Posts tagged "Canada"

Scoring gold medal tickets

Soccer, a popular sport around the world, generally doesn’t peak my interest.

But it was the Olympic Games. It’s Team USA and Canada with each team vying for a spot in the gold medal match.

The conclusion to this particular match, one of the few matches I’ve watched from start to finish, was unreal. Every time Canada scored, the U.S. came right back to even the contest. The same was true when the U.S. scored. Canada wouldn’t go away.

But it was the U.S. who triumphed 4-3 in extra time, forcing a re-match of last summer’s World Cup final with Japan for the gold medal in London.

The thought of buying tickets never crossed my mind. Everything is so expensive here.

As I departed Worcester for London, I pondered the possibility of getting tickets. Once I arrived at our London flat, I took out my laptop and began browsing the ads on Craigslist.

I came across one particular post, which read: “Four Tickets to Women’s Football Gold Medal Match; CAT A; First Row; Section 144.”

After pulling up the seating chart for Wembley Stadium, I realized these seats were right at midfield.

I replied to the listing and texted the number provided on the ad, “Are those football tix still available for gold medal match?”

Shortly thereafter, my phone lit up with a response, “So far, yes, but many people are calling.”

The asking price was 250 pounds per ticket. The first words out of my mouth were, “Holy cow. That’s outrageous.”

I got a call from, Remi Padoin, the scalper who posted the ad on Craigslist. I told him I was from the United States and wanted to see my country play in the gold medal match. I told him I’d get back to him shortly as I needed to round up three colleagues to go with me.

After asking around for nearly an hour, I was in luck. Alix Sappington, Jena Levy and Sara Schaefer agreed to go with me.

I rushed to my phone, punched in Padoin’s number and told him we’d buy them.

Having no idea who this man was, my stomach started churning. Scalping is illegal and I wanted to make sure we didn’t get caught.

Padoin told me to meet him at the Tottenham Court Road tube station at 7 p.m., roughly an hour from the time I spoke to him.

I hung up the phone and began recruiting volunteers to go with me to pick up the tickets. After another extensive search, Alix and Jena joined me, and we were off to the Farringdon tube station.

Upon arriving at the Tottenham station, I received another text from Padoin, “Hoping on the tube now. There in 15ish. Look for ridiculously long flag pole with Norway flag.”

As Alix, Jena and I made our way toward the exit and walked up the stairs, there was no sign of a long flagpole with a Norway flag.

We decided to go into Burger King for a final count of our money. It was all there.

We came out of Burger King and I couldn’t believe my eyes. A giant Norway flag was swaying through the air right across the street. Padoin was holding the flagpole, draped in a Norway flag while wearing a Norwegian Viking helmet with horns shooting out of both sides.

After being so nervous about making this transaction, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was an entertaining site to see.

The three of us approached Padoin. He greeted us with a smile, shook our hands and showed us the tickets.

He even asked me if I’d like to wear his Viking helmet. I couldn’t resist. All three of us posed for a picture with our newest friend.

Minutes later, I was holding four Olympic women’s football gold medal match tickets in my hand.

It was the strangest of occurrences, but it turned out to be one of the finest moments of this trip to the Olympic Games.

Tyler Poslosky  |   Sports Reporter

The face of the Olympic fan: Diversity and sense of fun characterize Hyde Park viewing areas

By Lindsey Gelwicks  |  BSU at the Games

The atmosphere at Hyde Park depends on two things: the teams playing that day and the weather.

When it rains, the park is nearly empty. Small groups of people are scattered in front of the big screens broadcasting events live and for free for the general public.

Though many are intent on watching the Games, some come to enjoy the atmosphere. A young man juggling five stackable cups of beer meanders through the small crowd. On top of a blanket covering the wood-chip-covered ground, a teenage boy sleeps with his head resting on a backpack.

But when the sun finally shows itself, Hyde Park changes.  Swarms of people elbow their way through crowds to food vendors or games set up for children. Pathways that existed days prior disappear as fans sit in any inch of space available.

But no matter what the weather, fans from nations across the globe congregate to cheer on their own in the Olympic Games.

ENGLAND

Mark Griffiths of England displays his pride for Team GB on his face.

