This is our day at the athletics, which always seem to me like the ‘real’ Olympics. Our reluctant Olympic attendee takes some persuading but we set off for Stratford. Again no problems with the journey, despite it being a working day and travelling during rush hour. The 70,000 volunteer games makers are certainly doing a brilliant job to make the games trouble free and friendly. I support the move to make them the winning Sports Personality of the Year Team. As we leave Stratford station more sponge fingers pointing the way and games makers sitting on tennis referee type chairs shouting greetings through megaphones. When they spot a country flag they call out a welcome to the appropriate supporters, ‘Hello Canada’ and so on.
Security negotiated, we find our seats in the stadium. We are, of course, early again but it gives us an opportunity to take photographs. Once again we have excellent seats – row 5. The weather is announced as ‘British Variable’, which about sums it up. We are to see qualifiers for discus and shot put and heats of 100 metre hurdles, men’s 800 metres and women’s 1500 metres. We are quite impressed with the remote controlled car retrieving the discus and the game makers’ synchronised setting out of the hurdles and lane markers. Not seeing any finals is not actually a disadvantage as it means we see all the contestants. We enjoy cheering on the also rans who come in significantly behind the rest of the field but are none the less getting national records for obscure nations or clocking up personal bests. The shot putters crossing the track to consult their coaches during the races are however a little disconcerting.
Athletics session over, we allow Victor Meldrew, who has clearly had as much as he can take, return to the van, whilst Martha, Rob and I continue our tour round Olympic Park. There is the largest queue in the world for MacDonalds but in general, although it is quite crowded, the 200,000 people allegedly at the Park are not a problem. We spend some time watching the events on the big screen. Martha wants photographs of all the venues so we attempt to achieve this and spot Ewan Thomas giving an interview.
The concept of gluten free does not seem to have penetrated the many Olympic Park food outlets so we return to the van at about 5.00pm in order to prevent Martha starving. We do manage to visit every platform of Stratford Station before we arrive at the correct one but apart from that, our journey is uneventful. It is exciting to see the Athletics on television and be able to imagine ourselves at the venue.
Next stop Paralympics at the end of the month.