I was extremely fortunate that a certain friend of mine decided to move home to Australia, and equally fortunate that he had a kind thought for me, as I ended up with his tickets to the USA v Spain basketball final on the last day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As usual in the actual Olympic venues there was no problem bringing in my 70-200mm F2.8 and 1.4X extender – and these were juuuuuuust about enough to capture some of the action from our seats in the rafters.
It was an unexpectedly close match, with a lot of action on both sides of the court, and if you went by audience volume alone then it seemed like Spain was winning for most of the time. (I must say that thirteen years absence from America makes me slightly cringe to chant “U-S-A” like a pumped up frat boy, but I managed it.) There were the expected celebrities – although no Jack Nicholson – and the expected results at the end. USA 107, Spain 100.
As usual these and more shots of the match (and the Olympics) can be found over on Flickr.
Also, I would like to echo the sentiments of many, many others when I say that the Olympics was a real pleasure to host in London, and my didn’t London pull it off? So many emotional moments, so many shared highs and lows, and now back to the sordid business of normal life. I was very fortunate to go to a few events, and was happy to share the fortune with others by giving some tickets to those who had missed out. We will not see the like of these Games in our town again, at least not in our lifetimes. So it was truly special to be here, and I am thankful for it.
Now, if they had only not bolloxed up the closing ceremony…
On Friday, August 3rd 2012 we returned to the Olympic Park to see the Men’s Hockey matches, Spain v South Africa and Belgium v South Korea. Though we arrived late due to underestimating travel time, we still caught some of the first match and all of the second. The atmosphere was merry for the Belgium / Korea match, as while there were a fair few Belgium fans and a smattering of Korean fans, the vast majority of the crowd were neutrals who took up the Korean cause as the supposed underdogs – cue curiously British football-style chanting of “We love Korea, we do, we love Korea, we do… ohhh Korea we love you.” Mexican waves abounded. And the hockey wasn’t bad. We joined the throngs afterwards ambling back towards the park towards Stratford and got to see the Stadium, the Orbit and the other buildings in their full night-time regalia.
There are about double the number of shots here shown in my photoset over on Flickr – go have a look.
I also did a cheeky little 360 degree panorama on the iPhone from inside the Riverbanks Arena which you can see here.
The big gig is here. Despite many weeks and months of hand-wringing about expected meltdowns in London’s transport system, fears of a security catastrophe, and the shambolic ticketing website – of which your author has been a vocal critic – in the end, the twin factors of Mitt Romney sticking his foot in it, together with Danny Boyle’s bonkers and brilliant Opening Ceremony meant that most of London collectively decided to park the cynicism for a while and get behind the Games.
Speaking personally, we did reasonably well on ticket allocation. We were allocated Men’s Boxing Final in the initial lottery last year, got given Men’s Basketball Final tickets by a very considerate but absent friend in the last week, and managed to score, by persistent refreshing and the occasional head smacked against the desk, both Men’s Preliminary Round Hockey tickets and ground pass tickets to the Olympic Park.
It was those last Park tickets that actually came first chronologically, which was handy as it allowed us to have a look around the site without any pressure to be in any of the venues at a particular time. Photographing the Park was a funny beast; it’s all so massive that you are tempted to just do panoramas the whole time – but the volume of people in-shot all the time makes this a complicated prospect. So I mostly settled for detail shots rather than sweeping landscapes. We are back in the Park this Friday for the hockey so I hope to revisit some of these.
More to come…