A Night at the Olympic Stadium
Through eight days of Olympic track and field, some pretty incredible events had already transpired - two world records, another Usain Bolt double victory and two American distance medals. All that was missing for me was a visit to the Olympic Stadium to personally witness a night of track and field goodness.
Without access to any sources for tickets, I trekked over to the Stratford Westfield shopping mall adjacent to the Olympic Park for a last-ditch attempt to scour for athletics tickets. I walked around the mall for half an hour before I ran into a Brazilian man dealing a pair of track and field tickets for Saturday night's action. The negotiations were difficult as he didn't speak English and I don't know Portugese, but once I took the cash out and started counting out £20 bills, things got a little easier. My wallet ended up getting a whole lot lighter but the good news was I'd be in the stadium for the final night of the 2012 Olympic action.
The London Olympic Stadium was very impressive. Although very different from the grandeur of the Beijing arena, it had a simpler elegance fitting of the efficient ways of the London Games.
Mo Farah dominated the 5000 meters to earn his second gold of the Games and cement his status as a British athletic legend. I've never heard a stadium as loud as it was during the final meters of that race. It was absolutely incredible.
The women's 4x400 was an exhibition of U.S. dominance, especially by Allyson Felix, who earned her third gold medal of the Games with an blistering split somewhere around 47-high/48-low that really broke things open for the American team. The bejeweled Deedee Trotter and the fastest wife in the NFL Sanya Richards-Ross both made their way to my section on their victory laps.
I was lucky enough to be sitting near an older Jamaican man who knew many of the Jamaican athletes, including Usain Bolt, personally. As a result, Bolt, Blake and the rest of the world record setting 4x100 team made sure to stop by and greet the gentleman while also providing me the chance to see Usain up close. I even got to touch the living legend's head.
Despite winning the silver medal, the U.S. squad was in very good spirits. After all, tying the old world record ain't too shabby.
One of the saddest moments of the night came from the Canadian 4x100 team. One moment the team led by anchor leg Justyn Warner was triumphantly embarking on their victory lap. Right as they passed by my section, the final results appeared on the scoreboard showing a "DQ" next to Canada rather than third place. Suddenly Warner was on the ground in the fetal position in disbelief of his team's bad luck.
I would be remissed if I forgot to mention the field events and the silver medal performance put on by Brigetta Barrett in the high jump. Brigetta is one of Flotrack's favorites not just for the amazing things she does on the track but also for her effervescent personality and ability to make anyone she meets smile.
After all the races and medal ceremonies had concluded, the stadium PA announcer was interviewing Mo Farah when Usain Bolt was summoned to join the interview. The two chatted for awhile before they made their way onto the medal stand where they swapped their signature moves. Mo did Bolt's double arrow pointing gesture while Usain did the Mo-Bot. The two main protagonists of 2012 Olympic track and field on the stage together in a moment that can only be descibed as cool.
For more pictures from my night at the Olympic Stadium, check out the full album here.