August 13, 2012
The final day of the London 2012 Olympics is upon us. Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed the world’s greatest athletes perform to their best abilities, and tonight, we had performances by some of the world’s greatest and most popular musicians in the Closing Ceremony.
After the Games were finished, Olympic Park was very quiet, while teams of people helped set up Closing Ceremony festivities, and the musicians practiced in the stadium. An amazing transformation happened between 3pm and 6pm when the park was closed entirely to visitors. As the gates opened at 6pm, the park flooded with people, food stands opened their tents for business, and Closing Ceremony programs and memorabilia practically sold themselves. It was an unbelievable feeling being able to sit in the quiet park and wait for the guests to arrive, only to realize that this entire campus of buildings will be completely changed in a matter of weeks. The park’s eerie silence made us realize even more that the Games were officially over and that we would be heading home soon.
The ceremony itself truly honored the athletes, beginning with a walk of nations in random order, differing from the Opening Ceremony’s customs. All of the athletes were invited to stay on stage during the entirety of the event, to keep them front and center in all of the action! Songs by One Direction, the Spice Girls, George Michael, John Lennon, The Who, and Queen were performed and lit the stage, as the audience sang along and cheered throughout the evening’s festivities. The video montages of the athletes winning their medals, tears streaming down their faces, were particularly moving, as the athletes all banded together in the middle of the stage to celebrate each others’ accomplishments.
While we hold lollipop signs and attend the Olympic Park together for the last time as a team, I’ve been trying to absorb not only the atmosphere around Stratford, but also the amazing Olympics experiences and friendships that have formed during these few weeks. It’s refreshing to see such an accomplishment that London was able to showcase and deliver to the rest of the world.
This Olympic experience, a first for many of us as staff, has been an unforgettable one. Getting to work with so many people from literally all over the world, and being given the chance to see some amazing sporting events has made for an incredible three weeks that will not easily be topped. As we begin packing our belongings and checking in for our flights, we will hopefully have a moment to sit and contemplate the last three weeks and realize that we were a part of something so huge, so monumental, and so moving to millions of people.
Now exhausted, we will rest until Sochi 2014, where we will do this all over again, braving a Russian winter and a potentially challenging language barrier! But we can do it. Goodbye, London! We will miss you, your unique weather patterns, your spirit, your culture, and your 2012 Olympic Games.
August 12, 2012
Day 15 was filled with medals, in sports from canoe to taekwondo. Among the favorite events of the clients were athletics, diving, hockey, and volleyball. Team sports basketball and football were also played today. In women’s basketball, USA won the gold medal over France, while in men’s football, Mexico won the gold medal over Brazil. All of Olympic Park was buzzing tonight, as more medals were given out, more country pride was on the line, and as we count down the hours until closing ceremony! So much to do—so little time!
Tonight, we saw the world's fastest athletes compete in Olympic Stadium. All of Great Britain was on their feet to cheer on Mo Farrah as he won the 5,000 meter race, which ended in a close sprint to the finish line. Farrah became the first British man to ever win the 5,000 or 10,000 meter race at an Olympics! The roar heard in the stadium was deafening as the Brits celebrated this win!! There were also two exciting relays tonight. USA dominated the the women's 4x400 relay with powerhouses Deedee Trotter, Allyson Felix, Francena McCorory and Sanya Richards-Ross. Jamaica's men's team of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater set a new world record in the 4x100 relay.
In the pool, diving events took place this evening, featuring Team GB’s young star Tom Daley. In the men’s 10 meter platform diving competition, David Boudia (USA) ended up taking gold, while Bo Qiu (China) won silver, and Tom Daley finished with bronze. At only 18 years old, it is no doubt that we will be seeing Daley again. We are looking forward to see what amazing progress he continues to achieve over these next four years until Rio 2016. In the men’s hockey finals this evening, Germany played the Netherlands in the gold medal match, in which Germany took gold winning 2-1 over the Netherlands. Australia played GB for the bronze and took bronze from the home team. The Aussies beat GB 3-1 in the match, leaving GB fans fairly disheartened. It is amazing to see the difference between the joy that enters the stadium and the devastation that exits at the end of losing a match. What a difference one game can make! All is fair in love and sport, right?
Tomorrow, the Olympics’ final day, bring the promise of more great matches, desperate cheers, hopeful pin-trades, and our last delicious bites of Flake Cones and Cornish Pasties. I think LOCOG will need to pry us from the stadium tomorrow night, as we look upon closing ceremony and the thousands of people who will fill the stadium to support and congratulate the world’s greatest athletes who dedicated so much of their lives and time to their sport and their countries. An amazing show is in store—we have heard rumors of the Spice Girls making a comeback? Good luck to all competitors tomorrow and good luck to the SportsMark team, as we enter what will be the most hectic and sensory-overloaded day of our Olympic season.
August 11, 2012
only two days remaining in the 2012 Games, our guests are using the opportunity to explore the many venues. Olympic Park was booming with activity today, as visitors explored athletics, BMX cycling, water polo, and synchronized swimming. The hot weather did not stop us from making it to all of our scheduled events. Treats like the flake cone, a British favorite, helped to cool us down.
We worked incredibly hard today sending buses and staff to every venue in the park. Team events were the highlight today, as hockey, synchronized swimming, water polo, and volleyball drew large crowds. Athletics, as usual, was packed with events and medal ceremonies in Olympic Park.
