How are you feeling about the Olympics?

Sunday in Greenwich Park. Nice. That’s the best view I could take while lying down and that didn’t get my feet in shot, of course.

But that’s the last time we’ll see that scene for some time to come – the Queen’s Field, to give it its proper name, has now closed for building works on the Olympic equestrian stadium. Further closures will begin next month.

It won’t be Greenwich that gets the first taste of Olympic disruption, though – it’ll be Woolwich, where the test even for the shooting begins on 17 April. (Although some commuters might get to enjoy a faster 161 bus as a result – no aggravating diversion around the hospital, whose users will have a different opinion.)

So, as we pass through these points of no return, how do you feel about this summer? I’m still excited about the sporting circus that’ll be on our doorsteps – yes, much of it will be an arseache, but I think 90% will fall into place and we’ll be fine.

Yet I can’t help feeling worried. The Olympics organisation itself seems to be a pretty well-oiled machine. But are the other official bodies up to the job?

Anyone broached the topic of “maybe working from home” with an employer yet? For many, it’ll be a conversation as awkward as bringing up the birds and the bees with the kids, as I’m not so certain businesses have cottoned into the disruption yet, from asking around.

TfL’s Get Ahead of The Games campaign is a model of PR complacency, its map still leaving out the chunk of south-east London’s rail network (not run by TfL) that’ll be seriously affected by cuts. And while its new timetable seems to have held up over the past 10 days or so, the Jubilee Line remains a worry.

Has anyone heard anything official about parking restrictions yet? If Greenwich Council isn’t keeping us in the loop about that, it’s hardly going to tell us the latest on the possible missile site in Oxleas Woods, is it?

And why on earth are we having an extra bank holiday to kow-tow to the Queen, when one at the beginning of August would be a great help in getting us through the Games period?

I’m still excited, am still curious about the Peninsula Festival, am looking forward to the live site on Blackheath, and am keeping my fingers crossed for good weather. Hey, I was even tempted for a few seconds to allow camping in my garden, until I realised I’d have to share the loo with strangers.

But I can’t help feeling a sense of dread that something’s going to be kept secret or cocked up (probably by TfL or the council) that’s going to make the summer tougher than it should be. Or that all the whingeing will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But never mind me. With 114 days to go – how are you feeling about the Olympics?


  1. I sometimes think I am the only person posting here – anyway – for info. local councillors were told last week that some information is still not settled with Transport for London but that when it is leaflets and stuff will come out.

  2. As fas as my personal feelings go, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have such a global event on our doorstep and I am very much looking forward to it. Yes, there will be disruption to my lifestyle but it is only for a few weeks, so I will adapt to matters like the temporary train/bus timetable changes, restricted parking, lane closures etc. and just get on with it. Greenwich doesn’t fall apart during the Marathon or the twice-daily rush hours so I just don’t see the various doomsday predictions coming true. The NOGOE claims of long-term damage to the Park’s grass were also countered by the test event which saw the grass back to normal within months (and not during a growing season).

    My primary concern about the Games is if the streets will be cleaned before the cameras arrive. London has a reputation of being a grimy city and this is a platinum opportunity to start to change that.

  3. I agree it’s a once in a lifetime event and I’m happy to embrace a little aggravation in order to welcome the world to our door. To only feel ‘dread’ is surely an embarrassing admission that we can’t adapt to changes in our routine?

  4. It’s only the disruption that the peninsula festival will cause that’s worrying me. I’ll be very happy to be proved wrong, but I just don’t have any faith in the organisers given their total lack of engagement with nearby residents. I’d also expect the website to be more than a few terribly photoshopped pictures of a beach with the dome behind it by now…

  5. I’m looking forward to it, living right next to the common, and having tickets for the paralympics tickets for the Barracks.

    It’s one summer, not a lifetime

  6. Looking forward to it, very definitely. Especially if I am jobless at that point – more time to watch it all on telly 🙂

  7. I’m not looking forward to travelling to work during this period at all. South Eastern’s services are shocking at the best of times! The alternative 47 bus route will be struggling with all the extra passengers and the East London line will also be heaving. Some people may be able to work from home, work flexible hours or take their holiday at that time but my employers (a huge international company) have already declared that none of these are viable options and we will all be expected at our desks as per usual. On a personal level, I have no interest in the Olympics or sport in general. I don’t care that it is a ‘once in a lifetime’ event…I’m just not interested.

  8. it’s going to happen so we might as well sit back & enjoy the spectacle, it might be a challenge but hey we are Londoners! We can cope with most things that are thrown at us.

    As for the June bank holiday – a great idea, I’d much rather try & get away in June than August.

  9. Nelson’s Left Eye sums up my attitude precisely.

    I still think it’s an absolute disgrace that this will be an olympics where the marathon doesn’t finish in the stadium as Lord Seb didn’t want to show the nasty, commoner inhabited, East End to the world.

  10. “It’s going to happen so we might as well sit back & enjoy the spectacle” so is the Eurovision song content…

    Why is it a crime to be (i) not interested in it (ii) hate the whole thing (iii) worry about its effects on the area/businesses, access to the park and transport (iv) or wish it wasn’t happening at all in Greenwich? I don’t expect people to get excited about things I feel passionate about, so why should I for the Olympics? I wish Lord Coe and chums would piss off frankly.

