London Log-In - July 28, 2012
UCLA athletes, coaches, alumni and staff share their experiences at the 2012 Olympics. UCLA Associate Athletic Director Mike Sondheimer and Gymnastics Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field checked in on Saturday, July 28.
July 28, 2012
Watching the opening ceremonies on a big-screen television with a group of people from the host country was an amazing experience. To be with a group of individuals that know everyone in the production and understand the inside British jokes made the experience one of the most special I have enjoyed.
Similar to rating the commercials at the Super Bowl, watching the opening ceremonies with a group of loyal UK members you can tell what was a hit and what wasn't. Far and away the most popular was James Bond (007) coming and taking the Queen away in a helicopter. Just like the Super Bowl commercials where animals are so popular, everyone loved seeing the royal dogs in action. Watching the Queen jump out of the helicopter done by an actress drew amazing laughs.
The second-most popular personality behind the Queen was none other than David Beckham. He drew cheeers every time he was shown. We have to get Beckham to a UCLA basketball game this season with his sons since he is a regular at LA Laker games and likes the sport a lot away from soccer.
The other thing is unlike in the USA, we watched the ceremonies commercial-free. It was a superb history lesson.
While the Super Bowl draws the biggest televsion ratings in the USA, there is no question that the opening ceremonies will be the most watched television program in the history of the UK. The drama of which athlete or personality would light the Olympic flame was the biggest secret, just like it was when I worked the other Olympic Games. My wife already knew that Sir Paul McCartney would be involved with the show, and to finish with "Hey Jude" just fit to the finish of a great opening ceremonies.
We begin volleyball with the USA women the first day and the USA men the second day. NBC gets blocked out for us in the venue, but the BBC has 24 different channels for the Olympics, so I will be looking to watch the other UCLA athletes and coaches at the Games.
One more note on UCLA personnel - Justin Gimelstob is here for NBC to do tennis at Wimbledon, and Kara Lang is covering soccer for CTV in Canada.
July 28, 2012
So far, super easy! Travel on the tube to the arena was easy, not crowded and actually pleasant. The military that is overseeing security at the arena was, for lack of a more appropriate word, "darling". Young, bright, efficient, personable ... Darling. The arena has restaurants and sports bars that wrap around the concourse. Nice surprise running into Ron Gallimore right before the first men's prelim!
Congratulations to the UK men, who placed first ahead of China in the first prelim. They were "bloody brilliant". Competing in front of the home crowd must have been so inspiring for them. I can't wait for us to get back home to Pauley this upcoming season, especially during NCAAs, which we're hosting in April!
I was fortunate to get a last-minute ticket to the USA men's prelim, thanks to Carol Angela, whose husband directs the UK men. Not bad for my first Olympics ever! Congratulations to the USA men. They are such a class act, and they scored the top mark going into the finals.
Cheerio for now ~
Valorie Kondos Field
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