Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Kick-Off

U-S-A!  U-S-A!  As an American living in London, I usually try to keep a low profile, but with the Olympics in town, it's time to start showing my true colors.

My sister arrived from California yesterday morning, just a few hours after Josh's aunt, cousin, and family departed, and a few hours before the Olympics began.  She had much better luck getting tickets in the US than we did in the UK, so after lunch we headed up to the City of Westminster College to pick them up at the Cosport Will Call Center.  Unlike everything else Olympic-related, this operation seemed rather poorly organized.  There was no signage or any helpful staff people to direct us there from the Tube station, and once we found it, we ended up waiting in line for TWO AND A HALF HOURS!  We barely made it home in time to throw some dinner together and watch the opening ceremonies.
The long and winding line for will call
 We were all pretty tired, so we had a tough time staying awake until 1 am to watch the entire event.  There were some lovely moments -- especially when they lit the Olympic cauldron -- but overall it was kind of a weird conglomeration of random British stuff.  I honestly did not expect either Voldemort or the NHS to be involved in the opening ceremonies.  But I did enjoy watching the athletes march into the stadium...

Today, Sonia and I set off for our first Olympic event -- the Men's Gymnastics qualifiers at the "North Greenwich Arena."  Londoners know this venue as the O2 Arena, but since the mobile phone service provider is not an official Olympic sponsor, they had to make up a new name for it.
The North Greenwich Arena (aka, the O2 Arena)
Everything went very smoothly.  We had no trouble getting there on the train/Tube, and it took 2 minutes to go through security.  In fact, the only long line we had to wait in was at one of the many restaurants in the arena so we could get some lunch.  But we still made it to our seats in time to see the 'pre-game show.'
Gymnastics hype
 Our seats were up in the nosebleed section...
The gymnasts warm up
 But at least we were sitting in front of the correct flag!
We were glad we brought our own American flags, because Team USA was competing in this session.  Yay!
Team USA warms up on the pommel horse
The challenging part of watching gymnastics in person is there are five different things going on at once, so it's hard to know where to look.
Danell Leyva wears his lucky towel
Bangladeshi gymnast on the high bar
John Orozco on parallel bars
Jonathon Horton on high bar
The USA did very well against teams from Japan and Italy, as well as individual competitors from a variety of other countries, including Israel, Brazil, Chile, Greece, and Australia.  In fact, they were in the lead in the team competition, and two of the US team members ended up first and fourth in the individual rankings.  Go Team USA!
Sonia stands on the Prime Meridian
My very first Olympic experience was pretty darn good!  I can't wait for the second one, and the third...

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam and other inappropriate messages, all comments are moderated before being posted.