Closing the Blog on London - 20 Things I'll Miss, 12 Things I Won't
ATR's Christian Radnedge
(ATR) Hours before the close of London 2012, ATR
's Christian Radnedge compiled a list of what he'll miss and what he won't about hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in his hometown.
Here's what he came up with ...
20 things I WILL miss about London 2012
1) The enthusiasm of the volunteers – a big smile and a cheery attitude greeted you at every turn of London 2012. Very impressive and they were incredibly helpful too. Great job.
"Games Makers" helped many a reporter inside the Main Press Center. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
2) Variety of sport on offer – sports you never thought you would watch were available at the click of a button throughout the day. Monday lunchtime and you could be watching synchronized diving for example. Brilliant.
3) The unity of a nation – from the moment the Olympic flame touched down in Cornwall, Britain finally got it and they ran with it. More Union flags than is ever likely to be seen and people joining together in a spirit of one nation supporting the athletes. A special time for the British.
4) Positive news reports and front pages – in a country where the media scrutinizes so much and is quite cynical it was incredibly refreshing to see such inspirational coverage featuring the very best of Britain in the news programs and on the front pages of newspapers.
5) Wenlock and Mandeville – these two faced a lot of criticism but once they had been made ‘cuddly’ I did warm to them. They invoked a childish element that was needed in all the seriousness and had their own personalities well showcased on their own Twitter pages. (Admit it, you like them too)
Millions packed Olympic Park during the Games. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
6) The Olympic Park – ‘Disneyland of sport’ is how I once described it to someone. With bright colors, flags, music pumping out and entertainment going on while you walk from one venue to another, the Park was a wonderful place to be. It looked stunning at night too.
7) Change in attitudes towards disabled – a massive positive from the Paralympics and one I pray continues in everyday life. Record TV audiences and attendances meant that millions of people were cheering something that in everyday life they don’t want to look at. Paralympians became as famous as Olympians – may it continue to be that way.
8) A Great Britain football team – a novelty in the world of football and a nice gesture of the different countries coming together. Sad it may be a one-off.
9) Pin badges – commonplace in the Games world but not in Britain, it quickly caught on. Pin trading and collecting becomes quite addictive.
10) The noise – especially in the Velodrome, Aquatics Center and the Stadium. Of course, the acoustics help but the packed crowds made some venues rumble from a tidal wave of cheers from men, women, children, the old and the young.
Even the Dream Team tried the fastest train ride in London.
11) Venue music – at every venue the playlist was spectacularly well chosen – some songs to fit the sport, mostly British classics.
12) The army – polite, friendly and reassuring, they always made going through the airport-like security a breeze.
13) The Javelin shuttle service – Stratford to King's Cross in 6 minutes, you will never travel faster in London. Zoom.
14) People talking to each other in London – never usually undertaken but this summer people would talk about the Games to complete strangers with absolute ease. Lovely – but won’t last.
15) The different national anthems – my top 3: France, USA and Ukraine.
16) Vicky Pendleton.
17) World records set – watching so many moments in my hometown that would be recorded in Olympic history books for years to come was very special.
The beach volleyball venue at Horse Guards Parade was sandwiched among some of central London's most famous sights. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
18) Beach Volleyball in Whitehall – of all the sports to have in that setting, few predicted it would be beach volleyball, but what a choice. It was the hot ticket of the Games and one of the greatest venues for the sport.
19) The cauldron – magnificent and innovative in its design and purpose.
20) Mini mini’s – the ones that fetched the javelins off the field. I want one.
12 things I WON’T miss about London 2012
1) Enthusiasm of the volunteers – sometimes it was just too much. The larking about could sometimes get in the way of something you were trying to find out. And I didn’t appreciate the repeated requests to smile; I am happy, this is just my normal face.
2) Food and drink on offer – The food itself was not of great quality, and it was expensive too. $20 could easily be spent on food in a day that would not even fill you up. Not being able to bring water in was a big disappointment as it led to more money being spent or facing long queues at water fountains on the Park.
G4S guards patrol Olympic Park. (Getty Images)
3) G4S – Not just for the security fiasco that occurred just days before the Games started, but for their poor training of those they did send. Manners and competence were often missing from their services.
4) Smelly photographers and journalists – This one could have been helped by sponsor P&G, who gave out free toiletries to the media but in the form of shaving foam. Deodorant would have been much more useful and welcome to those squashed together on the media buses.
5) Politicians getting involved – Fair enough when they congratulate the overall team performance. But when they are making almost-daily statements about certain athletes and posing in “supportive” pictures, then it appears more fake and forced.
6) "We Will Rock You" – Tedious every time it was played, which was A LOT.
7) Mexican Wave –If you were a spectator, it momentarily obscured any live action going on and it soon got repetitive and boring.
Crowds cheer on Team GB inside the Velodrome. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
8) Heat inside the Aquatics Center & Velodrome – I understand the reason why the temperature had to be so in each venue, but when you’re wearing a suit it was almost unbearable and led to some rather embarrassing stains and smells in the press tribunes.
9) Lack of rain shelter on the Park – this meant either you had to go into a shop to buy an umbrella at a high price, or go into McDonald's for shelter which would then entice you to buy food. Either way, the rain was likely to wash away your money.
10) Not being able to buy chips without fish – this was a rule imposed by McDonald's to ensure their monopoly on selling fries. I know Britain is synonymous with fish and chips but sometimes we do just want chips on their own.
11) Barriers – by this, I mean the number of people you have to show your pass/ticket to before you actually get to where you are going. I understand security has to be tight, but this was a constant bureaucratic nuisance.
12) Key words and phrases that were heard too often and that I don't want to hear for a long time – “extraordinary”, “fantastic”, “legacy”, “step-change”, “tickets”, “empty seats”, “transport and security” and “excuse me sir you need to go that way”.
Written by Christian Radnedge
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