Our Olympic experiences

The athletes have departed, the stadiums are closed and we’re back to searching the TV for something to enlighten or entertain us in the evening.  The London 2012 Olympics are over and what an experience it was for the UK! As a nation who err on the side of caution I don’t think any of us thought it would go quite so smoothly or that we’d all get swept up with Olympic fever.  As inspirational athletes like Ben Ainslie have been sailing by London and their hometowns this week I thought it was the perfect time to think about the great memories we’ll be taking away from it all. So I’ve got some good friends and my sister involved to share their Olympic experience and the highlights they’ll be remembering.

Mich Scott, Games Maker and spectator in London 

I was lucky enough to get selected as a Games Maker based at the Olympic Park, in all of the areas that weren’t a venue. I spent most days during the games there on shift, leading a team to help spectators make their way around the park and giving them hints and tips about where to go.

I did manage to get a little time off, with one day as a spectator within the park, one day up at the Lee Valley for the Canoe Slalom (unfortunately the day before the gold/silver) and another seeing a demo of Super-Hi-Vision at the BBC (16x the picture quality of HD and 22 channels of sound, but unfortunately around 20 years away from our lounges!).

I have two different Olympic highlights, the first as part of being a Games Maker. That was the people I was working with; from the staffing managers to the members of my team. They were all brilliant, friendly and enthusiastic – it really was a true pleasure to work with them.

My sporting Olympic highlight was the second Saturday and Jess/Greg/Mo’s golds. Three gold medals in a single session, indeed within 45 minutes was something very special indeed, even though I was only watching it in a pub!

Lyndsay Toal, spectator at the Games and in London

The stadium that organisers had constructed in the grounds of St James’s Park and historic Horse Guards Parade was a sight to behold. The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic, with Mexican waves, clapping, shouting, laughing, and “ooh”ing and “aah”ing as the players leapt and dived for the ball. Strangers spoke with one another and nationalities sat side by side cheering on teams from other nations. It definitely lived up to its reputation as the Games’ greatest spectator event!

 

My Olympic highlight would have to be watching Mo Farah win the 5000m final with my friends in Cardiff as we crept closer and closer to the TV, urging Mo to sprint down the home straight.

Danielle Andrews, spectator in Nottingham

I remember when the olympics was announced in 2005 and thinking oh my gosh I will be 28 when the Olympics comes around! I saw Torvill and Dean in the torch relay, then the 16 days of Olympic action took over my life. At work I would have it on my PC in the background  and I constantly had the app open on my phone! It opened my eyes up to sports that I had never been interested in before like Boxing, Diving and dressage. But I especially enjoyed the cycling events and now when I’m spinning in my local gym I imagine I’m Victoria Pendleton cycling to the finish in the velodrome!
 
 
My Olympic highlight was when Jessica Ennis won the gold as I was listening to it in my car and it was really emotional!
 
Georgina, my sister, a spectator at the Games and in London
 
Living in central Greenwich we have been in the centre of all of the Olympic action and despite a few worries before the games started we had a great 16 days and actually miss our road closure! As the games approached there were more and more people on our road, all of them friendly and polite and none of them wanting to be a nuisance.  We were asked for permission to put bunting outside our house – we were thrilled, it looks brilliant! – and there were daily street cleaners making the street look better than it ever had before.  The two most impressive parts of the whole experience were the great organisation and the friendliness of all of the people involved.  We got used to having people taking pictures outside our house (even when they nearly fell through the door when we opened it!) and loved talking to people out on the street.  There was a real sense of community and pride in our country, neighbours spoke to each other far more than usual and visitors were excited and very complimentary.  To be able to feel so much a part of things outside of the games themselves was fantastic and the pride in our country is thankfully lingering!
 
 

 

Choosing my Olympic moment is a tricky decision, we were fortunate to get tickets to a few events and the atmosphere at each was incredible! I think if I had to choose the best moment it would probably Tom Daley winning his bronze medal.  I was biting my nails with each of his dives and found myself really willing him on. I was thrilled when he won a medal and got choked up when I saw how important it was to him.  It was so great to see someone who has been through so much achieve a dream and be able to be so excited.  The pride in him was compounded when I saw how much the Chinese diver who had won Silver cried over his achievement – he wasn’t able to be proud of the high level he had reached, he was simply gutted his medal wasn’t gold.  Contrasted with Tom jumping into the pool with his team in celebration made me more proud to be British!

As for me, if you haven’t caught my Olympic experience along the way I think it’s neatly summed up in this Facebook photo album.  I’d say my Olympic highlight (on top of Daley winning Bronze) was actually Murray winning the Gold medal, it was so emotional seeing his dreams being shattered at Wimbledon that to come back and beat Federer proved he still has what it takes to get a grand slam title!  
 
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what experience the Paralympics has to offer after reading through this!
 
What was your Olympic experience? Was there a highlight you’ll never forget?
 
If you have a story to tell and a picture to share that won’t fit in the comments box, get in touch! I’ll update the post with all the best stories received.