After two weeks of Olympic action we finally got to go to Olympic park last weekend!
I had watched more sport in the fortnight leading up to our visit than probably the rest of my life put together and was starting to become an expert on riveting events such as archery, weightlifting and long distance running. That, combined with hearing from every Tom, Dick and Harry about how fantastic the Olympic park was, was making me seriously excited for our visit. I felt a bit like how I felt as a child before going to Disneyland. The reality of the park was not dissimilar with all the friendly volunteers, colourful signs, big crowds and ability to make me want to spend stupid amounts of money in the shop.
We came in via the Stratford entrance where the Aquatic centre is. As we were walking into the park Tom Daley was diving in the morning heats and even from outside the noise from the crowd was really loud!
Our event was in the afternoon so we had a bit of time to check out the park, which really was as great as everyone claimed. I loved walking down by the canals where all the lovely english flowers were and seeing all the different arenas and stadiums at the park.
To add to the theme park-like feeling the Olympic park had, in the morning we witnessed a parade for the Olympic mascot Wenlock. He had his own procession with dancing volunteers and a full on scottish band with bagpipers. Then there he was at the end of all the commotion waving and dancing in the back of a golf buggy. The man standing next to me took the words right of my mouth when he turned to his toddler and said ‘that Wenlock’s a bit weird, isn’t he?’
After paying an obligatory visit to the world’s biggest McDonalds for lunch (I had a cheeseburger, obvs) we headed down to the Riverbank arena to watch the Hockey. The Riverbank arena is a fab venue, with its psychedelic blue and pink hockey pitch. It is completely outside though, so we were lucky that the weather was glorious the day we were there.
We had tickets to the men’s bronze medal match, which as luck would have it, ended up being between Australia and Team GB. I was feeling pretty conflicted before the match, I wasn’t really sure who I would cheer for or who I wanted to win. But this was cleared up very early in proceedings when hardly anyone cheered for the Australian team and I knew I needed to support my home country.
Having never watched hockey before I managed to get the hang of it quite quickly- although all the video referrals and penalty corners were a bit strange. It was a great match and the atmosphere inside the stadium was very exciting, I felt lucky to have experienced the atmosphere at a GB game. The teams were tied at half time, but the Kookaburras won in the end (I do love how Australian sports teams always have animal themed names). I was really pleased as I thought they played better than their opponents, but a part of me felt sad that Team GB didn’t get a medal on home turf.
After the hockey ended we hung around at the Olympic park for the evening and watched the Athletics on the big screen. We were able to see Mo win his second gold medal which was so exciting- everyone watching the screen was on their feet cheering him on at the end and being able to hear the roar from the stadium at the same time was amazing.
Like everyone else in London I’ve definitely been having Olympic withdrawal symptoms since the games have ended. It was such a great two weeks and I’m so happy that I was in London to experience it. I’m trying desperately to get Paralympic tickets at the moment (like the rest of London) in a bid to draw out the fun a little longer. If you didn’t get a chance to go to the Olympics I would definitely encourage you to try to get Paralympic tickets as it is worth seeing the park and more importantly being part of the experience. Enjoy x