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Tower Bridge and the Paralympic Agitos

A quick trip to the Tower Bridge revealed that the Olympic Rings have been removed and replaced by the Paralympic symbol.

The Paralympic swooshes, swishes, things are actually called agitos, which comes from the Latin and means I move. The Paralympic symbol representsย  the Paralympic motto “Spirit in Motion”.

The colors (red, blue, green) were chosen as they are most commonly used in national flags.

Anyway, so if you were wondering – like I was – why there is a 2-week break between the Olympics and the Paralympics, I know the answer.

All Olympic symbols across official Olympic/Paralympic venues had to be replaced by Paralympic symbols. That is a task in itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Olympic Blues

I have the Olympic Blues.

Twice this week I took the tube into Central London and both times I felt bereft. Gone were the travelers sporting their national colors or at least a London 2012 t-shirt. Replaced by work suits.

No more smiles and laughter and happy chatter on the tube. Back to quietness and stern faces. Avoiding eye contact by all means.

I miss the Olympics. I miss the energy. I miss the friendliness and happiness of people around me.

The Paralympics are soon to come. That keeps me going somewhat.

And then it’s only 1450 days to go until the Rio 2016 Games. The photo was taken 6 days ago (even though it feels like a lifetime ago…).

Only 1456 days to go to Rio 2016

Not that anyone is really counting, are they? It looks like the Brazilians are. Some impressive statistics and dates for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Mark your calendars!

Rio 2016 – the stats

With all the fun I had here at the London 2012 Games, I am seriously contemplating starting to save up for a trip to Rio in 2016. What a great reason to travel to Brazil, right? Casa Brasil seems inviting!

Rio 2016 – the logo

Sometimes during the day I have to pinch myself and remind myself that the Olympics 2012 really happened. It was such an intense few weeks that it now feels almost like a dream.

I am best when I am planning something, so let me get started on finding out what road events may be available for the Paralympics and then start a savings account for the Jogos Rio 2016!

Happy Friday!


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Houses of Parliament lights up for the Olympics and Paralympics

One of the many London 2012 highlights has been the night lights of London. I already shared with you the Tower Bridge by night illuminations.

Further west along the Thames, there is a different kind of illumination.

Every night during the Olympics and Paralympics from 9.30pm onwards, you can watch a video projection onto Houses of Parliament. Images from 1908 and 1948 Olympics are projected across the river. There are some ‘modern’ images as well of athletes that are competing in the 2012 Olympics.

It is a very beautiful collection of iconicย  images and I got some goosebumps just looking at them. They really set the scene for the great Olympic games.

If you live in or around London or visit, make sure to go and visit before this night event finishes.

The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.

~ Baron de Coubertin

Each photo depicts a different projection. You may want to click on them to open the photo gallery.


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Tower Bridge by night – without Olympic Rings

What!!?! I hear you shout? Without the Olympic rings? Who wants to see Tower Bridge like this??

Get over it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I told you before, sometimes the Olympic rings are there and sometimes they aren’t. The day we went out to take night pictures the Tower Bridge was without Olympic rings again. Actually, that’s not quite correct. The Olympic rings were there, just retracted or folded up underneath the top of the bridge.

This time I actually askedย  several policemen about the rings: Why are the Olympic rings not showing at Tower Bridge today?

Here are the answers I received (you’ll see why I had to ask several policemen…):

  • It’s too windy today.
  • The British Team didn’t win a gold medal today.
  • There may be a ship coming through sometime later.
  • Someone stole them, we have already written a report.

There you go. The mystery about the missing Olympic rings at Tower Bridge all solved. Now, I let you see my photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy!!


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A day out at Weymouth for Olympic Sailing

You may remember that I won tickets for the Olympic Sailing. Not just any sailing, but the women’s final and the last day of Olympic Sailing.

My running buddy Y joined me and together we made the journey to Weymouth on the coast, a 3-hour train ride from London.

It was a beautiful day, a perfect day out really.

I don’t know much about sailing, but I didn’t expect this much drama. ๐Ÿ™‚

The first race was for the bronze medal. Finland versus Russia. The simplified rules are that the first team to win 3 runs wins the race. There are a maximum of 5 runs per race if both teams keep alternating between winning and losing a run.

Finland and Russia needed 4 runs. The timetable of the day dictated that the final – the race for gold – would start at 1.30pm. That meant during Finland’s and Russia’s 4th run, they were joined by the teams racing for gold, Spain and Australia. Here you can see all 4 teams:

Eventually Finland won the 4th run (which was their third winning run) and was awarded the bronze medal. But not without protest over a false start by the Russians first…

While Finland and Russia were still working out their protest, Australia got into trouble. Woman over board.

