London 2012 so far

5 August 2012

What a week it has been in London! Most people living in London will have a tale or two to tell, as the Games came to this city: for some, as it has been for me, this has been an exhilarating time, but perhaps for others, less so. Whether positive or negative, the Games have dominated the city like no other event in recent times.

There have been hitches and negatives, inevitably, as with any event of this scale, but the city has been coping reasonably well. The weather misbehaves every so often, the tube may be fuller than most times for longer parts of the day, and there are many empty seats at the venues, but there has been no huge disaster. So far, I have been extremely lucky with regard to Olympic tickets, and the events that I’ve been to and watched. There are so many things that I would like to write about, but I haven’t had the time. After the Closing Ceremony, perhaps, I will have the time to sit down, and write down my impressions of London 2012. There have been many memorable occasions, and undoubtedly there are more to come. Yes, I did catch the Olympics bug, even though I had been somewhat lukewarm about it when London initially won the bid, and in the lead-up to the event.

In the initial ballot, I won tickets for judo and gymnastics, and then I bought a few more tickets on the first-come, first-served basis, such as volleyball, table tennis and freestyle wrestling, as well as women’s football. These events may not be as popular as swimming and athletics, they are nevertheless kind of events that I’d like to watch. They are the kinds of sports that I – and probably many other people – would not watch, unless it’s the Olympic Games. Perhaps the stakes are higher for such sports, since the Olympic Games are the only occasions in which the athletes will have the attention of the whole country.

I count myself exceedingly lucky in witnessing two and thus far the only two gold medals won by Japanese athletes: the first was in women’s judo, the under-57kg class, on 30 July; and the second in men’s individual all-round artistic gymnastics on 1 August. I had applied for so many events, and it just happened that the ones that I won produced gold medals for Japan.

Being utterly greedy, I’d dearly love to be inside the Olympic Park during the Games, and feel the buzz: I went to watch hockey matches in May this year, which were preparatory events for the Olympics, and was awed by the size and beauty of many buildings in it. The Aquatics Centre in particular looks an elegant construction. The atmosphere must be really special, teeming with so many people. There are some ghostly tickets that appear on the list, never available when a request is sent, and then disappear, on the London 2012 website. If I could nab a cheap seat at a venue in the Olympic Park, that will cap off a great experience for me, which has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Oddly enough perhaps, but because I have been to the venues, I haven’t really watched that much Olympics on television. Basically, I have missed all the swimming, which I would have watched, had I been at home, and I will be missing some of the athletics, though I should be watching men’s 100 metres tonight.