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Travel Theme – Circles

I am loving this week’s travel theme from Where is my backpack: Circles.

I took plenty of photos this summer of the Olympics and as I am – still – trying to sort through them and am trying to decide which ones will make my photobooks (books, yes, I don’t think it will be just one book…), I found this one: perfect for this week’s theme.

Olympic Rings


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My favorite moments of the Olympics and Paralympics

Some people asked me what my favorite moments of the Olympics and Paralympics have been.

With so many weeks of events that’s a tough question to answer. I loved the spectators who cheered on every athlete no matter what team they supported. I loved the cheery volunteers. Of course, I loved the athletes. The venues were set up perfectly, too.

But I think if I had to pick 3 favorite moments these would be the ones:

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake fighting it out over the Olympic 100m and 200m. This includes us “storming” the US Fan House to see the 200m final and us just making it inside and to the right TV channel with seconds left to the start. The story will later be told as “An Australian, a German and an American are trying to watch the London 2012 200m final…”.

Oscar Pistorius and Alan Oliveira fighting it out over the Paralympic T44 100m, 200m and 400m. Being in the stadium to see the 200m final, the BIG UPSET, experiencing the stunned and quiet crowd as Alan Oliveira wins this distance unexpectedly, was priceless. I am happy for Oscar Pistorius winning the T44 400m final. I am sure we will see and hear more of both athletes in Rio 2016.

Spectators giving a standing ovation as David Smith, GB Paralympic Team, enters the arena for the Boccia gold medal match. Pattaya Tadtong from Thailand ends up winning the match. Then, after the match is over, the crowd gives a standing ovation to both athletes.

I’ll leave you with a kaleidoscope of images from inside the Olympic Park during the past 6 weeks.


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Skyline Wenlock

This is it!

I caught the last missing Wenlock & Mandeville sculpture on camera!

What am I going to do with all my free time next week? No more Olympics. No more Paralympics. No more Wenlock and Mandeville hunting.

The Skyline Wenlock says:

“I have been counting London’s famous buildings and landmarks. How many can you spot?”

Well, how many can you?

Skyline Wenlock


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Olympic Cycling Road Race – Women

THIS was a race to watch.

We picked a different viewing spot today and watched the Olympic women road race cyclists race out of Richmond Gate and on to Richmond Bridge. We thought that was a scary corner. Downhill coming from the park and then a sharp left turn…

The one thing you don’t get watching these races from the side of the road is the nail-biting finish. I always need to check later who actually won. What you do get though are the things that you don’t get to see on TV…

The many police motorcyclists warming up us spectators getting us ready for the cyclist. You don’t get to see the policemen posing on their motorcycles, high-fiving the crowd, doing all sorts of stunts to get the crowd cheering.

warming up the crowd

The cyclist all arrived here (approx. 16km into the 140km race) still close together. The sky was still dry, the roads were still mostly dry.

Olympic cycling road race-women – 16km into the race

The field looked very different a lot of miles/kilometers later. The rain had poured down a few times at this point and the streets were quite wet.

We moved into Richmond Park right at Richmond Gate to view the cyclists coming back on their way to the finish line at The Mall. NOW, this was the really scary corner…

The street was wet and the corner was on a very tight angle. Everyone had to slow down to make this corner. We saw a couple of cyclists running into the barriers. No one fell or got seriously hurt, but it did slow them down.

the lead cyclists with only 15km to go

A few minutes later another group made the corner.

the next group coming through

Another thing you don’t get to see on TV are the sweep cars. At the very end when this one came through the sun made it finally out behind the clouds again.

Do you see the broom attached to the sweep car?

I love the broom…


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Paula Radcliffe out of Olympics…

While I am sorting through my gazillion photos that I took today at the women’s cycling road race, I see in the news that Paula Radcliffe is not going to run the marathon at the Olympics due to a foot injury.

That is disappointing – more for her than for me I am sure. I was so hoping for her to finally have a great Olympic marathon run. It wasn’t in the cards for her.

I will be watching the women’s marathon nevertheless on August 5th and hope it will be a great event!

 


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Olympic Cycling Road Race – Men

Yesterday I walked up to Richmond Park with my parents who are here to visit for the Olympics to watch the Men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race.

My Olympic viewing events seem to go like this – I am going to call it event viewing circle of life: I get to the viewing point that I selected in advance. Depending on where it is it may take me quite a walk or a journey on the underground. Only the torch relays in Kew and on the river were pretty much on my doorsteps.

Once you get to the designated viewing destination – making sure to get there very early to grab a good spot – you have another hour’s wait or so, then the event happens and if you blink you miss it. 🙂

Watching the cycling was great fun, but it was over in like a blink of an eye.

We followed the above event viewing circle of life:

  • Walked for an hour to get to the event venue.
  • Arrived early to get a great viewing spot.
  • Waited for over an hour for the cyclist to come by.
  • Cyclist raced by – hope you didn’t blink.

The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was great. This is what this stretch of Richmond Park looked like when we arrived.

About an hour before the cyclist raced by

Finally,  the cyclist came.
Here are the first three cyclist that I caught on camera. I think they were actually the first three as they passed us. (Great camera skills… LOL)

First three cyclists racing by

Then the winner of the race – Alexandr Vinokurov – raced by.

Alexandr Vinokurov

A second motorcycle camera team passed and the crowds went wild. Guess who was coming next?

Crowds going wild (with their cameras)

Of course, Team GB was about to enter the scene.
Bradley Wiggins wasn’t quite performing to the expectations of the crowds. But, hey, cut the man some slack. He just cycled 3 weeks through mountains…

Team GB

Followed by Team Germany, followed by more Team GB.

Team Germany

Today is the women’s road race. Off to go and take some snaps again. 🙂


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Olympic Torch Relay – River Thames

Being able to see the Olympic torch relay several times has been amazing. It makes me feel I am part of the Olympics. Yesterday I got to see the very final leg of bringing the Olympic flame to the Olympic stadium.

The Olympic flame traveled along the river Thames all the way to the Olympic stadium. I was lucky enough to view this right up close from Chiswick Bridge.

It was a beautiful seeing the Olympic flame on the river. The boat that carried the flame was the Royal Barge Gloriana that I mentioned in a previous post. It was also the boat that lead the jubilee river pageant.

Olympic torch relay coming towards Chiswick Bridge

As the Olympic flame was traveling towards us it was first held in the Olympic Couldron (I think that’s what it’s called) at the front of the boat.

You can see the flame up front in the Olympic Couldron

And somewhere between this picture and the next the torch bearer took the flamer over from the Couldron to the torch.

The way we saw it from the bridge was like this: one moment we saw the big flame, the next moment it was gone…

The torch bearer took the flame over

…but then a moment later as the barge came closer we saw that the torch bearer held it.

Olympic torch relay on river Thames

And a final close-up of the Olympic torch. The flame has to compete with all the gold on the royal barge. you can hardly see it, but it’s there!

Olympic torch relay on river Thames

Then the barge passed under the bridge. We risked our lives crossing the street to see the Olympic flame make its way further along the river on this very last leg of its journey to the London Olympics 2012.

Olympic torch relay leaving Chiswick Bridge

The torch relay was such a beautiful way to be part or at least feel part of the Olympics 2012. I got a little carried away at the end, but do I know if I ever get to do this again?

“A once in a lifetime event” is an often cited – and in my opinion overused – phrase. But I can truly say this felt like a special moment (or moments for that matter… LOL) – being there for a part of sporting history.

Here is my last photo of the Olympic flame floating down the river Thames on the Royal Barge Gloriana.

It was an amazing experience!

… and the Olympic flame is on its way…