Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Other Side of the Olympics

This is the first in a series of exclusive posts, about the things you won't have seen on TV. An actual athlete experience. The exclusive beyond-security inside-village insight.
For everyone! For free! On my blog!
Of course, it is simply my personal experience, being the individual that I am and being part of the Great (by name and description ;)) British Gymnastics Team of London 2012. But since that is all I can offer, offer it I will. You already know about the routines, the scores, the medals. But whilst I may mention these triumphs, these series of posts will reveal the rest: arriving, training, eating, sleeping, travelling, pitfalls and perks. I have mentioned bits and bobs in various interviews since the Games but here it is in official post format.


Painting done by Twitter follower James W Smith.

Foreword- I wrote a diary of my Summer in a notepad given to me by Nila Benfield so that I would remember everything, considering the stereotypical goldfish standard of my memory capacity, but unfortunately the last few days of the Games were so exciting I only had time to write some notes on my laptop. These notes would jog my memory if I could access them; but my laptop has since withered and di--EXPLODED, thus taking those details with it to the grave. I will do my best to type up everything that I experienced, but apologies for any gaps or missing particulars.


Sunday 22nd July 2012- Coach.

DTN- (Drugs testing notes- if tested you need to know past two weeks information about anything you've taken or you could fail if you don't report it) - Had paracetamol yesterday for headache.
On coach to the OLYMPIC VILLAGE in Stratford.
Left Lil' (Lilleshall National Sports Hall, the training centre where we'd been staying) at 8am ish.

Lugged all my heavy red Olympic bags up the stairs from Kent block at half seven. It took three trips which was far too much effort for that time in the morning. Everyone got their stuff loaded on to the coach and we had photos and said goodbye to everyone who wasn't coming with us. This included Linda, the lovely pastoral care lady. As the bus was pulling away, all of the staff, even the kitchen staff and general Lilleshall staff, came out to wave us off, which made me quite excited, knowing this is the start of it all! Right now! Been watching Dirty Dancing with Rebecca but the screen is too small to properly enjoy it, so will carry on with that later. I'm excited to get there, but I'm tired too so gonna sleep now (Time goes faster that way anyway).

This is just where we dropped our bags. Lilleshall is v impressive.

Staff, ready early to wave us off

Trampolinists, coaches, pastoral care lady Linda, and more lovely waver- off -er- ers


Monday 23rd July 2012- The First Day

On the way to the Village, our final stop in a public place before we entered the Olympic zone and Olympian life!


DTN- Germolene for blisters on hands used.

Didn't have time to write yesterday because day got too busy & exciting to find time!
At the Village now, but let me fill you in on yesterday.

Rewinding to where I left off... the bus was really uncomfortable so I 'slept' for an hour then began to see road signs for Olympic traffic lanes and Stratford so stayed awake to spot them with my iPod shuffle in (the one we got in our kit! :D).

We stopped at the services once and Beth and Amanda bought these big union flag teacups which are supposed to be for putting plants in, but now that we're here Beth is using hers for her toiletries. I think Beth possibly has every Union Flag designed item available under the sun now, she's pretty patriotic and really likes our flag! To be fair it is a cool flag!

Amanda, pleased with her GB teacup purchase!

With so many of us, all in GB kit, striding into that service station- and just before the Olympic Games- we must have been quite a sight to see, and we didn't go unnoticed. One guy recognised Beth and asked for her autograph, and when we got back on the bus, a tiny crowd had gathered (only a few people those) to watch us get back on. Probably hoping to see someone famous and tell their friends. I liked the attention and it's made me even more keen for the Olympics to begin.


Nothing much else happened before we got here and the excitement died down as the drive was so long, until we were actually close. Oh- there was one thing. Because all of our team had a Twitter following, other than Imogen,  until very recently, Beth bet that we could get her up to 1000 followers, before we got there. We didn't think it was possible, especially since we only had half the journey left, and Imogen didn't really even know how twitter worked, but Beth had the belief to do it and so she, Hannah, Rebecca and I all tweeted our followers to the attention of it and somehow Imogen just made it!

