Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

London 2012 Basketball Quarterfinals

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I have been obsessively checking the ticketing website for the Olympics hoping beyond all hope that I would find something….anything and not having much luck. Several times, Tim and I thought we ha tickets only to have the little ticker count down to 0 and “no tickets available”. So we bought Paralympic tickets instead for the two of us (and they were reasonably priced!) and Tim told me to keep trying for a single ticket for myself. Thanks to a twitter feed called 2012 Ticket Alert, I was able to keep an eye on things as they became available. The only downside was that sometimes an alert would be posted for a single ticket in the highest price range (£495!) and in the lower price ranges they went fast and I still missed out.

Finally, on Tuesday evening, Basketball tickets became available for the following day. I held my breath as I loaded the ticketing website, put a single ticket (at the £55 price bracket) in my basket and clicked on “check availability” and watched the countdown tell me I had 15 minutes left….14……13…12….then it kept jumping between 8 and 9 minutes remaining and I thought for sure I had missed out on tickets….so imagine my joy and surprise when it popped me through to the checkout screen and told me I had 3 minutes to book my ticket! Ticket booked, I ran outside to tell Tim I needed a lift to the station in the morning….I didn’t get much sleep that night.

Due to Tim’s schedule, he wound up dropping me off at Lincoln station in time to get the 0526 train. This was good because the information online stated if you had tickets for the same day you were picking them up, you should get to the box office as early in the day as possible. Instead of heading straight to the North Greenwich Arena (which I only learned the day before is actually the O2/Millennium Dome) to pick up tickets, I decided to go to the gates in Stratford because I wanted to get a glimpse of Olympic Park.

Travelling in London was very smooth! From King’s Cross, you just had to follow the pink signs across the street to St Pancras and onto the Javelin trains to Stratford. From Stratford, you followed MORE pink signs to Olympic Park. The queue was short for picking up tickets, so in no time I had my tickets and I headed to the Jubilee line, with the intentions of getting some photos of Tower Bridge with the Olympic rings (the rings will be replaced with the Paralympic logo when Tim and I go down). I got off at Waterloo station and while walking across Waterloo bridge I spotted the floating rings:

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I decided to take the Dockland’s Light Railway (DLR) as far as Royal Docks and then the Emirates Air Line (A gondola ride across the Thames). The Air Line was amazing, and I got a view of Olympic Park from the air:

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And also of the North Greenwich Arena:

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It was lunch time. The ticketing website said to “be at the venue two hours before the event” and the first game started at 2, but I decided to take some time to eat before getting into the arena. I spotted a Subway, so for £3.59 I had a very decent sized salad! Can you get anything at the Olympics for less than that? (Maybe the pound range at McDonald’s!) Getting into the arena was a bit like going to the airport. Put your single bag* on the x-ray belt, take off anything metal (including watches and belts) and go through a metal detector. Okay, not bad. But then, once you got into the Arena and wanted to go to your seat, you had to submit to a bag search. This part I didn’t like, as I had packed my bag very carefully and very full and it was hard getting everything back in without causing a traffic jam. The ticketing website advised that you could bring an empty water bottle into the venue, so I went up to the concession stand and asked them to fill it for me. Fortunately, I had my filter bottle, though I wished the water had been a little colder! I watched many people buying bottled water and then pouring it into their reusable bottles, so it doesn’t sound like they are advertising the “free water” very well!

I was in Section 115, Row Q, seat 74. ROW Q. Does that sound as crazy close to the court to you as it did to me? Well, it turned out I was TWENTY ROWS BACK. I think the only reason the ticket was going was because I was nearly dead center with one of the baskets, so it had a partially obstructed view. I didn’t care.

I sat next to a man from Stratford-upon-Avon (I forget his name) and he and I had a great time talking and commentating on the games. The games I was going to watch were Russia vs. Lithuania and France vs. Spain. The first game was good, but a little slow. And there were loads of Lithuanian fans in the arena who booed anytime Russia had the ball! I decided I would cheer on Russia, and was glad I did because they won the game 83-74. During the break, the Lithuanian and Russian fans left, and the French and Spanish fans arrived. The second game was at a much faster pace than the first. France and Spain seemed to be fairly evenly matched and the score was kept close until the fourth quarter where Spain started to sneak ahead. The last 25 seconds of the game took at least 15 minutes to play out because the French team was obviously sore losers and kept fouling the Spanish players, so we would have a few seconds of play, a foul called, 2 penalty baskets by Spain (which was only increasing their lead!), a few seconds of play, foul, penalty baskets, etc. etc. Spain won 66-59.

I left immediately after the whistle, as I was going to be in a time crunch to get back to King’s Cross for my train….and I was so lucky I got to the ticket barrier just as they were announcing my train!

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Ironically, while I’ve been writing this, the gold medal match is being played out….USA vs. Spain. Who do I root for? The team I have been following since 1992 (when my dad and I were obsessed with the Dream Team) or the team I watched? Oh, who am I kidding? USA! USA! USA! USA! (and USA won!! 107-100!!)

If you’d like to see the rest of the photos I uploaded (I took over 500, uploaded a little over 100), you can check them out in my facebook album.

* You may bring in ONE backpack of up to 25L or a “medium handbag” because you have to put your bag under your seat. Fortunately, they don’t say anything about having things hanging OFF your bag, so I had my raincoat and lunchbox attached to the outside.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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