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


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

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel

If I were Prime Minister: I'd end the war on drugs

Patrick Hennessey
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants