FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The anniversary

Posted in England, London by folkestonejack on July 28, 2013

The Olympic Games are already a year in the past but for one weekend it has been wonderful to be able to revel in the memories of a rather remarkable summer with the Anniversary Games. A year ago I had still to discover just how enthralling parasport could be. Today, thoroughly converted, I returned to the Olympic Stadium seeking an afternoon of incredible action from the para athletes.

On the approach to the Olympic Stadium it was fascinating to see the scale of the transformation taking place. The water polo arena that I visited for a test event was now just a muddy field, the beautiful flower displays are no more and the waterside walks are still some way off completion. By the same token, the Olympic Pool looked quite stunning with the addition of the new glass side walls (and the removal of the ugly wings that provided extra capacity for the games). It will be interesting to see how things progress in the build up to the full re-opening of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2014.

Our afternoon in the stadium lived up to all expectations, delivering a tightly scheduled roller coaster of athletics featuring a gallery of UK stars and international stars – including Dan Greaves, Jonnie Peacock, Richard Whitehead, Hannah Cockcroft, Aled Davies and David Weir (to name but a few). It was also a particular delight to see the ever enthusiastic Terezinha Guilhermina once again power to victory, having seen her do just the same a year earlier.

The session culminated in three rather special performances. The first saw Richard Whitehead powering from a long way behind to win the T42 200m, getting the crowd up onto their feet and roaring with delight. It might not have captured the games roar but it was damn close! The second came from the T43/44 100m which saw two world records and a new British record. Lastly, David Weir closed the show with an absolutely dominant performance in the T54 mile.

It was wonderful to spend a few hours in the company of 60,000 spectators and an amazing field of athletes, which must surely be the largest para-sport event outside of a paralympics. It brought back good memories of last year’s fantastic games and created some great new moments in the process.

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