London 2012 (08.09.2012) – One Hour, Six American Medals

The Olympic Rings sitting in the River Thames with the London Eye in the background.

And just like that, we’re down to our final four days of competition. For me, just four more days of this London experience. Five days from now, I’ll be on a plane going back to New York.

All of a sudden, you feel the end is coming and you want to live every second like it’s your last. Make the most of what’s left, don’t waste it.

I spend my morning crossing more activities off my bucket list. Throughout the Olympics, many TV networks have used the iconic Tower Bridge in the backgrounds of their standup locations or as a nice beauty shot. The well-recognized Olympic Rings hang in the middle, providing the perfect backdrop for any tourist picture or televised bump shot.

I have yet to see Tower Bridge in person during my time here and it wouldn’t be a trip to the London Olympics without a picture of the bridge with the Olympic Rings. So I made the long walk from my hotel down to the River Thames, enjoying the sun as I trekked east.

Along the way, I stumbled upon the Swiss House, which had an outdoor area setup with a stage, a concession stand, picnic tables and a big screen which at the time was showing the women’s open water swim competition from Hyde Park.

The outdoor area outside of the Swiss House.

I decide that this is the perfect opportunity to take lunch after such a long walk. I settle for a bratwurst and a beer. It was a bit odd that the sausage came separate from the bread and inside its own wrapper. I ended up dipping the bratwurst into the mustard and taking a nice juicy bite from it. Then I take a bite from the bread and finish it with beer. It got the job done.

I finally make it to Tower Bridge, which is right by City Hall. I find lots of tourists with the same intentions that I had, getting that shot of the Olympic Rings. I snap a few pics of the bridge before exploring the rest of the area. I find a row of four separate areas with television cameras set up, pointing towards the bridge. This is where reporters from around the world can do their live shots and standups from.

A little further east is a small park with a big TV screen set up. A lot of office workers from nearby are enjoying the weather and their lunch while watching the Olympics.

Live viewing of the Olympics set up in a park by Tower Bridge.

I stop at a map to figure out where I am and where I can take a train to Olympic Park. Another one of the nice volunteers that this city has provided for the Olympics comes up to help me. After a few questions about where this place is and where this other place is, I ask him for one more favor: to take my picture with the bridge. He was happy to oblige.

Proof that I was at Tower Bridge with the Olympic Rings. Thanks to the volunteer who took this pic for me.

Just another historic day for Team USA

After being at not one, but two Olympic events yesterday, I was glad to be at my desk today because there was a lot of action happening in a lot of different places.

During the day, women were making history at ExCel with the first-ever medals being handed out to females in the sport of boxing. And one of them was American Claressa Shields, who defeated Russian Nadzeda Torlopova to claim USA’s first women’s boxing gold.

In the team sports, the US Women’s Basketball team defeated Australia in a rematch of the 2008 final to advance to the gold medal game while the US women’s volleyball team swept South Korea to make the final, where they’ll face Brazil.

I secretly wanted the USA to lose because my ticket-buying addiction led me to a ticket to the bronze medal game on Saturday morning. So instead of USA vs. Brazil for the bronze medal (which would have been insane), I’ll be seeing South Korea vs. Japan. The Olympic gods must think that just because I’m Asian, I should be watching Asian nations compete.

The evening was every Olympic nerd’s dream come true. Finals were happening everywhere. Of interest to most of us at SportsDesk was the gold medal game in women’s soccer between USA and Japan. At the same time, the women’s water polo team was going for its first-ever gold medal against Spain at the Water Polo Arena. There were also gold medals being handed in women’s 10m platform diving, men’s beach volleyball, wrestling and taekwondo, and of course, at Olympic Stadium in track and field.

Every monitor that I could access at SportsDesk was being used.

One big screen, four small monitors and two laptops to keep up with the action on Night 13 of the Olympics.

Much like how March Madness in college basketball can bring great finishes just minutes apart from each other, Night 13 of competition saw great performances happen, and six medals awarded to the United States within an hour. Here’s how the night played out:

7:45PM – The gold medal final in women’s soccer begins at Wembley between USA and Japan.

7:56PM – Carli Lloyd scores the first goal of the women’s soccer game, giving USA a 1-0 lead.

8:01PM – David Rudisha of Kenya wins the 800m race in world record time of 1:40.91 at Olympic Stadium. It’s the first WR to be recorded on the track at these Olympics.

8:35PM – American Christian Taylor jumps a season’s best 17.81 meters on his fourth attempt in the triple jump competition to take the lead at Olympic Stadium.

8:57PM – Ruolin Chen wins gold in the women’s 10m platform diving competition.

9:04PM – Usain Bolt leads a Jamaican sweep in the men’s 200m final, cementing his place as the best sprinter ever.

9:21PM – Taylor wins triple jump gold (1) while fellow American Will Clark takes silver (2)

9:36PM – US women’s water polo team, led by Maggie Stephens’ five goals, defeats Spain 8-5 in the gold medal game to claim the country’s first Olympic title in the event (3). 

9:48PM – US women’s soccer team holds on to defeat Japan, 2-1, and avenge last year’s World Cup loss. The gold medal is the team’s third straight and fourth in the last five Olympics (4). 

10:17PM – American Ashton Eaton is crowned world’s best athlete with his win in the men’s decathlon (5). Compatriot Trey Hardee wins the silver (6). 

10:20PM – Germany wins gold in men’s beach volleyball.

10:33PM – British athlete Jade Jones wins the country’s first ever gold in Taekwondo.

In the span of 56 minutes, the United States added six medals to its collection. Now that’s a productive hour of sports.

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