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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum