Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympics: Women's Triathlon

Buoyed by the thrill of attending Beach Volleyball on Thursday, I woke up way too early for a Saturday (7:30am!!) to join some of The Irishman's friends to watch the Women's Triathlon. This is one event where Ireland had a contender, Aileen Morrison, so The Irishman and his mate from Dublin were keen to get there and get a good spot for each of the three segments.

The entire race took place in and around Hyde Park, where lots of spectators were showing their support for their ladies. Lots of Irish were out and about.

Swimming was in the Serpentine, and hard to get a good vantage point. We ended up standing on a small rise but it was reminiscent of the Diamond Jubilee – standing on tiptoes and trying to watch around really tall people. Note to other spectators: please don't use your iPad to take pictures. It's just RUDE. It's the spectating equivalent of opening your newspaper to full width on a packed subway.

We got a much better spot for the cycling. There's Aileen there! The contenders did 6 laps of the cycling route, so we got to see them go past a few times before running back to find a spot to watch the running.

While we were waiting for the girls to come back around, the crowd noticed a couple on the terrace of their hotel across the street – in their robes. We had a great laugh as they played around with us and pretended to flash us. Oh my!

When we were trying to find spots to watch the running race, we happened upon this lovely scene: a police officer offered to wear a spectator's homemade hat so he could take a photo. About 10 people gathered around to join in the photography shoot and the police officer gamely smiled through it all, saying he was a better draw than the sport!

Finally the running started and off they went. The route took 4 laps so we got to see them pass by 4 times and could see who was leading the pack. From the first pass, we could see that the leaders were neck and neck; Team GB's favorite to win, Helen Jenkins, was upfront for the whole race.

Aileen, however, had dropped back to the back of the pack. She ended up finishing 43rd of 50.

It was a photo finish in the end, with Switzerland taking gold; unfortunately, Helen Jenkins finished a very disappointing 5th. Team USA's Sarah Groff came in 4th.

Since tickets are still so difficult to come by for the remaining events, I think The Irishman and I will continue to go to free events like the men's triathlon and the marathons. It's a great way to get into the spirit of the Games and cheer on your country without dealing with the London 2012 ticket website.


  1. Lucky you getting to watch the action in person. I watched on TV and it looked like a great event.

    Poor Team GB though, beset by problems. And given all that happened to them maybe 5th isn't quite so bad after all!

  2. The free events are actually really great, good atmosphere and not too hard to find a good place to watch. Here is a list of all of the sports you don't need tickets to watch; we might try to watch the Men's marathon next Sunday.