London 2012 Olympics – the Olympic Park, rain and dealing with the problem of smelly feet

It was off to the Olympic Park for the first time for me today to watch Handball at the Copper Box. Arriving early I had time to explore the Park but sadly it was raining and unless you have a ticket to get into a venue there are not many places in the Park to take shelter under between the showers.

Yes folks, it’s raining

The Olympic Stadium from underneath the roof of the Water Polo Arena – one of very few places in the Park to take shelter under when it’s raining

Once the shower had passed I had a little walk around the lovely meadow and waterway that surround the stadium. The only thing that seems to mar the simple beauty and tranquility created by the corn flowers is The ArcelorMittal Orbit looming over the whole thing. I’m afraid I don’t particularly like The Orbit. It’s just … well, it’s … just … so damn messy looking!

The mess that is the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Part of Sir Danny Boyle’s brilliant Opening Ceremony celebrating all things British. Here is the part recreating H. G Wells’ famous London-based novel ‘War of the Worlds’

London’s anwser to the Eiffel tower? More like the ‘Awful’ tower (sorry Mr Kapoor)

Then it started to rain again so I decided to dash over and take refuge in the official London 2012 merchandise Megastore. Unfortunately, there was a queue to get into it … a long queue … a very long queue:

The mega queue for the Megastore

Almost as long as the queues in Primark

Queuing, raining and the Olympic Park. How much more British can one get?

After drying out in the store and parting with more money than I really should have done, it was time to go to the Copper Box and watch Sweden v Tunisia followed by Serbia v Spain.

Inside the Copper Box

Before the first game, a round of ‘Give Us a Clue’: it’s a sport. Ball? … Hand? …

Sweden v Tunisia getting ready to start in front of some pesky empty seats

Sweden were very good but Tunisia put up a good fight. It’s a very fast moving game. A bit like Basketball but played by shorter men.

Sweden about to score again

I really enjoyed Handball and had a great view from the front row on the first level. But, as I said yesterday regarding my trip to see the Gymnastics, all good seats come with a price: today’s was enduring the smell of my neighbour’s feet.

Most British women are determined to get wear from their sandals and flip-flops in the Summer months regardless of the unseasonal chilly-wet weather. If I could bear my feet feeling cold – which I’m afraid I absolutely can not – I would probably do the same. I know wearing leather-uppers or even little ankle boots is not really in vogue with the season, but they are more effective at keeping feet dry, warm and pong-free than paper-thin canvas pumps and a pair of tights. Alas, my neighbour chose style over function this morning, and as her pumps dried under her seat, the cheesy damp smell of nylon was inescapable during the whole game.

It was a rather awkward situation: she seemed so very nice (at one point we had a mutually appreciative chat about Sir Danny Boyle’s brilliant Opening Ceremony) and I felt I couldn’t really ask her to deal with the odour before I died of asphyxiation. I would be mortified if a complete stranger came up to me and said my feet smelt, so I’m sure she would have felt the same way even if I had subtly whispered it in her ear, accompanied by a sympathetic smile. Yet, the smell was quite unbearable. Even the couple sitting behind me were muttering quite disapprovingly about it. They were getting more and more vocal about the stench as the game went on, so to protect my neighbour’s feelings I tried a more indirect approach.

After the third quarter of the Sweden v Tunisia game I discretely composed a text to my gentleman friend informing him how delightful Handball appeared to be, adding: “The lady sitting beside me is just lovely but her feet are a tad whiffy. I know she can’t help it but it might help if she’d put her shoes back on”. The fourth quarter had started by the time I had finished typing out the message so I used the restart of play as an excuse to distract me and delay sending the text, casually holding my mobile out in a way that any curious neighbour could sneak a look at over my shoulder. After Sweden scored two further goals, my performance in realising I hadn’t sent my text after all this time and ascentuating the act of pressing the ‘send’ button, would have won me a BAFTA.

I don’t know if she did see the text, but on my return for the start of the Serbia v Spain game, the air smelt far, far fresher.

A thrilling game between Serbia v Spain. Although Serbia were strong to begin with, Spain fought back and won. The sweet smell of success to Spain and of less cheesy feet for the rest of us


Heavenly views, devilish temptations and a hellish Olympic tower: Munich’s contribution to the ugliest Olympic Tower competition

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