Although you get access to Olympic Park by seeing an event at one of the venues contained within, you can also buy separate (much more affordable) tickets for general entry. Since most of the events we’re attending are not even in the Park, we decided to spend an afternoon/evening checking it all out and making sure the kids could stake their own claim to this moment in history.
They have created this very cool “venue” where you can watch events live from a humongous screen set in the middle of the River Lea in the center of the park. And then there are a series of hills on both sides where thousands of people can sit. We found a teeny space in front of the big screen and managed to catch the crowd going wild when Team GB won a gold in sprint cycling, breaking the world record. Jonah lost his marbles too, he was so excited about the excitement. Then there was a rainbow. We then got to see Soni and Clary and Phelps take golds in swimming. It was always fun to know these competitions were happening steps away in one of the park’s venues.
Only official sponsors can have their company name or logo anywhere visible in the park. This is why you can only pay with Visa, eat at the biggest McDonald’s in the world (we did) and why the bathroom hand dryers have stickers over their brand. Oh I checked. All the rest of the food for sale is branded generically. It all comes across very wholesome somehow.
We definitely saw some athletes but had no idea who or for what. I thought it was exciting just to be so close to their housing. Some of them were even on their balconies. That even made me starstruck.
I loved seeing the BBC studio since it always looks so cool to me on tv, and also obviously the views they capture are pretty dynamite. I also got excited to see the NBC studio even though I have never seen one second of their broadcasts. I just like knowing what they’re looking at and where I can go in case I want to wave and yell behind Matt Lauer one “morning”.
Basketball Arena and Velodrome
I didn’t know until this Olympics how big it is to collect and trade pins/badges. Out of nowhere a diving judge who passed us offered Jonah a USA Diving one with London motif. It seems like an intense hobby (you have to go up to people and ask to trade etc) so hopefully it’s his one and only.
I am so impressed with Olympic Park. Although the scale is impressive, it is laid out in a way that even when you walk far, it doesn’t seem like it. There are hills and the canal/river so that you can get great, sweeping views of different parts. There is a tremendous amount of greenery. And even though there are thousands upon thousands of people, it manages to be big enough and controlled enough that it never feels chaotic or stressful. I have seen hundreds of volunteers in just a few days and everywhere you turn one of them is smiling and wants to know if you’re having fun, if you need help, is singing, trying to get people to dance or giving advice. They take the great atmosphere up a notch. We loved it all.
Jonah and Simon’s first Olympic Games!