Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics Are Here! The Olympics Are Here!

July 27, 2012 has finally arrived, and with it, the 2012 Summer Olympics. I am incredibly excited. I've always been a big fan of the Olympics. It all started with the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, when my Dad's company made the scoreboard. It was the closest I'd gotten to fame in my short life, so it stayed with me.

When the Olympics were awarded to London in 2005, my adopted hometown, I could hardly believe my luck. All of my hard earned Olympic trivia could now be put to good use!

But now that we've lived through all the preparations and the restrictions, I can say this with a great deal of authority:
The Olympics are a massive pain in the ass for the people who actually live here.

Don't get me wrong. I am really excited. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we plan to make the most of it. We've got tickets for eight different events and we plan to watch as much as we can on the 24(!) additional Olympic channels that BBC will be providing. But bear in mind that I say that as a lifetime fan of the Olympics. There are loads more Londoners who don't have that much goodwill toward the games and are pretty grumpy about it.

The games definitely create many inconveniences for Londoners. Our rubbish collection will be at 2 a.m. No, that's not a typo. I consider it a prime example of what local residents have to put up with to host the greatest party on earth. We also got a letter advising us that we could get deliveries during the Olympics either at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. Ours may be a more extreme example, though, since the Olympic equestrian events are happening just a stone's throw from our house.

To buttress my argument, of how it is to be a local resident during the Olympics, here's some more photos:

This is an Olympics "Games Lane" which is reserved only for people in the "Games Family" (athletes, IOC officials and crucially, sponsors). They've been given the nickname of "Zil Lane" after the special road lanes in the former Soviet Union that could only be used by high-ranking officials. Londoners, by the way, are not members of the "Games Family."

This is a sign in Greenwich. In case you can't read it, it really does say, "Avoid Area." However, it doesn't include any helpful advice on how to avoid the area if you actually live here.

OK. I feel better now. I got all of my complaints out of my system. By the way, the British people feel very strongly that they are the only ones allowed to whinge and complain about the Games. Hey, we're paying for it, so we're allowed to say whatever we want. U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney? You can just shut up about your concerns about the games. Like a house guest, the only thing you're allowed to say are compliments. Show some manners. (You can say whatever you want when your rubbish gets collected at 2 a.m. So there.)

But even with all that, I'm truly excited about the games.  London has never looked better. My street, even, has never looked better-- they've painted, cleaned, swept and even added flowers. I've spotted loads of interesting things around town in the run up. Here in Greenwich, I got to see them test this aerial camera:

In Leicester Square, they hung these enormous Olympic medals in the trees:

Finally, the best Olympic moment so far (BAR NONE) was seeing our great good friend Zoe Ayling carry the Olympic torch on Monday morning. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it again. She won the honour because of her charity work, but frankly I think she could win it for being all-around awesome.


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