On saturday afternoon, we went to Horse Guards' parade in Whitehall in order to go to another Olympic test event, the Beach Volleyball. Compared to the other Olympic test events, the security theatre was on show with bag scans and pat-downs. These put me in a picky mood, as there were several things that grated. Once inside, there were a couple of food concessions and a stall selling 'souvenirs', not a single one of which appealed (I hate the olympic branding, the logo is simply awful - and the mascots, ick!) There was also incredibly noticeable branding from 'Visa' - this time the 'We are proud to only accept Visa' signs really were quite annoying - saying you're 'proud' to accept fewer payment methods came across as very silly to us. Make the sign 'Only Visa Credit and Debit cards are accepted, we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause' as this does the job without the doublespeak. During the event, I wasn't as impressed by the 'jolly the crowd' tactics in the downtime, the dancers and the 'Mexican Wave' - it was all rather 'Butlins'.
Moans over, let's focus on the good bits.
For the event itself, tonnes of sand had been used to create a beach volleyball court in Horseguards parade. It was great watching the tactics of the game, some of it was really spectacular. We saw two quarter finals, Australia vs. Brazil, and GB versus China, with Brazil and GB going through to the semi finals.
The sand-rakers did provide some nice interval entertainment, 'Yakety Sax' (or the 'Benny Hill' music) was very appropriate, and I think they started to play up to it a little with the way they ran off after raking (a very organised 'Benny Hill' style line). These guys could be trained up with three or four flourishes to finish the raking and, for me, they could happily replace the dancers as entertainment!
... and Beach Volleyball is certainly an aesthetically pleasing game to watch. Our photos are on flickr.