London 2012 – Let the Olympic Games begin!
When I had applied for the British Chevening Scholarship early last year, I didn’t really occur to me what an amazing year it would be like to live in the UK. This despite the fact that my sister and I had already made plans to ballot for Olympic Games tickets and fly over if we were successful.
It really was only when I got to London and saw how the city – which I have been visiting regularly since I was 16 – was slowly transforming before my eyes. Well, most of the scaffoldings have been taken down, roads, buildings and more redone and the crowd has arrived.
The Olympic Games has begun.
I wasn’t successful in the balloting of tickets, and neither was my sister. However, next week, I will get to watch two different sports in action – one is hockey thanks to my best friend Adam who has kindly offered me a ticket (he got a few for the whole week, lucky man!) and the other is the football tickets pictured above, which I managed to purchase when they released some extra tickets over the past couple of months.
There were other sports that I’d have rather watched (and would have been nice to see some Malaysians in action too) but I shouldn’t be ungrateful.
Tonight, I will join my friends at their place to watch the Opening Ceremony – dubbed Isle of Wonder and directed by Danny Boyle – to kick start my Olympic Games experience.
That’s not actually very true. My London 2012 experience started three months ago when on the first Friday of May, I started my Olympic City column exclusively for The Star’s iPad edition. Every week, for thirteen weeks, I tried my best to capture the buzz and pulse of London in the lead up to the Games – from celebrations to protests, volunteers to ticket holders. If you have an iPad, get the app here and download the Friday editions to read my articles (those who don’t have an iPad can check them all out at my portfolio page).
In many ways, I tried to maintain a distance from the Games because of this. I didn’t want to get excited too soon for fear that I would miss out on the less-than-positive buzz going around and not pick it up to write about. The last column is published today (there might be another article in a few weeks to close of the Games but it’s not been confirmed yet) and I can finally throw myself in the excitement!
The truth is that I have always loved the Olympic Games. Even if it wasn’t held in my backyard (quite literally too, as the picture above that was taken just three minutes away from my flat shows), I would be all geared up to catch the Olympics action. I really enjoyed the Beijing 2008 Games because we were in the same time zone back in KL.
For as long as I remember, I have been watching the Games on TV, even the winter Olympics. Almost each Games, my family will get together to watch the opening ceremony every four years. To be living in a city hosting it, and having tickets to catch a couple of Games really is a dream come true for me. Who knows when, if ever, this will happen for me again?
Which is why I’m determined to make the most of it. Besides my column, I also made sure that I caught the Olympic Torch Relay in action. On Thursday, the torch came by near my place and the leg which I watched, a teenager by the name of Harry Urquhart-Briggs carry the torch.
It was only there for a few seconds before he jogged past me but I couldn’t help but think what an amazing experience it must be for him.
Amid all the whining and complaints, there is also a lot of positivity and excitement from the Brits about the Games. Being here in the heart of it all, I can understand why.
12am Greenwich Meridian Time