As I enter The Olympic Park for the very last time I can’t help but feel that this is it. This is the last time I’ll be here. This is the end of my adventure. This is the end of London 2012. It’s gone so fast and it’s not coming back. I’ve had an amazing time and met some fantastic people along my way. Thank you London. Thank you Great Britain. Thank you The World.
Bring on Rio 2016!
“I’ve had the time of my life
No I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it’s the truth”
To quote a famous song:
“Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m having a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all”
My penultimate shift is spent at Eton Manor (The Aquatics Training Centre) on The Olympic Park itself.
It’s hard not to think about the end. What will happen when it all finishes? Are we just supposed to go back to our normal life? Something that I’ll find very hard to do as it really has been the best thing I’ve even done being here.
Today I felt more like a removal company worker as today is the last day Eton Manor will see anyone swim and thus we were removing all the starting blocks, tables, chairs and signs from the poolside. The pools themselves will be auctioned off via Sport UK and converted into permanent pools up and down the country.
Here’s an awesome tweet to all the Games Makers that made The Games from Tom Daley: “@TomDaley1994: #thankyougamesmakers for making @London2012 so great, looking forward to seeing you all at the Parade on Monday :)”
All I hope is that London 2012 really does ‘Inspire A Generation’
As we arrived at the Eton Manor Aquatics Training Facility we were greeted by the option of going to watch the wheelchair tennis in the nearby stadium. We were hardly going to turn that opportunity down… We managed to see the last few sets of a Israel vs Israel match which was completely dominated by one player who who every single game.
Once we headed back to the pool where we had only nine swimmers over five hours which was to say the least uneventful, we left and thought that we might stand a chance of getting up The Orbit (a huge viewing platform and structure in The Park)
Once we had made our way over to The Orbit the queue luckily for us was dead which allowed us to walk straight in. The Orbit offers a fantastic view of the London skyline and amazing view into the Olympic Stadium.
We managed to watch David Weir win gold in his 200 meter race and also Jonnie Peacock who took gold in his 100 meter sprint. Also at the top of The Orbit are two 1 million pound each mirrors which are curved in each corner and along the length, which produce some crazy effects.
After taking the 431 steps to the bottom of The Orbit we tried our chances of getting into The Olympic Stadium itself which remarkably worked. We walked around the outside of The Stadium for a little while and went up into the seating area where we were told we could fill some of the empty seats. We ended up sitting no more than 40 meters away from the Paralympic Cauldron itself, we could see the heat coming off it and could almost feel the heat.
We managed to see the discus final and several of the completely bind 400 meter heats, which are incredible as another runner who can see runs along side of them and holds their hand to make sure that they don’t stray to far out of their lane. In the discus even they use little remote controlled (RC) mini’s to bring the discuses back to the sidelines.
After all the events had finished came the Victory Ceremonies for both David Weir and Jonnie Peacock. The crowd erupted when they received their gold medals, it was absolutely moving to hear nearly 80,000 people signing the National Anthem in harmony, after which they started chanting “Peacock, Peacock, Peacock”
World and Paralympic Records seem to get broken on every swim that the Aquatics Centre holds at the moment.
So far there has been 137 World and 228 Paralympic Records beaten and we are only on day six of competition with three days left, how many more can be broken? Only time will tell.
It’s amazing that a record will be broken during the heats in the morning session and broken again at the evening session only a couple of hours later. It’s impressive how much the athletes have improved over the past four years in order to better there times and ultimately try and win Gold, even new younger athletes are making their International and Paralympic debuts are still breaking records.
During my lunch today this happened to me and I’d just like to share it with you:
After receiving my what can only be called ’slop’ I moved on to collect my granola bar and apple, as I was picking up my chosen apple an Anonymous Catering Team Member happened to notice my accreditation and see the role I fulfil. Lets just hope she doesn’t do this to everyone…
Anonymous Catering Team Member: “Oh my God, you’re actually a lifeguard!?!” My reply: “Erm yes.” Anonymous Catering Team Member: “That’s amazing. What do they need you for? Have you had to save anyone yet?” Me: “Well there was this one guy who nearly fainted as he was getting out of the pool.” Anonymous Catering Team Member: “Oh my God, wow.”
After seeing Ellie Simmonds break her own World Record and dominate the field during her heat of the 200 meters individual medley (IM) this morning, the chances were looking good for her in the final later in the evening.
Luckily enough I happened to be on poolside during that very final. The amazing roar that bellowed from the stands as she walked onto poolside was absolutely overwhelming, the crowd really gave her a good welcoming. It was amazing being sat on poolside and hearing all that noise directed towards you, I can only imagine what it must have been like to have it all directed to you. I thought that the noise level had reached its limit but once the race got underway it cranked up a level. On the last leg (Freestyle) she took the lead and guaranteed her victory. Ellie Simmonds #stagetaken
David Cameron had watched the race from the stands and after the race I heard over the radio ‘I’ve got David Cameron here and he’s insisting that he presents Ellie’s medal’ I was completely shocked by what I heard and sure enough he came down and presented her medal.
After managing to make my way up to the spectator area, my all time favourite Mayor walked past me, I wanted to tell him he was awesome but I thought I might get told off if I did, it was of course Boris Johnson!
I had an awesome day after everything that had happened. Bring on the next.
With only one more week of both the Paralympics and London 2012 to go, you can start to look back on the last seven + years since London won the bid to host the 2012 Games and ask yourself a few questions; What were you doing when it was announced? What did you think? Did you expect London to win?
I can honestly say I have no idea what I would have been doing when it was revealed on the 6th of July 2005, I would have been 12 at the time and in my second year at high school, I can also say that I didn’t even think about it at the time and don’t even remember seeing the announcement.
Although every time I see the clip played back to me now I feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise and I feel that I’m really part of something special.
I found this on Twitter earlier today and quite I’d like to share it with you – “@TomDaley1994: It is just so amazing how inspiring all of the Paralympians are, competing with such grit and determination…heroes, all of you!”
Today was my first shift at Eton Manor during the Paralympic Games. I had several shifts at Eton Manor during the Olympic Games but today it felt a little different to be there.
During the Olympic Games, Eton Manor was just a Aquatics Training Centre, didn’t host any events and felt like it was totally separated from the rest of the Park, completely missing out on the Olympic Vibe that came with all the spectators and action. But now during the Paralympic Games, Eton Manor used as a Wheelchair Tennis competition and training venue, the whole area feels completely soaked in Paralympic energy, you can hear every ’Ooohh’ and ’Ahhh’ from the crowds watching every shot at the packed venue.