In women’s hockey, New Zealand played Great Britain for bronze with Team GB coming out on top, 3-1. Holland faced off against Argentina for the gold medal and won in a 2-0 sweep in the final match! Dutch fans rallied as a sea of bright orange flags, costumes, and signs were spotted throughout the stadium. In synchronized swimming, Russia won gold, China silver, and Spain landed bronze.
Many of our guests attended the water polo and volleyball semifinal matches today. In men’s volleyball, Bulgaria faced Russia, and Brazil played Italy. Russia and Brazil pulled out wins, so they will compete against each other in the gold medal match on Sunday. Brazilians were ecstatic in Earl’s Court Volleyball Arena as Brazil beat Italy in three straight sets—a seemingly easy feat at such high-level play. We expect to witness more team pride in the final two days of competition, as more medals are awarded and the athletes try even harder to win the last medals for their countries.
World records were broken in the women’s 4x100 meter relay, as Team USA took gold in 40.82 seconds, Jamaica won silver, and Ukraine got bronze. The men’s 4x400 meter relay medals went to Bahamas (gold), USA (silver), and Trinidad & Tobago (bronze).
Medal counts are climbing higher and higher, with Team USA standing at the top of the rankings with 94 overall (41 gold), China with 81 overall (37 gold), Russia with 63 overall (15 gold), and Team GB with 57 overall (25 gold). We are now in the final countdown to the closing ceremony, gearing up for what should be another lively day of shuttling clients to and from events, celebrating awesome victories, and pin-trading. It’s hard to believe that the past two weeks have gone by so quickly. How can we possibly wait another four years for this? At least we have Sochi 2014 in between!
August 10, 2012
We cannot believe there are just three days left in these Summer Games! Our staff has become attached to our temporary home in London, a city that has been so good to us. We said goodbye to another Olympic venue this evening as our guests watched a fantastic night of beach volleyball. Horse Guards Parade, the fan favorite venue of these Games, is now officially closed as all medals have been awarded for beach volleyball. In the men's final, Germany defeated Brazil in three riveting sets to win the gold. In just a short time, Horse Guards Parade will return to its normal state as an iconic landmark in London. Throughout the Games this site was continuously exploding with excitement, team spirit, and proud athletes. It surely will be missed.
The highlight of today was Usain Bolt’s victory in the 200-meter race that featured fellow Jamaican and rival, Yohan Blake. With this gold medal, Bolt proved that he is indeed the best and fastest sprinter in the world. His showmanship and confidence put a stamp on his legacy as one of the most successful athletes in Olympic history.
Team USA dominated medal wins again today with gold medals awarded in women’s soccer (against Japan) and women’s water polo (against Spain). Congratulations to all team athletes in these competitions! It has been so exciting to see the fans go in and out of stadiums with so much team and country pride—we are looking forward to more team finals this week with hockey, basketball, water polo, and volleyball.
When pin trading was explained during our pre-Olympic training, I thought it sounded childish and silly. Knowing there would be sporting events occurring all around us—pins would not be my focus. Thirteen days later, I regret to inform that I have become somewhat addicted to pin trading. The crowds that form at “free pin” booths at Samsung, The Apple Store, and Acer in the mall and outside of the Coca-Cola Pin Trading Centre in Olympic Park are unreal. People with bags and bags of pins lay out their collections on tables for spectators, pin traders, and park-goers to browse and potentially trade with them. As the games have progressed and I have seen more and more people become decorated with amazingly colorful and creative pins, I find myself growing envious of the collectors! I started my own collection a few days ago and now proudly own twelve really awesome pins. While the athletes compete for medals, my fellow fans and I vie for pins.
Only a couple more days until the Closing Ceremony, which means only a short time left with our wonderful guests, the cheering fans, stadium food (yum!), and pin trading!
August 9, 2012
As the Olympics are nearing the end, the intensity around the Olympic Park is picking up, and the athletes – especially in athletics and basketball – are preparing for the medal stages of their respective sports. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is preparing for the 200 meter final tomorrow, and Team USA prepares for the semi-finals in basketball against their Spanish and Argentinean rivals.
Our final wave of guests has arrived just in time to see many gold medal matches. USA women have earned their way into the spotlight in many of the gold medal finals. The women's beach volleyball gold medal match was tonight featuring not one, but two USA teams! This match guaranteed both gold and silver for USA. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in red uniforms played against Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in white. Treanor and Walsh, having won gold together at the last two summer Olympic Games (2004 and 2008), pulled out their third gold medal in eight years, beating Kessy and Ross in two straight sets. Congratulations to both teams!
In athletics, medals were awarded this evening in women’s long jump, women’s 400 meter hurdles, women’s 200 meter race, and men’s 110 meter hurdles. In the women’s long jump, Team USA dominated the podium, as Brittney Reese won gold and Janay Deloach won bronze, with Elena Sokolova (Russia) winning silver. Natalya Antyukh (Russia) landed the gold in the 400 meter hurdles, while Lashinda Demus (USA) won silver, and Zuzana Hejnova (Czech Republic) scored bronze. The women’s 200 meter final ended with Allyson Felix (USA) winning the gold medal, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica) winning silver, and Carmelita Jeter (USA) winning bronze. In the men’s 110 meter hurdles, Team USA won another 2 medals with Aries Merritt winning gold, Jason Richardson getting silver, and Hansle Parchment (Jamaica) bronze. In athletics alone, the USA won seven medals today! An awesome day to be a Team USA athlete and fan!
