Posts tagged "Closing Ceremony"

Photo of the day: Closing Ceremony in Victoria Park

Thousands gathered for the live screening of the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony Sunday in Victoria Park, London. Fans watched the performance on huge screens, danced to live music and rode the ferris wheel as London 2012 went out with a bang.

View our full gallery from the Closing Ceremony celebration here. 

Photo by Valerie Carnevale.

Photo Gallery: Closing Ceremony

Thousands of people gathered in Victoria Park Sunday night to watch the closing ceremony. The park hosted the largest free viewing of the event. In addition to three large screens to watch the ceremony, there was a ferris wheel, zip lines, dance performances and live musical acts.

Read our story from Victoria Park here. 

Photos by Valerie Carnevale.

What was your favorite London 2012 moment?

By Charlotte Dunlap  |  BSU at the Games

Olympic fans waiting in line for the live screening of the Closing Ceremony at Victoria Park, London, share their favorite moments from London 2012.

Closing Ceremony at Tower Bridge

By Pat Boylan, Michael Nauman and James Jeffrey  |  BSU at the Games

At a pub near Tower Bridge in London, Olympic fans share their British pride.

Closing Ceremony draws excitement, end to the Games in Victoria Park

By Emily Thompson  |  BSU at the Games

Thousands wait for the live screening to start in Victoria Park, London. Photo by Valerie Carnevale.

It would be unlike London to go out without a bang.

Although all of this year’s Olympic athletes had put their skills to the test by Sunday night, Victoria Park tried to recreate the energy of the Opening Ceremony. The park had the largest free screening of the Closing Ceremony in the city.

There seemed to be fewer spectators this time around – the lines leading up to the entrance didn’t snake around the entire park as for the Opening Ceremony. Instead, people picnicked outside before gathering their items to go through security.

Londoners Louise Roon and Kenneth Lamont finished their snacks on a blanket in the grass before heading into the park. They had hoped to come to Victoria Park for the Opening Ceremony, but their plans fell through.

“We hadn’t made it down [to the park], and I wanted to see it before [the Games were] over,” said Roon, who had attended Olympic sailing, hockey and triathlon events.

Inside the park, the night’s event could’ve been mistaken for those of a festival. In addition to the three large screens, the park featured a Ferris wheel, zip-line, food stands, bars and dance troupes. Even after the ceremony started, the “woos” from the people flying above the crowd on the zip-line continued through the night.

Olympic volunteer Ollie Bolderson waited in a long line for fish and chips. He had just finished his last shift working at the water polo arena in Olympic Park and was still wearing his purple and red volunteer shirt and official lanyard.

At 16, he’s the youngest age permitted to be a volunteer. He considers himself a “massive fan” of water polo.

“The whole atmosphere of the park is just amazing,” he said. “It’s such a great buzzing atmosphere. And [the other volunteers and I] get to see loads and loads of water polo, which we love. So I’ve really enjoyed it.”

In addition to seeing a lot of water polo, he said he also appreciated the various cultures the Games have brought to London.

“I like seeing all the orange of Holland and loads of Canadian fans and those Australians, crazy Australians, and Americans as well,” he said. “London’s pretty diverse anyway; it’s not like a huge difference. But it’s nice to see. This is the best of London you’ll see, ever. Everyone’s here, everyone’s happy. It’s great.”

In front of screen one, Londoner Charlene McKenna sat on a blanket in the grass with her sister, who was visiting from Ireland. McKenna was on vacation in Spain for the first eight days of the Olympic Games.

“I work very near the Olympic site, so it was on my mind that it was going to be quite hard to get around,” she said. “So I sort of planned it around that time, but I didn’t plan it around that time solely to get away from the Olympics. Because I quite missed being here for it when I was watching on TV. I’ve come to this today to sort of feel the atmosphere I’ve watched on TV.”

Although she only experienced London during the second half of the Games, she said she can tell it’s had a positive effect on the city as a whole.

“Everyone’s really happy in London, and because we’ve had such bad weather this summer, it’s been really good,” she said. “I think everyone’s really enjoying where we are in London now in comparison to this time last year when the riots were on. There’s a really good sense of community from British people. It doesn’t matter if you’re Welsh, or you’re Scottish, or you’re English. I think there’s a good sense of coming together for the Olympics.”

After several musical performances on the union flag stage, montages of athletes crying and plenty of cheers from the crowd, the night ended with perfect symmetry to the Opening Ceremony: fireworks lit up the shared sky over both Olympic Stadium and Victoria Park.

View our full photo gallery from Victoria Park here. 

