Friday, 15 August 2008

A Ridiculous Time to be Blogging

This is a ridiculous time in the morning to be writing something on my blog, but after a long nap yesterday afternoon, and an early night (very early really) where I fell asleep almost immediately, I have woken up just in time for the start of today's Olympics on the television. This is the time when the Olympics programme starts to get really busy because not only do we still have a few more days of exciting swimming to watch, but the athletics is about to begin. One of our real medal hopes, Kelly Sotherton is shortly to start her bid for gold in the Heptathlon; she is due to start her bid in Heat 5 of the Hurdles. Depending on how long this post is, she may actually have begun before I can publish it.

The programme started by showing the inside of the Bird's Nest Stadium, and like so many other occasions during these games there were many empty seats. We then went to the studio that the BBC are using for linking the whole of their coverage of the games, which has a wonderful view of the stadium as a backdrop, and it was possible to see why there were so many empty seats. There were literally hundreds of people making their way across the somewhat strangely named Olympic Green, towards the stadium entrances. It seems that before long the 91,000-seater stadium will indeed be full.

Filling stadia should really not be a problem for the Chinese for they are, after all, the most populous nation on Earth, but it has been remarked at how often there have been empty seats at these games, and this is something that the organisers of London 2012 must ensure does not happen. There is a very fine balancing act to be managed; prices should be high enough to ensure recouping at least a major proportion of the costs of running the games, while at the same time ensuring that the cost of seats at the various sporting venues does not mean that they are priced beyond the reach of the interested population in Britain.

Since the start of the programme, a little over half an hour ago, the number of empty seats has reduced. There are now significantly fewer patches of empty red seats and more spectators can be seen finding their way through the stadium. And as the heats of the Heptathlon hurdles progress, Kelly Sotherton has just run a life-time best for the hurdles and is lying in fourth place after the first event. Producing your best time ever shows that you are committed to performing well, and Kelly is obviously keen to improve on the bronze medal she won at the Athens Olympics and has shown this from the start. We now have to hope that she continues in this vein and produces a performance of which she can be truly proud and without the heartbreak that getting an injury would bring. After all, if Kelly is in with a chance when the 800m, the last event, is run tomorrow, there can be no doubt that she will do all she can to ensure that a medal, hopefully the gold, is her reward.

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