Been weighting long enough…

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Given that I’ve taken two weeks off work to go to the Olympics nearly every day (24 events at the last count… a task I’ve spent a year arranging tickets for), I thought I may as well knock up the occasional blog post and let it serve as a memory. I’ve just left Weightlifting and have a couple of hours I’m killing at the Olympic Park whilst I wait for Water Polo to start later.

Firstly, top marks for the whole process of getting in to the Excel venue today – pretty flawless and the short walk from Custom House on the DLR was made easy by the vast amounts of volunteers and signposting. Alas, I suspect the whole thing is slightly easier if you are from London than the many visitors / delegates we saw from amongst others, Mongolia, Thailand and North Korea.

Excel itself looks very impressive. It’s hosting the Judo, Taekwondo, Boxing as well as the weightlifting. Walking in to the weightlifting arena you’re quickly in awe of how big the place is for what is a relatively minor sport in Olympic terms.

In short we watched a lot of relatively small people (Women 53kg / Men 56kg) lift an impressive amount of weight.

One imagines the Olympics to be about tiny fractions that make the difference between success and failure but the huge disparity between what some of the athletes seemed capable of lifting was an eye opener – over the course of the two lifts, one man was about 70kg behind the winner (who lifted 293kg).

The winner of the mens 56kg was a fellow called Om Yun Chol who broke a world record despite the fact he was from the ‘category B’ lifters, (who go in their own session, before the ‘A’ guys later) – which I think is the effect of Bolton winning the Premier League. The crowd went wild, which was all rather celebratory and lovely.

The big problem was the scoreboard. I have very good eyesight and really struggled so I can’t imagine how those 20 rows behind me must have felt like. It is a bit of an issue when the weights keep changing and the lifters don’t come out in a certain order, so it was a bit of a downer on the viewer experience.

The other thing of note was our MC – a young fluffy haired local who was doing his best, but was a cross between Ortis Deley (youtube it) and a wanna-be Olly Murs. At one point he turned to his sidekick – Mikaela, a former GB Weightlifter and said “Mikaela… now, you used to have a good snatch” (one of the two lifts is known as the snatch) – nothing got more reaction from the crowd. He and the narrator during the actual lifting spent most of the time telling us what a good crowd we were and how this was the most important day in the lives of our athletes. I bet he hasn’t asked all of them.

Alas, onwards to Water Polo.

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