Emily Thompson is a senior magazine journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Emily and the BSU team at @ekthompson2410@bsuatthegames and

The last day, and the legacy

By Jessica Pettengill  |  BSU at the Games

Sunday morning in London started as every morning for the past two weeks. Olympic athletes competed in their events. Spectators looked on in awe at the Olympic Park, Earl’s Court and other venues. And those not fortunate enough to watch the competitions in person cheered from the comfort of their homes. But this morning was the beginning of the end of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The men’s marathon was one of the first events of the day, and the last free event open to the public. Fans lined up alongside the road from St. Paul’s Cathedral all the way to the finish line at Buckingham Palace. It might have been 10 a.m., a whole hour before the race even started, but the bystanders did not lack energy or enthusiasm to catch perhaps their last firsthand glimpse of Olympic athletes.

“Most people will probably never have an experience like this in their lifetime,” James Mason said, a London 2012 volunteer who worked on the marathon course, mere inches away from where the runners raced.

All of the Olympic events, not just the free ones, have changed the face of London. The British have lived with the impending Olympic Games for the past six years, starting with construction of the Olympic Park in May of 2008, despite the fact that the Olympic Games only last 14 days. But it’s not only the new buildings that have converted the city.

“There’s a running joke around here that everyone in London is so overly-friendly,” Jack Mercer, who works just outside Olympic Park, said. “It’ll be interesting to see if it lasts for good.”

The social and economic impacts of “mega-events” like the Olympic Games are heavily contested. The London 2012 initiative expected the Olympic Games to broaden opportunities in an already “diverse and vibrant city and country.” Before the start of competition, London 2012 also reported £7 billion in contracts generated by the Games and an expected £1 billion in sales on the UK high street.

“It makes me feel incredibly proud,” Mercer said. “London has definitely surpassed everyone’s expectations I think.”

Producing a strong Olympic atmosphere wasn’t the only proud moment for Britain in these Games either. In a matter of days, Team Great Britain rose through the medal count tank to finish third with 65 medals.

“Anyone feels proud when their team wins,” Angela McCandless said, a spectator at the men’s triathlon. “And really isn’t that the point? If there was no competition to win, then what’s the point of having the Olympics?”

It is winning moments that seem to stick best in the minds of fans. Mercer said his favorite memory was of Chris Hoy winning the gold medal for track cycling at the Velodrome. McCandless felt the greatest moment for Team GB happened when Alistair Brownlee walked across the men’s triathlon finish line to win the gold with the Union Jack wrapped around his shoulders, and then hugged his brother, Jonny, as he ran in to receive bronze.

Is the success of the London Olympic Games measured by the amount of medals Great Britain has received, or is it something more?

“I think there’s too much pressure for the athlete’s to win,” Richard Lockney said. The 48-year-old school teacher said even though being the best is desirable, it is the heart and determination that means more.

It probably helped that in the very last event of the 2012 Olympic Games, Samantha Murray of Great Britain won silver in the women’s modern pentathlon.

With the women’s pentathlon concluded, the competitions were officially over. The medals had been won and the count was winding down. All that was left was the Closing Ceremony.

Outside Olympic Park, all was quiet except for the distant cheers echoing through the streets, the low rumble of the trains and the sounds of Closing Ceremony announcers coming from the small Railway Hotel & Pub.

Over the pub’s speaker system, announcer Hazel Irvine stated, “It’s amazing to think that only 16 years ago Great Britain won one gold medal.”

“You can just sense the passion and pride across London and the entire country,” Darren O’Reilly said, a frequenter of Railway Pub and a native of London.

O’Reilly had been in Olympic Park for the Opening Ceremony and said there were two completely different atmospheres.

“The Opening Ceremonies were sort of uneasy because we didn’t know how successful it was going to be,” he said.

Discussions of the “London Olympic legacy” ride on the sunset of the Olympic Games. On the London 2012 website, there is an entire page dedicated to the Games’ legacy, in youth, sports, workforce, infrastructure and diversity.

“It’s not over for me,” Barbara Wellmen said, speaking both literally and figuratively. Wellmen decided to volunteer for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games during her nine-year retirement.

“This is something no one will forget soon,” she added. “It may seem egotistic, but this has been something really special.”

It’s hard to argue with slogans like the “social Olympics,” “regeneration Olympics” and “inspire a generation.”

Just before the explosive finale of the Closing Ceremony fireworks, O’Reilly summarized the atmosphere of Railway Pub.

“I really believe that we are leaving a legacy.”

Jessica Pettengill is a junior magazine journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Jessica and the BSU team at @jmpetty10@bsuatthegames and

London’s Lucky Chip selling burgers at Olympic party, new restaurant

By Jack Meyer  |  BSU at the Games

A ‘Kevin Bacon’ comes together on the preperation table in the kitchen of the Seabright Arms in East London. The burger is a creation of Ben Denner who has designed a burger for Coca-Cola that will be sold at a final party for Olympic athletes.

