London: The Olympic ExperienceWritten by Celia Evans 10 August 2012
When we got to London we were surprised because the city was so quite. It was much more quiet than usual. Stores were kind of empty, and it was much easier than normal to get a taxi. The hotels, restaurants, and streets were empty. Prior to the Olympics, they scared off people with crowd excess warnings," Nouriel Roubini, economics professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Before the games began, British officials told Britons and foreign tourists without Olympics tickets to stay home because they feared overcrowding.
"By scaring everyone to stay out of London with warnings about too many people coming here it turns that London is totally empty, a zombie city," Roubini wrote.
I don't know about calling it a zombie city, but yes it was very quiet. Also the games themselves were mostly far east outside of the city. So if you were in central London (Buckingham Palace, Notting Hill, Oxford Circus, Knightsbridge etc. ) you were a 12 to 15 stop train ride away, or at least an hour and a half drive away from Olympic Village.
Anyway, one cool thing about being there during the Olympics is the same thing that's always cool about London, the international diversity of people! During the Olympics the vibe was even more global. Imagine people from every place in the entire world all in one place. Electric!
To me the biggest story was the Olympics ticket situation. A nightmare! We were press, but video press wasn't allowed anywhere in Olympic Village because of NBC exclusivity rights. But of course being in London during the Olympics we at least wanted to go and see events. This was truly a task of Olympic proportions, fitting I guess.
I'm sure you saw on TV, row after row of empty seats during top tier events. At less glamorous events (Weightlifting, Judo, Badminton, etc) there were even more empty seats.
Apparently, lots of seats were given away to corporate groups, who just didn't bother to go! At times they would try to re-issue seats online, but get this, if you were an American citizen you could not get them!! Re-issued and last minute release tickets were only available to UK/European citizens. These tickets were at face value, (80 dollars to 500 dollars). If you were American you had to buy tickets from scalper types for thousands.
Even parents of athletes could not get tickets. Olympic seats row: parents of athletes turned away from Aquatics Centre in confusion over London 2012 tickets
You could watch the outdoor stuff like Marathon, Triathlon, BMX, Sailing. Everyone went to those! It was packed. Also there were large screens set up in beautiful parks near the palace where people could picnic and watch all the Olympic coverage. Those were also packed.
Out and around Olympic Village was pretty fun though. They literally built a big walking mall filled with restaurants, shops and large TV screens encircling Olympic Village. People from all the different countries were in large groups and everyone made friends with everyone. Also you would routinely see Olympic Athletes from every country walking around the mall hanging out shopping or grabbing drinks!
Going back to the large groups of people from different countries, it was cute to see everyone done up in their national colors, wearing their country flag, face painted, manicures of their flag on their nails. Jamaican fans were in heaven with all the attention about the 100 meters and the insanely fast Jamaican team.
Another funny thing about being an American in London during the Olympics is that all the TV coverage was of things the British were winning, so lots of sailing, horse jumping, tennis. No basketball!!! Hardly any coverage of Gabby Douglas.
I will say that during the 100 meters final, every TV in every restaurant, home, bar, every party and every screen set up though out the city was tuned in. That was without a doubt "The" event. The TV ratings for it were some of the highest ever in England. The best thing to me was of course, the Planet Fashion TV Fashion Event in Mayfair.
London is always great, and it was cool to be apart of the Olympic experience. Looking forward to Brazil 2016!!
Celia Evans attended Florida State University and John Marshall Law School. Before opening her production company in Los Angeles in 2005, she worked in finance and has produced music, television, film and internet video media. She served on the Film and Entertainment Advisory Board for Miami Dade County for 3 years and has produced and directed commercials content for Lamborghini, Kenworth Trucks, Luxe Monte, and Lifestyle TV programming. She has produced media campaigns in both English, and Spanish.Website: seasstarfilms.com
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