10 Aug

Spirit Of London 2012

Huge crowds at Hyde Park for the Olympic triathlon

There is definitely something weird in the air in London right now. Being in the city has been extraordinary during the Olympics. London 2012 has put sport on the front pages, back pages and even the middle pages as the whole city goes ga-ga for the Games.

Tuesday's men's triathlon was a typical example of how the city has utterly embraced the Games. On a midweek afternoon, a friend and I both happened to be off work and we decided to take ourselves off to Hyde Park to watch from the vast un-ticketed parts of the course.

With Team GB's Alastair and Johnny Brownlee strong contenders, we were looking forward to witnessing more home success. Incredibly, a quarter of a million other people had the same idea. On arrival at Hyde Park, the scenes were remarkable.

Families, office workers, OAPs, school children - they were all there. Crowds were 10 deep around each part of the course. You had to remind yourself this was a triathlon event you were spectating at - a minority sport.

This was a mass gathering that was more akin to the Glastonbury Festival. Unable to find a suitable vantage point, my friend and I copied some others and climbed a tree to try and see the action. Bear in mind we are nearing our forties now, but such is the spirit of London 2012 that normal behaviour has been put on hold.

We still couldn't see over the crowds and eventually had to settle for watching the action from a big screen specially erected in the park. We cheered with tens of thousands of others as the Brownlees won gold and bronze.

Afterwards we went for a pub lunch and sat rapt with the rest of the clientele watching the team dressage on TV. See? Weird.