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Your verdict on the London 2012 Games


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So, we have only about 32 hours of these Games of the XXX Olympiad left. I guess we can rate these Games now. First of all, I want to mention the audience - it seemed to be very sportsmanlike, very e

Oh come now, Adrian's hyperbole is hardly representitive is it? Why let it get to you or colour your opinion? Considering most Brits here recently responded to Blacksheep's arrogance about London 20

Well I was there, and I have several remarks to make about some small, yet significant, details: Security was minimal. Genially minimal. It was done thoroughly and properly, but unlike some huge e

I made a rather detailed summary a few weeks ago about my Olympic experience. But my Paralympic experience, viewed not from the Thames or Greenwich, but from my sofa, raises some interesting observations:

London 2012 Paralympic Games Summary:

Q: Better or worse than the Olympics?

A: Unquestionably better.

Q: Why?

A: With all the different categories, there's a 100 metres final every night! But mainly because the paralympians sum up the best about sport: the Olympics are highly technical. The Paralympics are waaaay beyond technical, and approaching the realms of "how the *@§! did they do that?!"

Q: Anything annoying?

A: The ad breaks on Channel 4. I don't mind ads, but not the same ones every 15 minutes, please. The BBC's coverage was so much more thorough, but Channel 4's presenting style and features were quite imaginative.

Q: Favourite presenter?

A: Clare Balding by a very long way. Pure class.

Q: Favourite pundit?

A: Iwan Thomas - passionate, enthusiastic and quite a chummy interviewer himself!

Q: Favourite part of the day?

A: The Last Leg with Adam Hills every evening after the close of play. It was so good, so entertaining, that several squads broke curfew to go and see it on the TV. With a section called "Is It OK..." it made me howl most evenings! "Is it OK to hit a guy in a wheelchair if he's being a nob?" - "Is it OK to ask an athlete with no arms who wipes his backside?" - it broke through PC boundaries and made disability cool -_-

Q: Favourite event ...

A: Too many to name, but the T44 100m with Jonnie Peacock and Oscar Pistorius and the middle-distance wheelchair races will take some beating.

Q: Favourite competitor(s)?

A: David Weir,, Alex Zanardi, Jonnie Peacock, Jochen Wollmert, Ellie Simmonds and Sarah Storie.

Q: Thing you'll miss the most on Monday morning?

A: Apart from The Last Leg with Adam Hills, just having no TV on making cheering noises!

Q: Biggest disappointment?

A: That although it is the second biggest multisport event and so many other countries are showing it, the Paralympics remain largely forgotten outside certain countries that should be putting it on prime time television. I know the Olympians of many nations got rousing receptions when they arrived home, I hope it was the same for the Paralympians...

Q: The future?

A: Considering the Brazilians' excellent showing here, in fact better than their Olympic counterparts, the Paralympics will be in safe hands in 4 years.

Q: Best moments?

A1: Irish T37 1500m winner Michael McKillop's own mother presenting him with his gold medal and Eddie Izzard presenting David Weir with his.

A2: Wheelchair Rugby collisions.

A3: Seeing the Australian Sports Minister rowing the length of Eton Dorney in a TeamGB outfit, after losing a bet.

A4: Listening to 80,000 spectators sing the national anthem as if it were a rugby international.

A5: Being in tears more than in the Olympics.

Q: Predictions for the future?

A1: I don't think we'll be waiting 60 years for the next Olympics and Paralympics in the UK. I give it 30 maximum - the draw is too good.

A2: Rio's Paralympics will be great because they have a better team than their Olympic one!

A3: Boris Johnson, Seb Coe and the like will turn the stadium over to the Paralympic movement, and it'll be to the Paralympics what Wembley is to football.

A4: When people look back in 10 or 50 years from now, their one abiding memory will be the people of the United Kingdom, who are the finest sports spectators in the world!

Q: Going to Rio in 2014?

A: You'd better believe it!

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I enjoyed "The Last Leg" a lot, too. I watched it in my hotel room when I was in London and also watched it in Germany, by this live stream.

