The Porcupines in action[/caption]Interesting, I have just picked through the athletics biographical entry list book that I nabbed before I left the Olympics, and it mentions that the Decathlon started on the 8th of August, So today was day 2 of the decathlon. Oh well, as we were largely busy peeps we obviously didn’t notice the decathlon going on yesterday too!.

Anyway there were lots of other events too, some big ones, with some top class athletes. Ok these were qualifiers, but the atmosphere was still electric, and there were many stars that we wanted to see today.

Now although this blog has only been written today, long after the events of the Olympics and outside have taken place, the emotions I was feeling at the time were as written here.
And today I wanted a glimpse of a great athlete in action, one who would appear in both the Olympics and Paralympics. Of course I wanted to see Oscar in action. He was becoming a bit of a poster boy for the spirit of the games and the entire crowd wanted to see him in the qualifiers of the 4x 400 metres. We wanted to see him in action, how quick was he, could he take the team to the final, and we wanted to see the performer in action.

Soon the time came for qualifiers, and the entire arena switched focus for a while from the Decathletes to the those who would be running around the track.
And there he was, standing virtually in front of where I was sitting (ok a long way down, but at least on my side of the track). He looked amazing, pumped up and ready to go, and playing to the crowd. And the crowd were loving it, the tension and atmosphere was electric and expectant.
The athletes lined up on their spots ready, and the crowd fell silent.
We waited, all was hushed, and then the gun went off, and the noise became intense. Oscar was at the 3rd position, so we had a bit to wait, but by this time we were totally absorbed in the action, and then….

Oscar waiting on the track

Oscar waiting on the track

Something went wrong, the chap in position 2 lost the baton, and that was sort of it, we saw the team looking crestfallen, whilst the rest of the teams made it successfully around the track to the finish line. It was a disappointment for all those on the track, and those of us watching. We didn’t get to see him run.

Oscar realises that he wont get his chance to run

Oscar realises that he wont get his chance to run

Soon we were back to the rest of the athletics, time couldn’t wait, and neither could the stadium. There was so much going on, high jumps, hammer throws and pole vaults, so much to watch so much to be absorbed in, and keep up with. It was a busy day, and most of us working in the stadium had been up since stupid o’clock just to be there!

One of the things that most people watching via the TV don’t get to see is the hard work and technology that is employed around the stadium to make it all work. 2 of these things are the porcupines, fantastic little remote-controlled cars that are used to bring the javelins and the hammers and shot puts back. They were brilliant, especially when they were racing around the field. Handling those cars looked like lots of fun, but I didn’t envy the two controllers, who had to sit out in the baking sun for 4 hours, at least we had the canopy and a regular supply of drinks and snacks.

The Porcupines in action

It had been a fantastic morning, but by 13:30 we were getting mighty hungry, we had been there since 09:00. So we took it in turns to nip down to the canteen, grab some lunch and come back to ensure that the area was covered until the end of our shifts.
We caught the end and reflected on a fantastic day as we made our way back to the IT office.

What a great day, I had met an Olympic champion, and seen some great events. I reflected on my time here as I made my way out of the stadium and park for the penultimate time. My next shift was on Saturday the 11th August, my last shift here, and the final day of events. What would it hold in store I wondered??

Well the answer is lots, but I will get to that in the next installment. It is likely to be a longer installment, there was lots and lots to do, and it would be my last day as a “free agent” in the Olympic park.

My last day.