I’ve had a few people contact me and say ‘Whoa, how did you get so many tickets when I can’t even get to go to one event?’ It’s basically down to a mixture of luck and perseverance. We only got one set of tickets to the Athletics in the first round, but then DH discovered the German, then the French reselling sites. Because the UK is part of the EU, it was possible to buy Olympic tickets from these sites and have them delivered to the UK. And there was an extra bonus that the French site allowed us to buy 6 tickets, not just 4 so we actually got to take the whole family to a couple of events.
But even though we often had to divide and conquer, we got to take the kids to quite a few different events and so we spent our fourth day at the Olympics at Lord’s Cricket Ground watching the semifinals, then the shoot off, for the individual women’s archery. We only had 4 tickets, so we took the two eldest- DH and DD2 met DD1 and I at the venue, as it was their turn to go to the Swimming that morning before the archery.
The journey in wasn’t a problem for DD1 and I, as we didn’t have to go ‘cross town for a change and it only took up about 40 minutes before we were queueing for security at Lord’s. We’d been seduced into paying for a copy of the Daily Express with their ‘flag & a bag’ offer; I’m almost 100% sure that they knew there were no British competitors in the event. By the time we worked this out, we’d also accepted rain ponchos and flags from a group of Koreans patrolling the venue entrance. It’s called hedging your bets but DD was a bit upset as she’d had her nails painted especially to support the Brits. Oh well.
Even without any British archers in it, the competition was a fantastic experience. I knew very little about Archery but it turns out it’s an easy sport to follow. Basically, the archers try place their arrows as close to the centre of the target as possible. On the day we went, the American archer hit the camera in the very centre of the bullseye, and the arrow bounced off the target; she still got a 10 for that shot!
First we watched 4 pairs of archers shoot against each other. They shot 3 arrows each time at a target from a line 70m away and the total of each volley results in a win/loss or draw. They get 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss. Usually 3 sets gives a clear winner or loser, but sometimes they had to go to 5 rounds.
The winners of that round went to the quarter finals, the winners of the 1/4 finals competed for Gold and Silver, and the losers compete for a Bronze and 4th position. It was really exciting, dramatic stuff especially when the two Mexicans ended up shooting against each other- one was guaranteed either Gold or Silver, the other would get Bronze or no medal. The coach seemed to prefer one over the other, and that one went on to get a Silver. The underdog won Bronze though. We may have been waving Korean flags (the Gold medal winner was Korean) but our hearts were with the Mexicans.
I loved the small stadium at Lord’s; it was stadium inside a stadium really, and the wind did some strange things to the arrows as evidenced by the wind sock and the readings from the anemometer. I loved all the technology and the look of the bows , and the speed of the arrows, and the way the cameras were ‘hidden’ in strange green boxes.
When DH got a bunch of random tickets from the German website, I can remember thinking archery was quite a random choice, but it ended up being one of my favourite events out of the ones we’ve been to see so far.