Well, it's over.
We we made it thorough 2 weeks of tourists, crowded Tube rides, and general hysteria. Actually, this is Britain - people aren't really prone to hysteria. It was actually (very surprisingly) calm throughout the city the last few weeks, and the events themselves were really well run from a logistics perspective. I mean there was that whole bad food and the WORST service on behalf of the food vendors, as well as those menacing empty seats in the stands at the beginning of the games. But overall, I' say things went quite well.
So here are a few highlights of the last few days, for me at least:
- Seeing the 70,000+ volunteers (a.k.a. Games Makers - strangely all trained by McDonald's) in their ugly uniforms (sorry but they were), out in full-force, and being so non-Britishly cheerful. It was eerie, but in a fake-friendly American way I am used to with lots of "woohoo"ing. These people gave three weeks of their time for FREE, with most taking time off of their regular paid jobs to volunteer. And this is London, it rained at least half the time during the games. What troopers! But then again, that is something that has really surprised me over here. It seems everyone volunteers on a consistent basis or regularly raises money for a charity.
- U.S. women winning the soccer GOLD over their rival - Japan! For those that don't know, Japan beat the U.S. in the 2011 Women's World Cup. This was payback and just a great game with the U.S. winning 2-1, and Dave winning some cash at the local betting establishment! The game set a new record for attendance at a women's soccer game, sweet.
|At the start of the game.|
- Being THIS FREAKING CLOSE to Jamaican Usain Bolt when he raced the 4x100 meter realay. For anyone not paying attention, Jamaica won the race and set a new world record, the U.S. won silver and set a new national record, and Trinidad and Tobago won bronze. Usain is a character and he knows it, but it makes for an entertaining race with all of his theatrics.
|About to show off his signature "Bolt", we were RIGHT THERE.|
|He is a badass.|
|Hanging with the second place Americans.|
- The Canadian team's DQ from the 4x100 meter relay. This was hard to watch, and I will never forget it. The amazing Canadian 3rd place team was just celebrating their bronze medal and had wrapped themselves in Canadian flags, when - it was determined one of them had stepped out of their lane during the race. The team got DQ'd. I have never seen 4 grown men cry together before, it was REALLY awful. But not so awful for Trinidad and Tobago who ended up with Canada's bronze. Ouch, what a way to get the bronze.
|The scoreboard, just before they Canada DQ'd.|
- U.S. women breaking the 4x100 (probably tainted East German) world record that had stood for 27 years. They ran the 400 in 40.82, more than a half-second faster than the previous record. They were just too cool, and totally inspiring. Time to get my bootie back to the track for some speedwork!
|Not too bad ladies.|
- One word - MO! We were there when Mo Farah he won the gold in the 10K, and then won gold again in the 5K. He was amazing, humble, appreciative of the crowd, and it doesn't hurt that his wife is pregnant with twins and his little step-daughter is adorable. If Usain provided the theater, Mo provided the drama. I have never heard a crowd cheer as loud as they did when Mo ran that 5K. It was 12 laps of screaming, and again - we were THIS CLOSE. Once the race was over, the crowd kept chanting - MO MO MO MO!
|Mo at the back, keeping an easy pace. They finished a full minute off record time.|
|Completely mental, the crowd was going apeshit.|
|On the big screen, just wow and wow.|
- The "Mexican Wave", yep that is what they call it here. There is something childishly spectacular about 80,000 people doing the wave together. Especially here, where if your section stops the wave or shows lackluster participation - you get boooed by the rest of the stadium! No "Mexican Wave" photo necessary.
- Finishing our Olympic experience in the streets of London at the men's marathon. The in-laws had left early the morning of the marathon, it was just Dave and I. Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich won the race and the gold medal with a super-fast time of 2:08:01, and two Kenyans took the silver and bronze just 20 seconds behind him. U.S. marathon legend Meb Keflezighi got 4th, and was the only American to finish the race.
|Watching the race from a probably dangerous Tube overpass, it was worth it.|