I’m not really a sporty girl. The only sport on TV I usually watch is the Euro and World Cup football tournaments and that’s about it. I remember when we won the Olympic bid in July 2005 – the day before our beloved city’s tube and bus network was attacked by terrorists – I really couldn’t be bothered.
However, following the Diamond Jubilee, and the ongoing build-up in recent months, I’ve been stunned to find I have developed a mild case of Olympic fever, which is growing by the day! I actually managed to win tickets to the Olympics about a year ago and it is a sport – hockey – I know nothing about, but I am very excited about being a part of the whole games, the atmosphere, etc.
As you may have seen on the TV, the Olympic torch relay has been travelling around the UK for quite some weeks now. But with the opening ceremony of the games approaching on Friday, it’s obviously been time for London to get some torch action, and just in time. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had to put up with bright pink notices on our tube, horrific Boris announcements about how difficult it’s going to be to get around (thanks Boris, we’re well aware it’s going to be a nightmare… and by the way, you haven’t got a voice for announcing!), with most friends I’ve spoken to feeling an anxiety over the games. So with many of us Londoners feeling olympic-jaded already, the torch is a great way to inspire enthusiasm and finally make us feel like we’re part of them.
So this morning, I woke up early-ish (not really – 9am) and hopped on a (packed) bus to Crystal Palace. The relay was approaching from the east entrance of the park from Penge direction, running along the old Italian terrace balcony, down the steps and into the National Sports Centre, back down the steps again, out through Anerley Hill and past the Crystal Palace and Westow Hill junction then along Church Road.
There was a great atmosphere in the park. Lots of families and photography enthusiasts. Although everyone was desperate for a photo of the torch, there was no rude jostling. The weather was absolutely perfect too with perfect blue skies and sunshine. In fact, when I ran up to the parade for the last bit of the Crystal Palace-part of the relay before it moved on to Croydon, dare I say it, it was too hot!
Here’s a selection of my photos and the torch bearers, including Gold Olympic medallist (4x100m relay in Athens 2004) Marlon Devonish and London Youth Games chairman Anthony Kendall. As Marlon did a lap of honour in the Crystal Palace Stadium, it looked like the torch went out as he was mobbed by hundreds of people trying to get a good view of the action.
Marlon told the BBC: ‘It’s absolutely amazing. The crowd made it really special for me and everybody else. I’m gutted I didn’t make the [Olympic] team but this is a really happy second best.’
My best photos are probably of Police Superintendant and sprint coach John Powell, who was the second torchbearer to carry the torch down the historic stairs of the Palace.
To find out how to watch the Olympics for free, check out my blog on the Games.
To read more Metro Girl posts on the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, click here,