Outside the realm of the USA female athletes, these London Olympics mark a monumental step in Olympic history for all women. These are the first Olympics in which every national team includes a female athlete. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Brunei all brought a female athlete to the games for the first time in history.
We welcome our last group of guests as the end of the Olympics draws near. The promise of great final matches and a phenomenal closing ceremony are in store, and we can sense the electricity of athletes and fans across Olympic Park. As the athletes celebrate their achievements and pack their belongings to go home, we realize that we have just four more days of competition before we too will celebrate, pack, and depart. Each day goes by so quickly, but we have taken plenty of pictures to last long after the park has been cleared and the crowds have dispersed. Let’s finish this Olympics season strong.
August 8, 2012
Entering the final week of the Olympics brings a mix of emotions to the SportsMark team. Though we have been working long hours for over two weeks now, we are feeling a renewed sense of energy, excitement, and appreciation for the amazing events that we have witnessed. Getting to work with people from all over the world and being given the opportunity to be in the presence of the world’s most incredible athletes and fans has been an electrifying experience that cannot be dulled even by our sleepless nights!
The men’s triathlon was a major event today, as two Team GB gentlemen—brothers, no less—competed for the gold medal in this grueling, lengthy event involving swimming, biking, and running. Brothers Alistair Brownlee (GB) and Jonathon Brownlee (GB) scored the gold and bronze medals, respectively, as Javier Gomez (Spain) won the silver. Luckily, Alistair is the older brother, so there was nothing but friendly sibling rivalry over the way the awards were doled out. What an amazing feat to have two medals in one family!
In equestrian, medals were awarded in the team dressage competition this afternoon. Team GB got the gold, while Germany and the Netherlands gained silver and bronze. Germany has been a solid favorite in the equestrian events since the 1970’s, so this gold medal to Team GB means a lot, bringing their overall gold medal total to 22. Go Team GB!
In the final day of gymnastics, men’s parallel bars, women’s beam, men’s horizontal bar, and women’s floor exercise were the final medaling events. Gymnastics was a major highlight of these Olympics for many SportsMark clients and guests. Though we may not see many of these athletes again in Rio in 2016, their artistic abilities and precise executions were spectacular and will be missed in this final week.
The London Organizing Committee has skillfully created an experience of a lifetime for everyone who is fortunate enough to explore the sites of the Olympic Games. While both the new and remodeled venues provide a thrilling arena to watch live sporting events, there is far more to do at these venues than just gain entry to a competition. At Olympic Park, photo booths, pin trading stations, and food markets give Olympic visitors the opportunity to make memories, and bring home souvenirs that will last forever. Outside the Riverbank Arena for hockey, guests can test their own skills on a portable hockey field with sticks, goals, and instructors.
Visitors can also lounge outside among beautiful gardens at Live Park and watch BBC's programming for the Olympic Games or simply visit the BBC studio on site that invites crowds to cheer on the athletes and guests being interviewed inside the studio. On the other end of the park, NBC's Today Show has its own studio, broadcasting live from 12 to 3 on weekdays, with concerts, host athletes, and other Olympic personnel. Just yesterday, the Today Show had six USA swimming gold medalists at its studio, and today they featured USA medalists Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Michael Tinsley and Jenn Suhr. There is never a shortage of excitement or entertainment at these Olympic venues.
We wrap-up competitions this week in many events, which is sure to be incredibly exciting and intense! The weather has been fairly stable, except for the occasional torrential downpours. Today it would rain randomly and return to being sunny. It only seems fitting for London to experience its traditional “four seasons in a day” weather during the Olympics.
August 7, 2012
Day 10 was another competitive day across the sports arenas at Olympic Park. Most of the guests attended this evening’s athletics sessions in Olympic Stadium, but there were several other exciting events taking place.
While our guests took to the stadiums and arenas, SportsMark staff spent some time in the park and took special interest in the Coca-Cola Pin Trading Center, where Olympic pin collectors from all over gather to trade pins. For those of you who are unaware, pin trading has long been an Olympic tradition. Decorative pins are created to reflect companies, countries, and sports teams. Pins can be attached to lanyards, jackets, or bags, and real enthusiasts keep them in “pin books,” felt books that can hold several hundred pins at a time. A highlight of today was a two-for-one pin trade, where I only had to give one pin to get two from someone else! I traded a heart-shaped UPS pin for an Atlanta 1996 Olympic pin and a Vancouver 2010 Olympic pin. In my opinion, this was an exceptional trade.
Although you need a ticket for entry into the various Olympic venues, the magic of the Games extends far beyond the venues' exits. The streets of London are full of 2012 Games volunteers who walk the streets spreading the Olympic spirit. These volunteers set up stands with information about the Games and the various landmarks nearby. The many street festivals, concerts, and flash mobs hosted by various counties invite everyone to enjoy the unique experiences of the Olympics.
