The excitement of Rio 2016 Olympics brought us so many lovely memories of the London Olympics. Watching the games until wee hours of the morning due to the time difference was not easy but still brought us to the edge of our seats. It was impossible not to notice the almost empty arenas though. During the London 2012 Olympics, tickets were selling like pancakes. There was far higher demand than supply, making it extremely difficult to take hold of tickets. Fortunately, we were able to secure tickets for various venues in five different Olympic events and for two Paralympic events. We were also able to watch the opening ceremony of the Paralympics.
Experiencing the London 2012 games was truly a once-in-a-lifetime for us. I can write heaps and heaps of stories and anecdotes about it. For the purpose of this post, I challenged myself to choose my top three memories of it.
- Mission: keep calm and carry on
On the 6th of July 2005, it was announced that London was to host the Olympics 2012. The jubilation was crushed by the London bombings the following day. Despite this, the run up to the games was noticeable for everyday Londoners like us. Changes happened bit by bit, memorable Olympic structures started to rise from seemingly deprived areas. Year 2012 was welcomed with the London NYE annual fireworks celebration in style – we were there, too!
Weeks just before the opening, I noticed more people standing on the left hand side of the Underground escalators – a sign that the world had indeed arrived in London! London’s Thames river, which was about a couple of minutes’ walk from our home, was where the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean was stationed. With this there was a feeling of security; bring on the games!
- Mission: impossible (‘hiding’ the hubby’s ticket)
Two weeks before the games, A joined his brother on a two-week European cruise holiday that unfortunately, due to work commitments, I could not tag along to. The first tickets we had secured were for the beach volleyball (set at the grand Horseguards Parade), but these did not get delivered until a few days before the event. My hubby arrived on the same day as the event, and his flight was an hour later than the scheduled time. Not wishing to miss the event, our friend Rev and I entered the arena ahead of A’s arrival. I left and hid A’s ticket inside a selected ‘instant photo’ booth at London Victoria station. Pretending that I was having my photo taken, I discreetly taped the ticket wrapped in black plastic on the ceiling. (This was on the thinking that when one normally would have his or her photo taken, one just looks straight ahead at the camera – and not on the ceiling of the booth.) When A arrived, as planned, he found his ticket and managed to join us for the second game. It took me a couple of visits to the station to concoct this plan; and I was very relieved that the ‘risky plan’ paid off with no hitches!
- Mission: accomplished
Our final set of tickets was for the Paralympic events. This was the second time we got into the Olympic Stadium. After the events, together with two of our friends, we enjoyed the activities and buzz within the Olympic Park, the whole afternoon, even during sunset until the late evening. Perhaps we were one of the last ones to leave. Needless to say, it was so fun – especially since I had both the Philippine and British flags being waved around the park.
Really memorable particularly since this was on my birthday!