It’s the last 400m and the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games is now in sight – but for me they’re only just beginning.
That’s right, I went to my first ticketed event yesterday – the morning track-and-field session inside Stratford’s remarkable Olympic Stadium – with two more events still to come: women’s hockey tomorrow and the bronze-medal playoff in the men’s handball on Sunday.
I was pleased, then, to see two New Zealand athletes – Valerie Adams in women’s shotput and Lucy van Dalen in the women’s 1500m – make the final and semi-final in their respective events. (Adams has since won the silver medal.)
And how about Team GB? Buoyed by the support of the home crowd, I don’t think there was a single event that I saw yesterday – hurdles, discus, shot put, 800m and 1500m – that British athletes didn’t excel in.
Even I was cheering on my adopted country, screaming along with the masses as Lawrence Okoye finally reached the final of the men’s discuss with one of the last throws of the morning session (and then proceeded to jump around the stadium like a man possessed by joy).
It’s been no secret on Twitter that I’ve been cheering on the New Zealand team, rejoicing in Great Britain’s Olympic successes and wallowing in about as much London 2012 coverage that any person can handle.
One of the highlights of London 2012, though, was the morning I decided to visit Kiwi House, the NZ supporter’s hub in King’s Cross, to witness New Zealand win double gold in rowing.
The crowd was fervent, the mood was electric, first as rowing pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray dominated in the men’s pair and then as Mahe Drysdale finished first in the men’s single sculls at Eton Dorney.
Described as the best hour for a New Zealand Olympic team since Peter Snell and Murray Halberg won gold medals on the track in the space of 60 minutes at the 1960 Rome Olympics, I would certainly put it up there with any New Zealand sporting event I have ever witnessed abroad – either live or on television.
It’s been a cracking Olympic Games in London – and not just because NZ and GB have been amongst the medals.
The public has really gotten in behind these Games, supporting Team GB, Jamaica and all the winners and losers. Inside the Olympic Park, the crowds were ecstatic, colourful and well-behaved; the food and drink was reasonably priced; the volunteers happy and helpful.
The weather has been, well, typically British – and even the Tube has held up well, with my journey to and from the Olympic Stadium suffering no delays and only moderate overcrowding… touch wood for my two remaining events!
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