This summer will be another Olympics as London, England will host the world. The last summer Olympics were in Beijing, China. I am not a big sports fan and I don’t watch a lot of Olympic events. I enjoy watching a little bit of the winter Olympics, especially the figure skating. Winter sports also take place during school months, so I follow more intently to talk to the kids about it and we often graph the medal counts, so it is more educational than interest on my behalf.
Leading up to any Olympic event there is always sporting events in different countries for athletes to ‘warm up’ if you will. Shanghai was host to such an event 2 weeks ago. I never bought tickets, or really knew it was occurring until a co-worker invited me to the event when her husband could not attend. I thought I would go since this would be the closest I would ever get to an Olympic hopeful. John being away it was also good to get out and have some company. Plans were set for Saturday evening to attend the Shanghai Diamond League. It had been hot and sunny all week with temperatures hovering around 30*c. Saturday I awoke to heavy cloud, rain and a chilly 19*c. Not knowing much about the event or location, other than it being at Shanghai Stadium, a location where my favourite reality show the Amazing Race had been to do a challenge. Anne called midafternoon to change our leaving time, not to cancel, so I assumed the event was indoors.
Leaving the house I layered up to keep warm and dry and got a little soggy on the short walk to Thumb Plaza. Dripping wet we grabbed a quick bite at the Korean restaurant and then to the metro for our night out. We exited the station to a light mist and passed many vendors selling plastic rain coats, umbrellas and binoculars. We found our way to our seats, 5th row and close to the finish line. I now realised there was no roof, it was an open air stadium. It is times like this you appreciate the Sky Dome (now Roger’s Centre) for a retractable roof. It was OK since the rain had now stopped and I had a rain jacket and many warm layers on. It had rained hard for most of the day, so we assumed the rain had passed.
We were surprised the stadium was not that full and Anne figured most people would come later since China’s top hurdler would be running and that was the last race of the night. Sure enough as time went on the stadium filled more and more. Our 5th row seats turned out not to be as good as they sounded… just in front of us was the camera men on a platform, so our view was partly covered and we no longer could see the finish line. Then the rain started again as a light mist. If we had the cheap seats we would have had a partial roof to help keep us dry. Oh well, we did have a great view of the women’s high jump and that was pretty exciting. It came down to 2 competitors that were tied, but the rain started heavier and they became more hesitant. Once it started to pour, and this is China where they LOVE umbrellas, umbrellas popped open all around us, so again our 5th row became a hinderance as all we could see was colourful umbrellas and none of the events. 2 nice gentlemen noticed we only had on rain coats, and Anne’s did not have a hood, so they loaned us their umbrella as the steady, drenching rain hammered down. The races slowed down considerably and men with ginormous squeegees tried to move the water off the track before each race and between laps. It wasn’t helping. Many people left and our view was clear again. Anne, a big sports fan, finally had dampening spirits (ha ha) and said OK one more race then we will go. As we left I noticed most people had left their seats and huddled near the back where the roof overhang provided some escape from the rain. After all their Olympic hopeful was up soon.
Getting a taxi in the rain is never easy and we lucked out as someone was just getting dropped off as we exited the gate. If we had waited I am sure we would not have been so lucky. Inside a nice warm taxi we headed back home and I had plans to snuggle up in a my nice warm bed and let the rain lull me to sleep.
It was a fun evening, but it certainly didn’t win me over to become a sports lover… 😉
So will you watch the Olympics this summer?
Stay tuned for more next time….