Olympic athletes unimpressed as travel chaos hits London

Jul 16, 2012

Olympic gossip: Travel chaos as athletes arrive, stripping lollipop ladies for ceremony

THERE was confusion on commuter routes into London and reports of 30-mile tailbacks today as Olympic athletes began arriving in the country and new road restrictions came into force. The Daily Telegraph described a "perfect storm" of travel chaos. And already London's reputation is under fire. US hurdler Kerron Clement took to Twitter as his bus struggled to get to the Olympic village. "Um, so we’ve been lost on the road for 4hrs. Not a good first impression London," he wrote.

Details of the Olympic closing ceremony have emerged, and it promises to be an entertaining show, says the Daily Mail. Tickets are still available for up to £1,500, and highlights include live performances by Queen, Ray Davies, Russell Brand, and Madness. The Who are rumoured to be closing the show accompanied by Darcey Bussell and 300 Royal Ballet dancers. But the most-anticipated act appears to be a troupe of stripping lollipop ladies, who will "direct the tooting traffic" before tearing off their costumes to reveal Union Jack swimsuits. However, organisers stress that the list is "subject to change" even at this late stage.

There was a mixed bag of results for British athletes at the 2012 Crystal Palace Grand Prix conclusion on Saturday, reported The Guardian. Christine Ohuruogu, Goldie Sayers, and Perri Shakes-Drayton all impressed. Ohuruogu recorded her best 400m time since 2009, and Shakes-Drayton beat both the Olympic and European champions in the 400m hurdles. But there was disappointment for Hannah England, who finished last in her first race since an Achilles injury. Triple-jumper Phillips Idowu withdrew from yet another meet after suffering "tightness in his hip", and sprint hurdler Tiffany Porter is now a doubt for the Games after leaving the track in tears after a back injury flared-up in her 100m hurdles heat.

A uniformed "brand army" has begun patrolling the UK to protect the marketing deals struck by the official sponsors of the Olympic Games, reports The Independent. The officials, identified by their purple caps and tops, will be looking out for firms using a list of banned words – including "gold" and "summer" – in their promotions. Under legislation specially introduced for the London Games, they have the right to enter shops and offices and bring court action with fines of up to £20,000.

The Olympic Village opens its doors to athletes today, with members of Team GB the first to step across the threshold, said The Daily Telegraph. Athletes will be formally welcomed with a Team Welcome ceremony, featuring recorded anthems by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and dance and music from the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe says it is "vital" that London makes a good impression on arriving athletes, some of whom are visiting London for the first time, adding that "first impressions will count for a lot".

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

I'm hoping we'll avoid some of this chaos by taking the train. We're flying into Paris and then taking the Eurostar to Ebbsfleet International in Dartford (cheaper hotels there) and just commuting into the Games on the high-speed domestic trains. Apparently the trains from Ebbsfleet get you to Olympic Park in Stratford within minutes.
When the Games are over we'll just take the Eurostar back to Paris from Ebbsfleet International.
I'm so glad we're not flying this time, it sounds like the airports are nightmares.