Friday, 14 September 2012

London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

I was lucky enough to get tickets for a dozen events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and naturally have acquired a large collection of photographs.  I thought I’d pick out the best and post them here.  These are not necessarily the best photographs technically, but those I feel best capture the moment, the scene, the atmosphere.  Most are in London, but I did venture to Weymouth, Dorney and Kent.  I also tried to note how London, its people and visitors reacted to the Games in fun and quirky ways.

I have many more photos on my Flickr page here, arranged by sporting event, but view the following selection first: 

Four stops, fifteen minutes, and I'm at the Olympic Park.  One big benefit of living where I do. 

The Olympic Torch relay, right around the UK, brought thousands onto the streets to see it pass.    Sam Clark of Moro fame, is excited to get his hands on it. 

Soldiers being briefed on their security duties at the North Greenwich Arena. A total of 17,000 military personnel were involved, thousands being brought in at short notice to cover the absence of guards from security firm G4S. 

The Guardian, front page, Sat 28th July, captured the awe and delight we all felt with Danny Boyle's wonderful Opening Ceremony

I didn't like the 2012 logo, but the colours used in all the signage have been really well chosen.  Similarly, the uniforms designed for the Games Makers and officials

Here is Karen Sims, one of the 70,000 Games Makers, all of them unpaid, who made a major contribution to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 
The Aquatic Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, photographed in February 2012 

Inside the Aquatics Centre. The diving boards, cast in concrete, look very beautiful. This was shot before the Olympics, when they carried sponsor's advertising. 
In parts, the Olympic Park was very successful, notably the landscaping and the restoration of the river and canals. This is a shell for the performance of live music.

The Arcelor Mittal Orbit, designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.

The viewing platform at the top of the Orbit: well worth the ticket price

HW = Hackney Wick, the community on the west side of the Olympic Park

Also seen in Hackney Wick.  I was interested to note people take the opportunity to proclaim their pride in, or perhaps cash in on, the Games

August 3rd, and its time to sample the Olympic Rowing.  This is held on Dorney Lake in Berkshire Windsor, the rowing course owned by Eton College
Glorious weather, simple stands, the use of flags, create an excellent setting beside Dorney lake 

George Nash and William Satch. Bronze in the Men's Pair 

Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger after winning gold in the women's double sculls

Alan Campbell, GB. Bronze in the Men's Single Sculls

Inspire a Generation:  I think that's the very best ambition to come out of this heavily branded Games.   I hope this little lady is inspired.

One of the 4,000 cars provided by BMW to Olympic officials, organisers and media

I felt the public pronouncements in support of the sponsors did subsume the enormous financial provision made by UK taxpayers. 

Oliver Sweeney shop in Covent Garden

Women's Marathon.  GB's Freya Murray at the 21 mile mark. She finished 44th

A runner in the Women's Marathon: notice the leg muscles

Supporting their country at the Women's Marathon 

August 8th: On the 08:37 train from Waterloo to Weymouth, where we will watch the Olympic Sailing.
Dire warnings about the transport network in London and the south east seem unneccessarily severe.

Olympic Sailing at Weymouth, Dorset.  The competition takes place very close to the shoreline, enabling spectators to watch much of the action with the naked eye 

HMS Bulwark keeps a watchful eye on the Sailing 

GB sailors

That's a seriously patriotic picnic rug.   

Sunset over Chesil Beach, follwed by dinner at the nearby Crab House Cafe

August 9th: Weymouth Harbour at 09:20

August 10th: Back in London Docklands at the Excel Centre

The Excel Centre in what used to be part of London's Docklands, hosted a great many sports.  This is Taekwondo: GB's Muhammad Lutalo won a bronze medal in the -80kg class

Inside the official 2012 merchandise store

Heavyweight Boxing. GB's Anthony Joshua wins 13-11 win over Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan.  

