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Olympics report part two; volleyball (and more athletics)

August 5, 2012

And she still turns out for her Sheffield club even though they are in the third division. What a superstar.

Husband and daughter went to athletics during the day yesterday and saw Jessica Ennis nail her long jump and javelin. Whereupon husband’s heart rate and stress levels declined somewhat as he could relax knowing that she really could do this. Being a true fan, he knows piles of facts and stats and is brilliant to sit with as he can put everything in context and explain what’s happening and why it matters or not.

So, the day before when we saw her run that blistering 100m hurdles, he immediately turned to us and said “She would have won the women’s final individual event in Bejing with that!” . The one downside of being in the satudium itself is that you don’t get the pundits telling you stuff like that. Unless of course you’re siting with someone like my husband. So we get the best of all worlds being there in person and with him doing the commentary.

When he isn’t in an exhausted heap of nerves unable to speak.

So last night we had tickets for the volleyball, but an eye (phone) on those finals in the stadium. The venue for the volleyball is Earl’s Court – and in fact this ws my first ever trip there I think (although I have a bizarre feeling I might have seen Aida there years ago). Anyway, easy cab ride there and straight through army security with the usual banter and good humour.

Bulgary in green

The venue itself is a bit shit. I was disappoionted. It is an old venue and it looks it. I suppose if i hadn’t been to any of the other Olympic venues I might have not noticed as after all it has been hosting huge events successfully for years and years. Cavernous bar and food area under the arena seating and we bought booze and sausages in rolls (my staple diet at the moment!) whilst waiting to go in. The noise from the stadium was deafening at points as the two previous matches went to 5 sets and over ran by an hour and the crowds were yelling their heads off for their teams. It sounded a brilliant atmosphere.

Our seats were on the first tier back row, so in theory great seats. Not so in practice as we couldn’t see the scoreboard and it was difficult to make out what the guy with the microphone was saying. So we tried asking the ticket guy if we could move, but then decided to simply bed in to the empty corporate sponsored seats ten rows in front of us. The sound was much better, but still nowhere near as good as that at beach volleyball or the Olympic Park.

We were going to be watching Bulgaria versus Argentina. The whole audience appeared to be in green red and white supporting the Bulgars. A Diversity-lite dance troupe performed before the match, but they weren’t a patch on the swimsuited beach volleyball girls (and boys).

Then the play started and the crowd went wild. “Bul -gar ee.Bul-gar -ee” and that was great. But I didn’t like the fact that they boo-ed the Argentinians all the time and tried to put them off their stroke. Didn’t feel it was in the Olympic spirit somehow. There wer e very few Argentinian fans apparently, although I was rooting for them since the Bulgarians crowd were so partisan. Every ten minutes or so a ‘technical time out’ was called and six volunteers with floor mops would come on and wile up all the sweat off the field of play in a beautifully synchronised way. The game itself is fantastic to watch – fast paced, easy to follow, superb athleticism and points points points.

The 80s hits boomed out, with snatches of stadium rock throughout the play. Then we were led in a “We are the Champions” sing along with the words up on the screen for us all to follow. The roving microphone guy interviewed spectators and everyone seemed to be having a good time. When he announced Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah’s golds suddenly a sea of union jacks appeared from nowhere!

Yet again plenty of ladies loos so no queues – this is a big thumbs up for the organisers! The whole thing was great, but the venue does suffer in comparison to the others I have seen.

Then we head home -hailing a black cab easily outside the main entrance and we were home with the TV on within half an hour. We watched all the coverage we could to make the most of these great games and incredible results for team GB. We’d watched Jessica Ennis in person on her journey to Gold. What a privilege. What a joy.

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