So, I’ve just passed the three-year anniversary for the last update on my Olympic sites list. This was three whole years ago, in Seoul, South Korea.
When half of your blog title has to do with the four-yearly worldwide event, of which you’ve proclaimed to visit all of its sites, it doesn’t look good. To say the least, I got distracted. Work, a Dutchman, and a love of Asia all surfaced in these three years – the wandering continued, but the Olympic (save for a return visit to the Bird’s Nest earlier this year) certainly didn’t.
I still have five sites to go and they’re refusing to budge. St Louis, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Atlanta and Moscow are still sitting there in black and white, teasing me each time I see them. They’re not things I just want to tick off – I really do want to visit these stadiums and their cities, so a rush job is just not the answer. Plus, in just twelve months, another will be added to the list.
So, a little while ago, I, or we (as Paul did most of the work) decided to do something about all this. I’m not planning a holiday to the Americas just yet, so I decided to see my second Olympics in the flesh… in London next year.
Paul and I approached this task very seriously. You were only allowed to apply with Visa cards, in your own country’s ballot, with various deadlines… nevertheless, off our various applications went (it helped having Visa cards in three different currencies), with the thought being that the first round would be our dream scenario, with swimming, cycling and athletics high on the list.
Well, we failed miserably. Not a single event, not even the handball (which I’m secretly hanging out to see) – much like the other 20 million who applied for tickets. Drastic times called for drastic measures – we rejigged our wishlist, and through the second-chance draw we came up trumps with the basketball, hockey and judo. Result!
I then called in a few favours for places to lie our heads in London, and couches soon materialised. Double result!
But we refused to be given our lot. At ungodly hours of the morning we (mainly Paul) were online, picking over the unwanted tickets of unknown Germans, Frenchmen and… eventually we hit the jackpot. With the Icelanders.
Maybe it was the global financial crisis, the volcanic ash cloud, who knows what the reason was, but for some reason, two unidentified Icelanders did not want their tickets to watch the athletics in the Olympic Stadium. Instead, a gleeful Dutch and Aussie will be taking their places. Triple result!
So, the Olympic part of my wanderings has been crap of late. Here’s hoping that the double whammy of actually seeing it all take place in one of these stadiums will make up for it…