Joy for the home crowd in the vast Excel Centre

In the final, Joshua will meet reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle of Italy.  He subsequently won that fight and is now the Olympic Gold medallist

Tommy Hilfiger, Regent Street
August 12th, Men's Marathon: Kenya's Abel Kirui who would finish in second place

Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda, the eventual WINNER

Scott Overall of GB - finished 61st in 2hrs 22

Wenlock and Mandeville mascots, 83 of them, were installed around London.  Wenlock is named after the Shropshire town that helped inspire Pierre de Coubertin, Mandeville after Stoke Mandeville
The Velodrome, designed by Hopkins Architects, who in turn took advice from Sir Chris Hoy
The Velodrome: A very exciting and quite intimate space

Canadian Arnold Boldt won Athletics gold medals at five successive Paralympic Games. He only started cycling competitively in 2000. He rides with only one leg.

One GB cyclist collapses at the end of his race

Sarah Storey at the start of the Women's Individual C-5 Track Pursuit. The race is against Ana Harkowska over 3000metres.

Before half the race had elapsed, Storey caught up with Harkowska....  

The moment she overtook Harkowska

And went round again for a second circuit of applause from the noisy Velodrome crowd of 6,000

Sarah Storey with family, fans, and her Gold Medal for Women's Individual C5 Pursuit

Harmless fun, at the expense of the French cycling team

The Stadium and restored waterways. I remember much of this, derelict and overgrown, from my first walk of the area in 2005

August 31st, the first day of the Paralympic Games in the Stadium.  With a full crowd, on a sunny day, It is a wonderful space in which to experience world class athletics

If you've got it, flaunt it!

Heat of Women's 5000m. No 2 is Shelly Woods, GB

Poland's Marta Langner takes off in the women's long jump  

GB athlete Rhys Jones tests his blocks before his heat in the men's 200m

Mostafa Mohamed, Egypt, leaves his blocks: Men's 200m heat 2

GB sprinter Sally Brown, seventeen years old

A Medal Ceremony delays the start of the Women's 200m heat 1

The Stadium isn't ugly, but many of the temporary structures are certainly disappointing

Brand's Hatch, Kent, at one time the home of the British Grand Prix, hosts the Paralympic road cycling

The start of two races: Men's Individual C 1-3 Road Race,  Women's  C 1-3 Road Race.  They race over 64kms, and the women start two minutes after the men.

Kerstin Brachtendorf's face shows the effort required in a 64km road race

Fiona Southorn New Zealand and J Ruan, China. It is 91 minutes since they left the start line

Way out in front, Sarah Storey, 11 minutes from the finish.  She overtook the Men's leading group on the second lap.

Riding to Gold. Sarah Storey salutes the crowd 200 metres before crossing the finish line.

Seen on the Underground

September 6th, back in the Excel Centre for Sitting Volleyball. GB lost to Brazil

Sunday September 9th: The sun sets over the Olympic Park as we arrive for the Closing Ceremony

The stadium is sold out, and all the athletes are taking their seats on the field of play

The Ceremony is called The Festival of Flame

Vehicles from the Mutoid Waste Company

Aerial fireworks


Seb Coe's speech, quoting Dr Andrew Hartle who was on duty as an intensive care specialist on the day of the London bombings.  He volunteered to be one of the 70,000 Games Makers.   The bombings happened just 24 hours after the announcement that London had won its bid to host the 2012 Games.  The two are now inextricably linked. 

The Cauldron, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, is extinguished

Monday 10th September: The Celebratory Parade through London for almost 800 GB athletes.   Although Chris Hoy said it was the athlete's opportunity to thank the public, around 700,000 people lined the streets to pay congratulations, to those who won medals, and to all the others for participating.

Jonnie Peacock won Gold in the 100 metres

Sir Chris Hoy

Royal Marine Chris Sherrington, judo, waves to his colleagues in the Royal Marine Band.

Ben Ainslie, the first person to win medals in five different Olympic Games in sailing

Sarah Storey, 11 times Gold medallist in swimmming and cycling. The most decorated Paralympian.  Remarkable.

That’s it, a short record of One Glorious Summer of Sport.  Millions watched on tv (well done the BBC and C4), thousands travelled from around the world, London behaved and even let its hair down, and GB did very well in the sports, coming third in both medal tables.   If you want to see more photographs, click on here, where you’ll find them, arranged by sporting event.