Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Games might be over but I have the Olympic fever !

I know its already been a few days but im sure you are all aware that the Olympic Games are however. I think that the world can say ''thank you'' to Great Britain. These Games have been PERFECT. For sure, there were minor issues with ticketing at the start but it was quickly resolved. From my perspective, as a tourist in London, everything was great. We can give A+ to the LOCOG (London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games); the city was filled with volunteers to assist everyone at any given time, the transportation system was also fine (yes sometimes with minor delays, but that needs to be expected when a city like London, with such a complexe urban infrastructure, is the host to such a big event). We must not forget the show, from the opening to the closing ceremony, everything was just a big party, Great Britain's party. These Games were by Great Britain for Great Britain and the incredible performance delivered by the british athletes only made the celebrations better ! 

The Games are over and you can clearly feel the difference when walking around London. The ''Olympic jet set'' has left and the ''normal'' tourists have returned. This being my second Olympics, I am looking forward to a third experience. Perhaps a winter event (Sotchi) or Rio... I think it is important to mention that when Brazil will be the host country in 2016, it will be the first time ever that the Olympic Games will be held in South America.. so its going to be AMAZING and believe me, they will be ready. 

On my side, I did not attend the closing ceremony but celebrated with friends and also coaching staff of the canadian boxer Mary Spencer. Here is a picture of me with coach Charlie Stewart and the the physio Riccardo.

I must also add that I went to Canada House (located on Trafalgar Square) earlier that day and the Canadian Olympic Committee was celebrating the Women's soccer team for the win of their bronze medal. Christine Sinclair (captain) held a great speech on how hard they've been working to get strong as a team. I hope that the women on this soccer team realize how they've changed the future of soccer in Canada, especially for young women. I was very happy that she was chosen to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

Thank you all for following me during this journey, I hope you enjoyed this blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympic tourist

As you can imagine, the last few days have been very Olympic related. As I am now off work because all the athletes have received their outfits, I have a lot of free time on my hands. As indicated previously, numerous things can be done in London, from shopping to sightseeing, tons of museums, or simply admiring the city by walking around. Also, with the Olympics, there are a lot of events. For instance, in one of the biggest parks (Hyde Park) about 5-6 giant screens have been installed and different competitions can be watched live at all times. This brings, not only a lot of people, but also athletes to keep the crowd entertain. A few days ago, the Tour de France champ and now gold medalist Bradley Wiggins was there. Must I mention that the crowd was EXCITED to see him! 

Being jealous, I decided to go hunting for my own medal. Not only was I able to admire a gold medal at the British Museum but I also found some Olympic rings somewhere on the Thames.

London might be a very big city but that's good in a way because it brings diversity. I mean wouldn't it be boring if a city was big and if everything was the same? Not only does it was different neighborhoods with different styles (for instance Notting Hill vs Camden) but it also has different activities. This being said I went to ''Borough Market'', a wholesale and retail market located in the south part of London. I did not get many pictures of the actual food but it goes from fresh bread/bakery products to paella, empanadas, hamburgers, candies, apple cider, coffees, etc. It was very, very hard to not buy too much..I think im gonna go back..soon.

Big Ben

Because the Olympic experience, wouldnt be complete with more sporting event I decided to get some tickets for women's boxing.  As seen below, ExCel center is where the Boxing, table tennis and weightlifting events have been taking place. This venue is huge and extremely well managed (like everything else must I say).

I was there to see the quarterfinals of the women's fly weight (48-51 kg), women's light weight (57-60 kg) and women's middle weight (69-75 kg). As seen below, the first boxers where from China/Russia. Each round of each session was very interesting and the atmosphere was amazing, especially when Katie Taylor (Ireland) was up against a British boxer. If im not mistaken, I think half of ireland was present to support her in her pursuit.. which obviously helped her since she won.

I was also very lucky because the people seated in back of me were all members of the Team GB boxing staff. I spoke with one of the boxer's coaches and it made me realize that sport can be so great in times of victory but also very cruel. They had a few athletes competing that evening, some won and some lost. The coach was obviously very happy when his athletes would win..but when it went the other way around.. I felt so bad for him. In a way, sport is literally a sacrifice. You can be training for months, years, 6 or 7 days a week and in the end, not only is your faith decided in 4 x 2 minutes rounds but also judged by referees might think that have been unfair in their judgement. In the end, either way, in victory or in defeat, you remain speechless...

Canadian Boxer Mary Spencer who received a wildcard about a week ago lost against a Chinese boxer. This girl was to win, her story, very similar to ''Million Dollar Baby'' predicted she would, at least, get a medal. The British coach even told me he had seen her in a tournament previously and that he had never seen anyone box like her. Unfortunately, Mary didn't box that well that day and lost... Just an other proof that sport can hard and unexpected.