second semi between Denmark and South Korea was the most exciting match I have ever watched. When Denmark won in the end, the whole arena was up on their feet cheering. That was amazing. The women's double match that followed was rather poor - both teams, from Canada and Russia, were substandard and only came this far owing to the disqualification of 4 other pairs. Interestingly, the surnames of the Canadian pair were Bruce and Li. And it just so happened that on that day, I was actually wearing a Bruce Lee T-shirt! I qualified as a fan-boy I guess... Fittingly, the arena was playing Kung-Fu Fighting during every break. The Canadian girls barely smiled about it. I guess they must get that a lot... and by the way, they lost.

The second session was in the evening and was fencing: women's team epée bronze medal match + gold medal match + medal ceremony. It was fun, but not as enthralling as badminton. We rounded the day off with a bit of public viewing (10k final) by the Tower Bridge. Fittingly, Mo Farah won Britain's 6th gold medal of the day.

The next day was our Olympic Park day. We have tickets for the women's 3m springboard diving final + medal ceremony, and that gave us access to the whole Olympic Park (the other two events we saw previously took place outside the Park). We were totally amazed by the park, the architecture, the crowd and the atmosphere. It was one of those experience where you just think: "what should we do once this is over??" We spent the whole day walking around, fought our way through the megastore (the victim store, I like to call it), watched the diving (which we enjoyed a lot), had a curry and watched the men's 100m final on the big screen with thousands of other people, all doing the bolt gesture together!

The icing on the cake came on our way out of the Park: we walked straight into Britta Steffen und Paul Biedermann, the two German world-record holders in freestyle swimming. I have to admit I was pretty star-struck - even more impressed because they were really friendly and nice!

All in all that was an experience that made us want to come back for more. Rio 2016 then? :-) Bring it on!



Karl wrote on 09 August 2012:

After reading your blog, I really regret to miss the equestrian competition in HK at the last Olympic games. Well, it was exactly the time of someone's wedding... who was that...? Haha. Anyway, I can really feel and understand your enthusiasm since I was directly living next to the Westfalenstadion during the World Cup 2006. I still remember the earthquake-like feeling when Neuville scored against Poland in the 91st minute - in Dortmund... wow. And then the silence in the whole city when Grosso and del Piero knocked us out in the final minute in the semi - again in Dortmund... Also joining the public viewing during the world cup was episode which I still like to think back. It's simply a great experience for once in a life - or even more. I am so happy that you have made it this time. I am sure you will be in Rio 2016 - or even 2 years earlier? How about to make a join tour with two families? ;-) I think it would be fantastic.

Mama Amelia likes this blog post.

(Posted on 10 August 2012)

Adriana wrote on 10 August 2012:

Great pictures! We wait for you guys in 2016 and, of course, before that too!


Patsy Neal wrote on 11 August 2012:

Well you guys I get to live a little through your photos. I got as far as Westfield Stratford due to lack of tickets but now feel a part of the action through this blog! I'm only sorry I missed you in person! Love from the Sicilian connection xx

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