London 2012 Olympics

Olympic event #8 – diving

Peter and I attended the Women’s 10m platform diving final last night. I would like nothing other than to write about how great of an experience it was and that the Aquatics Centre is amazing but I can’t because I barely saw anything aside from the ceiling of the venue. Our seats were so high up that we barely had a view of the other side of the pool.

The Aquatics Centre is located within Olympic Park and looks pretty dope from the exterior.

It took us two hours to get to Olympic Park from Maidenhead. This was expected as I’ve been to Olympic Park previously with my friend Heidi.

The Aquatics Centre is a permanent venue with a seating capacity of 17,500. All of the pools have moveable booms and floors to create different depths and pool sizes. After the Olympics, the two temporary wings will be removed and the seating capacity will be reduced to 2,500. It will be used by the local community, clubs, schools, and elite swimmers and divers.

Our seats in the Aquatics Centre were absolutely terrible. We were waaaaaayyyy up in the wing and not only was our view obstructed by the ceiling and approximate 10,000 vertical feet but it was hot and humid. I was sure we were seated above the Ozone layer.

Our seats were tucked beneath the corner of the wing.

There were several problems with the seats:

  • We could not see the other side of the venue and felt like we were in a one-side venue.
  • When divers stood on the 10m platform, we could only see them from the waist down because the low ceiling blocked the upper halves of their bodies.
  • We were so far away from the platforms that we could not even see who they were.
  • It was so hot. Poolside, the temperature is maintained between 80.6 and 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit. On the day of our visit, it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside (very hot for London) which likely made the cone area of the wing even more hot. At the time, I estimated that it was 85 degrees where we were seated but that was before I knew the poolside temperature and now I estimate that it was likely around 95 degrees. I had sweat running down my face for the duration of the event.

This was the view from the top of the stairs to our row – located six rows from the very top and the top four rows were not occupied.

I purchased our tickets through CoSport which is the US Olympic ticket provider and they were category D seats – the worst money can buy and were also the only seats money could buy at the time.

Having spent two miserable hours in these seats, I have concluded that the seats never should have been installed in the first place. The seats provided no value other than working our gluteal muscles climbing up the very steep 166 stairs. The stands were so steep that the seat backs of the seats in the row in front of us were only three inches taller than the floor where our feet rested. My shoes were taller than the seat backs.

The nearest toilets, food and bar facilities were 166 stairs down to the main level of the venue. Due to this, there were no bathroom breaks nor breaks for food or alcohol.

What we learned from this experience is that diving is a sport where you need really good seats to watch in person.

As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for” and this is true. For £50/ticket ($78), you don’t get much at the Aquatics Centre. My advice for future Olympic goers is to not skimp on tickets. Spend the money for the best seats possible because seat location will make or break your experience.

More on the cost of our London 2012 Olympic experience in a future post.

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