A.S. Faces Goes to the 2012 Olympics In London With Stephen Cook Face 0473

My Story: London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

The RehearsalsAfter the euphoria of the opening ceremony, including the immensely positive press coverage from all over the world, the following Wednesday us ‘Pandemonium Drummers/Marshals’ found ourselves back at possibly the world’s least inspirational location – the vast expanse of concrete owned by Ford adjacent to the A13. I say ‘us’ but actually I wasn’t there, the late nights/long days/emotional investment meant that I got myself a bad cold and felt rotten. I wasn’t the only one however and word on the street was that only 560ish of the 965 drummers had returned which sparked a bit of panic from the organisers . Many were ill but some had to return to work and understandably took the opportunity of a non-compulsory rehearsal to earn some money. Approximately 100 dropped out though which was a big disappointment, especially as the agreement we all signed up to was to be part of both ceremonies. Facebook messages that night spoke of new bib numbers, a lack of enthusiasm, massive puddles and the need for Wellingtons for the next practice.

The next practice was lightbulb hat Saturday which many of us were lucky (unlucky?) enough to wear for the practice. I had to get my new bib number which meant meeting some lovely new people and I saw the new ‘Union Flag’ stage and learned my new position. Not too bad either, I was on the main ramp running from the centre stage to the royal box. The puddles were actually like lakes in some places but all in all it was another pretty standard practice, a lot of hanging around, eating sandwiches and Pringles and having a laugh with our new friends. Facebook was again full of comments about lacking enthusiasm while others tried to gee everyone up. The rehearsal on Monday 6th August started to get people a little more excited. As I walked in there was a ‘buzz’ that One Direction (?!!! me neither) were ‘in da house’ but more exciting was that the Spice Girls were flying around on the top of London Taxis. I saw them. I was a little excited. This changed to very excited when one of the boys told us that Madness were on the other side of the tent. “This is more like it” I thought to myself. And they were. And they were on the back of a truck. And they drove right past us as we waved and cheered them on. Suggs waved back. See below.

Any excitement disappeared however with the realisation that this was a full dress rehearsal and I would have to wear the shiny boots, socks, sock suspenders, shorts, tee shirt, ill fitting jacket and hat. I put it on. Oh dear I thought. I resigned myself to the fact that there were another 800 souls dressed like me and hey even Madness liked it – evidenced by their laughs and the fact they were taking photos. We started to see more of the closing ceremony including the ‘block dancers’ and the flag bearers and even The Pet Shop Boys! Things were looking up. The final dress rehearsal took place on Thursday 9th August but I had tickets to see the athletics so knew that I wouldn’t hang around for long after checking in. There was even more of a buzz with many of the ‘stars’ on site, a quick scan of the order of the day told us Queen (Brian May and Roger Taylor), Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), The Spice Girls and George Michael would be doing their thang on the stage. I managed to get onto the field of play near the stage and shamelessly asked Mike Rutherford (Genesis and Mike and the Mechanics) for a picture. He obliged. What a great guy, and he even smelled nice too. Not long after I headed off to the stadium to watch Usain Bolt become a legend and David Rudisha break the world record for the 800m. (See blog http://stephendcook.blogspot.co.uk/2012_08_01_archive.html) When I enquired as to what I missed the answer was “only the Kaiser Chiefs, Eric Idle and David Beckham”.

The DaySunday 12th August was special for me for two reasons, the closing ceremony and my 39th birthday. Our call time was early at 10.30am especially for a 9.00pm show but we were informed that we would be doing a run through in the early afternoon. We were also in a new holding area which meant an approximate mile walk to the stadium. Thankfully we were not required to wear costume for the run through but we spent a few more hours hanging around the stadium.

In Position

Finally, it was time to get back, get changed and start the walk back again to the stadium. The sight of over 800 of us was too much for the drivers on the A12 who hooted and waved as we walked over the bridge. That was cool.

These lucky girls had to hold my hand all night
Natalie and I ready to go
In the Vom. It’s showtime.
George Michael
Spice Girls
Fatboy Slim
Monty Python’s Eric Idle
Over to You Rio
The End

Blinked and you would have missed me but here are two pics taken from the television footage.

With Joseph Sullivan – Team NZ

I really enjoyed the closing ceremony and found it to be a wonderfully surreal experience particularly watching people like George Michael, Take That and Pele walking straight past me. It was totally different from the opening ceremony and a perfect way to spend my birthday. Although we didn’t have the world’s most excitable athletes in our ‘pen’, those I spoke to were lovely and I ended up getting a couple of gifts from them – team pins. The most poignant part for me was the extinguishing of the flame, a flame I watched ignite on that magical opening ceremony. It made me feel that this was my Olympics and that I had a part to play in it. At the end I hunted down a few medallists for some pics and then it was the walk back to get stuff and head to the pub. I left the pub just before 6am, as the sun was rising and returned home at 7.30am. That saw the end of an amazing chapter in my life. And was totally, totally brilliant.

My Story: London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (Part 1)

My Story: London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (Part 2)

My Story: London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony (Part 3)

Destination London – Watching History Being Made LIVE

My Story: London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony

A.S. Face 0473: Stephen Cook


3 Responses to “A.S. Faces Goes to the 2012 Olympics In London With Stephen Cook Face 0473”

  1. That is so awesome…

  2. Awesome!!! An experience where the memories will last a lifetime. Congrats. I totally enjoyed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies (watched on tv)..well done.

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