The silver medal winners are…
I mentioned previously that spectators were allowed to bring empty bottles into the venues and fill them via water stations. The water stations varied from venue to venue and as the Olympics went on, the water station situation got worse and worse. In fact, I don’t recall seeing a water station at The O2.
The best water stations were at Horse Guards Parade. They modeled the water stations after cows, which was brilliant!
At first glance, the water station looks similar to a table saw but it’s not a table saw, it’s a cow udder water station. This water station was great for several reasons.
- Each station had eight udders.
- Bottles could easily fit upright under the udders with no need to tilt them to get them under the udder.
- Water stations were well placed and easy to find.
- Empty and/or full bottles could be set on the shelf above the udders while you filled additional bottles.
- Possibly due to design but more likely due to no one drinking tap water, there were no queues at the water stations at Horse Guards Parade.
The worst water stations were in Olympic Park. They chose design over function. Not brilliant.
Each water station in Olympic Park had three spouts, two of which were drinking fountain spouts which obviously were not conducive for filling bottles. Therefore, only one spout at each three-spout water station was ever in use. Queues were long and there weren’t enough water stations for the number of people at Olympic Park. It was a hot mess.
Spectators were allowed to bring food into venues. Having the option of bringing our own food was very nice and unexpected. The type of food at the venues varied. Some venues had pizza and nachos while others had BBQ and Indian food. The world’s largest temporary McDonald’s existed in Olympic Park and ran like a well-oiled machine but offered a limited menu.
The food was priced as one would expect given we were at a sporting event. Some examples:
- £6.00 for a footlong bratwurst
- £4.50 for a pint of Heineken
- £9.50 for a BBQ platter
- £4.50 for a steak & ale pasty
- £2.30 for a 500 ml bottle of Coke
The quality of the food, however, was not good. We ate our own food most of the time because it tasted better, was less expensive and we didn’t have to get up and queue for it.
Ticket Resolution is a service designed to resolve ticket issues. So, basically what its name states. Examples of tickets that need to be resolved include:
- seats for a given pair of tickets are not next to one another
- you need an aisle seat due to an injury
- you need an accessible seat due to a disability or injury
Each venue had a Ticket Resolution tent and none of them were clearly marked probably because they didn’t want people to find them. Peter and I used Ticket Resolution twice, both times to get seats next to one another. My main complaint with Ticket Resolution is that they didn’t have a system in place to handle re-releasing tickets that were turned in for new tickets. This contributed to the many empty seats in the stadiums.
As an example, Peter and I purchased two tickets for an evening beach volleyball session but purchased them under two transactions because the London 2012 website is shitty and for whatever reason, we were only able to get one seat at a time. After clearing security at Horse Guards Parade, we went to Ticket Resolution to see if they could resolve our ticket issue and they did.
What did they do with our old tickets? They ripped off the bottom portion of the ticket (making it invalid) and then handed the paper tickets back to us as keepsakes. Seriously.
Our old seats were not occupied during that beach volleyball session. What I would have liked to see is our old seats re-released to the public but via an on-site ticket booth. They could have sold tickets on-site with no issues. People were everywhere wanting to buy tickets.
The fact that our old seats remained unoccupied infuriates me. Also, while I was happy they were able to get us two seats next to one another, it upset me that there were enough empty seats to actually resolve our ticket issue. Why were those seats not sold to the public? No one wants to publicly answer this question.