Spectator's View: Olympic Stadium
Roving reporter Felix Lowe speaks to fan Chris Maybin about his London 2012 experience at the Olympic Stadium this week.
Chris Maybin, who works for a marketing company in London, has attended three sessions in the Olympic Stadium in the past week.
How was the build up? How was your journey and getting into the venue?
"Apart from the dawn starts for the morning sessions, everything went like clockwork. Aside one slightly sardine-like Jubilee Line tube, news of the demise of the London Transport system due to overcrowding seems to have been rather exaggerated. And even when things were busy, everyone was in such good humour (step forward fellow plucky Brits) that having an armpit shoved into your face just felt like part of the experience. Being wise old Londoners we headed for West Ham rather than Stratford, and this worked out perfectly. Everything was impeccably organised, and despite the crowds, we moved very quickly and efficiently. Security staff were incredibly friendly and courteous - take note Heathrow! - and the lively volunteers of all ages and colours were welcoming, amusing and helpful, in that unique British way."
Where was your seat and how was the view?
"I was in three very different parts of the stadium on each occasion. While being virtually within marshmallow-roasting distance of the Olympic flame was probably my favourite, each one had its own charm. The big screens and electronic signs meant that you didn't miss a thing."
What kind of fans were in the crowd and how was the atmosphere?
"Well, there were no prawn sandwiches being eaten, that's for sure. We were in one level up from the cheap seats, which meant that every seat was taken, and everyone was enthusiastic, vocal and delighted to be there. Some were athletics fans, some were clearly new to the sport, but apart from the scattering of a few international friends, what everyone shared was a fervent devotion to Team GB. The atmosphere was always good, but the more Brits there were, the more it reached fever pitch. The music definitely helped, although it was sometimes played at rather inappropriate moments. The stadium commentators also did a great job although it felt a bit wrong having an American sharing the duties. Surely they can commentate at their own Olympics. Yes, it may have made for a less partisan commentary, but surely complete bias is the God-given right of any host country?"
What was the highlight?
"The deafening roar that the crowd gave to any British athlete passing within a mile of the track. The more well known and the better they did, naturally the higher the decibels, but everyone was greeted like a king. Top moment, perhaps slightly bizarrely, was Lawrence Okoye qualifying for the final of the Discus with his final throw. I don't think many in the crowd gave him much of a chance; I'm not sure he was that confident either. The Discus went out over the automatic qualifying, and the whole place erupted, Lawrence roared, leapt around, hugged his coach, tears were shed by one and all. Suddenly all the hard work and sacrifice felt worth it. One of those many wonderful Olympic moments that rarely make it onto the TV. Spine-tingling stuff."
How will you remember the event?
"With enormous pride. For the crowds, the slick organisation, the staff and the athletes themselves. For the realisation that Britain, and my home city, had actually gone out and organised a flipping Olympic games. And bloody well too. And of course I will always remember the world's biggest McDonalds; still one of the world's great breakfasts!"