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eTurboNews : London in-between the Olympics and Paralympics

LONDON (eTN) - It was fascinating to see the golden days of the Olympics Games 2012 (The Greatest Show on Earth), which has brought a new spirit and feeling of togetherness to Britain and even switched on a button for making the impossible possible, with people chatting on the Tube (Metro) and exchanging results when paying at the open 24 hours super markets in Central London in the middle of the night.

Nontheless, it was a surprise to see an incredibly empty London, with empty streets, empty parks, and plenty of empty parking lots, where usually it is jammed packed.

Shopkeepers were unhappy, business was not quite as exciting as they thought it would be, with a downturn of 30%, they said, while grumbling taxi drivers said they lost nearly 40% of usual business during that time.

And in the end, the traffic lanes functioning as GAMES lines - were open for all traffic, but there was hardly any traffic to be seen, especially toward the end of the last day of the splendid and spectacular London Olympics 2012.

Britain's royal heritage and the settings of countless historic celebrations were turned into Olympic venues. The historic London Horse Guard Parade was transformed into the setting for beach volleyball, with mounds of sand and a temporary arena in the form of Earls Court exhibition center. Serpentine Hyde Park became the venue for the women's triathlon, with the sounds from the equestrian events pounding out from Greenwich Hill. The famous Royal Artillery Barracks turned into the ideal venue for shooting competitions, while the cyclists could enjoy the beautiful surroundings and rounding up to Hampton Court Palace.

There were many areas that were free for the public to come and watch the Games without tickets. For example, one could witness the men's marathon for free, which was the final athletic event of the Games. The marathon route included some of the most famous sights of London - the Tower, St. Paul's Cathedral - before reaching it finals stretch into the Olympic stadium.

And when it was over, “The Times” wrote: “A joyous party ends the wonder of 2012!”

Lord Moynihan, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: “I have noticed how politicians have enjoyed the Games. I can understand why Roman emperors were keen on staging Annual Games.”

“The challenge for Great Britain is now to surf on this wave,” said Dr. Jacques Rogge in his closing remarks, as he praised the organization, the quality of the atheletes' village and venues, and the use of the iconic landmarks as backdrops, as well as the input of “marvelous, smiling, and efficient” volunteers and the “wonderful” military.

Indeed, most popular and unique were the local heros and tens of thousands of volunteers called the “Game Makers” (70,000 were selected out of 250,000 applications to be a volunteer) who helped visitors to find their way around. They were the local heros of London, and they brightened up empty roads and lonely feeling tourists. Among the Game Makers were bankers, students, teachers, and engineers, all with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and rain-proofed smiles.

Even the day after the end of Olmpics, many Game Makers were still in uniform, proudly wearing their badges. When asked, “What are you doing now?” the answer was, “We are getting ready for the Paralympics!”

And so 2012 ends on a wave of optimism, wrote the British press, with the people of Britain riding on a wave of positive feelings - 51 percent said their spirit was lifted by the event.

But there is still more to come.

With the equally great Paralympic Games coming up in only one week's time, London Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy is welcoming the world once more and asking for help by avoiding the busiest times and locations.

During the Olympic Games, the London Tube carried more than 60 million passengers - 30 percent more than usual, and more than at any other time in its 149-year history. Transportation above ground rose by 47%.

For the Paralympics Games taking place from August 29-September 9

Publicat de: eTurboNews
Miercuri, 22 August 2012 - 04:15 PM

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