Friday, August 17, 2012

Olympics, pt. 2

To be honest, I'm loathe to write about the Olympics. I feel like I'm writing an obituary more than a blog post. This been a week of mourning for the loss of the Games. 

Most of this city was dreading the arrival of London 2012, yet just as many were turned from cynics to cheering fans during the 16 days of events. Traffic wasn't too bad, there weren't any major malfunctions on public transport, and everybody seemed happy to have had the Games in their backyard once everything began. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the city felt alive these past two weeks. Not that it feels dead the rest of the year - just that it was extra alive. I don't know what I'm saying. 

Most of you have probably seen my article for Huckberry already, but in case you haven't, you can find it here

Maybe not everyone was happy to have the Olympics here

Kenz and I are headed out in an hour to go camping in Wales. It'll be the first time the two of us have camped together. I'm expecting it to be quite the...adventure. 

That being said, this post will be a rush job. 

In the last week of the Games, I went to three wrestling events: Greco-Roman with Owen, Women's Freestyle with Jason, and Men's Freestyle with Owen. I didn't get to see Jordan Burroughs win gold on Friday, but did get to see Coleman Scott win bronze on Saturday. All three events were fantastic. 

Men's Greco-Roman is dominated by the likes of Iran, Georgia, Belarus, and Russia. 
Women's freestyle is dominated by Japan (they won 3 of a possible 4 gold medals). 
Men's Freestyle is dominated by Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and (kind of) America.

Owen's band played in Olympic park; he wore his 'talent' badge on Monday, even though it didn't earn him special treatment. 

Iranian wrestling fans are the best

Our seats on Monday




Iran won its first 2 gold medals in Greco-Roman this year

Swedes are fun

His shirt says, "Iran PEace & Friendship Ambassador"

Regent Street during the Games

My favorite bus route - the 42

Jason & I at women's freestyle! Hype!

The Japanese fans came to cheer

Tired little spectator

Regent's Park

I went to the library

Owen prepped for Saturday's Freestyle tournament

Azerbaijan won 2 golds on Saturday - a dominant 2 golds

Their cheers - and anthem - were impressive

Owen grew to love the sport once I explained it to him

It inspired him to learn gymnastics
 Kenz and I took a stroll around town to wrest the last bit of good weather out of the city before the temperature drops along with earlier sunsets. 

Carnaby Street

Baker Street Station

Ping Pong tables have popped up in lots of public parks. This is Leicester Square. They have gold, silver, and bronze medals hanging from the trees in the park.  
Not to be outdone by Visa's sponsoring of the Olympics, MasterCard has been hosting a small carnival on Southbank. Kenz and I decided to ride two rides on our walk home. The swings were about the worst two minutes of my life. I hate circular swing rides - especially 80 feet in the air. 

We finally found some Xiao Long Bao aka soup dumplings. You read that correctly - dumplings with soup in them. The best. 
All of the above were pictures from the cell phone. Below are pictures from my camera - they're mostly all wrestling, so if you're bored with wrestling...well, have a good weekend!

The approach to the ExCel Center - this monstrosity held ping pong, weightlifting, tae kwon do, wrestling, boxing, and badminton. 

It's massive - took us 10 minutes to walk from the front door to the wrestling 'room'.

The Cuban heavyweight is peerless in his dominance. He won gold handedly.
Iran's 2nd gold

Fans are great

Especially this guy

There were even Vikings in attendance
The attentive fan

Potter's Field had a big screen for casual observers. That round, glass building is CITY HALL! What a badass city hall!

The 10k volunteers were awesome

Women's freestyle was a breath of fresh air from Greco. There's more scoring in freestyle.

USA won a bronze medal, but it was the day before I got there

I did, however, get to see Kelsey Campbell (USA) in one match. She lost, but wrestled well.
The breaks between medal ceremonies and matches were boring, though.

People found ways to entertain themselves

Japan stole the show, winning the third gold on the day I went

This lady had an infant and another baby that looked just about one year old with her. 

I wanted a headband

This Spanish woman won bronze - at 37 years old!

She had lots of fans

The Russian that won gold was 20 - she beat a 5x world champion to do it - pinned her at the end of the second period.

Owen and I agreed that the Russian jackets were in the top 3 best warmups

Georgia showed up again for Men's Freestyle 

Jake Herbert, one of my favorite wrestlers, lost before he could medal.

The face of disappointment. 

Americans showed up.
Coleman Scott, about to win bronze

He retained his college coach - John Smith - one of the winningest Americans of all time

It was a sweet victory

Azerbaijan won gold - it was the most dominant performance I'd seen in three days.

We had sweet throwback jackets - probably the best of all the warmups.

Azerbaijan's second gold. The coach was a bit of a ham.
The Uzbekistan heavyweight won gold, and promptly showed the crowd that he was one of the biggest badasses in the world.

Then his coach brought him back down to size. 
Sorry for the lack of storytelling/explication this week - and for missing a post last week. It's been super busy for the past two weeks. 

I look forward to posting pictures of our camping trip next Friday, and returning to form with little paragraphs here and there, unpacking what the pictures are all about and giving context. 

Much love from across the pond! Have a great weekend!