Tuesday, 28 August 2012

London 2012 - Last - Special People

It was a wonderful Olympic experience and I am so pleased to have enjoyed the company of s-in-l Gill, 'Superman' Leon

b-in-l John


and Ben :)

Monday, 27 August 2012

London 2012 - 7 - The 'big' event

On our session, we were lucky enough to see the Men's 200m semi-finals.

Semi-final #1 was won for Jamaica by Yohan Blake

and there are no surprises for the winner of semi-final #2, here being introduced to the crowd.

The two results set up a tasty final for the following evening.

In addition to the Men's 200m semi, we also saw the Women's 200m final, won by Allyson Felix of the USA, the Women's long jump final, won by Brittney Reese of the USA, the Men's 110m hurdles final, won by Aries Merritt of the USA (it was a good session for the USA!) and the Women's 400m hurdles final won by Natalya Antyukh of ...

Russia :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

London 2012 - 6 - Events

The stadium was packed with people; enthusiastic supporters eager to see the events on offer.

First off were the decathletes, competing in the high jump.

Decathlon leader Ashton Eaton cleared 2.05m, retaining his first place position, but, as the competition progressed, we got behind the Cuban Leonel Suarez, cheering him on to the completion of the event.  The bar eventually reached 2.11m and his clearance proved enough for Suarez to win the event.

The women's 1500m semi-finals proved tricky to photograph. If only they would stand still! Laura Weightman of GBR qualified for the final, in which she came 11th in 4mins 16.6secs.

The eventual winner of the event was Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey.

Monday, 20 August 2012

London 2012 - 5 The Stadium

Our tickets were for the 18.00 athletics session. Walking into the stadium was an awe inspiring experience. We approached up a flight of shaded external stairs, heading for an opening through which we could see mainly sky.  Stepping out into the bright light of the huge stadium was breathtaking!

Our seats were in the 67th and 68th rows of the second tier of seats but the banking was so steep that the view was superb, with the whole field of play spread out below us.

The huge Olympic flame burned brightly below the giant screen.

 Triangular stands of spotlights stood proud of the stadium roof, with hanging banks of speakers to relay the introductions of the athletes.

Shining as the sky turned dark.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

London 2012 - 4 - Ode

This is the BBC television outside broadcasting position in the Olympic Park, set on top of a structure made from shipping containers!

It was funny being back home and seeing images being transmitted from up here :)

There were examples of  artwork all around the park, including these flowers created by cleaning away the layers of discolouration along the sides of the Lea Navigation. 

I almost missed spotting this bronze plaque set in the path. The writing is a poem, commissioned by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and written by Dr Armond D'Angour, Fellow and Tutor in Classics at Jesus College Oxford.

The poem is an ode. This follows the tradition of the Ancient Greeks where a winner would be honoured by a Victory Ode. The greatest composer of such odes was Pindar (c.522 - 443BC) and this Ode is written in his style.

The text is reproduced below (courtesy of the website of the poet). Look out for his deliberate puns on the names of athletes competing in London 2012.

Behold this new Olympic torch, the flames
that first blazed forth at Greece’s early dawn:
Now give a rousing welcome to these Games,
on London’s riverbanks reborn.

Applaud as rival teams, in sport allied,
march in from the far corners of the earth.
The poet now must emulate their stride
and craft an ode to sporting worth.

A countless throng of watchers will observe
the dazzling relays of the running-teams,
watch rival oarsmen straining every nerve,
and gymnasts on the balance-beams.

The crowds will view with wonder and delight
the rider urge her horse about and back,
the skillful archer draw his bowstring tight,
the lightning bolt around the track.

The drums will volley and the pipes play loud
as tales of victory are daily told;
the stands will echo to the cheering crowd
when victors raise the prize of gold.

Now welcome all to Britain’s sea-girt land:
join London’s Mayor and company within.
To all who strive may fortune lend a hand:
applaud, and let the Games begin!

Apparently, over a dozen names, including Ennis, are embedded in the Greek.

ἴδεσθε καινὸν πῦρ τόδ᾽ Ὀλυμπικόν,
ὅ γ᾽ ἐξέλαμψε πρόσθε καθ᾽ ῾Ελλάδα.
ἀλλ᾽ ἡδέως δέχεσθε τἆθλα
Λονδινίου ποταμοῦ παρ᾽ ὄχθας.

ὑμνεῖτε δ᾽ αἴγλην ἀντιπάλων σοφῶν,
στρατὸς γὰρ ἦλθεν ἐκ περάτων χθονός•
καὶ χρὴ μεγίσταις ὧδ᾽ ἀοιδόν
ἀμφ᾽ ἀρεταῖσι καθ᾽ ἅρμ᾽ ἐλαύνειν.

πλῆθος θεατῶν μυρίον ὄψεται
ὁρμὴν τρεχόντων καὶ λιπαρὰν χάριν,
σπουδήν τ᾽ ἐρεσσόντων ἑταίρων
ἀκροβατῶν τε δοκοὺς πατούντων.

θεάσεται δὲ χάρματι τοξότην
τείνοντα νευράν, καὶ ποδὶ σωφρόνως
τὸν ἱππότην στρέφοντα πῶλον
ἀστεροπῆς τε σέλας θεούσης.

πρέψουσι δ᾽ αὐλοὶ καὶ τύπανον βρόμῳ
τιμῆς φλεγούσης πολλὰ καθ᾽ ἡμέραν•
ὄχλος δ᾽ ἀΰσει καλλίνικε
χρύσε’ ἄεθλ᾽ ἐσιδὼν φέροντας.

δεῦτ᾽ αὖτε γῆν ἐς τήνδε περίρρυτον•
ἄρχων γὰρ ἄγχι καὶ πρύτανις βαρύς.
νίκη δ᾽ἀρίστοις αἰὲν ἔστω•
νῦν κρότος, αἶψα δὲ τἆθλ᾽ ἀγέσθω.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

London 2012 - 3 - Orbit

This is The Orbit, a piece of artwork standing 115 metres high and offering a view over the Olympic Park and East London.

Designed by Anish Kapoor, the looping twists of the structure represent the five Olympic rings.

Ticket holders travel up the centre of the structure by lift, giving them access to the viewing platform. After admiring the view, the downward journey is via the spiral stairway circling the structure.

Tickets need to be bought in advance, but we didn't.

We have not missed our chance, however. Although the structure will be closed after the Games, it is due to re-open in late 2013, allowing public access once again.

I was fascinated by this long mirror sloping down from the bridge over the lower footpath. The squares divide the reflection into multiple disjointed images...

and the uneven surface distorts the lines into a mess of colourful swirls.

My sister-in-law, Gill :)

Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012 - 2 - Gardens

The gardens in the Olympic Park were unexpected and delightful; a blaze of colour evocative of a traditional British meadow.

What a wonderful background for such a marvellous sporting occasion!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

London 2012 - 1 - Bienvenue

Great excitement to learn that my bid for Olympics tickets had been successful and, although I had barely thought about the games during the busy-ness of New Wine, here we suddenly were!

Volunteers along the last mile use these large fingers to point the way to the Olympic Park. My sister-in-law borrowed one to mirror the pointing cloud :)

Many people were walking around adorned in flags, but this guy had taken National pride a step further. Chinese, I think; definitely South East Asian.

- Though I did also spot the Union Flag round his waist :)

Under the welcome signs and a view of the Olympic Stadium.

The basketball arena is by the River Lea...

...and the Queen's barge, Gloriana, is moored nearby.

A wider view of the Olympic Park.

More to follow :)