Take 2 — London Calling
The atmosphere at the Games continues to amaze
A few London Calling bloggers commented on how much the crowd support and atmosphere contributed to their experience at an event. Here are their stories:
The canoe/kayak course was spectacular, and all of the stands were very close to the water. Watching the athletes navigate their boats through the rapids was exhilarating. The gates were brutal! All athletes received a warm welcome, but, of course, the British athlete received the warmest reception from the crowd; the crowd's enthusiasm was infectious! The best fans were definitely the French (apart from the host nation, of course), unique as always and very entertaining.
There’s so much work involved behind the scenes: coaching in motion, officiating each gate, collecting the information and delivering it to the officials' hut. Watching the event in person brought the sport to life. Every aspect is very hard work, and you really need to pay attention. Great to see athletes from Nigeria, Togo and Thailand and their amazing fans.
We were surrounded by Togo fans and that meant that once the paddler from Togo had finished his run, he made a beeline to the stands. He found his group of fans and sat with them for ages. He also made sure to stop and chat and take photos with French fans who were dressed in their home canoe/kayak club regalia.
After lunch at Harrod's, Ivy and I stepped out onto Old Brompton Road and saw a large crowd gathered along both sides of the street by race barricades. We learned that the road was blocked off for the women's cycling road race and that the riders were only a few minutes out from our location, so we decided to wait in the crowd to get our first glimpse of Olympic competition. The rain started coming down harder and harder during our wait, matching the growing excitement in the crowd. As the moment grew near, fans started cheering until it grew to a deafening pitch. Finally the cyclists came rushing by. Neither of us know anything about the sport of cycling or even who won the race, but the excitement of being part of the crowd and cheering on these athletes was a wonderful welcome to the Games and definitely worth the price of getting our shoes wet in the rain.
I am in awe of what I have seen here: 18,000-20,000 spectators from all over the world cheering for women's basketball, photographers three deep on the baselines and Team USA going undefeated. The medal ceremony was all you have ever seen on television. The medal winners and the fans were triumphant.
Here is a little perspective on my view of women's basketball. Often when I'm talking to strangers about women's basketball, they ask if I ever played. The answer is no. Girls basketball in the 60s was a three-bounce-and-pass game. I don't believe it gained much popularity. By the end of the 70s, I was able to see college women playing a much freer game. And I found myself becoming a fan. And then a little over a decade ago, the WNBA granted us the Storm. I have so thoroughly enjoyed watching “my” team and their competitors that following them to London seemed like a natural step. It has proved to be one of my better ideas.
And remember, the Storm season resumes on Thursday.