I didn't expect to be excited about the Olympics. We all knew it was coming, TFL had warned us well in advance that there might be tube dramas. Pink signs with arrows to the nearest Olympic venue started appearing all over the place, and green + blue flags proclaimed excitement in the central city. Mostly I was oblivious. I didn't have tickets to anything, I wasn't searching for tickets, and I didn't have any plans go to any of the events. I wasn't especially excited. It was more of a 'meh' moment. The most I did was to order a bike through the ride to work scheme, on the off chance that commuting by tube would be horrific (spoiler: it so far hasn't been).
Except, then the Olympics kicked off. A friend shared a link to free tickets to a Dizzie Rascal show at Hyde Park. Turns out that it was courtesy of the Olympics, to celebrate the end of the Olympic Torch Relay. Fun times. I saw the Olympic Torch too, as it was carried by. That was quite novel.
I was still pretty meh at this point, happy to get my dance to Dizzie dizzie Rascal (and drink buckets of cider), but other than that, not especially excited. But then Duke had got us cheap (£20) tickets to the badminton out at Wembly Arena. And woah buddy, once I was in the arena, with it's pink carpet, and people cheering? I found my Olympic Spirit. I cheered, everyone and everything. I clapped, I was loud, and I had a great time.
Note: I'm a liar. Turns out Wembly Stadium is an Olympic Venue for the football. It's just not the Olympic Venue for the Badminton, which was confusing when they made us walk up the ramp to the stadium to get the arena. "Crowd Management" I think.
Before any new match started, the MC would welcome on the Technical Officials, who were all the judges and people who decided if a shot was out or not, and every time he welcomed them on, I cheered for them. One of the few people that did, arms in the air, waving my hands, cheering. It was pretty fun, actually.
The matches were pretty phenomenal, too. I especially enjoyed the mens singles of China vs Finland. China was ranked #1, and Finland #37. We all love an underdog, really. It was a great match, China pwned for the first set, but, against all odds, Finland came back, put up a fight and WON the second set. The crowd went wild, we were all so excited for him, glad for his tenacity and for not giving up in the face of the inevitable. We cheered for him relentlessly over the course of the last set, and despite our enthusiasm, China pulled back and won the set. It was an epic game though, super enjoyable to watch.
As people left the arena (why would they do that, I have no idea) we moved to seats in better locations. The seats we brought were about as far back and as far right as you could. Game by game we moved a little bit left, and a little bit forward, till, by the last match (Poland vs China) we were sitting mid row bang smack in front of the centre court. It was phenomenal.
In the last week, NZ has won (so far) 5 medals. I've watched countless matches - we watch them at work, and at home sometimes, too, if NZ is playing late. It's been epic. London is definitely the place to be at the moment - and it's hard not to be proud. Proud of NZ and all the great things they've accomplished (Woo, Mahe Drysdale!), proud to live in London and to see it rock the Olympics so very finely (despite all the naysayers + complainers).
Mahe Drysdale having just won Gold for the Rowing Mens Single Scull + Eric Murray + Hamish Bond won Gold for the Rowing Mens Pair - Booyah!
So yes. Pretty stoked to be part of this, to be able to see it all go down.
Woo, Olympics! London 2012!