Clare and Charlotte, aged 16 and 18, can hardly contain their excitement as they leave the Riverbank Arena after watching the Netherlands compete against Japan. Both girls are keen hockey players and have come all the way to Stratford in east London to cheer on their home team.
‘We just loved the atmosphere in there and the sound effects when Holland scored a goal were fantastic!’ they said. Their father was equally as excited, commenting: ‘For me the highlight so far was when we first came in and the band was playing Chariots of Fire – that was just amazing!’
‘The atmosphere is buzzing’
The Barnes family, who travelled a slightly shorter distance from Leyton, brightened up the cloudy morning sky with their Team GB outfits – and were so happy to be in the Olympic Park that they didn’t mind which sport they got to see: ‘The atmosphere was just buzzing inside the Riverbank Arena and we’re just excited to be here. We are going to walk around the Park and make the most of the day.’
Seiji and his wife from Japan felt right at home as soon as they walk through Stratford Gate: ‘When we arrived everyone was just so friendly, and we found everything very organised. It is wonderful to see people from all over the world here, not just the English. It is so easy to get around and just a pleasant experience.’
Homes from home
Not all spectators had tickets for a venue to watch a sporting event. Sisters Gemma and Keira Brain flew over from Hong Kong with their family and decided to experience the Games with just an Olympic Park ticket. They particularly enjoyed the partner showcases on the Park, saying: ‘The disco (Coca-Cola Beatbox) was amazing, it was so much fun dancing with the music and we loved going up the Orbit too.’
Another place where sports fans from around the world can gather to cheer on their country’s team are National Olympic Committee (NOC) hospitality houses. These offer a home away from home for international fans, and some of them are open to public.. Find an NOC house near you