• Olympic Panoramas

I’ve been lucky enough to go to three Olympic events: two tennis and one athletics. The atmosphere in London itself was high-spirited, quite unlike the capital’s normal demeanour.  Cheery guides and ‘Games Maker’ volunteers were everywhere, as were supporters in their national colours (the orange of the Dutch certainly stands out in a crowd). Everyone was having a very jolly time – a resounding “Boo!” to all the naysayers leading up to the Games.

I took a few photos with my trusty little Canon IXUS, so here’s an initial sampler from my day at the races, the morning of Wednesday 8 August.

I reached the Olympic Park at 07.15 (…).  The weather didn’t exactly look good, though it brightened up after lunch.

Off to the left is the Hadid’s Aquatics Centre, not yet a thing of beauty.  In fact, it’s pug-ugly, like a stranded whale being lifted on a stretcher.  But it should look stunning when the extra seating is taken away.  There’s some well-designed soft landscaping around the stadium ahead.

And, from a distance above the wetlands around the River Lea, with the Orbit tower by the Olympic Stadium.

There’d been the inevitable rough treatment of the landscaping by the host of visitors around the Park Live screens. The elegant mass of the Velodrome just about rises above the recycling and commercial clutter.

Early morning wildlife in the shape of Games Makers!

The Velodrome is still the most stunning building in the Olympic Park, viewed here from the banks of the River Lea.

And now for something vertically elegant: a lighting mast with a wind turbine on top. Its design seems to hark back to the 1951 Festival of Britain.

Inside the Stadium, we had seats very close to the Olympic flame, designed by the wonderfully creative Thomas Heatherwick, and to the two flags. One of the most moving parts of the Opening Ceremony was the carrying of the Olympic flag by the real great and the good, including Daniel Barenboim, who’d hot-footed it from the Royal Albert Hall where he’d just conducted a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

We were right behind the hammer net, looking down the back straight. Here’s when British thrower Sophie Hitchon broke the UK record in the qualifying round with 71.98m.  The 74kg hammer probably weighed more than she did.

More photos to follow, including some runners, curvy structures and a few oddities.

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