Waiting for a gold-medal encounter at Games city

19:27, Jul 31 2012

Royal good wishes for the cyclists in the men's road race just added to the excitement and expectation.

Thousands lined the track through Hyde Park. Children were held high. The starter's flag dropped and the pedalling began. At last Britain was on its way to its first gold.

Much later at the end the crowd was quiet, flat, disappointed. The wrong man had won. He was dressed in pale blue and yellow. He was from Kazakhstan.

There was also disappointment at the women's beach volleyball. The weather had turned cold and the skimpy bikini playing strip was clearly inadequate. The volleyballers requested a dispensation to cover up. It was granted.

Now that the competition is under way the battle lines are drawn again between the athletes and the chemists. London 2012 supports the "win clean, say no to doping" campaign. The stakes are high. A single gold medal can turn an athlete into a millionaire overnight.

Organisers are estimating a record number of 5000 blood tests will be processed during the competition.

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The Olympic Games are not just about sport. A cultural olympiad is a traditional but less well-known aspect of the Games. Specially commissioned films will be shown on big screens across the city. Plays, art displays street theatre,dance and sculpture; so much to enjoy.

Londoners are joining in with the creative and fun ways to connect physical activity with projects like Big Dance 2012.

It is magic here in London, to be able to watch top-level sport, an art form in its own right, at a venue that is steeped in history.

The dressage section of the equestrian event was scheduled at Greenwich Park. As the horses, beautifully groomed, danced their ancient routines obeying the silent commands of their riders, it was as if we were in another time zone. Perhaps we were. After all, we were at Greenwich.

And the transport? Road closures are irritating. The tube is efficient but overcrowded and usually the fastest way to commute. No chaos, just solid people pressure as thousands commute to the venues.

Olympic Park, the centre of London 2012 games activity, looks fabulous. Can't wait to get there.

The Marlborough Express