She was helped by the fact that we were stopped and searched by the army (apparently everyone is) before we were allowed to enter. The army were really friendly and after doing their job, which was searching with their torches, and getting all our bags out and putting them in again, one guy shouted up to us "You lot have a ridiculous amount of luggage!" which we all know is true but it is totally necessary, honest. So with that extra time Imogen clinched the prize and, literally, as we drove under the barrier and into the Village zone, we refreshed the page and she went from 999 to 1002! Success. May it continue!

Rebecca pretending to enjoy a horrific ice bath :P

Just had physio and an ice bath which was PAINFUL!! But I called James and he was with one of our friends called Erika so that made it slightly better.

Bus to the gym is 18:20. I have time to catch up from our arrival to now I think. Let me try...

So we made it to the village at about 12 midday. Went through a whole loads of processes and checks to get into the real part of the village, and we got our accreditations, which I'm not going to lose. I've never lost mine before when we've had 'em but this is the most important one I've ever had! I put mine on my hand guard bag to be sure. We need our accreditation to get in and out of every area- so on the way in and out of the Olympic Village, on the transport, into the gym, into the competition arena. Basically you can't get anywhere without one.

After all of the entrance palava, were taken to our rooms. Our bags had already been brought up to our rooms for us (which was a relief) so we started unpacking which was a little difficult considering the amount of stuff we have and the size of the rooms. Eventually we went to dinner in the main dining hall. The main dining hall is enourmous but I thought it would be bigger than it is for some reason. Maybe it just doesn't seem as big when it's empty-ish but it will when all the athletes are inside. Not many of us are here yet. We sit on the blue seats in front of the 'Best of British' section. There are sections for all different kinds of food from around the world but we have to be careful until the competition is over- and then we can eat whatever we want to!! This includes unlimited McDonalds. :O.

The reason we sit in front of the Best of British section is so that if we're ever on our own we will have someone British to talk to, because all of the GB team has been told about it. Sounds like a good way to help us meet the other British athletes. Everyone we've met so far is really chilled and happy to be here. There really isn't many people here yet though. Found grilled chicken and salad for dinner, which is what I have usually, and it was nice but............... I can't wait to try some of the others things.

This is my list of wants-

  • Pizza
  • Indian/Curry
  • African section food
  • Pain au chocolat
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • McDonalds- everything, including the smoothies/milkshakes
  • Pancakes
  • Food from the BBQ stall
  • A Bacon butty and sausages
Must resist until after the competitions are totally over! They are way more important. I wish they were tomorrow, I've been ready for so long now! I just want to compete!

Google image-

Also in the dining hall, there's this area by the entrance where you can vote for the IOC (international Olympic Committee) candidates or something? We ran into one of them called Mu-yen when we were walking back to our rooms in the GB block, so I'll vote for him when I get the chance, and I had a read of the other candidates and chose Danka, James Tomlinson and Koji for the other three choices. (You have to choose four candidates, each from a different sport).

Unpacked a bit more after dinner then went to bed under our London 2012 Olympic duvets which are really cool. So that was the end of the first day, 22nd July.

My bed!

TODAY, the 23rd, besides training, we've been exploring....

To be continued


  1. Looking forward to the next entries - interesting to see behind the scenes. Especially jealous about the free McDonalds!

  2. I love reading about things like this! this is so interesting!

  3. Great read, really interesting, looking forward to pt 2

  4. Just read the beginning (will read the rest later), and wanted to quickly say that you might be able to recover some of the files from your laptop, you just need to find an expert willing to do so. They do this sort of thing in films and TV all the time because it is true in real life. Look for someone who knows about Digital Forensics (who the Police ask when they need the files to investigate a crime) or a Data Recovery specialist (the Information Services staff at your local Uni probably has someone who could do it, or knows someone who does). Also, computer repair shops will do it for a price.

    It is very annoying when a computer 'dies', which is why regular backups are so important, but if you don't have any, it isn't always the end of the world!