One of these street celebrations was hosted by the Team Brazil House. Adorned with clothes and accessories native to their country, Brazilians danced along the streets celebrating their athletes' accomplishments, as well as generating excitement for the next Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. By simply walking the streets, one can go home with free but treasured souvenirs from the Games such as flags, clappers, and more. These Games are fully integrated into the city of London creating a summer to be remembered by all!
Having now been in London for just over half a month, it has been an amazing experience working among local staff and interacting with Londoners at events and outside of work. The Olympics have allowed us to intermingle with the local population and with people from all over the world. As a result, we have picked up colloquial slang, mostly from the Brits but from a few other countries, too. Hopefully, when we return home, we’ll be able to retain and use some of these unique phrases and terms with friends.
As to the Games, women’s football had an intense match-up tonight with USA playing Canada. USA, in the eleventh hour, pulled out a win again Canada 4-3, with Alex Morgan making the game-winning goal. We look forward to watching the final gold medal match-up against Japan on August 9th.
August 6, 2012
The streets of London were buzzing today with the highly anticipated event of the Olympics – Usain Bolt’s 100 meter final! Fans were waving the Jamaican flag, and the whole world tuned in to watch the fastest man in the world win again, this year with a 9.63 time. It was amazing to watch other famous athletes like basketball players LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Manu Ginobili, and many others sitting in the crowd watching Bolt’s 100 meter event. While Usain and other athletes have garnered great support and a large fan base throughout London, mundane transportation here has become a serious issue. Locals are quite upset with delays caused on the tube because of the massive crowds. Central London nightlife has become lively as people from around the world continue to watch the events at pubs. The Olympics are almost halfway finished, but the level of excitement continues to rise!
For spectators one of the most exciting aspects of the Olympics is the medal ceremony. For about two minutes, all eyes and ears focus on one proud and accomplished athlete as his or her national anthem plays in the background. Today our guests got to witness several of these special moments in the Olympic Stadium.
Tonight we saw medal ceremonies for women's triple jump, men's hammer throw, women's 400 meter dash, men's 3000 steeplechase, and men's 100 meter dash. The men's 100 meter race has been one of the most anticipated events here as the world has been waiting to see if Usain Bolt could defend his title as champion. Bolt proved he is still the fastest man in the world!
It was another great Olympic night and an especially good day to be a Team GB fan...again! Yesterday's "Super Saturday" overflowed into today, as "Super Sunday" took effect on the tennis court, in athletics, and in the women's marathon. The noise around the stadium resonated with the continuous buzzing of joy from yesterday’s amazing GB victories. Though Bolt’s race was the premier entertainment for this evening, the afternoon’s attention was monopolized by Andy Murray on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
At Wimbledon, the men's singles final match was Roger Federer (Switzerland) versus Andy Murray (GB), in a rematch of the Wimbledon Finals a month earlier. Murray proved victorious, winning 3 straight sets, redeeming himself from his Wimbledon loss to Federer. Following the men's singles match was the mixed doubles final, in which Murray played with 18-year-old partner Laura Robson against Victoria Azarenka & Max Mirnyi (Belarus), but lost 6-2, 3-6, 8-10. Despite the doubles loss, it was wonderful to see Murray finally get his long overdue gold medal for the single’s event, especially on home turf!
Saturday's athletics could not be beat when Jess Ennis won gold in the women's heptathlon, but today was still a very exciting day in Olympic Stadium! The women’s 400 meter race was successful for the USA, as Sanya Richards-Ross won gold and DeeDee Trotter won bronze. Christine Ohuruogu of GB won silver.
In the women's marathon, which wandered through the many spectacular sights of London, Paula Radcliffe (GB), the world record holder, was the topic of many conversations. Due to injury, she was unable to compete and was sorely missed by GB fans. Many other athletes, however, stepped up to the racing line to run the 26.2 miles. Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) ended up with gold, finishing in 2:23:07 hours, with Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya) winning silver, and Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova (Russia) getting bronze. The energy was amazing after Bolt’s 100 meter race, so our clients and guests went home buzzing about the race and the atmosphere in the stadium. Seeing 80,000 people stream out of Olympic Stadium at once is quite a sight, when everyone walking by is cheering, laughing, or recounting the day’s events. Fingers crossed that the rain stays away for us as the days progress!
August 5, 2012
Can you believe that we are officially halfway through the Olympics?! How quickly it is flying by! Today was another action-packed day throughout the sporting arenas in London. Athletics, badminton, cycling, fencing, rowing, shooting, swimming, tennis, trampoline, triathlon, and weightlifting all gave out medals today.
Throughout these 2012 Summer Games, we are constantly reminded that we are on Great Britain's home turf by the rip-roaring cheers that support Team GB athletes. This was the case today in the Olympic Stadium, as Jessica Ennis won gold in the heptathon. Some of our guests witnessed her win the final event, the 800 meter run, to win the gold. We also watched Jamaica dominate the 100 meter dash, as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell-Brown won gold and bronze respectively in the 100 meter dash. USA's Carmelita Jeter won silver.
The lake was a huge focal point in today’s competitions, as more Team GB teams gunned for gold in the men and women’s rowing races. In the women’s lightweight double sculls, GB got the gold, China won silver, and Greece took home bronze. In a very tight men’s lightweight double sculls race, Denmark just barely beat Team GB for the gold medal, with GB winning silver medal, and New Zealand winning the bronze medal. The GB pair was quite disappointed with their performance but was reassured by the crowd that GB was still proud of these former champions. In the men’s open weight four man boat, Team GB proved strong, winning the gold medal, as Australia won silver, and Team USA taking home bronze.
