London calling a second time – The Paralympics

markus with saltireI am off from cycling for a week, based in London for a week to cover the Paralympics for Scottish Swimming, while trying to explore the city a we bit more (and I might give the Boris bikes a go). I must admit, I am starting to like the place, and it felt almost Mediterranean when I stepped off the train today. It is funny how much difference a 4.5 hour train ride makes, and the weather forecast promises more sun. Hooray! As I didn’t manage to blog during the Olympic Games, I will try this time, even if it means long nights (don’t buy me too many drinks, or this gets cryptic). Tonight it is treating myself to a pint of beer while sorting pictures from the day and typing some words could be worse. Actually it is great fun.

So back to London, I was again amazed by the atmosphere in and around the Olympic Park today. Arriving for the finals tonight put me straight back into the feelings I had when I left London, and I will soak it all up again for a week, knowing this is the only time, although looking forward to Glasgow 2014 already.

The wonderful evening with very mild temperatures made it even better, and I couldn’t spot any difference in enthusiasm when I arrived in the Olympic Park. For a difference I had my seat in Block B this time, the other wing of the Aquatics Centre, with having a direct few on all the places for journalists and also spotting Ian MacNicol, our wonderful Scottish Swimming photographer (well, I pretended to see him there is only so much details left from row 59).

Anyway, the finals where off to a flying start with Sascha Kindred taking silver, and then the crowds went mad for Ellie Simmonds. It was loud, very loud, people were stomping their feet, clapping, shouting, just having a good time. I might be wrong, but it was even louder than at the Olympics a few weeks ago, it was magic. Ellie took Gold, and it got even louder. If I wouldn’t have been in the spirit already, here was no escape.

It got a bit quiet, but the crowds were right back to cheer on Jim the Swim, one of five Scots in the Paralympian team. Now picture this, Jim is 49, he is at his 6th Paralympic Games, and I think it is fair enough to call him a legend, more so an absolute inspiration. More so it was great to spot my colleague Paul, assisting Paul poolside. Jim finished eighth but has a few more chances to hopefully claim another medal, he would so deserve it.

It was a long way back to the hostel, but the mild temperatures made it a pleasant evening. So far for the first day, the pictures tell their own story, check them out here