It took the team quite a while to get their third woman back on board and Spain sailed off in the meantime. All back on board.

It was a great day. Lots of people out here in the ticketed area. There was no allocated seating. It was beautiful to sit on the grass and enjoy food and drinks while watching the sailing.

Lots of seagulls flew by.

We were sitting next to this lovely lady who let me borrow her camera lens for most of the day. She was awesome. And I learned I really want a new lens.

Back to the sailing… As I said full of drama. Australia recovered quickly from their little incident and won the next run. Now, the teams had completed 4 runs. each team won 2 runs. The next run would be the final run and determine who would get gold.

Australia got into a little pickle again. No no, they didn’t fall overboard again, but received a penalty for getting too close to the Spanish boat. Spain used the advantage and sailed across the finish line (red and yellow buoys) for gold.

Then they celebrated and thanked the fans.

The Olympic Sailing in Weymouth was a 2-week event and the Royal Navy secured much of the event and made sure it was safe for athletes and spectators. They got a huge applause from all the spectators as they took a “victory lapse” across the bay. This was an amazing sight!

Y and I decided to skip the long lines for the train back and stay a while longer and have a look at beautiful Weymouth. It is a very pretty seaside town. It was colorfully flagged for the Olympics and invited to stay. So we had a drink… with a view of the harbor.

On the way back I caught an evening picture of the gorgeous Jurassic coastline and the beach.

This day out was a wonderful day and I am so glad I won these Olympic tickets. I would have never thought of buying sailing tickets. On a day like this, you can easily put aside all the clutter in your head and just enjoy what’s right in front. ๐Ÿ™‚


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A sunnny men's Olympic marathon

What a difference a week makes. No umbrella this time, but sunscreen. The men’s marathon was in perfect weather to watch ( a little hot to run really…).

I struggled this morning to get up. 3 weeks of following first the torch relay then the Olympics are taking its toll. I was debating whether to even go and watch the men’s marathon live or stay in and watch on TV. But I knew I was going to go and watch it live. This was my last Olympic event to watch live (at least for 4 years…), so no question really.

I made it to the Embankment just in time. With a little maneuvering I managed to get to the front of the crowds and found myself right at the aid stations. Have you ever seen the aid stations of an elite-only marathon?

Well, this is what the Olympic marathon aid stations looks like.

Of course it goes all the way to the right as well. Oh and the stations are arranged in alphabetical order in case you wondered…

The pace car with all the reporters announced the arrival of the runners.

It’s quite a sight, right?

Again, the Olympic marathon route followed 2 loops of which the longer one was repeated 3 times. This was the order of runners with just 7 miles to go. The 3 runners made bronze, silver and gold – just in a different order than seen at this point in the race.

Stephen KIPROTICH from Uganda (who you see on the right won the marathon). The Kenyans, Abel KIRUI and Wilson Kipsang KIPROTICH, came in second and third.

And this is how a successful hand-over of a water bottle happens – at least with the South African team. Some other teams weren’t quite this successful.

After the lead runners passed me by a last time I made my way to Trafalgar Square to see if I can have a peek into the finish area on The Mall through Admiral’s Arch.

I didn’t see much and the elite runners were already through, but the flags looked nice.

I can’t believe that’s it for the Olympics. Luckily, I still have tons of photos to share over the next few days. And soon the Paralympics will start. I have quite a few tickets for the Paralympics and will be back in the Olympic Park a number of times.


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So exhausted…

I didn’t want to go completely MIA at the tail end of the Olympics. But I am exhausted and need to keep the remaining energy for more fun Olympic activities. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been back at work this week, so it’s been a juggling of work, Olympics and the usual…

I have tons of pics still to share and I am getting to them. I promise!!

It’s been a whirlwind of activities: watching events live, watching them on TV, checking out the different illuminations in London (Tower Bridge and Houses of parliaments are great – if you live in London and you haven’t seen both at night yet, why are you still reading? Get out! ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

A lot of the countries have country villages/houses, that are usually open to the public (or at least part of it). Most country houses offer their local specialties (beer and bratwurst at the German House, raclette and roesti at the Swiss House, Bud at the USA House). Today we are going to try and find the Brazil House. We hope that this one will be fun to visit with a sneak preview of the Olympics 2016.

I hope to catch some more Wenlocks and Mandevilles on camera, too, today. I have got a small collection now.

Happy Olympics!