One of the flagship venues of any olympics is the Aquatics Centre and London 2012 is no different. The flowing structure has attracted the eyes of the world with Phelps, Le Cros and a series of teenage girls making headlines the world over. The aquatics centre is one of the hottest tickets in town.
Well, the swimming might be over and boy wonder Tom Daley not on till Friday, but the place is still being ‘packed to the gunwales’ with people desperate to experience the venue for themselves at the Olympic diving. The athletes might be bouncing off a board at one end of the pool, but that doesn’t stop a capacity crowd of 17,500 people cramming in and extending all the way down to the bottom end. This very evening, I was amongst the rabble - how lucky am I?
Up in the rafters of the cheap seats, behind the premium media terminals, there was someone to get us going - the 19 year old Chris Mears (the next Tom Daley, only he’s older). Not much of a medal hope, but still somebody to cheer for. And cheer we did. It is something the British public have excelled at these Olympics. The ladies on the rose wine next to us were joining in, the union jacks were waving, once every round we went mental.
But you’ve got to spread the love (and maybe grab some of the glory), so we allied with the latin guys in front of us:
“Chris, Chris, he’s our man. But if he can’t do it, the Mexican can.”
The Mexican diver might have let us down and tumbled out of the medals in the later rounds, but Chris gave us a super-super reward for our loyalty. With his last dive he absolutely nailed it! With a score topping 100, it was impossible to shut us up. Scream, scream, scream! The Russian won, but, Chris, you’re my new hero.
And I can now safely say that I have experienced the frenetic fever of the aquatics centre.
Park Live: As close as you can get without actually having a ticket:
There is nothing like a British crowd. And there is nothing like a British crowd without tickets to see their favourite British sports star.
So, while the lucky few ticket holders gathered in the aquatics centre, thousands of Brits with passes to some of the other eclectic sports around the Olympic Park gathered around the big screen, labelled ‘Park Live’, to watch Boy-Wonder-Daley dive in the Synchro 10m Platform. There to take marketing advantage, British Airways were handing out union jack mats and themed tattoos to get everyone into their red, white and blue uniform.
I also love how the British are very quick to become analytical experts. As the super-slow replays showed small discrepancies in the pairs arm movements, gasps were taken around the crowd. But every single time there was a shot of the GB duo, the riverbanks surrounding the two big screens erupted. Everyone waved everything they could.
We might be overly critical, but we are bloody loyal.