One day to go, and it seems like the BBC is falling all over itself with excitement. Who isn’t excited at this point? Cynics. But most of them are just jealous they have to watch it on television.
I am one of the lucky people actually GOING to the Games. I refuse to shut up about it.
But I am learning that the hardest part of going to the London Olympics may not be managing to get tickets; it will undoubtedly be overcoming all of the obstacles (hurdles, if you like) between home and a seat in a stadium.
Busy trains and buses are the least of my concern, I think it’s the security queues that will be the most difficult. I have just opened a letter that accompanied my tickets, which I first dismissed as colourful rubbish. It outlines all the things I can and cannot bring into a London 2012 venue. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- There is an “airport” level of security at all venues. So, higher than “train” but lower than “submarine.”
- I am expected to arrive at a venue 2 hours before the event is scheduled to start so that I can get through security and to my seat in time.
- I can’t bring my police scanner into a venue.
- Controlled drugs are banned, as are “substances which look like controlled drugs.” So much for my bag of icing sugar.
- “Excessive amounts of food” are prohibited. Who is this arbiter of what constitutes excessive?! I can imagine the fights with G4S security guards already. Weeping Mums forced to hand over their greedy picnics composed of 3 too many scotch eggs. Screaming children devastated at the loss of their extra bag of Hula Hoops.
- “Large flags, banners and poles.” This is a bit of a kill joy move, surely. No large flags? Who doesn’t love to see obnoxious flag wavers in the stands when you are watching on TV? Large, obnoxious patriotism is what the Olympics is all about.
- “Noisemakers such as hunting horns, air horns, klaxons, drums, vuvuzelas and whistles.” I’m with them on vuvuzelas, but this is set to be the quietest Olympiad yet. Next they’ll be regulating the appropriate volume of clapping and the pre-approved decibel range of cheers. Screaming is prohibited.
- “Any objects or clothing bearing political statements or overt commercial identification intended for ‘ambush marketing.’” Now we are in properly controversial territory. Much has been made in the media already about the monopolistic policies of the IOC when it comes to their corporate sponsors, but it will be interesting to see how the “political statements” policy is applied. You’ve been warned, Aaron Sorkin fans who have lines of dialogue from The Newsroom emblazoned on t-shirts.
- “Flags of countries not participating in the Games.” Is this a rule put in place to avoid any awkward Taiwanese flag controversy? Are G4S security guards and military personnel drilled on the appearance of every country’s flag and which are prohibited? If there are 205 countries participating at the games this year, who ISN’T participating? More questions than answers here.
- “Oversized hats.” Well here’s something that people from every nation, class and creed can agree on. You hear that, Queenie?
Wish me luck.