2012 Olympics: Day 4

Early start down to London from Edinburgh to be greeted at Heathrow by a smiling “Games Ambassador”. These guys are the stars of the Olympics, always smiling, helpful and non-officious.

We have tickets for the Women’s Gymnastic Final which is very exciting. Before we go there’s time to drop our bags at the hotel, and go for a quick run along the Thames past Houses of Parliament and London Eye.

Took the river boat to the o2 arena at Greenwich passing many famous London landmarks, the favourite is Tower Bridge with the Olympic rings. So far, we’ve had the most hassle free London travel free experience ever!

Straight through security manned by cheerful, efficient armed forces and excitedly find our seats. There’s a helpful pre-event demonstration before the gymnasts file out to the roar of the arena. Everyone’s on their feet, clapping, waving flags and cheering. The noise is deafening and the atmosphere electric.

I’ve only ever watched gymnastics on TV so it was hard to concentrate at first. Teams are paired and they rotate disciplines: beam, vault, uneven bars and floor.

Watching any live sports you anticipate magic moments. Sizzling performances where excellence is achieved. Beth Tweddle on the bars was one of those moments. She was awesome. I was also totally captivated by the Romanian team’s floorwork.

Then there’s always tears! One of the Russian girls stumbling and falling during her floor work. Knowing her team’s chance of winning is affected she’s distraught and is comforted by her team mates.

My strongest memory is the team members encouraging each other, smiling and crying equally shared. Oh, and the flag waving cheering crowd.

In the end the might of the USA shone through to win gold, Russia silver and Rumania bronze. Then the medal ceremony and we’re on our feet and I have to stop myself from placing my hand on my heart and belting out “Land of the Free”. Although I feel really proud just now about being British and even the most die hard cynic has to say we’ve welcomed the world here and are playing the perfect hosts.

All too soon it’s back on the boat and sailing into a glorious sunset.

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