Welcome to my blog detailing my groundhopping exploits. My aim is to visit all football grounds in England (Premier league to the 8th tier) Scotland (SPL to 3rd Division) and the Welsh premier league I may also add grounds from other sports or countries. I hope you enjoy reading.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Olympic Park - Paralympic Games - Various Dates

Olympic Stadium

Paralympic Opening Ceremony 29/08/12
Paralympic Athletics 08/09/12

Copper Box

Goalball - 30/08/12
                Team GB 1-11 Lithuania
                Finland 5-6 Brazil
                Turkey 9-2 Sweden

Aquatics Centre

Paralympic Swimming 07/09/12

Over the past couple of weeks I have been lucky enough to attend a number of events at the London 2012 Paralympic games.

Firstly I attended the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium this was an incredible night I have uploaded a small portion of photos below. I didn't understand what was going on half the time but it all looked spectacular. Although the near 2 hours of watching the teams enter the stadium did drag a bit until Team GB entered and the stadium erupted.

                  Team GB Enter the Stadium



The next morning I went to see some goalball, this is yet another sport that I went to see during the course of the Olympic and Paralympic games that I had never seen or really heard of before.

Goalball is played by two teams of 3 at each end of a small court where they have to roll the ball into the others goal. The difficulty in this sport is that all the players are either blind or partially sighted and wear eye masks so that they are all on a level playing field. The ball has bells in and therefore players are listening for the ball rather than looking for it. As such the crowd must remain silent while the ball is in play but are able to cheer when a goal is scored which isn't as often as I would have thought as the players hearing must be incredible.

Goalball was played in the Copper Box on the Olympic Park. The Copper Box is one of the Smaller Venues on the park holding around 6000 Spectators in two tiers of multicoloured seats. It is a permanent venue and will be transformed into a sports hall after the games.

The first game in the session was between Team GB and reigning world champions Lithuania

We were only entered into the tournament due to being the host nation and the class difference definitely showed in this match. In Goalball a game is stopped if one team goes 10 goals ahead and this one was with still 8 minutes to go of the second half (each half is 12 minutes long) with the Lithuanians leading 11-1.

The second match was what was to be the final of the tournament between Finland and Brazil. Brazil just scrapped a 6-5 win. Finland gained revenge in the final winning 8-1.

Match action Brazil attacking

The last game in the session was between Turkey and Sweden with Turkey winning comfortably with a score of 9-2.

Eventual Champion Finland Defending

The next week we went to the Aquatics Centre to watch the Paralympics Swimming, the night we went involved all finals.
The Aquatics Centre is probably the most impressive looking stadium on the Park and holds around 20,000 spectators. The seats inside the venue are located on either side of the pool with big screens at one end and the diving pool at the other. From the top tier of seats you are unable to see most of the seats on the opposite side of the pool due to the roof that curves down low towards the pool.
View from seats

One of the most impressive races of the night was the T11 men's 400m Freestyle. T11 is for blind swimmers who are tapped on the head with a long stick with a foam ball on the end when they get to each end of the pool so that they are able to complete there turns perfectly. The winner was an American ex Navy serviceman, who I believe was injured in action.  
T11 Men's 400m Medal Ceremony
The last race of the night was the Women's 4x100m medley relay, Great Britain were in the race. They started slowly but with 50m to go were catching the leaders very quickly and the noise within the Aquatics Centre while they were doing so was incredible, of all the sporting events I have ever been to I have never heard a noise like it, it was deafening and I was unable to hear my own shouting. Unfortunately Team GB were just pipped to gold by 0.03 seconds. But the race ended the night perfectly.
The next day I was back at the Olympic Stadium to watch the last night of the Athletics. The stadium seats 80,000 in two tiers with large screens at each end between the two tiers. The stadium is due to be decreased in size after the games but to what nobody is entirely sure until it has been decided who is to occupy the stadium.  There were very few Brits involved in any of the finals I saw, but did get to see the Paralympics poster boy Oscar Pistorious win the T44 400m Final.The best event of the night though was in fact the High Jump, with the eventual winner from Poland breaking the current world record by jumping 2.12m. his was not the only world record of the night though as every race seemed to break a World Record there were at least 7 on the night.
Now that the Olympic/Paralympics are over I will now concentrate back on the football. My aim this season is to complete the Ryman League Division 1 North. I have 9 clubs to get to. I also want to complete the London based premier league clubs of which I only need to get to QPR's Loftus Road ground.
My first game will be at Tilbury on the 29th Sept. But until that time I will leave you with one more picture of the Olympic Park.

1 comment:

  1. Just realised that you managed to get into all the venues except the Velodrome. Thats pretty good going