Posts tagged "Olympic Park"

An unexpected day

While in London, I never expected to go to Olympic Park or the Main Press Center. That changed when I was told I was picked to receive a guest credential pass. I would tour the center and walk around Olympic Park.

I left the flat early in the morning to meet up with our contact, Peggy Manter, that was getting me in. On my way from one tube to the other, I ran into my first problem of the day — the tube I needed was down, so I had to take a train to Olympic Park. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t the case. I only knew where to go through the tube stations and the stops made on the above ground train are not the same. So, now, I am someone who does not know London very well trying to get to Olympic Park. It was very frustrating until I finally asked for help from the people who work for the trains.

I finally arrived at the proper station and got off the crowded train. I walked through the crowd of people, making my way to the area where I would get our guest passes. After about six minutes of battling traffic I got to the proper place.  I walked in and received my pass without any problems. I headed to security where I was told I could not go any further without an escort. I spent the next hour frantically trying to get a hold of Peggy. It was the most frustrating part of the whole trip because we had no WiFi outside Olympic Park. Whose idea was that? WiFi outside the park would have made too much sense. So, I had to keep returning to the crowded mall, which was a three or four minute walk, which I had to do almost 100 times. Peggy finally emails me and said she will not pick us up but someone named Nikki would.

Nikki finally showed up about 30 minutes later and took me through the park. She was my ticket to get through security. She walked us through the park, stopping and letting me take pictures of all the amazingly big complexes. I wanted to go inside all of them and watch what was going on. I arrived at the Media Center and was told I could go to a press conference being held.

Snapping a picture with Jorge Posada, former New York Yankees catcher

I knew there was one with Team USA Track & Field, but didn’t know if I could get in. Finally, I get in and I get a big rush as I realize I am a journalist covering the Olympic Games. It was an amazing feeling, making me for sure know this is the career field I want to get into. I sat and listened while other journalist shot questions at the Olympians. It was an amazing experience as I gathered material to write my own stories. The press conference is the best and most enjoyable thing I have been to this whole Olympics.

After the press conference we went to the official Olympic store. It was full of people trying to find the perfect gifts. I found a T-shirt for my younger sister and I got my younger brother, who is about to get his drivers license, an Olympic key chain. As we made our way through the mall, a fellow BSU at the Games student spotted a former New York Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada. I am a huge Yankee fan, so I was star struck. I wanted to go get a picture with him didn’t want to bother him. After thinking it over, I was convinced to go and talk to him because what was the worst we could do? Say no and then we just keep on our merry way? So I walked up to him and shook his hand as I said I am a huge Yankees fan and he was one of my favorites. I then asked for a picture and he said he would. When he said yes I could not stop smiling.

I felt like I was on top of the world.

So, what started out as a rough morning of delayed tubes and not knowing who was coming to get me, ended with a great story to share with people and a picture with one of my favorite athletes.

Charlie Akers  |  Sports Reporter

@The8thKing

My Olympic moment: a long wait, the rings and … wow

As I walked out of Westfield Shopping Centre near the grounds of Olympic Park, I was awestruck by the view.

The biggest set of Olympic rings I’d ever seen were right in front of me, plastered on the northeast wall of the Aquatics Centre.

There were countless fences and security tents to get through before I reached the massive building, but the sheer size of it made it look close enough to touch.

Unfortunately, the whole scene was just a tease for two and a half hours because I was denied access with my guest pass.

The whole park was on lockdown, but when I was finally escorted through, all the frustration became worth the wait.

Every direction I looked, there were thousands upon thousands of people walking around the venues and fighting their way into shops. It was the never-ending madhouse that usually gets me annoyed and angry, but this time it was different. The row of stadiums made me feel like I was at the heart of Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago sports all at once.

It was then I had my first real moment of disbelief—these were the Olympic Games and I was actually there.

Connor Hockett  |  Sports Reporter

25 minutes for 5 quid—money well spent

After a confusing and frustrating run-around by the Olympic staff, I was finally about to see a field-hockey game in one of the arenas.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do today when I woke up. I knew a couple of the other reporters wanted to go to the Olympic Park to check out the media press center and wander around to find stories. I couldn’t wait to walk around though, so I broke off from the group to find my own adventure.

This is how I ended up at the recycle ticket sales booth. I saw a line and someone saying that the second session of field hockey was going to be easy to get into for people who didn’t have tickets. For me it was the only way I was going to get tickets, since I was not a U.K. citizen.