Jean Baguley sat engulfed in national pride on a folding camp chair in front of Screen 1. Images of the Union Jack surrounded her, from the hat atop her head of white hair to the blanket on the ground where her daughter Lynne Wood sat. Like many in the park, Baguley had the British flag wrapped around her shoulders.

“Come on. Come on. Come on!” Baguley yelled, pounding her fist on her thigh in excitement, as Team GB struggled to keep the lead against Germany in the men’s eight rowing event.

“It makes such a difference,” said Wood, a London native. “In London, you feel more a part of it.”

While they could have watched the Games in the comfort of their own home, the pair went to Hyde Park despite the rain sprinkling down that morning. For Baguley, the atmosphere drew her in.

“It’s all of these people of all nationalities in one place,” she said.

GERMANY

The gold, red and black of the German flag wrapped around Daniel Stampmik’s shoulders stood out amid the red, white and blue of the British fans.

Stampmik came to the Olympic Games with his parents and sister. The sports fanatics were some of those fortunate to get tickets to live events.

The football match in Wembley Stadium was the highlight of his trip so far, he said, describing the excitement of being in the full stands.

“You’re part of the Olympics,” he said. “You can feel it.”

As Judith Ardnt pedaled down the ramp to start her time trial, Stampmik’s father raised his noisemaker above his head and twirled it around in support of the German cyclist.

NORTH AMERICA

Although Carolyn Graves and Wendy Kordesch were from different countries, the pair came together to Hyde Park to watch the Games. The Canadian and American, respectively, had been working on their oceanography doctorates in Southampton.

“You couldn’t have [the Olympic Games] so close and not go,” Graves said.

With tickets to the indoor volleyball game that night, the women killed time by lounging at Hyde Park.

SWEDEN

It hadn’t been the easiest day for Thomas Eddom, Ulrika Ronnermark and Monne Naesenius. The three ordered judo tickets through a website at home but discovered earlier that day that the vendor was unauthorized.

On top of that, the athlete they were rooting for, Sweden’s Marcus Nyman, lost his match early in the rounds.

Despite those disappointments, the three were making the most of their day as they sat around a picnic table, each nursing a beer. As coaches for youth judo teams, they enjoyed watching judo no matter who was sparring.

The park also gave them a chance to scope out others from their country. They just had to look for the bright blue and yellow of their nation’s flag.

NETHERLANDS

While most at Hyde Park chose to represent their countries through t-shirts or flags around their necks, Sjoerd Munnih and Franh van Sihhelerus took a different approach. Each sported a bold orange suit.

Although the Dutch flag is red, white and blue, orange represents the royal family and is used for sports jerseys.

Munnih had hoped that the suits would bring his team luck.

“It doesn’t work today, though, because we’re losing everything,” he said on his way to grab a beer.

CANADA

A group of Canadian super fans gather for a photo at Hyde Park, London.

With national spirit overflowing at Hyde Park, it’s easy for those from the same country to spot each other, just like Canadians Brad Watt and Megan Williams did with a group who called themselves “the Eh! Team.”

Although they wouldn’t normally have gotten along with someone from the other side of the country, Williams said, the Olympic Games were an exception.

“The Olympics generates a national pride you might not otherwise have,” she said.

The pair was in Vancouver for the winter 2010 Olympic Games and took advantage of family living in London to see the event again. Missing it wasn’t an option.

They arrived with more creativity than concrete plans. Days before, they traded a pair of Canadian sunglass with a Danish couple for tickets to rowing.

A young fan of Mexico.

MEXICO

Stationed in front of Screen 1, Maria Uribe and David Carpy intently watched as Mexico played Senegal in the men’s football quarterfinals. Carpy said he knew Mexico wasn’t decent at the Games, but he was confident they would win that day.

On the other side of the crowd, Susan Gonzalez watched the game with her brother. Each wore a sombrero in support of their country.

Although Gonzalez had lived in London for 13 years, she said it wasn’t difficult choosing which team to support.

“I’m Mexican 100 percent,” she said.

Thirty minutes later, when the game switched over to Screen 5, the two groups followed.

As Mexico scored their third goal of the game, Gonzalez whipped her sombrero off her head, tossed it to the ground and danced around it as the crowd around her erupted in cheers.

Lindsey Gelwicks is a senior magazine journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Lindsey and the BSU team at @lbgelwicks@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.