“Don't argue about how the world is, but rather show them what it could be.” - Christopher Reeve
Wow, so there I was in London ready to rock and roll as the intrepid reporter, fancying myself Lois Lane. My plan, check in to my hotel, scout the location of the Main Press Centre and venues in the Olympic Park, where to eat, go back to the hotel and sleep through the night, a good plan. Wanting to do my best as the witness and messenger sending home to my readers the soul, the substance, the perfume and palpable flavor of these 2012 Paralympic Games I made a plan. I thought I knew a little of what to expect having been athlete in nine Paralympic games when I devised my plan, I was feeling strong and in control.
By 3 pm I was checked into the Travelodge in Stratford, England. This hotel a mere four blocks from the entrance of Olympic Park was an ideal location for easy access to the park venues. Confidently entering my hotel room, I dropped my bags and lay down on the bed to stretch and get off my bum for a few minutes, boom out like a light awaking three hours later, oh no! I quickly realized my plan was shredding as I broke the cardinal rule of time zone travel, first day on the ground, don’t sleep during the day, go to sleep at your traditional evening bedtime.
Blinking sleepy eyed, forcing my body to move I rolled over, grabbed my paper map of the Olympic Park and headed out to navigate the lay of the land. I knew from then on it would be adapt and fly by the seat of my pants, map in hand and my confidence a bit tattered. After asking a few questions I found my way to the Stratford Entrance, one of three entrances to the Olympic Park. The Stratford gate is accessed through the ultramodern Westfield Stratford Shopping Centre filled with over 250 retailers and 70 places to eat. Note to self found place to eat and, “I’m going to be spending some time and money here.”
My first day in the vast three-square mile Olympic Park it was raining and void of people, (last time I would see that) except for golf carts zipping back and forth from the Stratford entrance to the Athletic Stadium preparing for opening ceremonies. I flagged down a golf cart driver, begged a tour, he readily obliged me my first up-close and personal of the park and what would become my home away from hotel, the Main Press Centre or MPC. The MPC along with the IBC, the International Broadcast Centre, would be the twin strongholds for the Press, which includes me!
I can’t say much about the inside of the IBC, I never went inside the building, I didn’t have the proper credentials. What I can tell you is that it was a huge, 52,000 meters of permanent building that could house five jumbo jets wing tip to wing tip which means there was plenty of room for NBC. The IBC was separated from the MPC by High Street, a temporary 200 meter boardwalk with a bar, shops, travel agent, bank, post office, massage centre, dry cleaners, UPS shipping, small gym and offices of LOCOG. Within walking distance of the IBC and MPC was a temporary McDonalds and catering village for food on the fly.
My home, the MPC, was also a temporary structure. Its brown roof, not green as we would say in the States, had plants embedded in it to enhance the viewing quality of the much taller IBC, nice. The MPC 29,000 square meter building had windows on one side to enrich journalists and photographers experience or so it was said. The MPC operated 24 hours. Level O or the ground floor supported journalists, IPC offices and an IT help desk. Photographers, press conference rooms and NPC offices were on the first floor. Both floors had toilets, racks of newspapers, interview rooms, lockers, televisions, information desks and plug-in work desks with locks for the 3000 computers as well as terminals to access the Aptos “Info” network.
My first visit to the MPC I was overwhelmed by the largeness of it all and then given a gift, too cool, a backpack loaded with a media guide, maps, transportation guide, timelines, a pin, pen, notebooks (the real reporter kind) magazines, snacks and a legacy guide to help me rebuild my plan. The information nerd in me felt elevated. I quickly made friends with IT staff and the Help desk Games Makers to obtain the MPC daily routine 411. I had an urgent needed to recreate a plan I could follow and make some friends. Then I promptly collided with Stephen from Denmark an old friend. Ah feeling better.
Blessing to All, In Joy, Candace
© 2012 Candace Cable
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