Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The London Eye looks on ...

Part of the view from my seat in the Horse Guards Parade arena
We spent a happy morning yesterday, watching four beach volleyball matches in the rare sunshine. As you can see, the view was spectacular. I doubt there'll be another chance to see it from that angle ever again, as the arena is temporary, and will be dismantled after the Games. 

Beach volleyball never seemed very competitive to me. When I lived in Greece, we spent many happy times on sandy beaches bashing a ball backwards and forwards over a net, rarely forcing our opponents to dive for a save. But it is taken very seriously and is extremely athletic when it is an Olympic sport. The snatches of surfing music that burst out between points, and the exhorting of the crowd to clap and shout Ole! and do Mexican waves, all seem to uphold my original opinion, but the effort and skill of the players cannot be denied.

Photo of the big screen showing a dramatic save
It also occurred to me that this was probably the only sport in the modern Olympics carried out in almost the same physical conditions as boxing and wrestling in the Ancient Olympic Games - a precisely measured rectangle of soft sand under the (blazing?) sun.

However, the umpire does not hold a whip and everyone wears some kind of clothes. Strange that for the women these cover so much less of their bodies than for the men ...

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