We were lucky enough to be allocated some tickets from the first round of ticket applications back in March 2011. Of the four sessions we went for, we were give tickets to one session of Basketball in the preliminary stage. Two games: Argentina against Tunisia and Brazil vs. Russia. So we organised a day trip to the Olympic park. Quite a wonderful experience. The volunteers were happy and helpful, the security was no bother to go through thanks to the Army. And the crowds and atmosphere in the Olympic park was fantastic. It was such an atmosphere of excitement, anticipation, and enjoyment.
I was really impressed with the venues as well. The organiser had done a good job making each venue feel like an Olympic venue with clear branding and colours (we felt the same about the venues outside the Olympic park too). The Basketball arena is a temporary structure built for the Olympics. Apparently they are going to take it down and ship it to Brazil for the next Olympics. But it was very well designed and had the feel of a great established sporting venue.
The first game (Arg vs. Tun) was quite one-sided. Argentina always had the upper hand and Tunisia always had the majority of the support of the mostly british crowd. We love an underdog. Brazil vs. Russia was much closer, with each team leading for parts of the game. The crowd was unapologetically behind Brazil. With six seconds left Brazil were up by two points while Russia had possession. A well used time-out saw them make a plan. It only took two of the six seconds for Russia to score a three pointer from the right edge of the D. In the final four seconds Brazil couldn’t strike again. What a close game!
The night before our trip Sarah was give a ticket for the first morning session of the Athletics, by the friend we were visiting with. This was the first stage of heats and first two events of the heptathlon. Sarah was lucky enough to see Jessica Ennis break the british record in the 100m hurdles.
I, unfortunately, didn’t find a ticket for that but did manage to get a seat at the women’s volleyball session at Earls Court the same morning. First game – Brazil vs. China. It was very close and went to the fifth set. Brazil won, and went on to win gold. The second game was more one-sided – Japan vs. Russia. Russia looked the better team, but they had to come back from one set down as Japan contained them in the first. Again, Earls Court had a great atmosphere, despite there being seats to spare.
A few days later we attended the Women’s football Bronze medal match at Coventry – France vs. Canada. I was impressed how they had transformed the City of Coventry Stadium (usually known as the Ricoh Arena and now home to League One football) into something that definitely felt like an Olympic venue. We were supporting Canada, Sarah’s birthplace, as were most of the crowd. The game itself wasn’t the best, but had an exciting end. France had the most of the game, and in the second half hit the post and the bar. Canada always seemed like they took two too many touches before getting the ball into a dangerous area. The French goalkeeper didn’t really have a shot to save. But in the last five minutes the Canadians came alive and forced some chances. Extra time beckoned, but in injury time, after Canada once again looked like they had overplayed the ball, a shot deflected into the path of the Canadian striker who deftly dispatched it to send the Canadian girls, and the crowd, into delirium. They were over the moon with their bronze medals and we thoroughly enjoyed our three Olympic experience.
Can we host it every year?