Friday, August 03, 2012

OLYMPIC DAY: Park IV - Beach Volleyball at Horse Guards Parade

The Olympics have done an utterly fab job at using iconic London settings. Here in Greenwich, we really moaned about them taking over the park, but it definitely paid off because the venue looks beautiful. The same might also be said of Horse Guards Parade, right behind Downing Street. I don't know if the bureaucrats complained about the beach volleyball being there, but it looked great when we were there.

Here's the band warming up the crowd before the party-- I mean athletic contest-- began.

Beach volleyball has proven to be one of the most popular events at these Olympic games. It's not hard to figure out why-- athletic women wearing bikinis and jumping around. As we scanned the crowd, we saw A LOT of gentlemen who were enjoying the action before they headed off to the office. At least, that's what we deduced since so many of them were wearing suits. 

Here's a funny fact for the day: for each session, they have both a women's and a men's game, because they were worried that the men's games wouldn't sell but they knew the women's would. As a feminist, I can't quite figure out if this is progress or not.

Olympic beach volleyball proved to be one of the more unusual athletic contests I've been to, and as one who once started the Alaskan Pig Racing Contest, that's saying something. It felt more like a party than an Olympic competition. Along with the Mexican wave and popular music, which are linchpins of nearly all (not Equestrian!) the venues, beach volleyball also had a conga line, the Big Brother announcer and dancers in bikinis. (I'm wondering how the dancers will list this experience on their CV. Olympic dancer? I'd love to have that on my CV.)

Here's a snap of the women's game we saw. It was Germany (red) versus Germany (blue). We weren't sure if Germany would win, but they pulled through in the end. This is not unlike the Gold Medal Game, which will see the USA play the USA. Good luck USA!

It was quite a day. Even better, my friend Ellie and I saw two different sets of friends while we were waiting to see the game. See? London really is like one big village? (Not really.) But it added to the fun that we saw friends there. 

Finally, here's another panoramic picture of the venue. I took this after all the fun was over, unfortunately. But you still get a sense of how beautiful it was there.

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