Warning, this is an abberant post. Read at your peril! You'll have to forgive me and endure another week of sporting jubilation on my part be it cheesy "GOOOOOLD!" tweets or even more of those sports talk cliches. It has definitely been a fortnight of two halves (see what I did there?) as a week before the Olympics, I had resigned myself to avoiding pretty much all of it and possibly seeking to get away abroad somewhere lest the city comes to a messy heap of traffic, tube nightmares and human congestion. Then the opening ceremony night came and the symbolic lighting of that Thomas Heatherwick-designed cauldron marked the complete turnaround from skeptic to fangirl. I've been hooked ever since and coinciding with a bout of flu has meant I've been glued to my sofa, flicking frantically between BBC1 and 3, relying on Guardian blogs and pretty much waving the GB flag wherever and whenever. Shoot me now for being a gormless glory hunters. A patriotic minion shouting at the TV, fist pumping in the street, just shy of painting a Union Jack on my face.
Therefore, when I was given a pair of golden tickets so very VERY kindly by Nike to attend the evening session of yesterday's athletics session, I whooped, cheered and did all those other things that are currently taking over the city. Is it just me or is everyone perkier, smilier and generally sending out more happy vibes? After last night's events, that Disney feeling will definitley be out in force. This was my first ever Olympics event and I'm not sure that any other can top what of course turned out to be an out of this world track and field gold rush for GB.
I hate veering too far of the style course and go all Dear Diary on you but I can't express how impressed I've been by what these Olympians do and how greatly that puts what I do into such microscopic insignificance. The stark comparison has already been made but when you look at footballers and their astronomic wages and then see these athletes who fight for funding, have few chances to publicly shine and revel in glory and dedicate hours and hours of intensive training - you cannot help but be in awe. Actually I've never felt this good, feeling so small and insignificant when watching these athletes. I'm inspired in a way that hopefully should yield a bit of a surprise later on in the year (ssshhhh...).
I may be on a tangent here with this sports-related gush fest but in my defense, I wore my new Lesia Paramanova to blend in with the strategically planted wildflowers in the Olympic Park enveloping the stadium in a sort of strange juxtaposition - you can meander quietly alongisde a waterway in amongst crocuses, cornflowers and primroses and up above you, you have noisy McDonalds munching and garish loud music blaring out. There, that's something vaguely fashion related. The lycra floral leotard is also my semi nod to gynmastics gear. No double sommersaults and triple twists from me though. I'll stick to my game of matchy matchy florals instead as I paired the Lesia Paramonova outfit with a vintage Gucci floral jacket.
We were lucky enough to also get the Olympics Prestige treatment which involved a three course meal before going into the stadium. More collective roaring and cheering at screens as Andy Murray and Laura Robson got through to mixed doubles finals and the women's sprint team got their gold.
I fear my recounting the rest of the night will be deathly dull seeing as you probably all know what went down. In any case, it's difficult to express HOW amazing the feeling was inside the stadium no matter who you were supporting. It was a unique collective sports experience that I've never felt anywhere else and I've been to a fair few given that I used to do silver service waitressing at sporting venues when I was a teen. The sheer volume of noise was easily louder than any mental gig or footie match I've been to. You know how it went. Jessica Ennis - assured GOLD! Greg Rutherford - surprise GOLD! Mo Farah - monumental GOLD! Then Shelly-Ann Fraser of Jamaica - defended GOLD! It's hard to say which moment was my favourite. Cowering in admiration for Ennis and her amazing feat of achievement over seven tough events? Rutherford's 8.31m jump? The stadium all up on their feet chanting "Mo! Mo! Mo!", spurring Farah on in his final lap? Just glorious.
You won't need my paltry non-zoom photography of the action but I did wish I bought a binoculars like this chap here to follow the track more closely.
This is my final comic book pose that denotes "What a night!"
I'm going to attempt to steer this blubbery post back on point now. I went to Nike's athlete hospitality and media centre at Tavistock Square to pick up the tickets and cop a feel of what I think are some of the more exciting product releases to have come out of the Olympics on the athlete kit front, as well as spot some imaginative topiary.
The first being the Nike Zoom JA Fly shoe, part of Nike's ongoing partnership with Liberty that now has introduced a performance-focused footwear collection into the mix. Instead of using Liberty's material directly, the Liberty "Mirabelle" floral print has instead been printed onto Nike material making this shoe as much about performance as it is about aesthetics. The amount of neon feet on the track is truly awesome for a neon-lover like myself to see but I'll try my hardest to spot these particular neon specimens on GB 400m hurdles runner Perri Shakes-Drayton when she starts her campaign tonight.
The Zoom JA Fly shoe isn't available to the public as it was created for the athletes specifically but there's of course a whole collection of new Nike x Liberty styles, that Liberty are selling out of at the moment.
The other brilliant story to have come out of athletes' feet (see what I did there?) are these special Fly Knit shoes that were made for the Independent Olympics Athletes, those that don't have countries to represent due to citizenship or political situations. You'll be hearing me harping on about Fly Knit soon enough because in my mind, it blows my mind on so many levels. However, the application here is pertinent and symbolic as the designer had only two weeks to knock out a shoe for the four country-less athletes. If you look closely, the yarns in the Fly Knit are the colours of the Olympic rings (black, red, yellow, blue and green) all woven carefully to represent each continent in equal weight. Any athlete would find significance in such a shoe, regardless of nationality. Again, this isn't a product for public consumption but it does give me glimpses into what the Fly Knit technique is capable of.