London Olympics 2012
It’s amazing how one event, especially one as large and significant as the Olympics, completely changes the outlook of a city. The opening ceremony was incredible. Sitting in a pub and seeing the local British, and their pride in hosting such a significant event, was awesome. I loved being around locals and experiencing this with them, even though it does not mean nearly as much to me. London has become THE place to be, with people flocking to the city from all over the world. I have never been exposed to so many different types of people and cultures, speaking all sorts of languages, in such a small place. Nationalism is everywhere, with people representing their respective countries with different outfits, songs, and other traditional things that make each country unique. I have not seen as many Americans as I expected, which has been a little disappointing. The tube is packed to the brim, which completely will alter my work schedule and daily commute. I did not expect such a significant change; it has truly been shocking. To be in the city where the largest sporting event is occurring, and seeing the change in culture it has caused, is simply incredible. I love that I can walk around the city and see events from rowing to cycling. Famous people are everywhere, and a lot of the city gets closed off as events take place. As I said, the Olympics have consumed the city, and I expect the next two weeks to be devoted solely to this event. TV’s everywhere are showing the games, including a neat setup in Hyde Park where London Live is putting on concerts and showing the games on huge projectors with various food vendors; it’s a fun place to sit and watch the games on a nice day.
So far I have just watched the events on TV, other than seeing cyclists pass by a few minutes from the flat. Team GB’s male gymnastics team did incredibly well on Saturday; I was in Hyde Park with other locals watching that. Michael Phelps disappointed in swimming, but Ryan Lochte looks incredibly good and will be a force in these Olympics. What I cannot wait for is on Tuesday. With Drew, I am going to see the US men’s basketball team play Tunisia, in the Olympic park. It is going to be one of the clear highlights of my trip, and I cannot stop thinking about the amazing experience I will have there. I also get to see the French and Argentinian basketball teams. I am excited to see the park; I have seen it from a distance but I am anxious to see it from the inside. The Olympics have been unbelievable, and as I said before, I am ecstatic to be in the host city. It is a very special experience, and one I will probably never forget.