So I’m one week into my stint at the Sydney Olympics and I’m absolutely shattered. I get to the village at 8am so up at 6am. Now the competition has started it’s far more interesting. Britain has a gold for cycling and shooting so far. Ian Thorpe broke the World Record for 400m freestyle and then went on to help win the relay with his team and the Aussies are going crazy over him. He has size 18 feet (Aussie size, so probably a UK 14 or something) – practically flippers instead of feet. Chelsea Clinton is here, along with Nelson Mandela, Mohammed Ali, Princess Anne etc.
Anyway, I got given two free judo tickets from Father Vladimir Makeev, the Russian Orthodox Archpriest. He was given them by Team Uzbekistan. So in the evening, Steph and I went to Darling Harbour’s Exhibition Hall to see what it was all about. We got caught up in the atmosphere and bought Union Jacks. A Spanish girl won Gold, an Aussie got Bronze and an Italian man won Gold. He didn’t stop crying the whole time once he’d won! It was ace to see people win medals – a first and a last for me. When we got home, we headed to the Coogee Bay Hotel to join our housemates. It was packed and a great atmosphere.
The next day, I took the train to the Olympic Stadium where I went to see some athletics with friends. I saw Denise Lewis in the long jump. She won gold in the heptathlon in the end, and I saw a bit of it!!! We also saw the 110m hurdles heats with Colin Jackson who ended up 5th in the final. Tony Jarrett was disqualified in his heat – very sad. It was a great privilege to see some athletics at all to be honest – all of the volunteers were given a ticket each and we were able to get hold of additional tickets a few weeks before, would you believe. So I went twice in the end.
We spent the rest of the afternoon sat in Olympic Park, lounging in the afternoon sun and chatting to Aussies. Steph and I went on to watch Team GB play Canada in the hockey. It belted down with rain and we huddled under our Union Jack. The teams were playing for 5th and 6th position, and it ended up being a draw. It was good to see a sport I wouldn’t normally watch ¬– Steph used to play religiously at home near sunny Croydon. We legged it home afterwards, chuffed with our day out as supporters of Team GB.