Day 10 of the London 2012 games as I sit and write this and I’m amazed at how fast it’s all flown by. A month in London sounds pretty long. And although we’ve been here a little over two weeks, I honestly feel like we arrived just a few days ago.
Our days have been incredibly fast-paced, what with running all over this massive and great city to cover different events; not just events that the Philippines is represented in, but also others wherein we are not, to give the viewing public back home (that’s you!) a broader look at the 2012 London Olympics. We’ve also experienced quite a few ups and downs on the Team Philippines front, small sips of victory here, bigger swallows of disappointment there. It’s all part of the Games.
Here are some pictures from behind the scenes:
The Aquatics Center, where Michael Phelps made history by becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Grabbing a bite for lunch in the Plaza Cafe inside the Athlete’s Village. This cafe is the farthest point that media is really allowed to enter without special passes.
Clowning around with young Pinoy swimmers Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi. This was right after Jasmine’s competition, and she came out to the Plaza in the Village to chat with us.
This is how we do it. Derek on standby right on the streets for a live Skype patch on TV5. Wanna know how he keeps in tip-top shape despite our hectic schedule? He holds my iPad out at arm’s length, keeping it stable for the longest time while on standby. Hehehe. I’m just kidding.
Inside the volleyball arena in Earl’s Court. These matches were so fun to watch! The crowd was one of the most alive I’ve seen so far!
With our BMX bet, Fil-Am Danny Caluag, and his wife Stephanie, again in the Plaza in the Athlete’s Village. Danny did his first lengthy TV interview for Philippine television with us. We got to know him a little better. Hope you caught the interview!
Derek posing with our Athletics bets, Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera inside the Park.
Inside the Olympic Stadium on the first day of Athletics. It’s a massive structure that can accommodate up to 80,000 people, and you can clearly see that it was a full house that day. I remember that BBC had been warning locals that around 200,000 people were expected to hit the Park that day, and that there had been severe delays on the Tube as early as 8 am. Check out the design: it’s supposed to look like a crown.
See the flame burning, yeah?
Shooting spiels at the Stadium. What an exhilarating experience! The crowd there was the best we had seen in the 2012 Olympics so far! Yes, better than volleyball. Just being in the stands gave me goosebumps. The Stadium is such a symbol of the Olympics, and at that moment, I really felt the rush and gravity of attending and covering the greatest sporting event in the world.
With Derek, Dyana Garcia of AKTV and Mark Anthony Barriga, right after he lost his fight to Khazakstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov, and our protest was junked. Mark definitely wasn’t happy, but he still took it in stride and radiated positivity. Still very upbeat.
Now that we’ve been here for a couple of weeks, I don’t feel so much like we’re in a foreign country anymore. The Tube doesn’t feel like a never-ending maze below ground that might trap me in darkness forever, but like an efficient form of transportation. Well, as efficient as it can be with an extra two million visitors hopping on and off at each station.
I now know the general direction of most places in the city, and I think I’ve also pretty much eaten in most of the Londoners’ usual haunts (Nando’s for the Portugese peri-peri chicken, Wagamama for the Japanese fusion cuisine, Pret A Manger for their sandwiches, and the dozens of kebab places scattered on the streets). I did make the all-important observation that, hot damn, there are a lot of Indian and Thai restaurants here!
I think I’ve also pretty much adjusted to the fact that the sun goes down at around 10 pm, something that drove me crazy my first few days. Ah, the London summer. And speaking of their summer, I’ve also stopped wearing my thicker jackets during the day while the locals are traipsing around in tank tops and itty bitty shorts.
The Olympic Park in the East End is pretty much its own self-sustaining universe; you can pretty much find everything you need in there for media and athletes. Our hotel, however, is located all the way in the West End, so we have to pass through most of the city at least twice a day. It’s quite the hassle, as London is a large place, and traffic can get pretty bad, whether on the streets or on the Underground, but it’s afforded us lots of chances to really get our hands dirty in this great city.