Wimbledon was full of excitement today, as the women’s singles match and men’s doubles match gave out medals. In women’s singles, Serena Williams (USA) played Maria Sharapova (Russia) in an astounding match-up of talent. Williams ended up getting the gold, winning two easy sets against Sharapova 6-0, 6-1. France and USA played against each other for the gold and silver medals in men’s doubles, where Team USA won the gold in a 6-4, 7-6 match.
Today also marked the end of the swimming at these Olympic Games. The USA swimming team won an incredible 30 medals, far ahead of the second place team, China, with 10 medals. Michael Phelps led this USA count with 6 medals, officially setting the record for 22 medals ever won by an Olympic athlete. Following Phelps are Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and Allison Schmitt with 5 medals each. Congratulations to the over 900 swimmers who have competed over the last week of events! We look forward to seeing many of these swimmers again in Rio de Janeiro 2016!
It was another great day to be a SportsMark staff member, as we assisted and escorted our clients through many events, from athletics to handball. We love the consistent excitement from visitors who display so much pride in their countries, whether their team wins or loses! Here’s to a another thrilling second half of the Olympic Games!
August 4, 2012
Today offered Olympic-viewers a smorgasbord of events to watch in the pool, on the court, in the river, and on the sand. Tennis, athletics, rowing, and swimming were among the competitions that SportsMark’s clients observed today—all events proved to be incredibly intense and competitive! We’re lucky to be in the presence of such tremendous athletes.
All eyes were on Centre Court at Wimbledon this afternoon. With sunglasses on, we watched the fierce semi-final matches. First, Roger Federer (Switzerland), the recent Wimbledon champion, defended his title against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro. This match lasted more than four hours and ended 19 to 17 in game three. Even after the long match, we were ready for more tennis and watched USA's Serena Williams beat top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in just two games. In the last match of the night, Andy Murray (Great Britain) fueled the crowd's cheers and beat Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 7-5 7-5. These wins in the men's singles tournament place Federer and Murray in another head-to-head battle at Wimbledon this Sunday but this time with a gold medal at stake. The women’s gold medal match between Williams and Maria Sharapova (Russia) will be played on Saturday.
The Athletics officially began today, and Olympic Park was once again filled with a large crowd eager to watch world-class athletes compete inside the main stadium. Only two events reached finals today: the men’s shot put and the women’s 10,000 meter run. In men’s shot put, the gold medal was awarded to Tomasz Majewski (Poland), silver to David Storl (Germany), and bronze to Reese Hoffa (USA). The women’s 10,000 meter gold medal was given to Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia), silver to Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego (Kenya), and bronze to Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot (Kenya).
In rowing events, Team GB gained more medals today! In women’s double sculls they won gold, with Australia earning silver, and Poland winning bronze. In men’s single sculls, Mahe Drysdale (Australia) gained gold, Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) won silver, and Alan Campbell (GB) secured bronze. GB won another medal, as men’s pair rowing medals went to New Zealand (gold), France (silver), and Great Britain (bronze). Men’s quadruple sculls medals were given to Germany (gold), Croatia (silver), and Australia (bronze).
Swimming provided another great evening, as medals were awarded in the women’s 200 meter backstroke and 800 meter freestyle, and in the men’s 100 meter butterfly and 50 meter freestyle. Missy Franklin (USA) took home gold in the women’s 200 meter backstroke, with Anastasia Zueva (Russia) winning silver, and Elizabeth Beisel (USA) winning bronze. The women’s 800 meter freestyle crowned Katie Ledecky (USA) with the gold, Mireia Belmonte Garcia (Spain) with silver, and Rebecca Adlington (GB) with bronze. In the men’s 100 meter butterfly, Michael Phelps (USA) secured the gold medal, Chad le Clos (South Africa) won silver, and Evgeny Korotyshkin (Russia) gained bronze. The men’s 50 meter freestyle, the Olympics’ fastest swimming event, was unbelievably close: Florent Manaudou (France) took gold with a time of 21.34 seconds, Cullen Jones (USA) won silver in 21.54 seconds, and the bronze medalist was Cesar Cielo (Brazil) with a time of 21.59 seconds.
The top three current medal counts are 43 for USA, 42 for China, and 23 for Russia. Team GB is close behind with a total of 22 medals. USA leads the gold medal count at 21, with China following with 20, and Korea with 9. The atmosphere in Olympic Village is escalating, as events in the Olympic Stadium have begun, and people are anticipating Usain Bolt’s performance in the 100 and 200 meter races. In the next few days, we look forward to more fan favorites including tennis and athletics.
August 3, 2012
On this sixth day of Olympic events, we escorted guests to competitions, such as water polo and basketball. It was an exciting day for Great Britain, as it continued to pursue other countries like France, China, and the United States for the highest total medal count. The morale and pride of the British fans seem to have been rejuvenated within and outside of the Olympic Park. Even the Tube conductors announced events over the intercom to give riders up-to-date scores throughout the day!
