Alright on the Night
Birmingham based PR and Marketing agency, S&X, is in London during the Olympics to work on projects for its clients within the sports industry.
In the third of an exclusive series of Birmingham Post blogs, S&X Managing Director, Paul Phedon, describes the scene in the capital, and salutes one of sport's all time greats.
The build-up to the Olympics was blighted by a narrative of doubts over security, transport and even the weather, with some daring to suggest that London wasn't ready to host the greatest show on earth.
What were they worrying about?
The reality, so far, has been the exact opposite. The capital has shown its readiness for the Games with a largely smooth operation, and Olympic fever - thanks in no small part to the magnificent achievements of the Team GB medal winners - is well and truly sweeping the nation.
Here in London, we've not witnessed the transport chaos that was predicted before the Games, with many of the people travelling around the city in the first week of action actually exclaiming their surprise at just how quite the roads and tube lines were.
Clearly, with the beginning of athletics on Friday came a bigger influx of people into the park as spectators flock to the 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium, but all evidence seems to indicate that the capital's transport network has once again coped admirably with the demand. Indeed, the only minor grumbles seem to be coming from those arriving at Westfield Stratford for a spot of retail therapy, only to find the shopping centre closed to all but those who have tickets for Olympic events during certain busy periods!
We've been lucky enough to attend several nights of Olympic action through our sports industry client associations, and amid the concern over security issues prior to the Games, there was some concern as to the length of time it would take us to clear the entry gates and enter the park for events. But anyone with tickets need worry not - our experience has been a swift passage through the entrance, before heading in to enjoy the action.
Most of our time in the park has been spent at the Aquatics Centre, where we've seen the swimming phenomenon, Michael Phelps, making history yet again as he claimed four Gold medals to seal his status as the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Jo and I, between us, have been lucky enough to be in attendance for the vast majority of the 22 medals, including 18 Golds, that Phelps has won in his career, and it was a truly spine-tingling moment to be present earlier this week when he broke the record set by Ukrainian gymnast, Larisa Latynina, back in 1964.
With this Olympics believed to be Phelps' last, it was great to see a true legend of the sport receive a deserved rousing ovation from the passionate crowd in London following his final race, as he leaves an Olympic legacy that is unlikely to be bettered at any point in the near future.
It's been a fantastic first week of competition, and the atmosphere in London has been absolutely incredible as the excitement of the Games takes hold. The superb Gold medal winning exploits of Team GB have increased the levels of exhilaration around the city to fever pitch
Michael Phelps quoted Dr. Seuss following his final swim, saying "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." With a week of competition still to go, we're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll have even more to smile about come Sunday's closing ceremony!
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