August 6, 2012
Scott Reed and his son Jeff have traveled from Lilburn to London to attend the 2012 Olympics. Scott Reed is attending his fifth Olympic Games this summer and will blog about his experiences for the Daily Post. His 19-year-old son Jeff, a Killian Hill Christian graduate and Reinhardt University student, will provide photos for the blog. The two will blog throughout the Olympics.
We had tickets to women’s diving finals on Sunday, so our day was focused around that event. Since diving is in the Olympic Park and the park is close to our flat, we didn’t have to spend time getting from one site to another. That gave us lots of time to explore the park and relax.
Part of being out in the open is learning to deal with the London weather. Every day here has had a similar weather pattern. There are long periods of sunny skies, with periods in between of heavy rain and cold driving winds as fronts roll through. The park has very few areas of cover; the only places to get shelter from the brief storms are in shops or venues. So we have learned to watch for the fronts and start heading to stores when they get near. Of course, the main stores have long queues to get in them even in good weather, and are impossible to access in bad weather. But we have found a couple of relatively out of the way shelters that seem to work.
The diving venue is the same one used for swimming. The swimming and diving pools are right next to each other. The arena was built just for these games and is spectacular looking. But the designers seem to have paid more attention to looks than to consideration of the spectators. The arena is huge: We were on row 20 and were pretty high, but there were probably 60 rows above us. People at the very top were probably as high or higher as someone in the top row of the Georgia Dome. The divers and swimmers must have looked like ants. And to make it more uncomfortable for spectators, the ceiling inside comes down very low in the middle above the water. The effect is that spectators have to look through essentially a tunnel to the water and can’t see people on the other side of the arena. It was a strange sensation. It made me feel claustrophobic.
We saw some sponsor guests trudge up the steps to seats above us. Later we saw some of the volunteers working with the sponsor guests going down and then coming back up with literally cases of bottled water. They obviously figured it was too strenuous for their guests to have to walk up and down. No sense in having guest heart attacks at the event. The poor volunteers certainly got their aerobic exercise for the day.
We did meet pro golfer Corey Pavin, who was sitting a few rows behind us with guests from Dow. He was pleasant to talk with, as were the Dow guests. One of the guests had lived in Gwinnett County and was familiar with the Gwinnett Daily Post, so we made sure she got one of our pins. Unfortunately, I did not get her name.
The Chinese dominated the event. I am not a diving expert, but even my untrained eye could tell the ordinary dives from the better ones. The results were not even close. The only suspense was who would win bronze; the USA diver had a horrible final dive, and the Mexican won the bronze.
Barry had the most unusual pin trade of the games. He was walking along and saw a guy approaching with a pin that Barry wanted. Barry asked if he could trade, and the guy complied and handed Barry the pin. Barry asked what the other person wanted for the pin, and without saying a word, the stranger grabbed Barry’s face with both hands and laid a big smooch right on his lips! Barry’s a big guy, but he was too stunned to react. Barry, buddy, that pin’s all yours. I want no part of it. Unfortunately, Barry was not willing to re-enact the event for the camera, so we can’t provide a picture.
We ate dinner afterward in the mall that is attached to the park. The mall was packed even at 10:00 in the evening. They are doing tremendous business, but I wonder how the mall will do once the Games are over, as the Olympic complex is really in the middle of nowhere.