When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Getting hooked on London 2012
SO Olympic fever is gripping the nation…. As the boy who was always picked last at PE I wasn’t overly excited about the Olympics, but I surprised myself by getting hooked and from the Olympic ceremony onwards, my TV has barely been off.
Like most of you, I read all the news about empty seats and figured that they might include wheelchair tickets, so I set about getting tickets last minute.
After a long wait on the phone I was surprised to be told that they had plenty of wheelchair seats on offer. I managed to get tickets for the women’s 3m diving semi-final and handball. I was in the Olympic park on Super Saturday – and super it was.
The events were amazing, the atmosphere was crazy, with 17,000 other people cheering and the excitement and sense of community left me feeling really warm.
I really wanted to write a positive piece about the Olympics but sadly despite a wonderful easy, accessible time in the park, getting there left me feeling cold.
After a 45 minute phone call to Transport for London, I eventually found out that my journey would take hours switching buses multiple times to avoid the road blocks just to get to the Tube. I was advised to use taxis for the gaps and to get to the few accessible tube stations.
After a £20 quid taxi ride, I was forced out of the taxi at the end of Whitehall (yet another road block) for a push through the crowds to Westminster tube.
Needless to say I was not exactly feeling Olympic joy. I must however praise the volunteers and transport staff who kept on smiling.
Unfortunately my journey home was equally frustrating. Some of the highlights included being told to wait in a stairwell without my companion while waiting for a train, then hearing a steward say ‘hold the doors, we’ve got another ‘one’ to a colleague who was helping another wheelchair user into a lift. Charming eh? As with every story there is a beginning, middle and end. It’s just a shame that the start and end, were riddled with additional costs, ignorant flippant comments and a few hours more on my travel time.
But as my companion said, ‘pity it didn’t feel perfect, but it was, and on reflection I’m glad I experienced the Olympics despite the horrific travel woes.
Go team GB!