Thursday, 9 August 2012

Athletics 8th August 2012

In the words of that Patrick Swayze film, I’ve quite literally had the time of my life. Because yesterday, I got to go to the Olympic Stadium to watch athletics featuring Mo Farah among others. Actually, I read a smart quote yesterday in the Evening Standard that getting tickets to London 2012 felt like getting a gold medal. I couldn’t agree more. So when I stepped on my podium and started climbing hundreds of steps into the gods carrying a 15lb baby on my chest, I had my Chris Hoy moment. There were tears in my eyes.

Naturally, people were giving me a wide berth. I felt I should explain myself, so I blurted out to a woman who let me pass that I was ‘just so happy to be here’. I must have looked like a mad woman. But childbirth is not an easy thing. Mine resulted in another emergency C-section unfortunately, so to be in the stadium yesterday felt like an absolute achievement on all levels. No wonder there were amateur dramatics.

And once we’d taken our seats, I could not believe my luck. For our seats cost £20 and gave us an incredible view of the stadium. I know how lucky I am. I feel so sorry the ticketing has been such a fiasco for these games, as every Londoner should have had their opportunity to experience this amazing time in our history. But some people did get tickets – I still have no idea how we managed to randomly get these after the three ballots had ended in June.

A Chinese lady next to us had travelled from Beijing. She and her partner left before the end to go on a day trip to Cambridge. I had mixed feelings about this. And for the English looking couple who arrived in the seats in front of us and then promptly left, two minutes later, never to return. Perhaps something happened...

We saw a British record in the women’s hammer by Sophie Hitchon. We saw Mo Farah in one of the fastest set of 1500m heats in Olympics history. It was faster than Mo wanted to run at this stage and he came in third. And we saw the other half of the Saudi Arabia women, Sarah Attar. She was half a lap or so behind the pack in the women’s 800m. I stood to clap her as she passed. What an incredible achievement to even be here. It really is the taking part that counts.

Here are some pics from the rest of the day.

Can I just add, the transport from Kings Cross was amazing and so well organised. As a former commuter of ten years, I was hugely surprised. In addition, I actually felt like a VIP with a pram in tow. Something I’ve never experienced as a parent before. We didn’t have to walk as far as other people, for whenever a shortcut was available, a helpful volunteer or staff member would send us that way. As I’m often up three or four times in the night and running on coffee these days, it was much appreciated. Thank you. And thanks to Lord Coe and his team for making the u-turn on babies. Ours slept soundly throughout the whole thing and without this decision, the day would not have been possible for us at all.

Hello train spotters! These two photos show you both ends of the wonderful Javelin trains, now ferrying passengers from Kings Cross to Stratford. They use the long platforms designed for the Euro Star trains, so sadly they won't be coming to a south-east station any time soon. However, it does highlight that Transport for London and Network Rail seriously need to think about transport for the future. Most trains are running beyond capacity at rush hour times these days. It's not safe and not sustainable. Answers on a postcard to Boris please.

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