|Not my picture.|
The whole experience of going to the events was surreal--I'm a huge fan of the Games and love watching them on TV every two years. And even in that respect, the UK had it together. The BBC's coverage of the 2012 games put NBC's coverage to shame. You could easily toggle between events and stations, find out what was on or what coverage was coming up, and everything was broadcast in real time. Yes, real time. Sorry, Bob Costas, but screw your prime-time coverage, NBC. Seriously. I'm silently weeping right now as I think about having to watch the Rio games next year BBC-less.
Okay, I'm done.
|The Tower Bridge was very festive!|
Let me get my one big complaint out of the way first: the ticket system was a total mess. 100%. There apparently was a lottery system for even tickets that you could apply for (I'm not sure, though, because the lottery took place before we even moved to the UK). Tickets within a few weeks of the Games and even within a few days were also ridiculously hard to get, which is super weird, because there were a ton of empty seats at some events (easily seen on TV, actually). And we weren't being picky about the events we were searching for tickets for...sure, we had preferences, but we were willing to take literally ANYTHING to get to go. It was said that this had something to do with tickets given to athletes' families and them not showing, or delegates from the participating countries who were given tickets and people not showing, or, well, just people who had been given tickets and not showing. Unfortunately, there wasn't a good way to get those tickets back into circulation, so we all just had to keep hitting the "refresh" button on the ticket website until we got carpel tunnel.
It worked out, but it had a lot of kinks.
|View from our seats. Stadium is starting to get full!|
Anyway, other than that, the Games were very organized. With your event tickets, they gave you a pass to use on the Tube to get around for the day, which was very handy. The arenas and event areas were clearly marked on the Tube maps both on and off the cars, and there were a ton of absolutely lovely volunteers who were eager and happy to help you find your way.
I was lucky enough to be able to go to a few events: the women's team competition of gymnastics; the women's gold medal football/soccer match; and, finally, the men's bronze medal football/soccer match.
|USA gold medalists, Romania silver, and Russia bronze.|
The women's gymnastics was incredible; the U.S. won the gold, and they performed their hearts out. That was held at the O2 Arena, though because of sponsorship regulations, it had been renamed to something else, but was easy to find. What I enjoyed the most, though, was how into it the crowd was...Team GB (Great Britain, of course) had done pretty well for themselves and qualified for that round, and every time a member of Team GB was on an event, the whole crowd went wild. They didn't medal; they came in 6th overall, but boy was the crowd behind them the whole way.
The women's football was a bit of a crazy purchase; after watching the U.S. qualify with a nail-biting game against Canada, I had to see it. Thankfully, the ticket site was behaving itself, and soon my husband and I were seated in Wembley, watching the U.S. win against Japan.
The men's bronze football match was the only one I'd purchased far ahead; one nice thing about the games was that venues around the countries of Great Britain hosted various matches--this match was in Cardiff, Wales, so we had to travel a few hours by car to get there. We'd been in Cardiff before, but it was busier and there were tons of people. Japan and South Korea squared off, and though it wasn't the experience of the women's match in London had been, it was a fun time.
Seeing the Games in person is a once-in-a-lifetime experience I'm lucky to have, and every minute of it was totally worth it.
*note* All pictures in this post (minus the London 2012 one at the top) were taken by me.
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