Paralympics 2012

Paralympics 2012

On Sunday we made the short trip to East London to enjoy a session of paralympic athletics in the stadium and explore the Olympic Park and venues.

Arriving in style, courtesy of the fittingly named Javelin train from St. Pancras International, we were quickly through security and into the park where we were immediately in awe of the enormous stadium.

The first task of the day was to meet-up with my mum over by the Orbit and then we started thinking about how we got to our seats as we could hear the atmosphere in the stadium building.

As we escorted my mum to her gate we took in the World Square and gawped at the Aquatics and Water Polo centres - both very impressive when seen up-close - and then began the walk to our own gate with a spring in our step as it was all getting very exciting now.

By this point the crowds were building around the stadium and we were only slightly delayed in getting to our seats by the task of depositing Fergus' buggy in a buggy park that was almost all the way back at the gate we'd just been to.

I've not been to that many big stadiums but the part I like the most is entering. The anticipation and excitement is at fever pitch and when you walk out into the open air and it all opens up in front of you it's simply breath-taking.

After negotiating a pretty tough flight of stairs up to row sixty-nine we were sat down and enjoying the sport unfolding in front of us.

The highlight of our session was without doubt the men's discuss, with the gold medal won and a European record set by Aled Davies, a result he celebrated as only a Paralympic victory can be: by leaping, air-punching and a lap of honour around the track!

Along with all the discus excitement we saw wheelchair racing, shot put, javelin, running, sprinting and several medal ceremonies.

Our time in the stadium came to an end all too soon as the morning session closed and we left the stadium, collected the buggy and mum and started thinking about lunch and exploring the park itself.

After feasting on giant bratwurst in the shadow of the Orbit we took a stroll around the park, visiting the Velodrome, Eton Manor, Copperbox and others that I can't remember the names of.

The crowds were in high spirits with everyone enjoying themselves, we even chatted with some Americans as we sipped our mid-afternoon lattes and heard about a husband who was competing in the wheelchair tennis, their fish and chip dinner in a traditional English pub and explained (badly) what Marmite is.

By this point I'd taken quite a few shots of our time in the park, some of which are shown below with the rest over on Flickr in my Paralympics 2012 set.

As we left the stadium, on our way back to Stratford station, we caught sight of a Paralympian proudly sporting her bronze medal and jumped at the chance for one last photo opportunity which made my mum's day and was the perfect way to end an amazing experience.