I've waited 7 years to post these images! Since I first found out that London would host the Olympic games for the 3rd time in the modern era. As a supporter of the games from the start it hasn't always been easy convincing some people that this would be money well spent, especially as the costs seem to increase on a monthly basis. Then there were concerns over the ageing tube and rail network, airport overcrowding and long queues, road closures, venues, logos, mascots etc, etc... but now the games are here and in full swing with medals coming in GB's direction from many different disciplines, the support from the country has begun to swell in favour of the games, which for me on a personal level is great to see - I always felt and believed that this would happen.
Anybody who lived or worked in London around the time of the original announcement cannot forget how the initial excitement and elation of winning the bid quickly turned to sadness when during the morning rush hour of July 7th news broke of the deaths of 52 people at the hands of terrorism - the days and weeks that followed I felt a numbness as I continued my daily commute in and out of London, it felt as if the energy had been sapped from the City. Although we can't forget the lives that were lost that day, you can't keep a great city and its people down for too long and having now experienced the London Olympics first hand on what has been dubbed 'Super Saturday' thanks to the performances of Ennis, Rutherford and Farah. I can safely say that it will go down as one of the most memorable days of my life and a measure of how our capital and its people have responded in the face of that adversity 7 years ago - the venues were stunning, the atmosphere was electric, the park beautiful and the colourful supporters from every nation truly gave me an unforgettable Olympic experience.
One of the many highlights on the day was meeting Gemma Gibbons - Silver medallist in the Judo, who was a delight and ever so obliging, you couldn't failed to be moved by watching her inspirational performance in beating the current world champion from France on the way to reaching the final. Although we didn't have tickets for the Olympic stadium the noise levels generated by the crowd from within the stadium will always stay with me as the cheers could be heard as you walked around the park. The regeneration of the waterways which cut through the park is already encouraging the wildlife to return with Sand Martins, Grey Heron, Common Tern and a family of Pied Wagtails all using the river on the day, and the swathes of wildflowers and trees planted on the banks of the river Lea assisting our beleaguered butterflies and bees was a masterpiece - deserving of a gold medal alone!
I feel so lucky to have experienced all of this alongside my family and I'm not ashamed to say that I was proud of my capital city and Great Britain for putting on the such an amazing show - I hope the legacy of the games bears fruit for many generations to come and they ultimately do 'Inspire a Generation'.
|Cornflowers - one of the many wildflower planting schemes around the park|
|The regenerated waterways running through the park|
|Wildflowers - along the river Lea|
|More amazing planting with 'Orbit' as the backdrop|
|Wildflowers - a theme running through the park|
|The 'Orbit' gives amazing views of the park and London|
|View from the top of the 'Orbit' into the Olympic stadium|
|View from the top of the 'Orbit' across the park|
|Another great venue - the cycling Velodrome|
|Live music - just chilling in the park!|
Whatever your Olympic experience - embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts as sadly the games will be over far too quickly!