Monday, 10 September 2012

My Olympic Story

I've been meaning to share my stories of the London 2012 Games for a while now (it's almost been a month since I attended on the closing day) and with today's parade fully wrapping the whole thing up, I thought I'd best get to it.

The Paralytic Games

Many of you reading this may already know this story. If I haven't told you the following story, please know in advance that it's not something I'm entirely proud of, even if in hindsight it is pretty funny.

It was the night of the Opening Ceremony. I was missing the festivities on TV as I was out for drinks with work, which can prove dangerous due to the fact that our drinks are often paid for on the company. On this particular night, I didn't know when to refuse a beverage and spent the night on Leffe which is pretty strong stuff. Needless to say, I wound up not remembering much of the night and apparently just wandered off to get a train home by myself. I apparently also still possessed the sense to phone ahead to Stacey to let her know that I was on my way home.

Stacey could hear the slur in my voice down the end of the phone and decided to drive up to the station to pick me up when my train got in. After several minutes of waiting in the car, she decided to wait inside the station where she overheard a conversation over the walkie-talkie of one of the station staff. The conversation was concerning a chap who had had too much to drink, been sick on a train and collapsed on the platform. That chap was moi! Rather than turn and run, Stacey to her credit owned up and claimed me from the station staff. I'm told that two of the men that worked there carried me up the length of the platform, up the steps, and out to the car - even doing up my seatbelt for me.

The wonderful Stacey then somehow managed to get my carcass up to our flat and into the bathroom where I spent the night sleeping on the floor. She slapped me about a bit to try and wake me (a fruitless effort I'm told) and stayed up most of the night to make sure I didn't swallow my tongue or drown in my own spew. Finally, at 5pm, she managed to wake me, get me showered and properly to bed. I've already said it to her, but feel I should once again say: Thank You.

Unfortunately for me, I was meant to be going to the first round of Women's Volleyball the next day. Due to my condition, I couldn't make it. So while Stacey and her Nan (who was taking my place) went up to watch two excellent matches, I spent the afternoon and evening being looked after by my Mum and Sister. I did feel better after my Mum's tried and true hangover cure of alca-seltzer and scrambled egg on toast.

I'm hoping I've now learnt my lesson and will be trying to pace myself a little better from now on.

The Finals

On the closing day of the games, Stacey and me went up to the ExCel to see the Freestyle Wrestling finals in both the Middleweight and Heavyweight categories. We were some of the only Brits in attendance with the only others I saw being the woman and her young son sitting next to us. The kid acted like a proper brat and forced his Mum to drag him out halfway through, leaving us with a mix of Americans, Japanese, Indians, Georgians and more. The atmosphere was incredible, as we saw Japan take the Middleweight Gold and the USA take the Heavyweight. We would later find out that there was some controversy with the Japanese winner as apparently in an earlier round he's bitten an opponent without the referees seeing (it was just like WWE-type shenanigans)! 

Our View of the Wrestling Mats
Another highlight of that final day of the Games at the Excel was the fact that we also managed to get our hands on an Olympic torch. The temptation to just go for a run with it was huge, but I doubt I'd have made it out alive...


...Well, technically yesterday now as it's 01:11am at the present time of writing this very sentence, but I still count it as earlier today as I'm still up. It was of course the big parade to celebrate Team GB and the GB Paralympic team. As Stacey and I are currently off of work for a couple of weeks, we headed up to watch it go pass. 

Mo Farrah... kept doing his pose until we wanted a photo!
We got there early enough that we were right up front near St. Paul's cathedral. The crowd soon grew and I became majorly claustrophobic. It was great though, as once again we were in a crowd that created an electric atmosphere. As well as spotting Mo, we also saw Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and more. Becky Addlington did seem a little more interested in her phone than the crowd (maybe she was trying to catch a snapshot of me?) and Tom Daley was waving our way until Stacey pressed the button to take a photo, at which point he turned his back to us!

Unlike Becky, Chris did actually wave and look happy to be there
The back of Tom Daley's head (honest)

It was a good little day out, which we added to with a catch-up with my West-End buddy James Drury and by purchasing tickets to Shrek The Musical. We opted for the cheapest tickets possible, located up in the nosebleed section - however, when we arrived for the show that evening we were told that the top balcony was closed and that we were receiving a free upgrade... to the second row of the stalls! Front and centre, baby! Our seats were amazing and it was all the sweeter for the fact that we'd paid a small fraction of the price. I loved the spectacle of how they pulled off some of the special effects. Apparently it's closing early next year, so if you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

And that's it, my Olympic stories. All finished. I'm not mourning though like I know Stacey is as the NFL is now back! Heck, I'm watching MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL as I type.