My planned trip to the Olympics in London 2012 , whilst eagerly anticipated, was viewed with some cynicism related to the expected hoo ha of patriotic fervour, massive crowds, awful transportation infra-structure, oppressive security measures and the prominence of sponsorship deals with MacDonalds, Coca- cola and Visa.
I want to post about the sporting achievements I saw later.( I was one of the 80,000 to be in the athletics stadium on the day Ennis, Rutherford and Farah won their gold medals within 45 minutes of each other). Today I want to concentrate on the powerful feelings of pride and joy the trip has left with me.
First: The transportation system was faultless. Everything worked perfectly, trains, information, volunteers providing directions....it could not have been better. We walked from one train to the next, they were clean, rarely crowded and there were plenty of them.
Second: Olympic Park was beautiful. The stadium architecture was interesting, the planting of millions of wild flowers was an ingenious idea and despite the biggest MacDonalds in the world, it was possible to avoid it and eat other food. My fears about oppressive security were also unfounded. Pleasant and smiling security people checked bags and wished us a great day, quickly and efficiently. No real queues and no hassle at all.Third: The volunteers were astounding. They were everywhere, providing information, directions, humour and smiles by the mile.
Fourth: The crowd was the best part. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there. Costumes and flags were in abundance. Communication between fans in various languages took place everywhere, with smiling as the universally understood sign.
Here is some of the evidence:
Cynicism abandoned, and a childlike wish that all nations could be as happy together as they seemed during our fabulous two days at the Olympics of London 2012.