Video: My personal Beijing 2008 Olympic Games compilation
Pic: Bart Lapers at Athens 2004 Olympic Games (Aug 2004)
Flashback to August 29, 2004. The picture above was shot a few hours before the Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony. I had been volunteering at the Olympic Aquatic Centre for two weeks which allowed me to witness the World’s Top Athletes in action joined by Kings, Queens, Celebrities and World Leaders. My first and most memorable Olympic Games.
Pic: Bart Lapers at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Bird’s Nest (Aug 2008)
In 2008, we were back at the Olympic Games, this time as spectator at Beijing 2008. Arrived in Beijing without a single ticket for any event at the Games, but thanks to the Belgian Embassy and the Belgian Olympic Committee I managed to buy a huge stack of tickets at face value. It even allowed me to invite some of my friends living in Beijing to attend the Games, as I had bought several pairs of tickets.
Pic: Olympic Torch Relay London 2012 arrives at City Hall (Jul 2012)
With the Rio2016 Games on my bucket list, I couldn’t skip the London 2012 Olympic Games. London being a less ‘exotic’ location for a Belgian, still I need to admit the Brits impressed me with their Games. Everyone was convinced the Opening Ceremony was not going to match the Beijing one, still Danny Boyle his team impressed the World with a very British London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
Pic: Olympic Torch Relay London 2012 at Tower Bridge (Jul 2012)
Also the Belgians impressed, not with their Olympic performances, but with the BOIC Belgium House located at the Middle Temple.
Pic: London 2012 Belgium House at The Temple (Jul 2012)
Pic: Welcome at Belgium House London 2012 Olympic Games (Jul 2012)
Pic: Wall of Fame at Belgium House – Fred Deburghgraeve (Jul 2012)
Pic: Wall of Fame at Belgium House London 2012 – Tia Hellebaut (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Belgium House ‘Zuipkaart’ Drinks Vouchers (Jul 2012)
As the only tickets left for the Opening Ceremony were around £2000 (!) the Belgium House had to be the best alternative to watch the ceremony. In 2008, I witnessed the Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony at the Belgian Embassy in Beijing, who had organized a nice event with Belgian beer & snacks. The London 2012 Belgium House website and twitter account mentioned “July 27: Open as of 4pm to the general public”. Different story at the entrance of the Belgian House, “Sorry Sir, tonight is invitation only, maybe you can try the Brazilian House”. WTF! I teamed up with four ‘Topsport’ students who had just graduated from VUB and who were also refused entrance to the venue. After a short brainstorming session and some text messages, we managed to get hold of the phone number of the Belgian Olympic Committee Marketing Director. After a friendly call, 200 extra ‘non’ invitees were allowed entrance to the Middle Temple!
Pic: The Inner Temple Belgium House London 2012 Opening Ceremony
Video: Atmosphere at Belgium House during London 2012 Opening Ceremony
Pic: London 2012 Men’s Road Cycling Race at The Mall (Jul 2012)
On the first day of the Games (Saturday, Jul 28) I was present at The Mall hoping a Belgian would finish first in the Men’s Road Cycling Race event. Unfortunately doping sinner Alexander Vinokourov ‘won’ the race.
Later that afternoon, I visited the London 2012 Olympic Park. A huge area with numerous friendly volunteers making sure everything ran smoothly in a relaxed and enthusiastic atmosphere. The park didn’t feel artificial as it had many grass fields, trees and colorful flowers along the paths connecting the different venues.
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Park – Olympic Stadium and Orbit (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Stadium (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Stadium Close-Up (Jul 2012)
Pic: Elite Hospitality – Prestige at the Olympic Park London 2012 (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Park Basketball Arena (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Park Info Sign and Zeppelin (Jul 2012)
Pic: Handball at Copper Box London 2012 Olympic Park (Jul 2012)
Pic: London 2012 Olympic Park Riverbank Arena Hockey (Jul 2012)
Pic: Me and Coca-Cola ‘Move to the Beat’ Olympic Park Promo Team (Jul 2012)
Pic: Sunset at London 2012 Olympic Stadium (Jul 2012)
My visit to the London 2012 Olympic Games was a short one (3 nights) but gave me a good impression of both infrastructure and atmosphere at the Games. The Brits did an excellent job and I have a tremendous amount of respect for all volunteers working day and night with such enthusiasm and persistence to make the London 2012 Olympic Games a success. See you in Rio de Janeiro for the next Summer Olympics Rio2016!
Pic: Casa Brasil at London 2012 Olympic Games (Jul 2012)
Pic: Bart Lapers at Casa Brasil Countdown Rio 2016 – London 2012 (Jul 2012)
Video: Bart Lapers Hang Gliding in Rio de Janeiro (Apr, 2009)