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London 2012 – A Spectator’s view

By at August 20, 2012 | 10:41 pm | 0 Comment

So, at Usain Bolt speed, the London Olympics 2012 have come and gone, and after the years of preparation and anticipation, we’re left with the enduring memories of a magical fortnight which may just have changed the nation forever.
As a spectator at an Olympics for the first time, but a regular visitor to London, the experience was going to mix the unexpected with the norm.  But it proved to be a winning combination, and offered the chance to see the capital from a different perspective to that experienced before.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the Games experience was the people themselves.  The atmosphere at every venue was nothing but good-natured, and the global influx was met by an army of maroon-clad volunteers who went out of their way to ensure smooth transition to the stadiums, and that smiles were being worn at all times!
As for the events themselves, we were offered a veritable smorgasbord of sports, most of which only capture the wider public interest every four years and seize their moment in the limelight with both hands.  That was certainly the case with the Handball competition, which became a cult event across the two weeks!  A crazy twist on indoor football, Great Britain didn’t even have a team to enter until a year ago, so for the majority of the crowd watching, it was an introduction to the game but the high-scoring nature, and fast-paced action left everyone in the Copper Box arena wanting more.
I also gained my first experience watching Synchronised Swimming, and to say that the sport is a complex art form would be an understatement.  Putting together a highly acrobatic routine to a Chemical Brothers backing track should be applauded alone, even if it wasn’t able to gain the British team gold in the long run.
The atmosphere at the Olympic Park itself embodied the spirit of the Games, being thoroughly entertaining and good-natured despite the fact that the British summer weather played its usual damp part.  Located at Stratford, based in the heart of east London, this is an area which has seen regeneration in recent years on an unprecedented scale, with the Games infrastructure replacing a dilapidated but character-rich industrial estate.  The new Westfield shopping centre, just a stone’s throw from the Park has also helped turn Stratford into one of London’s hotspots and the Olympic legacy so often talked about will barely be more obvious than here in future years.
The legacy of the Games is a long-term plan to ensure that London builds on the success of the last fortnight in various ways, from sporting inspiration to the development of the Olympic Park into accessible housing, but if anything the main legacy for London will be the general conception of the capital to those who travel in from outside, in that we were shown the opposite angle to the usual hustle and bustle, the impatient haze that descends.
Indeed London has now reclaimed its friendliness, and proved to the world that it can maintain travel infrastructure to a world-class level! So overall the Games have been a huge success for London, and vice versa, and as an outsider looking in, I can only hope that the future looks Golden for the old place.

Author – Laurence Nash

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By at April 11, 2012 | 11:39 pm | 0 Comment

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