Part 2 of Alan Worrall`s visit to the London Olympics: “One of the many highlights of attending any sporting event is the opportunity not only to visit the sports venues themselves and sample the atmosphere of top class completion but to see a vibrant city like London. I firmly believe once you can get a grip of the transport system and have a good pair of shoes on your feet and good direction, the sky’s the limit on what you may encounter London is one of those cities which make’s it very easy to travel around whether it be by tube, bus or by foot. The city is steeped in history and culture along with some fabulous examples of old or new architecture. After spending 2 exciting days in Olympic Park and enjoying top class competition. Our Olympic journey took us on the final Thursday of the games to Wembley Stadium and a chance to walk down the famous Wembley way. Earlier that afternoon we watched our golden girl Katie Taylor win Gold in the women’s boxing tournament in the Excel Arena. Unfortunately we had no tickets so the fight was viewed in a pub in Westminster. Later on a train journey on the jubilee line brought us to Wembley Park and it the distance on could see the now famous Wembley arch which replaced the twin tower’s of the old stadium 6 years ago. The stadium itself is well laid out and still had the appearance of being very new. Our seats were located just across from the centre of the pitch which afforded a super view of the inside of the stadium. The women’s football final was contested between the USA and Japan and over 80,000 spectators witnessed a thrilling game of football which the U.S won 2:1. The journey back on the train was the only occasion where we did not get a seat on public transport, which proved that the scare stories about the transport system where that scare stories.
On Friday I had no event’s to attend to so I made a trip to Lambeth to see the Imperial War Museum which was a most enjoyable experience but one which really highlights the futility of all wars. The day was rounded off with a walk done to Buckingham Palace to pick a spot for the following days Men’s and Women’s walks and Sundays Mens marathon.
On Saturday morning Team Ireland had 3 representatives participating in the 50 k walk, which comprised of 25X 2k laps up the Mall past Buckingham Palace down Constitution Hill. The morning itself was quite warm, over the previously 3 days London was experiencing a mini heat wave with temperatures in the high twenties. That Saturday the temperatures were hitting 28/ 29 degrees centigrade. The race walkers from the gun went at fast pace which would eventually see Irelands Robert Heffernan knock over 7 minutes off the Irish record and narrowly miss out on a bronze medal in fourth place. Straight away Robert was talking about Rio 2016 what a competitor and well done on another fine performance. During the course of the race I got to meet some very interesting people. One women told me that she had stood in front of Buckingham Palace in 1945 on V.E Day (Victory in Europe) and gain for the Queens coronation in 1952 and her Jubilee celebrations this summer. She also had survived the German bombings/ Blitz while living with her parents as a young child. Another person I was talking to was had relations living in Garyvoe in East Cork just down from Ballycotton (home of the famous Ballycotton 10 mile race). After the race we made our way up to Knightsbridge where I ran into an old club mate of mine from DCH Declan Curran who had managed to secure a ticket to the last athletics session that evening. It really is a small world. After a nice lunch in Knightsbridge I ventured on to Kensington (again on foot) and went to the Natural History Museum and stroll around Hyde Park. That evening we watched the women’s 20K walk where condition’s though still hot were more easier for the competitors. Ireland had 2 representatives Olive Loughnan and Laura Reynolds. Both girls performed very well and finished in the top 30. The evening was finished off with Irelands John Joe Nevin in boxing winning a fine silver medal against his British opponent.”
Next Time: Men’s Marathon: Cheering on a club mate, A 5 mile run to see some of the sights, interesting London 2012 facts.