Travel report of the Paralympics 2012 in London
MyHandicap employer Adrian Moser wanted to gain a personal picture on the Paralympic Games 2012, and travelled together with a group of people to London. Read here his report:
On Wednesday, the 5th September 2012, the journey to London started. After having missed the Paralympic qualification at the European wheelchair rugby championship as Swiss rugby team, we decided to join the Games as audience members.
We were lucky in the second phase of the ticket selling and snatched 12 tickets for us. However, these were only day passes that allowed us to enter the Olympic Park but no guaranteed entry to the sports stadiums. First come, first serve was the rule for a limited number of seats for this kind of day passes.
We were a group of five players of the national rugby team who - as said before - missed the qualification. And so we went to London with mixed feelings. Actually, it was planned to come here with our rugby wheelchairs...
After landing in London Luton Airport, we met very friendly stewards who, in their gaudy violet Paralympic uniforms, helped us with the easiest way to our hotel. We took the train to the city centre and at each change of trains, railway staff came to help us with ramps to get off and on the trains.
After a drink at the hotel bar, we went to sleep; the first tickets were for the next day. The arrival was really easy as everything was signed out clearly and the violet Paralympics sign easy to spot. If, however, anything was unclear, you could immediately find a steward who gave the necessary information.
We took the subway to the campus where you could see the Olympic Stadium yet from far away as well as the Orbit (a 115m high observation tower on the campus). The entrance was organised as the security check at airports; bags and everything was controlled.
Full of expectation for the first game
The first rugby games started at 2 pm and so we had some time left to visit the Orbit. As we wanted to buy our tickets for the games, however, we had to learn that there were only tickets left to the session at 8 pm; all the other games were already sold out. So we placed ourselves in front of the basket ball arena in order to make sure to receive entrance.
After waiting 1.5 h, we entered the stadium. We were very happy to have finally gotten inside and to witness a rugby match at the Paralympics 2012!
In the first game, Sweden took on Australia. As expected, Australia dominated the game clearly. We attended all four games that day but there were no surprises.
Sporting and personal highlights
As we left the stadium around 11 pm, it was already dark outside and the stadiums were brightly lighted in changing colours. And this huge crowd of people, that was a spectacle! Because we did not have any tickets for the next day, we took the chance to spend the day with sightseeing in London and after that we planned to enjoy the city nightlife.
Our former opponent
On Saturday, we went onsite quite early because we really wanted to get to see the crossover games. So much for now: That day, it got dramatic!
In the first game, Great Britain took on Belgium; the local hero came out on top clearly. The next game was Sweden against France, where France was able to keep it equal till the end of the first quarter. Only in the last quarter, they run out of power; Sweden won the match.
Sweden against France was especially hard for me to endure; it was France we lost against in the qualifications, by only one point! Had we won that game, it would have been us playing in this stadium, in front of the 12'000 head strong audience and in this breath-taking ambience.
Looking back, I am amazed by the great mass of people and the media presence. The whole games were sold out and over a time of two weeks, approximately 2.7 Million people were attending the Paralympic Games. This sure is a great acknowledge of the disabled sports!
Read more about the Paralympic games 2012 in London here.
Text: Adrian Moser - 10/2012
Pictures: Adrian Moser / MyH