The big day arrived; the Olympic Village opened for business. Representatives from many Nations have been in the Village for a number of weeks “setting up” but they have not been allowed to stay in the Village and numbers were strictly limited; terms such as “bumping in” would have been bandied around by these merry bunch of flag hangers, meeting room creators and branding experts. Today was D Day....athletes, staff, coaches, medical personnel etc etc all headed towards Stratford – WE HAVE BLAST OFF.
Why was I there? Today the eventing athletes and staff visited the Village to have a look see at where they will be living but also to make sure their accreditation was validated (see Day 1). Being successful at an Olympic Games is not just about what an athlete does on the Field of Play but also about how they cope with all that the Games brings whether that is accreditation challenges, the level of security, the multi sport environment etc etc. Arriving at a Village is always going to have its challenges – by definition it will be a busy day and of course it is the first day of “going live” for all the many volunteers that make the Games possible. So there were a few glitches with getting the minibus to where we wanted it...it was very fortunate that a long time friend of equestrian – Lucy Katan (the inspiration behind the Grooms’ Association) – holds a senior role within the management of the arrivals process. Lucy set off towards our impounded mini bus, three radios flapping at her side and issuing directives in all directions; it was not long before all the gates swung open and the minibus arrived.
So cards on the table – I like the Volunteers’ uniforms – I think they look great alongside the complete spectrum of Team uniforms that you see in a Village; they stand out without being obtuse. To a man / woman / person (eek – I am not good at being PC), the Volunteers were cheerful, helpful and (unusually for Day 1) very knowledgeable. It was a wholly positive experience. Oh yes....the buses that take athletes from the Welcome Centre in to the heart of the Village are red double-decker London buses.....none of these damn bendy buses....I wonder who we have to thank for that!
Forget the short prices for Black Caviar or Frankel....the Bookies were turning punters away on who would have to be led away to the “naughty boy” area for a new accreditation card to be printed...yes it was the Navigator in Chief, Mr Andy (Fingers) Thomas.
Guided tour of Village; Medical Centre (free dental checks available) to NOC / Village Services (BOA territory) – Gym (a plethora of machines that seem to allow all sorts of Inquisition inspired tortures to be enjoyed) – Dining Hall; well more about the Dining Hall another day but wow...I’ve lost a few pounds over the last 18 months (62 to be precise) and this is danger city – don’t get me wrong, mega healthy food but open 24 hours a day.....a place to avoid. A quick stop at the Transport Mall (where the buses will depart to all the Venues) and on to the British accommodation......and more about this...but it is just what the doctor ordered.
The Globe (athlete relaxation area) International Zone (Internet Cafe / Bank / florist / beauty salon / Post Office / UPS office / laundry...and a shopaholics delight of a LOCOG shop). And then away...back to the ponies.....well once we had managed to link them up with the minibus....to be honest a drama we could have done without and a process I should have planned better.
OK, back to being non PC. I don’t get internet forums; I love a good debate but I do not see why people should be allowed to hide behind pseudonyms (is the modern title “usernames??”) – if people want to post comments or float an idea then have the testiculus do put one’s name to them.
More star gazing (looking out of my window...see Day 1)....there is a big erection at the South end of Greenwich Park (the orange ball with a T on it is the Royal Oservatory). No, no, no not where the cross country course builders are living....really..soap / mouth. But have a look at this
|Answers on a postcard...|
- a. A training platform for the GB Divers (who also arrived in the Village today)
- b. A Zip Wire escape route for disgraced, non PC Team Leaders / Performance Directors
- c. One of the longest cable cameras I have ever seen....that stretches nearly a mile over the equestrian arena and on over the Thames..... what a VENUE.....
If passion and enthusiastic expectation could give birth to medals then I have kept the maternity ward busy today. A massive thank you to the BOA and LOCOG.