Friday, September 07, 2012

London 2012 Paralympic Games

7 September 2012

We spent most of last weekend at the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, watching the Paralympics athletics and track-cycling. It was a fantastic experience. The Olympic Park is wonderful and the organisation, the venues, the wildflowers, the weather and, of course, the Games Maker volunteers were all excellent. You can see a selection of my photos at:

The atmosphere in the velodrome was electric, though the temperature was like a sauna! We really enjoyed watching the sprints with their hesitant ‘cat and mouse’ manoeuvring followed by a sudden dive for position and a desperate race for the line – much more thrilling when the two bikes involved are tandems, and particularly enjoyable as there was an all British final to the men’s individual B sprint with Anthony Kappes and Craig MacLean securing the gold medals and Neil Fachie and Barney Storey the silver. It was great to see the medal ceremony in a packed crowd all singing ‘God Save the Queen’.

We were also very lucky to be in the Olympic Stadium for two evening sessions of athletics. Saturday was definitely Irish Night in the stadium as we watched Jason Smyth win the T13 100m and Michael McKillop triumph in the T37 1500 m. On Sunday saw Oscar Pistorius dramatically beaten by Alan Oliveira of Brazil in the T44 200m – though Oliveira’s incredible acceleration in the last few metres didn’t come as too much of a surprise, having been there to see him do something similar in his semi-final the previous day. We got to sing the national anthem in the stadium too, as we saw the Duchess of Cambridge present the gold medal to the F42 discus champion Aled Davies. And we finished our Paralympic experience on the high of seeing David Weir win the T54 5000m, late on Sunday evening. The entire crowd was on its feet for the whole of the last lap and it was truly thrilling.

As someone who has been eagerly looking forward to London 2012 for the past 7 years, I am delighted to be able to report that the experience exceeded my expectations: it was brilliant!



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