Team GB took home gold medals in men’s double trap shooting (Peter Robert Russell Wilson), men’s double canoe (Tim Baillie & Etienne Stott), and men’s team cycling sprint, while also winning silver medals in men’s lightweight four-man rowing and men’s double canoe (David Florence & Richard Hounslow). London was bursting with enthusiasm with each win, as “Team GB” chants were heard throughout Olympic Park.
While Team GB certainly had its share of wins today, Team USA dominated in the pool, winning the gold medal in the women’s 200 meter breaststroke (Rebecca Soni), the gold and bronze in the men’s 200 meter backstroke (Tyler Clary & Ryan Lochte, respectively), and the gold and silver in the men’s 200 meter individual medley (Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte, respectively). In gymnastics, Gabrielle Douglas took home the gold in the women’s all-around! Americans here in London managed to find each other throughout the day to share “U-S-A” cheers.
Cycling in the Velodrome began today, and athletics start tomorrow. In athletics we are excited to see how the Olympic Stadium transforms from the Opening Ceremonies masterpiece to an arena for track and field. Also, track cycling kicked off and was welcomed by ecstatic British fans. One honored cyclist, Great Britain's Sir Chris Hoy, won his 5th Olympic gold medal, tying Sir Steve Redgrave’s record for most gold medals won by a British athlete.
World and Olympic records are constantly being broken in these 2012 Games - to date, 46 records have been set! The USA men's basketball team captured the record for the most points scored in a game with 156 points against Nigeria, which had 73. This shocking score proves this team's talent and tenacity and reminds us of the incredible drive and passion of all of our Olympic athletes.
August 2, 2012
Now that the Games have reached day 5, new events, such as handball, are emerging, and the opening favorites, like swimming, are ending.
Swimming had several final races today: the men's 100 meter freestyle and 200 meter breaststroke, and the women's 100 meter butterfly and 4x200 meter freestyle relay. Daniel Gyurta (Hungary) won the men’s 200 meter breaststroke, Nathan Adrian (USA) won the men’s 100 meter freestyle, and Liuyang Jiao (China) won the women’s 100 meter butterfly. The USA dominated the women’s 4x200 meter freestyle relay race, beating Australia (silver medal winners) by 1.5 seconds, to win the gold medal and Olympic record with a time of 7:42.92. In another pool, USA tied Spain in women's water polo in a close match, with both teams scoring 9 points. Then in other matches, Hungary beat China 11-10, Russia beat Italy 7-4, and Australia beat Team GB by a staggering 16-3. The competition is definitely heating up.
While swimming, gymnastics, and track and field are undoubtedly the most well-known Olympic sports, there are many other lesser known sports that Olympic spectators have the unique opportunity to explore. Today our guests enjoyed one of Olympics' hidden gems, handball. This high-scoring, physical sport had fans cheering in the Copperbox Arena the entire match. Bursts of popular pump up songs and chants native to each country's team created a thrilling sports environment. Spain versus Denmark was the first match, with Spain winning 24-21. Denmark, however, had the most fans--nearly 75% of the stadium cheered and rooted for the Danes throughout the match! Russia and Croatia played next--an epic rivalry. Croatia fans dominated the crowd in noise and decoration. The Croatian ladies ended up taking the win from the Russians, winning 30 points to Russia's very-close 28 points.
For Team GB, today was also a momentous day! Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won Team GB's first gold of the Games in rowing. These women were also the first British female rowers to ever win gold. Great Britain proudly celebrated this big accomplishment for two of their athletes and continues to cheer on all of the Olympic hopefuls.
The excitement in Olympic Park is still buzzing with loyal fans from across the globe. Pin trading is one way fans get into spirit, and this tradition has become a serious game among fans. On the streets of London, the atmosphere has never been as eclectic and vibrant, with visitors from around the globe all trying to catch the Olympic spirit.
It was a fabulous day for all who got to witness the high intensity of competition around London. Looking forward to gymnastics and more swimming finals tomorrow, as more guests arrive, and the competition tightens. Here's to another competitive and rewarding day tomorrow.
August 1, 2012
Today was a day of close wins and losses—exactly what we expect from the Games! Women’s gymnastics, men’s volleyball, and the men’s swimming 200 meter butterfly race were among the high pressure events.
In men’s swimming, the 200 meter butterfly race was especially close as 20-year-old Chad le Clos (South Africa) beat Michael Phelps (USA) by mere hundredths of a second. Phelps took this “loss” in stride, as he was on the other side of a close loss four years ago in Beijing when he beat opponent Milorad Cavic (Serbia) by one-hundredth of a second in the 100 meter butterfly race. Phelps ended the night by winning the 800 meter freestyle relay. In only the fourth day of these games, Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 19 medals. With the help of these two medals in swimming, USA is now tied with China as the medal count leaders with 23 each.
The USA women's gymnastics team also helped contribute to this impressive count by crushing their opponents and winning gold in the team competition. USA beat Russia, the silver medalist, by a comfortable five points and bronze medalist, Romania, by seven points. USA gymnasts have been vying to reclaim the team gold since 1996 when they won on their home turf in Atlanta. It truly was an exciting day for the United States Olympic team. SportsMark has been in overdrive with new waves of guests arriving each day. We are looking forward to tennis, beach volleyball, and the start of many final events in the upcoming days. We should be seeing more and more people flock to the park as more medals are given out in the various events. Overall, today was very successful, and it reminded us that upsets are common occurrences at this high level of performance. Congratulations to the winners so far and to all the teams that continue to show heart and strength in such tough competitions.
