This will be my last post about the Olympics, I promise. I’m sticking to my rule that I will only post if it has something to do with France. So I won’t tell you about the excellent Italian fencing final we got to see. Or what an thrill it is to be in London this week.
What I will tell you is that today we were lucky enough to score tickets to see France play Russia at women’s basketball. The French team are unbeaten so far in the tournament, and we expected a good match.
Everything about going to the Olympics is exciting. We arrived from West Ham station and walked along an elevated pathway that gradually reveals the panorama of stadiums in the park. There were jugglers and stilt-walkers and high-fiving volunteers. A carnival atmosphere, still celebrating Team GB’s record 6 gold medals won the previous day.
How different it looked from last time we saw it, just three months ago. One of the great surprises of the Olympic Park is just how attractive it is. Banks of wildflowers shimmered everywhere in the early morning light. Redolent of the golden colour you see sometimes in Normandy.
I’ve already written about seeing the Olympic road race and would have loved to attend a cycling event the velodrome. Second best was seeing the magnificent stadium from the outside.
Now onto the basketball.
Given the number of French nationals who live in London (between 300 and 400,000 according to the French embassy), French support felt muted, especially compared to the vigorous flag-waving by Poland supporters at the GB-Poland volleyball match we had attended the day before. However as French points rose, the tricolore started to appear around the stands.
The French women played a smart and controlled game. They deserved to win, and we’ll be watching as they go into the quarterfinals later this week.