  11. I feel honoured that I have helped contribute to the 13 billion pounds it has cost to have some of the whitest and most middle class people on the planet come and perform their minority hobbies for our general pleasure.

  12. damn…my typing has let me down again…I’ll try to think of another word – you’re right, crime isn’t the correct one. I’ll revisit all the anti-NOGOE comments to pick a better one!

  13. I echo Nelson’s Left Eye’s comment. I love London, and Greenwich in particular, and am overcome with pride that we are hosting the Olympics this year. It will be a bit of hassle, no doubt, as we live smack-bang in the middle of the Olympics activity zone, but I am more than willing to put up with parking problems and a difficult and congested commute in exchange for the deserved praise that the world will heap on London, and Greenwich.

    I have to admit a small and no doubt deeply irrational concern about the increased risk of terrorist activity surrounding the Games. We live in sufficiently close proximity to the Park that any major bomb would wipe us out, and I have a young family. However, I am determined not to give in to these fears. To do so would be to allow those who use the threat of violence for political ends to win. I will not be cowed by such threats.

    I very much welcome and look forward to the Olympics, including the events literally on our doorstep, and will make my very best efforts to ensure that the Olympic visitors from around the world are able to experience London and Greenwich as the warmly welcoming, jovial and dynamic society that I have always known.

  14. I’ve never been excited by the Olympics before, and it’s arrival in London hasn’t (or hasn’t yet) roused anything in me this time either – it’s just a big event. London will cope, in that way that London just about copes with things generally, after enough planning and strategic meetings. Except when it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t post-mortems will be held and hopefully things will be learned and they won’t happen again. Erm, hopefully. It’s the way things happen in London, IME. There will be a high profile screwup, and I bet it will be the Jubilee Line. But it will be handled and learned from.

    I work as a cycle courier in a self employed capacity – at the moment I’m totally torn between taking the time around the Games off as holiday, or going in and potentially making a small fortune. If I don’t go postal after a week of trying to work around Olympic lanes and banned turns. If I had to shoehorn myself onto a train to get to work I would prefer to have the option to take the time off, and I don’t envy those who don’t.

  15. Another aspect to look forward to is the income the borough will see from the Games wealthiest set of participants, supporters and visitors.

    Greenwich really did strike gold when they dished out the venues.

    (Will the market be open throughout the Games? If not, that is a seriously lost opportunity.)

  16. Nelson’s Left Eye – I bet the increased revenue comes no where close to covering the cost of holding the event. There has been no modern day games that has had any positive effect on GDP from either Summer or Winter games.

  17. I don’t think it’s a crime to dislike the Olympics, I will let you into a secret I dislike football! I think football is a pointless game, but I’d never try & spoil someone else’s fun, they’d be much better off playing a proper game like Rugby. I avoid football & the traffic on a match day,it’s not actually that hard to do, & why would I want to spoil someone else’s fun?

  18. @ D’Oliver – at no point does the SF Fed say there is any effect on national GDP. In all countries post WW2 (ex Russia and China) GDP has risen more quickly than trend pre Games and then risen less quickly than trend post games. It provides no boost to economic growth.

  19. Football’s not really comparable though – 3 hours once a fortnight against an entire fortnight of disruption, loss of open spaces for six months etc. That said, if they were holding the World Cup here, I’d be all for it!

  20. @ Richard. Not explicitly. Page 28: ‘The motivation for hosting a mega-event like the Olympics seems elusive to economists. Plausibly measured net economic benefits are rarely large and typically negative; claims of non-economic benefits are difficult to verify. Yet in practice countries compete fiercely for the right to host such events. Why? This paper identifies one potential explanation – countries that host the games enjoy a substantive permanent increase in trade – the “Olympic Effect.” ‘

    Is not trade a component of GDP? I reckon that in past Olympics, the GDP was negative because of the high costs coming from (mis)management – Athens, Beijing and Montreal come to mind. We’ll see how London fares.

    Also, your statement on GDP is so sweeping that I question its validity. I’d like to see the support for this.

    Then again, we’re veering off topic on this article. I’ve no problem with the Olympics here.

  21. @ D’Olivier – its quite simple you just look at the moving average of national GDP figures before during and after an Olympics. In all cases it rises above trend before the event and then falls sharply afterwards. i think is one of the more recent pieces.

    As the San Fran Fed say “Plausibly measure net economic benefits are rarely large and typically negative”.

  22. I have a life long hatred of sport so I am dreading the games. Thankfully I should not be affected too much by the transport problems but it will affect the BBC as we will have satuation TV coverage. I will be purchasing quite a few TV boxsets!

  23. Well, I’m sort of looking forward to it. If the disruption on the Thames Path and around the Cutty Sark are all finished by the end of July before the games begin then I’ll be happy. I have concerns about the station closures that aren’t being overly publicised as well as the road closures for the sponsors and the media but I won’t be attending the events in the borough (or any at the moment unless we can get tickets in the next round) so will just get on my bike and let the nonsense pass me by.

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