London Montage

2012 – Unforgettable Summer!

From the perspective of a London Team Ambassador/ Games Maker ….

Whether during the Olympics or Paralympics, whatever the sport, wherever the venue, every spectator will have their own memories: the competitors’ achievements, the atmosphere, travelling, the volunteers, security, music, torch relays.

During the build-up to the Olympics opening ceremony, I tracked down the torch relay a few times during its week in London: its first dramatic arrival in London by helicopter, viewed with thousands of others from across the river at City Hall. Next, on the outskirts of Croydon;  in Central London and at City Hall – the “Gloriana” (which was also part of the Diamond Jubilee river pageant) arrived early, so I didn’t actually see it carrying the flame, but did see it leave there and moor at Butler’s Wharf. During the Olympics, on the first Tuesday, I saw two matches in the early rounds of the women’s hockey, one of which was Team GB v South Korea (GB won 5-3). The first match was Belgium v China, but the atmosphere and noise levels, helped by a brass section and drum, definitely increased during the second one! Other first impressions of the park were its landscaping and sheer size.

At Wembley Stadium for the final of the women’s football, USA v Japan, attended by 80,203 (a record for a women’s Olympic football match): each team had their own partisan vociferous support but it was an international crowd who cheered on both teams. Not only was the crowd noisy but so was the, mainly rock, music. At the end, as well as the inevitable “We are the champions”, they played “Born in the USA”- so no prizes for guessing who won the match! Sepp Blatter (President of FIFA) was booed when it was announced that he was to present the medals. Sunset over the stadium as the match started, and the illuminated arch on the way out also stay in the memory. En route to Wembley, I noticed that on the indicator board at one of the stations, they had announced another UK gold medal (in the dressage at Greenwich).   In between the ticketed events, I went to see the men’s open swimming event at Hyde Park and also the marathon.

There were lots of enthusiastic, large crowds, once again cheering on all competitors, not just the British – although the cheers for the latter sounded the loudest, making it 2012 never to be forgotten!