A day at the Paralympics 2012
I thought that as I live close to London I should take advantage of the Paralympics being held and some tickets becoming available last week. I went online and was offered tickets to the Athletics on September 5th but they were in the upper stand and almost as high as you can go. Slightly tongue in cheek I repeated the exercise and this time I was offered 2 seats in row 3 of the lower level at the south end of the stadium for £30 each, I bought them.
The day dawned this morning and my son and I left home a little after 6am and drove the 30 miles to Stratford, we were there in a little over an hour and as I had pre-booked a parking spot I was ushered into a security bay. The people there proceeded to examine the car minutely, the bonnet and boot were searched and the underside examined by mirror. They even swabbed the interior for explosives. First rate security precautions!
I was then directed to the car park at the Westfield Shopping Centre where my slot apparently was sited. Within 5 minutes I was climbing the almost endless spiral roadway that eventually led to the parking level and I was able to leave the car and we headed down in the lift to the ground floor and walked out into the sunshine.
The crowds were already building as we walked along the raised walkways that lead from Stratford Station to the Olympic Park, 10 minutes later we were at the security checkpoint and having got through that we moved to the entrance of the park where our tickets were scanned and we were admitted. What a sight awaited us, it is fantastic and there are so many helpers and staff around that it is easy to find where we needed to be. We got some coffee in the food area and sat in the warm sunshine to drink it just beneath the Orbit and worked out our plan of action.
Some others asked and joined our table and we were chatting with them as though we were all on a ship, not at all like London! We headed over Bridge A and passing all of the refreshment concession we duly arrived at the entrance of the Stadium, our tickets were scanned again and we were in. Once you are admitted there is no going back, re-entry is forbidden for some reason but it doesn’t matter as 95% of the concessions that are out in the park are inside as well.
We walked around the perimeter to our gate and as we came to it someone spoke to us about the Olympic Flame which was visible through the glass doors, she was wearing a track suit kind of thing and I am almost convinced that it was Paula Radcliffe the runner. She wasn’t taking a leak at the time so I am slightly unsure.
The view as we entered the stadium was marvellous,
As I said we had seats in row 3 and the view from them was pretty special,
The television coverage doesn’t do the stadium justice and it is really spectacular inside, the seats are comfortable and there is good leg room. Of course it would be better if late arriving spectators weren’t sitting in the centre of rows and didn’t disturb everyone as they made their way to their seats; the same can be said for those people who are inflicted with sudden pangs of hunger and tiny bladders. We are only there for three hours so I fail to grasp why they are unable to wait. Nonetheless we had a great morning and there were 12 or so races on the track and 5 field event finals. One of the 800 metre heats featured Dave Weir
And he duly won it. There were also at least 12 medal ceremonies which were held about 50 yards from our seats, one of them was for Weir’s 1500 metre success last night and it was lovely to sing our National Anthem for a change. These ceremonies are an intrinsic part of the Olympics and are good fun the first couple of times but in truth they do become a little tedious unless it is Team GB picking up the gold medal.
It is quite difficult to see the field events that take place at the far end of the field and it might be a better view from the upper level seats.
Our session was due to finish at around 1pm and as it ended we left and queued for a while for a Cornish pasty, the most memorable thing about it was the cost! £4.50!
We returned to the car and drove home, it took a little longer but we avoided the rush hour traffic.
Having said all of this and taking everything into account, the whole trip was fantastic and I am so pleased that we went.