Grace Dent: Using ninja internet tactics, I finally enter Olympic Park

 

Share
Related Topics

After five days of Olympic red-button surfing, it was time to actually leave the house and enter the Olympic Park.

Snaffling tickets for Spain vs Croatia yesterday in the men's water polo – via ninja internet tactics – came at just the right time. I'd run out of clean cups and groceries. In fact, by the time Team GB had taken silver (downgraded to bronze) in the gymnastics on Monday night I was considering drinking banana Nesquik out of a shoe. I'll never see the jolly side of Japan sulking away our silver. My Olympics goodwill had also run thin with the beach volleyball DJ, the twonk who sounds like Pat Sharp warming up Tokyo Joe's in Magaluf 1988.

Somewhere in Britain a waltzer's control booth is missing its big gob. If you're reading this, sonny jim, I am one more "We Will Rock You" jumping to a "My Sharona" then back to a cheeky Mariachi trumpet before you get a visit.

Right now, the Olympic Park feels like a vast concrete Glastonbury with a complete dearth of places to buy merchandise, food or booze. How did this happen? I've spent six years being whined at about the IOC corporate tie-ins, then by 2pm yesterday I'd have motor-boated Seb Coe for a sip of a Robinsons Fruit Shoot.

Spain vs Croatia ended dramatically when Spain's goal in the last 10 seconds was disallowed, leading to a mob of Spaniards shouting the odds in tiny trunks. The Croatians had already donned their dressing gowns and flounced off.

Needing emotional rescue from the medal race

Medal-wise, I've accepted that the Chinese are – and I've run this past the sport desk, they assure me it's a term – annoyingly bloody good.

I've started treating our own Team GB athletes like the sexy characters in a straight-to-DVD horror movie. They look great in shorts, but don't get attached as they won't be around long. I kept a stiff emotional distance from Tom Daley. It worked out very well.

In contrast, I got my heartstrings all tangled up with the 18-year-old weightlifter Zoe Smith, which led to me spending Monday screaming: "But WHY would they ENTER her for that weight if she's not a good prospect in it?" I did this while frantically checking Twitter to see what type of cookies she ate for breakfast.

When it comes to medals, the surprises and freak occurrences are lovelier. Like 15-year-old Plymouth schoolgirl Ruta Meilutyte grabbing a gold in the 100m breaststroke. Ruta's from Lithuania but came to Plymouth to concentrate on her swimming.

Ruta's little face as she stood in the water, trying to make sense of events and then garble a message to her dad back home, was a special moment.

Anybody fancy a visit to Covent Garden?

Inside the Olympic Park and in Westfield Shopping Centre there's a constant stampede. In contrast, central London still feels like a ghost town.

After months of being warned by Boris that London would be a post-apocalyptic vision of nihilistic hell (OK, he said "jolly busy" while doing his bumptious Old English Sheepdog face, but we got the gist), London is actually TOO quiet.

There are no panicked tourists knocking each other under Tube trains or attacking each other with stuffed Wenlocks for the last orange Calippo within the M25.

In fact, Londoners, being a resourceful bunch, seem to have treated the Games in much the same manner as West Londoners have treated the Notting Hill Carnival for decades – by going on holiday or staying indoors with the blinds shut.

"Pleeeease come to Covent Garden!" a council official wibbled on the BBC London News, standing outside the Punch and Judy Pub in the centre of the market. In the background a juggler performed for tumbleweed and a bored crow.

This made me laugh. I always tell visitors to never look at London street theatre. It just bloody encourages them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

 

i Editor's Letter: Still all to play for at our live iDebate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering