Day 7: Olympics Day 2
Today is the biggie- Women’s Gymnastics. We make our way down to the O2 (renamed North Greenwich Arena, due to IOC sponsorship rules) in plenty of time to make it through security. They weren’t going to open the gates until 90 minutes prior to start time, so we had time to get in line for more souvenirs- this time: venue/event specific. Which means Abby and Staci were able to pick up some t-shirts. In the ‘small world’ department, we ended up in line behind a mom & daughter who were from Doylestown, PA. The gates were opened and we were ushered up the escalators to what looked like the luxury suites. To our amazement, our seats were inside a luxury box! And they were AWESOME!! The seats were extra cushy and the view of all 4 apparatus was amazing.
The morning session was Groups 1 & 2: Italy, Australia, Brazil and 4 mixed groups. Staci explained to me that a mixed group was where a country (say Puerto Rico) didn’t qualify as a team, but had a single gymnast qualify for the all-around or apparatus-specific (vault, beam, floor and uneven bars) events. Yet another reason it’s good to be married to a gymnast! Armed with afternoon tickets, after the morning session concluded we had to exit the building. We exited to a HUGE crowd of people as the exiting folks collided with the folks who arrived early for the afternoon session. Inside the security zone, there was an entertainment complex with shops and restaurants. We found the first one that had available seating, which turned out to be a Chinese buffet. All I will say is that this sparked my memory that (in my opinion) Chinese food in London doesn’t compare to home. But we had a seat and a place to kill time before we could get back in.
As we were in line for the afternoon session, we got cut in line by a single lady with a big backpack who showed ZERO remorse for her obviously rude behavior. Karma did come back to bite her- she had to endure an extended bag inspection, as we breezed right through next to her! Our seats for the afternoon were on the same level as before, just a few boxes down. We ended up in a luxury suite full of other Americans all there to root for Team USA- totally cool! We setup our flag in front of our seats and got ready. The afternoon session brought some of the best gymnasts in the world to the floor: Group 3 was Great Britain, Canada and the USA; Group 4 was Russia, China and 2 more mixed groups.
Luxury Suite Living:
Abby and Flat Explorer:
The Ladies are ready to watch Team USA:
The US rotation was vault, bars, beam and floor. What totally blew me away was that after the vault- Team USA was in the lead. Ahead of all the teams and individuals from the entire morning session. I asked Staci about that and she said that was because the routines that the US, Russia and other powerhouses use are way more complex and have really high start values. That would explain why just after one event, the US could take the lead. And that was the team lead that they would NOT relinquish in the finals. It was thrilling to know that we watched the US women’s gymnastics team start their gold medal winning run.
Honestly, I don’t know what else to write. The entire day went by in a flash, but what made me happiest was seeing Staci’s face. Patriotism aside, seeing how happy she was to be here, watching ‘her’ sport and being able to experience it is something that I’ll never forget.