diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pre-Olympic liveblogging 3: Ninety minutes of top class BMX at the Olympic Park, in blazing sunshine, completed better late than never. Shanaze Reade brought gold home for Britain, hurrah, then the current women's world champion followed her off the track on a stretcher. Anybody waiting around for the medal ceremony? No? Never mind, an ace day's racing, well done.
posted 19:03

Pre-Olympic liveblogging 2: This must be a first. I'm liveblogging from inside the Velodrome, or at least from the concourse immediately around the edge. The rain at the BMX test event has been so heavy that the covers are on, racing is suspended and we've all been allowed to shelter beneath the Velodrome roof until the deluge eases. Officials took their time to work out what to do with a very wet crowd. Initially the only places to hide were in the gangways under the grandstand (soon full) or inside a portaloo. The London 2012 shop promptly sold out of umbrellas, which must be a first. Then security opened up the Velodrome undercroft, somewhat reluctantly, so we shuffled in and dried off down there. And now we're upstairs encircling the upper rim, safely shielded, looking out over a BMX track completely covered by plastic sheeting. Competition is officially postponed, but my money's on wholly abandoned. Being stoically British we're all putting up with it, as you'd expect. But if it chucks it down at the Olympics next summer, and the park still has as little shelter as we've had, expect world-class grim.
posted 14:51

Pre-Olympic liveblogging 1: This might be a first. I'm liveblogging from the heart of the Olympic Park, within the security perimeter, at the BMX Supercross World Cup. I'm high in the grandstand overlooking the giant sculpted sandpit around which the riders will soon be racing. The course is a tightly packed humpy chicane, laid out for one-sided viewing, with the starting ramp at the rear and the finishing straight at the front. It reminds me of being at the seaside, except the cliffs are smooth, the dunes are sponsored and the waves are made of sand. Immediately to my left is the curving roof of the Velodrome (woo), to my right the rooftops of Leyton, and up above are some suddenly ominous grey clouds. I managed to smuggle in a pork pie for lunch, which I was halfway through when some athletic chap came over with a clipboard and a questionnaire about my sporting habits. Has attending the BMX event inspired me to take up regular physical activity? Well no, not yet, but so far none of the riders have even got on their bikes. Practice starts imminently.

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