London 2012 Olympic photos: volleyball and football

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These photos are from two events: men’s volleyball at Earls Court and women’s football at Wembley stadium (CC licence as normal). The two venues are separated by a few miles, but also be a few decades of progress in stadium design. The wooden seats of EC are to Wembley what oilskins and a sowester are to the latest Gore-Tex breathable waterproofs. Functional they may be, but they’re not particularly comfortable, you don’t get a great view of the action and the price differential of building the two venues might be of a similar order. That said, I’ve been to some very impressive Boat Shows at Earls Court where they’ve flooded the main halls for ocean going yachts and the odd dinghy race.

The volleyball was good fun, with some very vocal Polish fans round about not enjoying their national team’s defeat to Australia. The bits that are shown on television look great, as you’d expect, with mobs of volunteers on hand to wipe the court whenever they get the chance. Good atmosphere too, whether because of or inspite of the pitch-side entertainment, enforced Mexican waves and gurning fans on the big screens.

Wembley Stadium is impressive, this was my first visit. It’s really… big. Big pitch, lots of seats, lots of people. Lots of climbing as well, up to your seat in the Gods (if you were sitting near me anyway). The Mexican waves here were largely spontaneous, among the 61,500 crowd, though we still got our fill of entertainments outwith the pitch action. As you can imagine there were some queues to get out – we were herded along ‘Olympic Way’towards the tube station. It took a while, but the police kept us all in order, held us back in waves and so when we reached the station there was no crushing and plenty of space on the platform. Just a shame my phone died during the wait so I couldn’t text ahead to say I’d be late…

There are also a few images from The Mall, with its red tarmac. These are of the back of the beach volleyball arena and the barriers in place for the marathon and whatever else was due to take place outside Buckingham Palace. And yes, it was a lovely sunny day.