First of all, I would have wished for a comedy show looking back on the day's events in a light-hearted way also for the Olympic broadcasts on German TV. I admit that I didn't find "Waldis WM-Club/EM-Club" (a light-hearted talk show that until recently, took place every time when ARD broadcasted a World Cup or EURO final tournament or qualifiers match) that appalling at all and liked the comedy approach to "serious sports".

And secondly, I think it was pure genius to have a comedian who is an amputee himself presenting the Paralympic events from a self-deprecating but at the same time very self-confident perspective. It really helped changing the perspective for me, together with the ambition the Paralympic athletes showed during the Games. They didn't sound like "Oh well, I'm disabled, so I'm just going to try what I can" but like professional athletes striving to perform perfectly and beat their opponents.

For those who haven't seen it: Sadly, there are hardly any clips of his show on Youtube. But here's a stand-up of him about a Chinese swimmer without arms which represents very well what the humour on "The Last Leg" was like.

He deserves a TV prize for that show, I think.

By the way, Mercator: How do you manage to view British television in Germany? The BBC channels for example are listed in my satellite receiver, but they are blocked. Do you have a special subscription for these channels?

Regarding the ad breaks on Channel 4: I think that the "The Paralympic Games. On Four. Presented by Sainsbury's." announcements will stick in my ear for a loooong time. ;) Just like the Paralympic theme song of Channel 4, "Harder Than You Think" by Public Enemy:

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That's one thing I'm very glad not to see any longer - that bloody Sainsbury's ident!!!!!!!

Yep, shame there's not much in YouTube with The Last Leg.

Found another one though!

It doesn't work outside of the UK because of the greedy reptiles who work for TV rights, but it'll work in countries where rapacious, humourless gold-digging multimedia mafiosi and their bloodsucking lawyers have been outdone, outflanked and outperformed by geeky heroes who know how to fiddle with these things:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg_tUOX4jWQ

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Thanks for pointing that out, Mercator. That was the opening episode which was broadcast right on my first evening in London. Ah, memories! ;)

But how do you get to view UK channels on your TV in Germany? Do you have a special subscription? Because for me, UK channels (besides BBC World and Sky News) are listed in my satellite receiver, but they are blocked.

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Thanks for pointing that out, Mercator. That was the opening episode which was broadcast right on my first evening in London. Ah, memories! ;)

But how do you get to view UK channels on your TV in Germany? Do you have a special subscription? Because for me, UK channels (besides BBC World and Sky News) are listed in my satellite receiver, but they are blocked.

I watch it on Astra 1N - it's free! Got to have your satellite dish pointing here - get your local TV guy to come round and fix you up B)

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I hope you don't mind me saying this, but in the four and a half years I have spent in Germany, I think I've seen about 4 hours of German TV. I really don't like it at all... So I have UK television instead ;)

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I watch it on Astra 1N - it's free! Got to have your satellite dish pointing here - get your local TV guy to come round and fix you up B)

Hmmm... Thanks, but I live in an apartment house with one big satellite dish for all apartments - the other inhabitants would probably complain if we re-directed our satellite dish. ;) It was difficult enough for our TV guys a few years ago to re-adjust the dish when I suddenly could hardly get any channels here.

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Hmmm... Thanks, but I live in an apartment house with one big satellite dish for all apartments - the other inhabitants would probably complain if we re-directed our satellite dish. ;) It was difficult enough for our TV guys a few years ago to re-adjust the dish when I suddenly could hardly get any channels here.

LOL - that reminds me so much of what happened to me during Athens. I'd temporarily moved into a house around that time (we were waiting for the flat we'd bought to be finished and ready to move into), and it was semi-detached and shared a TV antenna with the house next door. The first few days of games coverage were okay, then all of a sudden, I could only get a very crappy picture. I freaked, of course. This was the Olympics! The big event I make sure I get to watch religiously every four years. Anyway, climbed up on the roof to manually turn the antenna round, with my partner inside to tell me when the picture was right again. All fine ... until the next day when the pic went crap again - my neighbour must have gone up himself to change its alignment for whatever TV channel he wanted to watch most. Spent the next two weeks every morning going on the roof to "fix" it so I could watch what I wanted, while he must have been going up himself after each time to adjust it to what he wanted.

