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.

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