Monday, 6 August 2012

The Peoples Games

What makes a stadium great?

Is it the events which unfold within it?

Is it the track which is fast and sees World and Olympic records fall inside it?

Or is it the noise. The cacophony of cheering, the overwhelming, hair raising, goosebump inducing roar, that from outside sounds like a jet engine or 3 spinning up to speed.

Where does this noise come from? Is the acoustics of the stadium, the echoes, reverberation or the feedback and bounce back inside the human formed bowl?

Or is it the people. The 80,000 people. A large proportion of whom are partisan. Who will cheer everyone, absolutely everyone, who will even shed a tear for those who win and are proud, are emotional, have achieved great things, but who ultimately have discovered that right now, they are Team GB to the core?

Architecture is beautiful. Lighting is beautiful. Lines and curves and fancy planting are beautiful. But beauty is nothing if there is an absence of soul behind the facade.

Our Olympic Stadium has a soul inside it, a heart that beats in time to the applause. And that soul is us. All of us, who cheer from our sofas and our pub benches, our picnic blankets and our commentary boxes. We give   a Stadium life, and we will remove it once the Closing Ceremony comes to a close.

But these are our games, all of ours, not just Londoners, not just those lucky enough to get a ticket. Americans give interviews to camera telling us that we are a nation of sport lovers. We weren't. But we are now. Eyes wide open to possibilities that do not include football or rugby or cricket.

But what gives a stadium life? The people within it, and the people without it. All of us. Perhaps part of the legacy is to understand that for two weeks we were a heartbeat. United in beating. And no one, no one at all, will ever be able to take that away from us.


  1. It would have been nice if more ordinary people could have been given access to the empty seats.

    And I'll never accept any sporting event as properly legitimate that doesn't include cricket [this may be a joke]. How about village cricketers being admitted?

  2. Ah see now, what's interesting is that most of the first week they were ticket recycling, and allowing tickets to be resold for a fiver to those who queued for them. They stopped this on Saturday. Because 'it's so busy the ticketing system simply cannot cope'. Except still they were recycling tickets for the Goalball on Saturday....

    IOW they were trying and still are trying and tickets are still going up every single day on the website in an effort to make sure as many people get a bite of the pie as possible.