Very very early on Saturday 1st September, Otter and I got ready to catch a train to London to see the Paralympics. We went with Otter’s friends, Josh aged 6 a Beaver from Lincolnshire and Ryan aged 9 a Cub. It was very early when we got to the train station, but there were lots of people already there with their flags. Otter checked the tickets, (she does that a lot) and the train came. It was very busy and suddenly Josh realised he had left his bag on the platform but the train was already moving. Luckily Otter still had her bag with the tickets, but Josh had left our breakfasts. Everyone was really excited about going to the Paralympics and the passengers on the train shared their breakfast with us all. Remember you should never speak to strangers unless a grown up you are with says it was ok. The people who shared their breakfast with us were Cubs and Scouts in Peterborough.
We got to Kings Cross and followed the signs to the Javelin train, there were lots and lots of Games Makers and they were so helpful. There were 1000s of people walking in the same direction so it was not easy to get lost. We then caught the train, were Otter and I spoke to a Scout Leader from Newcastle and a Beaver leader from Nottingham. They said they wished they’d brought their group mascots too and thought I had great adventures. We then got to Stratford International Train Station, Otter used to come here years ago, and could not believe the changes. New shops and new cafes, Otter said she would have to come back and explore. There were lots and lots of Games Makers and they all high fived us all again.
Suddenly we got to the Olympic Park, WOW! I was very excited. Otter and the boys were too. We forgot that we had a bottle of water in our bags and were stopped by security. The Army man recognised Otter, she had gone to school with his brother, small small world. Thousands and thousands of people and Otter meets someone she has not seen for 20 years. We walked through the gates and stopped with awe. A Games Maker took a photo of us all in front of the stadium and then we went and explored. We found the Aquatic Centre, the Water Polo Centre, the Orbit and lots more and then went in to explore the stadium. Our seats were nearly at the top, but the view was amazing. We could see the Olympic Cauldron and feel the heat from it when the wind blew in our direction.
Slowly the stadium filled up, Josh and Ryan had brought their Mandevilles with them and Otter bought a gold Wenlock. She said it was her treat as she knew someone from Team GB would win a gold today. Sitting next to us was a group of Brownies and Guides from Hounslow, they had lots of photos taken with me and then the Athletics started. I sat on Otter’s lap with the flag and the Paralympic Mascots and she kept lifting me up so I could see. We were all so excited and the atmosphere cannot be described.
We watched blind long jump, wheel chair racing heats, blind discuss where Clare Williams won Bronze, lots of blind running with and without guides, women’s club, a bronze for Gemma Prescott and men’s shotput, bronze for Robin Womack. Team GB did really well. It was very interesting listening to the rules and classifications and we all learnt a lot. But then it got really exciting, Richard Whitehead raced in the T42 200m finals and he won a Gold! He built up his speed and overtook everyone, we screamed, we shouted, we cheered and jumped up and down when he crossed the finish line. Otter almost lost her voice. Then everyone hugged everyone and there was lots of Mexican Waves. Otter held me up really high and I could see Richard running around the track with the Union Flag on his shoulders. He looked so proud and we were too. We all waved our flags and shouted and cheered.
Not everyone wins a medal at the Olympics or Paralympics, but every athlete who attends is a winner in their own right. They are their fullfilling their dreams and representing their country and it is the highest achievement to take part in the games. Omar Hassan had the true spirit, representing his country in the 1500m he completed his race nearly 8 minutes behind his closest rival. He had the biggest cheer and standing ovation and for over 7 minutes we all yelled and cheered him on to the finish line. I wonder if Omar was a scout, as a scout tries their best and does not give up.
And then it was the medal ceremony for Richard Whitehead, we had already watched 4 medal ceremonies, but this was so different. Everyone was buzzing and straining to get a look. When Richard came out, it was deafening. He was right the other side of the stadium, but Otter held me up so I could watch, Josh and Ryan waved their flags and everyone cheered when he stood on the podium. The clapping and cheering went on for ages and ages and then silence fell for the National Anthem. As the flags went up, we all sang God Save the Queen at the top of our voices. Otter and the Brownie Leaders had tears in their eyes and when I looked around lots of grown ups were wiping away tears as they were so so proud of Team GB.
Then there were some more wheelchair heats and a final medal ceremony. We waited for it to start and then it was announced that one of the medalists had forgot to turn up. The crowd laughed lots and then slowly everyone started to leave. Otter helped us to cross over to the Cauldron so that we could get our photo taken with it. The smell and the heat was amazing. The Olympic Stadium holds 80,000 people and it was completely full, we were amazed at how quickly it emptied. The Games Makers did a really good job.
Soon we were out in the Olympic Park, where we went and had our photo taken at BP to show we had offset our carbon footprint to get to the stadium. And then suddenly we bumped into Tracy whose son had been in Beavers and now in Cubs at Bournville. Small small world! Around 400,000 people at the Olympic park and Otter bumped into 2 people she knew. We then explored the Olympic Park, finding the Royal Barge, having lunch at Macdonalds, looking at the different venues and watching the street acts. Everyone was so happy and friendly and it was lots of fun at the park that we changed our plans for the afternoon.
Eventually it was time to head back into London as we wanted to do another walk to find the mascots. We headed back to Tower Bridge to see the Paralympic symbols hanging from the bridge and I had my photograph taken with more mascots. After London 2012 finishes the mascots are being sold to raise money for more young people to take part in athletics. Otter said she wished she was rich as it would be lovely to have one outside of the Scout Hut. We all laughed as she could not decide which one she wanted.
Then it was time to head back home. Otter took us for a walk along the Thames and showed us some of the war memorials including the Battle Of Britain Memorial and the Camel Corps. Otter knows a lot about the war memorials and where there are lots more and will take us back another day as Ryan and Josh wanted to learn more too. As we headed back to the train station we heard of lots more medals Team GB had won and again everyone in London was happy and excited. Luckily when we got back to the train station Josh’s bag had been found and we ate the breakfast that was still in the bag. I am so lucky to have been to the Olympics and Paralympics and be part of London 2012. I wonder if Otter will take me to Rio 2016?