The Olympics Isn’t Just Riding?

I believe that I mentioned it in one of my earlier blogs, but the equestrian sports have been so all-consuming that I really don’t know much about what’s going on with all of the other sports, despite the fact that they’re essentially taking place all around me here in London. We had a late start to the riding events the other day and I took that opportunity to go explore a bit and get some exposure to the rest of the Olympics, outside of my daily orbit in Greenwich Park. Already told you all about the International Broadcast Center (IBC), so I’ll start from there.















As part of gaining access to the IBC, we could also walk on the grounds of Olympic Park. All I can say is WOW. So hard to describe the massiveness of it all. The venue is built to handle a ton of people and a vast assortment of sports. We just kind of wandered through the middle where you could look all around and see the velodrome, aquatics center, etc. It was really fun to see the athletes walking along in their team “kit” and hazard a guess about what sport they might be competing in.

Even if you aren’t attending the events, the Olympic Park is an amazing place to explore and just soak in the excitement of the Games. I saw a lot of people enjoying exhibits put on by sponsors like Coke, who had some massive “beat box” exhibit made out of glass and chrome that you could climb up into and that made a lot of noise. There were also a lot of yelling children involved and I tend to stay away from that type of thing…but they all seemed to be having a great time! There is just a lot of cool “stuff” to see. One of my personal favorites was the Today Show set right in front of the athlete village. I wished we could spend more time just exploring, but show jumping was getting fired back up and we had to make our way back to Greenwich.

Show Jumping happened and it was awesome, see Sarah’s Pak Across the Pond – Day 11 blog for more details.

I love riding, but I’m also a big soccer fan, so after watching the Brits continue their equestrian domination, I headed back into London to watch the US women play Canada. I tagged along with two other big soccer fans, Lori Rawls and Scott Carling from USEF. We figured what better place to watch the game than the USA House downtown. The IOC and corporate sponsors provide a venue for the athletes and their fans to relax, grab a bite to eat, maybe have an ice cold Bud and watch a ton of events on TVs scattered across the three floors the house occupied. Unfortunately, of all the sports on the TVs, they were having trouble getting women’ soccer to queue up. So, we had a quick beer on the Bud Deck, some American fair in the cafeteria, and after Scott attempted to have his picture taken with Serena Williams (she wasn’t having it), we moved on.

We found a very American-style sports bar in Trafalgar Square and watched a THRILLING victory in overtime by the US women. On to Wembley for the gold this Thursday!!!

Follow @SmartPakerSarah and @SmartPakerColby for the latest updates from London, and keep cheering for Team USA!

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Jen and Tally
Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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