July 31, 2012
Today has been a busy one for the SportsMark team in London. We escorted and shuttled our clients all over the place—literally! We took a group to Windsor Castle for some proper sightseeing and tourist attractions, and led several other packs of people to various events, including basketball, swimming, and several indoor exhibition sports. The skies were clear and the weather was lovely, so walking around the park was the thing to do.
The main events today were swimming, water polo, and basketball. Some guests attended water polo, where Team GB was competing with France and lost by one goal in the closing minutes. The exciting atmosphere carried over to swimming, where 17-year-old Missy Franklin (USA) won gold in the 100 meter backstroke! And even more impressive: she swam and made the finals in the 200 meter freestyle semi-finals not more than 20 minutes beforehand. What a truly elite athlete with unwavering competitive energy. These aquatic-based events were packed with fans from every nation, as crowds roared after every goal or lap in the pool.
Over in Greenwich Park, Team GB’s men scored a bronze medal in gymnastics. There was a minor dilemma in scoring, which originally had GB as the silver medalists over Japan, but Team Japan’s protestation led to an eventual adjustment of the score, and the stadium erupted as GB sealed the 3rd place medal. This is a huge win for GB on home turf, but even more so on the world stage.
The races are heating up, and we should be seeing competition kick into top gear. We’re looking forward to beach volleyball, basketball, water polo, and handball tomorrow, in addition to tours of Harrod’s and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for some of our guests.
July 30, 2012
Today has been a stormy one. These athletes, in the midst of rain, thunder, and lightning, will not give up their quest for the gold. As cyclists, rowers, archers, and canoeists were affected by the climate, swimmers, gymnasts, and table tennis players were kept dry indoors. LOCOG has received criticism on the news that some seats were not completely filled today and yesterday. They plan to give tickets to children and members of the military, so we should see events filling up in the upcoming days.
On the SportsMark side, it is clear that the 26 sports at 28 venues are going to keep our guests very busy. Between basketball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball, cycling and many others, SportsMark staff members were scattered across London escorting our guests to some incredible events.
Many of our guests started the day at Wimbledon to watch Great Britain’s Andy Murray easily defeat Stan Wawrinka in tennis. Murray demonstrated great confidence as he redeemed himself on the very courts he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final just two weeks ago. After watching Murray make a bold statement through his fierce return to the Wimbledon courts, we made our way to the North Greenwich Arena to see the last qualifying round of Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. As the crowd awaited the start of the gymnastics competition, clips of inspiring performances from past Games silenced the crowd and prompted us to ask, “Who will have those jaw dropping performances in these Summer Games?”
Elsewhere, some of our staff guided clients and their guests to basketball or swimming events. We were instrumental in directing guests onto buses and scanning their credentials to ensure the safety and security of all guests. Once at the park, the staff were stationed at various locations to smoothly guide clients to the gym and aquatics pool. Some of our program guests were fortunate enough to attend basketball, where the favorites, Team USA, defeated France by a large margin. Following the first game, we watched Spain take on China, which ensued in a very exciting matchup.
A wonderful intrinsic quality of these events is the ongoing storytelling that streams from all 26 sports—it’s almost impossible to keep track of everything! Broadcasters can only cover so much at one time. While on an afternoon field trip to a nearby pub for tea and a glorious sticky toffee pudding, I found myself chatting with some native Brits about the recent swimming events. If you weren’t able to catch it, Ryan Lochte (USA) beat out rival Michael Phelps (USA) in the 400 meter Individual Medley, Phelps’ flagship race, by 4.10 seconds! Hardly a competition, it would seem, but it was entertaining for everyone nonetheless. Phelps promised the crowd a better showing in other events during the meet.
Today, medals were given out in archery, fencing, judo, shooting, swimming, weightlifting, cycling, and diving. Tomorrow should prove to be another very competitive day in London!
July 29, 2012
The first official day of Olympic competition has taken off, and the buzz around town was great. SportsMark staff were hard at work, taking our guests to sporting events such as Beach Volleyball, Boxing, and Gymnastics. The atmosphere around the offices is very hectic, as the first day was moving along, and the entire event operation was going into full effect.
Meanwhile, in and around London, everyone was in Olympic mode. The festive atmosphere can be felt best inside the Olympic Park. Just a few days ago, all the venues were empty and the security “mag & bag” tents were vacant. But now there are thousands upon thousands filling in and out of the Park, all of them buzzing with excitement and brimming with pride. Despite all the worries about rain, the weather today was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies and white clouds up high, and seas of excited spectators down below, it was a fantastic sight to see. People were queuing for the London 2012 Megastore, and eating at the biggest McDonalds restaurant in the world. London 2012 volunteers were offering to take pictures for the spectators, and media broadcasters were running around with their cameras capturing all the activities. Being inside Olympic Park is like being transported to another land, where everyone is happy and all worries disappear. This is the kind of magic that the Olympics can bring!
