Majesty and Awe in London

Posted on August 6 2012 by Sarah

From Dr. Reva Draeger on her experience at the London Olympics:

Dr Curt Draeger and Dr Reva Draeger outside London’s Olympic Stadium

Dr Curt Draeger and Dr Reva Draeger outside London’s Olympic Stadium

Here’s a visual… within this secured area (complete with guards) is the aquatic center, Olympic Stadium (which is ginormous), the TV station tower, the Olympic megastore, the largest McDonalds that I have ever seen, rows of shops, food stands, and more. There are concrete walkways, hills, steps with a river and bridges surrounded by flowers running throughout. It has its own brand of majesty and awe.

This is the most people in one place I have ever seen. Imagine 160,000 people converging into one mass (80,000 coming and 80,000 going).  All you can see is a sea of people with glimpses of the upper halves of buildings.  Lines for everything seemed to be thousands of people long. The McDonald’s and the Olympic megastore had their own traffic directors on duty. Truly an experience!

Dr Curt and Dr Reva Draeger inside Olympic Stadium

Dr Curt Draeger and Dr Reva Draeger at London’s Olympic Stadium for the Women’s Heptathlon

The stadium itself was filled to its 80,000 capacity, mostly by the Brits. When the athletes came out, there was a huge roar. Take a Packer game and multiply the cheers ten-fold. The Brits aren’t selfish with their enthusiasm either, they cheered for past record holders and darlings of the field, no matter where they were from. The Wave was an outstanding success, for some reason it’s called the Mexican Wave here, but no one we’ve asked knows why.

It was electrifying to be amongst the crowd. It is said that this is the largest and most participatory Olympic crowd ever. I do have to agree the atmosphere in the stadium in Beijing was not close to here in London.

The field had several events happening at the same time. For a first timer, it could be a bit confusing, but I’ve been to enough track and field events that I was expecting it. So we saw and cheered for many athletes (male and female) not just the heptathlon girls. We saw shot put, hammer throw, many running events – from 100 meter sprints to 10,000 meter distance run, long jump, hurdles, and steeple chase (yes there is a human steeple chase race!).

I was also extremely impressed by the horse guard. As you walk out of the Olympic stadium on your way to the various trains, there is a line of 10-15 horses all standing in a row (with about 15 feet between each of them) facing forward as the crowd walks through and past them. I wished I could have gotten a picture but with all of the people it was impossible.

We had been anticipating our trip to Olympic Stadium and were thrilled to have gone.  Of course, we can’t wait to go to the Decathlon on Wednesday, especially with Ashton [Eaton] favored for gold.
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