For this opportunity I paid a hefty price. It was an hour-and-a-half wait in the line to get to the end. By the time I paid my 5 quid, it was already 4:45 p.m. and I had only eaten a muffin all day. But I had my ticket.

I then sprinted to Riverbank Arena to catch the end of the match. Luckily I got there for the last 25 minutes of it. It was a good amount of time for the money I spent, the teams that were in the match (Germany and South Africa) and just the atmosphere of an arena in Olympic Park.

The 25 minutes I saw was enough to experience what everyone else probably was feeling that whole time. Even though Germany was already winning, there were close shots that looked promising for South Africa to come back, and even shots where Germany could have further divided the final score. People were still on the edge of their seats.

Putting aside the frustration and the long wait, I participated in a crowd wave that made it around the arena twice. It was an awesome day.

Michael Kerkhoff  |  Sports Reporter

No money, no ticket to the ceremony

By Jonathan Batuello  |  BSU at the Games

Not having a ticket into the Opening Ceremony left spectators hopeful to get in either out of luck or a lot of money. The ceremony sold out and a few hours before it began, scalping prices in Olympic Park ranged from $1,400 to $4,500.

Multiple people walked around with signs asking for tickets, and almost all gave the same response: nothing was in their price range.

“There are a lot of people looking for tickets. Good luck,” Mark Massely from Connecticut said.

It was a sentiment shared by Hillery Cecil from Atlanta.

“It has not gone well, not well at all,” she said.

Both said they had been in Olympic Park for a few hours looking for tickets without success. Cecil was about to leave, but Massely said he and his two kids would spend a little big longer before heading out.

“We aren’t disappointed we didn’t find tickets, but with the general atmosphere we are,” Cecil said. ”It’s just lackluster, just not very much here.”

This group was one of the last few to have a chance at scalping a ticket in the mall area outside of Olympic Park. Security began escorting anyone without a ticket away from the venue at 5 p.m. Everyone without a ticket then had to follow Massely’s advice and head to various places in London showing the ceremony on television, most notably Victoria and Hyde parks.

This wasn’t a bad option for Massely, though, who said he would head to Hyde Park and enjoy the atmosphere of being in an Olympic city.

“I don’t think we expected to get in (to Olympic Park), so it would be a luxury to go in,” he said. “If not, we’ll watch it like the other 4 billion people (across the world) on the big tube.”

Jonathan Batuello is a graduate student studying journalism at Ball State University and an adviser and writer for BSU at the Games. Follow Jonathan and the BSU team at @jcbatuello@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

For greenspace—and green ideas—don’t miss the Olympic Park

Heading to the 2012 summer Olympics? Wondering what to do?

With all of the chaos and excitement going on, there is something for everyone, from shops and restaurants to leisure activities. Check it out.

The Olympic Village is in the Olympic Park located in Stratford, East London. This park is not only about grab-and-go stands filled with food and souvenirs, but also much, much more. Providing a green background for the Games, the park is where all of the activity goes on outside of the stadium.

What’s in the park? Along the riverside, there is a northern and southern part to the park. The northern part–the “festival area”–has:

  • Developed industrial land, created just for the Games
  • Riverside gardens
  • Markets
  • Special events
  • Cafes and bars

The southern part (it may be safe to call it the more relaxing and less chaotic area) has:

  • Quiet space
  • Green ways to manage flood and rain water
  • Designated space for rare species to live…such as otters and kingfishers!

This park is no joke. There are 250 acres of new land developed by the Olympic Delivery Authority. They planted 4,000 semi-mature trees over 300,000 wetland plants, more than 10 (10!) football fields-worth of annual and perennial meadows. The development was so in-depth that they just finished planting everything as of November 2011!

The Riverside London 2012 Garden is half a mile long, located between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium. It boasts 120,000 plants, including 250 different species from all over the world.

The park is so developed and “futuristic” that even the trees were carefully selected. These trees are said to be able to withstand years and year of climate change and unexpected weather patterns. To make it even cooler, they are mostly all native species of London.

Finally, the art in the Olympic Park is something that could take an entire day to experience. For more information on how to see it, check out Olympic Park Art.

It is said that wherever one is in the Olympic village, the park will provide a scenic view with access to a path that opens up a whole other world of activities and memories to be made.

Sara Schaefer  |  Features Reporter
@Sara__Schaefer