Was glad to leave that place - the neighbour was a real pr!ck!

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Still not convinced about "best games ever", but best Paralympics ever? Count me in on that bandwagon.

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I received the following review of London from an Italian friend of mine. We were both in Athens together in 2004 and he was just in London:

I indeed was in London during the Olympics; actually, I spent 4 months there for work (May to August aprox.), and, as I had applied last years for tickets, I also could see some events. But it was so more difficult to find tickets, especially at reasonable prices...this was the biggest difference with the games in Athens. Or at least, one of the differences. The atmosphere was also completely different: i remember that in Athens it felt like a neverending party, you could see people from all over the world, happy and cheerful. I remember spending hours at the olympic park, listening to concerts, listening to the volunteers saying crazy things on the megaphones...

London was like a perfectly working mechanism, I never had to queue for long, or wait, or get stuck in the crowd. it was actually easier to walk around the city during the games than in the previous months, and the reason for this was that most of the Londoners had left for vacations exactly during the 2 weeks of the games, scared by the wave of people that would invade their town. But the games were "cold", distant, much less "human" than in Athens. The weather didn't help either.

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To everyone his own, but how one can perceive the atmosphere at the London Games as cold, is hard for me to understand.

Yes, of course the Brits and the Greeks have different mentalities - the Greeks (just like all other Mediterranean people) are far more expressive about their emotions and love to party outside until late at night. They celebrate the big tragicomical drama of life in all its facets. The Brits, on the other hand, (like the Germans, by the way) rather focus their emotions onto events where they are needed (like in the Olympic velodrome ;)), their way of celebrating and showing emotions is maybe a bit more controlled and less of a spontaneous frenzy as it's the case in southern Europe.

But nevertheless, they can party hard as well, they can cheer loudly as well, they can be very friendly as well, they can be warm hosts as well. And all that was the case in London. The venues were packed, the fair and cheerful atmosphere was praised by all who witnessed it, the Brits loved to celebrate the Games, the athletes and themselves. If anyone expected a whole city of almost 8 million people being in Olympic ecstasy, though, he expected the wrong thing from such a huge and diverse city like London.

And by all accounts of people who were there, he must have made something seriously wrong if he didn't notice the Olympic concerts, the volunteers saying funny and crazy things on the megaphones, and the happy and cheerful people from all over the world in London. If he didn't hear the loud applause and even cheers even for foreign athletes who beat British athletes and still think that those were colder, more distant and much less human Games than Athens, he must have made an even bigger mistake. I hate to fling mud, but just as a reminder: Athens was the city where the contestants for the men's 200 metres final were booed for painfully long minutes just because their local hero Kostas Kenteris had cheated himself out of the Games and that final. Did one experience such a situation in London? I don't think so.

There's nothing wrong about it that your Italian friend missed the exact kind of spontaneity and expressivity he as citizen of a Mediterranean country is accustomed to - and that therefore, he probably felt more at home in Athens than in London. But, as I said, to call the London Games "cold" and "distant" just because the Brits maybe have a different approach is hard for me to understand.

By the way, since he also mentioned the weather: The weather in London was surprisingly good and the Games saw surprisingly little rain. Of course, London temperatures can hardly reach Athens temperatures, but I don't think that one had to feel totally uncomfortable with the weather London had for most of the Games' duration.

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I can imagine that someone might view London's Games as "cold" just like they might view Japan's as "boring." I'm sure the Games weren't cold by British standards. Just like Nagano wasn't boring by Japanese standards. These are cultural differences. Athens was wonderfully friendly and open and joyful. It probably did appeal to my friend due to his culture. It also appealed to me.

