London 2012: Olympic house parties attract thousands


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Olympic houses across the capital have thrown parties to celebrate the Games, bringing thousands of people through their doors.

The courtyard at Somerset House was awash with green and yellow-clad revellers as the Casa Brazil carnival kicked off.

It had been opened earlier in the week by a trio of presidents; Brazilian head of state Dilma Rousseff, Jacques Rogge of the International Olympic Committee and Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who is heading up the Rio 2016 preparations.

“We had over a 1000 people in the courtyard on Saturday night - it was a really great atmosphere,” said a spokesman.

Party-goers at Somerset House can get a taste of the Olympics in four years time - a simulator offering virtual flights over host city Rio has been installed.

Meanwhile, the beer has been flowing at the Australian party in the City Hotel London, Aldgate, which has seen between 150 and 200 revellers every night, while the Russians and African nations descended on Kensington Gardens.

Meanwhile, Hollywood A-listers brought a touch of glamour to the capital’s streets at an exclusive shindig hosted by Omega – the official timekeepers of the Games.

Actress Nicole Kidman, dazzling in Azzedine Alaia and sporting her Ladymatic timepiece, was the first to arrive at Omega House in Soho on Saturday night, chaperoned by her husband US country singer Keith Urban.

They were joined by actors Eddie Redmayne and Kit Harington as well as TV presenter Caroline Flack among others.

Keeping them entertained were Pulp front-man Jarvis Cocker and celebrity illusionist Dynamo.

The Austrian celebrations at Trinity House in Tower Hill, which has been transformed into a Tyrolean Alpine Garden, got off to a very different start.

After the cycling team arrived, having travelled more than 800 miles by bike for the opening ceremony, the Tyrolean Rifle Guards paraded to the sound of traditional music and a gun-shot salute.

They were welcomed by the London Beefeaters who took their counterparts’ rifles back to the Tower of London for safeguarding alongside the Crown Jewels in a show of support.

Not to be outdone in the glamour stakes, however, the guest-list included fashion designer Vivienne Westwood among other stars.

While most parties got under way at the weekend, the Greek celebrations did not formally get underway until this morning Greek Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain blessed the House of Hellenes at the Carlton Club.

The ceremony will be followed by a “real Greek party” tonight and a number of other events throughout the week.

Renowned soprano Anastasia Zannis, who as a child sang at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Calgary, will perform a selection of songs and poems on Wednesday night.

The following day, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Ioannis Melissanidis, who is now an actor, will present his interpretation of the Greek myth Sisyphus.

Various celebrities with Greek ties, including Peter Andre, have also been invited to join in the party.

Spokeswoman Katilena Alpe said the festivities would be welcome relief from the country’s economic woes.

“Hopefully, it will change our luck,” she added.