London During The Olympics – My Thoughts
Bt Live Sites, Wenlock & Mandeville, GB success and how my day to day life wasn’t affected. Now all the waiting and worrying is over, the Olympics are drawing to a close as I write this I have barely noticed the Olympics around the city. I mean I haven’t seen anything in person, not even the free road events and the north parts of London I work/live in have been quieter than normal. This was not what I expected before they started, I really was worried about the effect they would have on my daily work commute as we all know I HATE the underground. Here are my thoughts.
There have been various ‘BT Live’ sites around the city I have visited Hyde park, Trafalgar Square and a Mayor of London screen at Tower Bridge and Greenwich.
The Hyde Park site was very well done. We had bought guaranteed entry tickets and barely queued to get in as they opened the gates early due to crowds already having formed. There were a lot of hands on things for the kids to do and several big screens all showing different events. They did a coaching session with GB Netball team and then tried to get me to play in the adults game but I wimped out. There was swingball for them to play and plenty of food choices despite the high prices. The highlight for them was the ‘Cadbury House’, a big blow up purple house very much inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Inside there were so many hands on things; Olympic themed games, a photo booth and chocolate to try. We could have stayed in there long had the triathlon not been about to finish. The low point for me was that it was so busy there was no space for the kids to just run around and let off steam, still the atmosphere was cool. And eventually they managed to settle down and just watch some Olympics. Before we left we also watched a performance by Jodie Marie on the music stage, I know they have had some big bands preforming over the 2 weeks. The food and drink was expensive but apart from that a great place to see the Olympics. I never got to Victoria park but I hear that was very similar.
Trafalgar square I visited over the weekend but barely spent any time there, although it was cool being in the city centre and able to see the Olympics the atmosphere wasn’t great and it felt more like people were trying to get from a to b rather than purposely being there to watch the sport. This site was small and with people running around everywhere it was not a place where you could relax watching the Olympics.
Tower Bridge I stumbled upon not knowing it was there, right on the bank of grass by the bridge. This big screen is fenced off from the Thames path and feels really safe for the kids. It is a non-ticketed screen which seems to draw a crowd at the weekend but not so much in the week. Another plus for when I went as I had the kids with me who just wanted to run around. They had a small food section but they let you take food in anyway – unlike Hyde Park. With just one screen it is very basic, but the sound is good and being in such an iconic place in London was fun. This screen was a favourite of mine, especially as you can see those iconic Olympic rings hanging for Tower Bridge and I have to say even a 5 year old was impressed with those.
Greenwich Screen I headed to with a friend hoping to see the Modern Pentathlon running, but due to being miss-informed we couldn’t get in to see it and headed for the big screen instead. In the Old Royal Naval College opposite the equestrian arena we found the screen, you could even see the stands in the arena that’s how close it was! Right on the river bank this site was nicely tucked away but still had a fair crowd. With only one screen the choice was limited but they had a great selection of food/drink and were even showing the closing ceremony, not that we stayed that long.
Mandeville and Wenlock have become huge figures of the games and in many parks or tourist attraction areas you can see large statues of them. Everywhere you look around, you can see the Olympics – on adverts, in shop windows, in the papers, on the side of the bus, on the flags and signs lining the streets – I haven’t been out of London so I’m not sure how this compares to the rest of the country but London sure has embraced it all.
The success of GB has certainly helped to get everyone involved and watching. I for one I am totally glued and the better we do the more I can’t stop watching. The home advantage sure has helped us this year, and maybe it is just luck but I think we have seen some amazing and unforgettable British athletes.
Had the Olympics affected the areas I work and live in more I may have had different views of the Olympics but I’m glad they over planned and overestimated. Over the past 2 weeks of the Olympics I have barely noticed any changes in my day to day life even though it has been right on my door step. I regret not getting out and seeing the street events but I’m glad I got down to see the screens and experience the atmosphere there. Being in a city with the Olympics really is a once in a life time opportunity and I can’t understand anyone who didn’t embrace it.