My friend did highlight positive aspects of London -- especially the technical and logistical excellence, which I took as a given from the day London won the Games.

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I can imagine that someone might view London's Games as "cold" just like they might view Japan's as "boring." I'm sure the Games weren't cold by British standards. Just like Nagano wasn't boring by Japanese standards. These are cultural differences. Athens was wonderfully friendly and open and joyful. It probably did appeal to my friend due to his culture. It also appealed to me.

My friend did highlight positive aspects of London -- especially the technical and logistical excellence, which I took as a given from the day London won the Games.

To say London was "cold" but not "by British standards" is like saying Athens' infrastructure was "built on time, by Greek methods".

I was there in London, and I have travelled quite a lot, but nothing I have ever come face-to-face with could prepare me for the tremendous atmosphere or explain the sheer joy of that place. If chaos (a Greek word), traffic delays and torturously hot weather is what he wanted out of an Olympic Games, then we should have held it in Athens again to give the place some visitors once more...

I have a LOT of Italian friends who were in London, and their views were completely different to yours. They even went to the TeamGB and ParalympicsGB victory parade because they wanted to stand with the home crowd one last time.

I think you and your Italian friend are just jealous and are trying to find ways of making Athens look better. Sad really.

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By the way, since he also mentioned the weather: The weather in London was surprisingly good and the Games saw surprisingly little rain. Of course, London temperatures can hardly reach Athens temperatures, but I don't think that one had to feel totally uncomfortable with the weather London had for most of the Games' duration.

The weather in London was worse than most would have expected it to be a year ago. I got wet at most sessions I was at the Olympic Park for a few minutes at least. But the weather was MUCH, MUCH better than a lot of us feared it would be a month before the Games. Despite the odd shower we were very lucky that the sunny period during the second wettest Summer since records began was during the Olympics. And then of course we had a wonderful Indian summer for the Paralympics.

A reminder....

http://www.gamesbids...rain-more-rain/

As for the rest of Athensfans' friends perceptions, I'm as bemused as the rest of you. Perhaps Athens had a frendlier vibe in the city (I'd expect that of a hot European city compared with London anyway), but I certainly don't remember Athens as one of the more atmospheric Games inside the stadiums or inside the Park (which looked pretty baron in comparison to London's and I remember far more empty seats). I'd put all the English-speaking hosts of both the Winter and Summer Games ahead of Athens in that respect. Each to their own though I guess.

And yes, it was harder to get tickets in London and the prices were more expensive. I'm not sure why your friend expected that to be any different, suffice to say, we ended up with full stadiums despite the higher tickets prices. I can see why from a fan's persepctive it was probably good that you could wander up to a venue in Athens and be guarunteed a ticket, but for Games like London's that was never going to happen and of course the result was full venues. I'm sure Rio and any future Games will be looking to London, not Athens in this respect. And I certainly expect the next American host to be very similar to London in that respect with demand outstripping supply. I think you'd be dissapointed were that not the case.

Still, he oughtn't complain too much; it was much harder for us Brits to get tickets than those from abroad who had generous allocations for good sessions through their NOCs. We, on the other hand, had to rely on a hugely oversubscribed ballot to get anything at all and a lot of people didn't get anything at all. I'm not sure he realises how lucky he was with regard to tickets.

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The weather in London was worse than most would have expected it to be a year ago.

Really? Actually, I never expected the London Games to be extremely hot and sunny - already from my experience of the German summers and already before the extremely wet early summer of 2012 started. I expected a few really nasty days with cool temperatures, big amounts of rain and strong winds. Or two weeks mostly with grey skies and only occasional sunshine. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised by the actual Games' weather all the way, not only compared to our expectations a few weeks earlier.

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Late July, early August is normally pretty dry and hot in Southern England. This year it was sunny with one or two showers most days. But that was a lot better than what we had in May, June and early July i.e. constant, unendeing rain, which we all feared would carry on throughout the Olympics. So as I say, probably worse than our normal Augusts, but it was a relief the weather was as good as it was in the end.

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