On a busy evening at Sebright Arms in Hackney on London’s east side, Ben Denner, an Australian-Londoner, walks into the pub’s small kitchen to see the final burgers of the night sizzling on the grill.

The burgers, the Tom Selleck with cheese, pineapple, barbecue sauce and an onion ring, and the Kevin Bacon with cheese and, of course, bacon, made their way to the table of Fiona Woodcock and Emily Henderson, new London residents who’d come to the pub for their second time.

“They stand out,” Henderson said as Denner’s girlfriend Jody came to cut the burgers so the girls could share. “They just taste different from normal burgers.”

Denner and his company, The Lucky Chip, have been in a flurry of growth the past few months working to open a new restaurant selling slider-style burgers in London’s soho district and designing a burger for Coca-cola, which Denner said will be sold at a closing party for this year’s athletes at Olympic Stadium.

“It’s a Coca-Cola-raspberry and chipotle barbecue sauce with beef patty, bacon, American cheese and seeded bun,” Denner said.

Last week Denner said he was preparing to make thousands of the burgers, which Coca-Cola requested be based on the drink, to serve at the event.


The perfect burger

Two of the night’s last burgers enter a dumbwaiter to make their way up to the dining room at the Seabright Arms. The pub, in partnership with The Lucky Chip, have had great success selling Denner’s burger recipes for more than six months.

On any given evening, the dim dining and drinking rooms of Sebright Arms are filled with dinners, generally between 20 and 40, munching on one of Denner’s ten burgers on the menu. He rotates certain burgers on and off the menu periodically.

One burger, priced at £16 ($25.10) includes more sophisticated toppings like duck, a veal and marrow patty with foie gras (liver), truffle aioli and pedro ximenez.

But the menu is also filled with the expected cheese, double cheese and bacon burgers as well as other less familiar combinations starting at £6.50 ($10.20.)

“We were going to do a menu of just different French fries from around the world with different sauces on them,” Denner said. “Then we started playing around with burgers and having loads of fun with that and one burger all of a sudden become five burgers and then we had a menu of ten burgers.”

Some of the burger’s, Denner said, took months to perfect, others he has been working on for the last year.

The El Chappo, a beef patty topped with bacon, blue cheese, roast jalapeños and a garlic mayo aioli was the menu’s first burger and took about a month to create.

“Normally we find one ingredient that we want to work with and then find things that compliment that,” Denner said. “For example with the El Chappo, we tried to find something that went with [the blue cheese.] We very quickly discovered that jalapeños go with that and aioli.”

Denner spent just as long working to perfect his burgers as finding the right places to source the ingredients for them. He said he tried a number of different bakers before finding the perfect buns, which are steamed before making it to their burgers.

“It’s the most important thing for us that we source our ingredients from the best possible place we can,” Denner said. “Our butcher is a 200-year-old butcher out in the country who drives 70 miles down here every day to drop everything off.”

Denner said he has tried to source as much of his supplies from around London but some ingredients, like jalapeños, have to come from elsewhere.

Steady growth

The Lucky Chip began more than a year ago selling burgers out of the company’s food truck in the parking lot of a London church. It then moved the truck to Hackney’s Netil Market not far from Sebright Arms where it began selling a few months later.

Since then, the amount of burgers the Lucky Chip sells has increased many times over but Denner won’t say by exactly how much.

“I don’t really want people to know. I like it to be a bit of mystery,” Denner said. “First when we were open we’d do 30 a night and we were like, ‘this is full on’ and we were kind of stumbling around like ‘what do we do?’”

This week, the Lucky Chip opened up shop with a new restaurant called Slider Bar in London’s soho, an area near the city’s center filled with bars and restaurants.

“The appetizer section, which is the first part of the menu, is designed around fun and fast food stuff but with our twists and plays on it,” Denner said. “And you’ve got essentially what would be the main courses, which is sliders. And then we’ve got our desserts, which are all ice cream based desserts.”

The restaurant’s sliders will be based on the menu that is sold at Sebright Arms but with a few new burgers in place of a few regulars from the pub.

Denner plans to start things slow at Slider Bar due to fears of getting too busy too early and, if things continue to go well, open a drive-thru.

“I’m stoked, I’m really excited about the future, we’ve got some big plans,” Denner said. “It’s what I see myself doing for the rest of my life now.”

Jack Meyer is a senior news journalism major at Ball State University and features reporter for BSU at the Games. Follow Jack and the BSU team at @bsuatthegames and