The London newspapers have been chock full of details of the run-up to the Olympics. For all of you Americans out there back home who would, like myself, be fascinated to see an insiders view of what’s going on, here you go!
Monday, July 16th’s paper: members of the US Olympic team arrived at Heathrow on Monday. I have no idea who these girls are, does anyone know? Also, apparently US Olympic 400 meter hurdler Kerron Clement got lost for four hours on a bus taking him to the Olympic Village because the driver couldn’t work the GPS. The article also states that athletes from Australia, Italia, Russia, and China arrived on Monday.On the right side of the above photo shows the main road from Heathrow to central London, called the M4, which turns into the A4. The photo shows cars lining up to get out of the Olympic lane, as they’ve realized they aren’t supposed to be in it, which started Monday. The fine is £130 for straying into the Games lanes, so people are really keen to not have that happen. And since there are about 300 cameras per centimeter on British roadways, you will get caught and you will get fined.
You can also see that the Australian sailing team already lost their sails in the baggage at Heathrow….
Don’t focus on the giant girl in blue on the left, she’s someone named Rebecca Adlington from the GB swimming team. What to look at is the inside of the Olympic Village rooms that the athletes stay in, and some of the goodies they are getting. The beds looks horrible (typical for over here. BOX SPRINGS DO NOT EXIST. Take a second to absorb that). But team GB get free spiffy robes. Wonder if all the countries get those…
The athletes have tweeted that the beds are uncomfortable (coulda told ya that like 1.8 years ago), that the beds are too short for anyone over 6 feet tall (coulda told you that too), and that they were missing parts of their official kit upon arrival to the Village. There was good news too though, mostly about the food, which is frankly shocking but great all the same. The same guy that got lost on the bus for four hours tweeted that he loved the variety of food choices, including African, Caribbean, Halal, Indian, Asian, and of course McDonald’s. Apparently the grounds are nice as well, with American 400 meter runner Tony McQuay posting about the beautiful village and wishing he could bring it back to the US. The guy that wrote this article seems to think that the world now thinks London is in shambles over the “security problem” and the fact that the Olympics have sponsors that get to advertise everywhere. He also seems to think that all the signs, emails, print ads, etc etc etc of the floppy-haired mayor Boris Johnson telling us not to use any roads that have Olympic lanes as the traffic will be a nightmare, not to use most of the central London tube system because there will be so many tourists on it, not to go to work during the games so tourists can use the same tube, have scared all Londoners off of the Games and therefore there will hardly be anyone in London at all for two weeks and it will be a ghost town. Um. Highly unlikely in my opinion. Do you know how many Americans are obsessed with the Queen and Kate Middleton? They will flock here because it’s London and that’s where the Queen lives and let’s go to the Olympics because we’ll definitely get to meet the Queen. I plan on traveling on the tube pretty much constantly and watching people get lost. Maybe helping out occasionally.
Wednesday, July 18th’s paper: This is by far the funniest thing I have seen. NBC has brought over 2,800 broadcasters!!!!! OMG. That’s compared to the BBC, the official network on their home turf, who only have 765 people for the Games. And a total of 21,000 journalists are coming from the entire world! I couldn’t believe it when I read it. Does make sense though, considering Denver is sending two of it’s anchors from it’s local NBC station. So think about every NBC affiliate and multiply by anywhere from two to 20, and that’s probably about right. It’s hysterical too the way the two British writers have gone about this story. They are calling the American reporters an army, and saying NBC is flexing its muscles as the 2012 Games have become a battle ground in its bitter ratings war with rival ABC. Pretty sure NBC has won that one, considering they have exclusive broadcast rights. But what do I know…
Apparently they are beaming the Today Show live from the Olympic Park in Stratford for the entirety of the Games for three hours every morning starting at noon London time. Pretty cool, I’m digging that. It also has studios at Hampton Court Palace, home of King Henry VIII, for some reason, and a large suite at a new £280 million international broadcast center out in east London in Hackney. And apparently all the big-name NBC-ers are living at the £5000/night Savoy Hotel on the Strand, while the big-name BBC-ers (who are paid for by taxpayers, mind you, that way we don’t have to watch commercials hahaha), have to stay in low-cost student-style accommodation, if they have to stay overnight. Makes me kinda sad for the BBC-ers. Kinda.
Matt Lauer, who makes a £15 million or over $23 million (!!) salary, Savannah Guthrie, Ann Curry and Meredith Viera are all flying in next week to get their luxe vacay on. Must be pretty sweet. As a comparison, this is the main studio the BBC will be using. It is built on top of 18 metal shipping containers. Yep, really. That makes is eco-friendly because it’s reusable. Probably as shipping containers next time. As you can see here, this is what I was talking about about the tube stations to avoid and other things during the Games. For all of you tourists out there, this is what we are going through so you can slip up and down the escalators with ease. Busy stations: Baker Street, Euston, King’s Cross St Pancras (no, not St Pancreas), Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Holborn, Bank, Canary Wharf, North Greenwich, London Bridge, Waterloo, and the Cutty Sark Docklands Light Railway. And finally, some insight into what’s going to happen at the Opening Ceremony!! This gets me excited. They’ve taken out some BMX riders riding flaming bikes to make sure they hit timing targets. My question is, what do flaming BMX bikes have to do with anything about the UK?
The show starts at 9 pm and runs until 12:30 am to allow people to get home on public transport, which is being extended until 2:30 in the morning. The gates open at 5 pm, there is a pre-show that starts at 8:12 pm (very exact) and ticket holders are supposed to be seated by 7 pm. Too bad I didn’t have £5000 to shell out for one.
The ceremony is costing £27 million and will open to the theme of the English countryside, with live animals like horses, chickens, and sheeps! That will be followed by references to Britain’s history, including the industrial revolution, miners’ strike and high-tech developments. It will be opened by the ringing of a giant bell (k…) and also feature hundreds of dancing nurses from the national healthcare service here called the NHS (which is actually what NHS stands for). If nothing else, should be interesting!