Tuesday, July 31, 2012

OLYMPIC DAY: Part II - Fencing at the ExCel Centre

Olympic Day, Part II, involved going to what I dubbed "The Land of Marginal Sports," the ExCel Centre. I know that seems harsh, but the sports they have there are fencing, weightlifting, boxing, judo, table tennis, wrestling and taekwondo. See what I mean?

The day got off to a fine start with Olympic foam fingers. There's nothing like a foam finger to show that you're taking the sport seriously. As we walked to the bus stop, the volunteers with their Pink Foam Fingers of Authority (as I like to call them) kept giving the boys Foam Finger High Fives. Classic.

As we waited for the boys, we recreated the "Creation" portion of the Sistine Chapel with our foam fingers. As you do.
(I wanted to include this picture in my 52 Weeks photo project for the Guardian, but I couldn't because we're not allowed to submit anything with the Olympic rings, the British lion or Team GB. Bummer.)

I totally scored with these tickets. They were another set I got only about two weeks before the games, and they were only £20 each. Bargain. Sure, we were in the last row and my legs fell asleep pretty quickly given how tight the space was, but who cares. The Olympics for 20 quid! You can't beat that bargain.

Fencing itself was interesting, even though we didn't know much about the sport. The man next to me (who also was pleased about his £20 tickets) and I tried to figure it all out together, with mixed success. I think the fencing might just win the gold medal for the most dramatic arena, though. Check this out:

During one of the breaks, the boys got the autographs of two Italian fencers. The one on the right is Andrea Baldini, who fought in the bronze medal match but lost. They were very nice, though. Sorry for the out-of-focus picture but I think I was so excited about (a) meeting actual Olympics and (b) who were lovely Italians, that I had shaky hand syndrome.

Here's a picture of the American fencer Race Imboden in action. He's the one on the left with his helmet off. Unfortunately, he lost. But he lost to the nice Italian Baldini, so we considered that a win-win. We tried to do our bit by waving our American flag for Race Imboden, but it wasn't enough.

Here's a shot of Thing 1 & 2 at the end of the day. We were all very hot and very tired. I think it was the bright lights.

Finally, we left the ExCel. But so did what felt like about a million other people from the other events too. Here's what it looked like as we all left the ExCel:
Those are all people, believe it or not. I'm starting to hyperventilate just seeing it again, but then again, they were being marshalled by polite British people, who were explaining how we do things over here. If you can say anything about the British people, it's that they know how to queue AND leave in an orderly fashion.

It was another brilliant day. Roll On, London Olympics!

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