The first day has produced some unforgettable Olympic moments already. China won the first gold medal of London 2012, with Yi Siling winning the shooting event for women's 10m air rifle. It was also a huge day for swimming. One of the biggest moments today was when Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps in the 400 IM swimming event. Fans worldwide were stunned, and Lochte has proven that this Olympics is a completely different competition. At the end of the first day, China is leading in the medal count, but that can easily change in the days to come.
July 28, 2012
Friday night, 80,000 spectators streamed into the gates of the Olympic Park for the Opening Ceremony, eagerly awaiting Great Britain’s welcome to the world. The weather was gloomy, but the British pride and energetic vibe were infectious. The Olympic Park was buzzing with athletes, spectators, volunteers, and staff. The SportsMark local team was staffed on coach buses as microphone hosts, PaxTrax administrators, and bus assistants. Once at the park, staff served as “anchors”, who guided guests into and out of the hospitality center, as well as the stadium.
The anticipation was in the air, as the minutes counted down to the beginning of the ceremony. Fans from all over the world crowded the grounds beneath Olympic Stadium, waiting to enter what would be a remarkable and unforgettable experience. The many flags and face paints brought color to the audience, as swarms of children and their parents wore London 2012 apparel and carried flags of their home countries. Among the interesting costumes were ladies dressed in sequined Union Jack dresses, men covered in American flag spandex, and a few gentlemen in blue Smurf costumes.
While many people are comparing London’s Opening to that of China’s four years ago, the two ceremonies were completely different. The beginning of the ceremony showcased Britain’s development and strength through the Industrial Revolution, displaying GB’s dominance in the age of growing commerce throughout the world. Following the stories of yore, the show’s timeline progressed into a description of the fabulous children’s literature that has been produced in the UK throughout the ages. Peter Pan, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, and Harry Potter were among the stories told in a moving performance by small children and the demons of these books. JK Rowling reading to the children was certainly a highlight of the show, which audibly delighted the audience. No shortage of Potter fans here! In addition to that, David Beckham, Mr. Bean, Daniel Craig, The Queen, and the inventor of the World Wide Web, were some of the popular British icons that were used to show Britain’s pervasive cultural influence throughout the world.
By the end of the night, once the torch had been ignited by a new generation of athletes and as Paul McCartney serenaded the stadium with “Hey Jude”, the crowd's excitement could no longer be contained. To top it all, there was an amazingly brilliant explosion of fireworks. For the SportsMark staff, the night did not end until 3am, after we brought all our guests back to their hotels. Everyone was exhausted, but felt extremely accomplished with how the night went. It felt great to be part of history and to contribute to one of the largest events in the world. The Olympic Games are going to be fantastic, and we are excited for what the athletes have in store for us.
July 27, 2012 - Opening Ceremonies
London has always been an electric city filled with wonderful history, architecture, arts, and culture, but you can feel the pride and excitement that has been building up, as we welcome the world to the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games. The last time the Summer Olympic Games were held in London was in 1948 and at the original Wembley Stadium. A lot has changed during this time, including the landscape of East London.
It’s hard to believe this moment has arrived since the announcement seven years ago of London as host of the XXX Olympiad. I remember being glued to the television in Italy on my honeymoon with an enormous sense of anticipation waiting to hear my hometown, London, had won the bid.
Spectators from all over the world are assembling in this dynamic historical city to witness true history in the making, revel in the party atmosphere, purchase Union Jack merchandise, and cheer on their country’s top athletes, as they cycle, swim, row, and run to Olympic glory.
The Olympic torch, symbolizing peace, unity, and friendship arrived in London on May 18th in Plymouth. A delegation from the UK, led by HRH The Princess Royal and including LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and football star David Beckham, accompanied the Flame after receiving it at the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens the day before. The torch, transported in a myriad of creative ways, has been carried by thousands of torchbearers, including Olympians, military personnel, celebrities, children and UK citizens from all walks of life. The best kept secret in the Olympics, is who will light the torch in the Opening Ceremony. As in past Games, the revelation of the final torchbearer, the dramatic journey around the stadium, and the ultimate lighting of the Olympic cauldron is sure to be a moment of pure joy, pride, and celebration for London and the rest of the world.
Paralleling the long journey of the torch relay, so, too, follows the dedicated focus and detailed planning of a SportsMark client’s corporate hospitality programme. Every element of the guest experience is planned and reviewed by the account manager and SportsMark senior management, sometimes beginning two or three years in advance. Then, the programme is expertly managed in London by experienced and dedicated onsite staff. From the moment guests arrive at the airport, until we bid them safe travels upon departure, our operations staff is focused on delivering a smooth, unforgettable, and exciting Olympic experience.
While Danny Boyle and the rest of the Opening Ceremony production team are scrupulously reviewing the huge cast of actors, dancers and singers, and fine-tuning the show timing down to the millisecond, SportsMark teams are putting the final touches on client programmes. Local staff and drivers are trained, transportation schedules are prepared, buses are loaded with beverages and snacks for airport arrivals, staff uniforms are freshly pressed, hotel rooms are readied for new guests, and client branding is hung in the hospitality suites and venues. Event tickets are placed in custom envelopes for efficient distribution, gift bags are name-tagged and sorted, signage is ready to lead guests to and from events, menus are reviewed, and business presentations are rehearsed.
London is ready, the spectators are ready, the athletes are ready, SportsMark is ready – let the Games begin!
Director, Business Development, Europe