Driver gets Olympic athletes lost in London
Australian Olympic athletes and officials were taken on a three-hour "Monopoly tour" of London after a bus chartered by Games organisers, with a lost driver behind the wheel, took three hours to travel from Heathrow airport to the Olympic village.
Beijing gold medallist Elise Rechichi was among the contingent of Australian sailors on the vehicle that was two hours late to collect the party. It then drove around for hours on what should have been a 45-minute trip, before the driver admitted the East London Games village had not been entered into the GPS navigation system.
Australian Olympic Committee media liaison officer Damian Kelly described the bewildering journey that extended an already long trip.
"The driver just said 'I'm sorry, I'm lost, it's my first day on the job and I'm lost."
"We were moving, we were in the Olympic lane and we were going places, we just weren't going where we were supposed to go.
"He just said it was his first day in that bus and they hadn't told them how the GPSs worked and that he didn't know how to use it and apparently the Olympic Village hadn't been loaded into the GPS.
"We'd all been travelling for over 20 hours so it's not the best way to finish a long trip ... it was not ideal."
An American party of athletes and officials had a similar experience, though their trip to the Olympic village took four hours, and prompted two-time world 400 metres hurdle champion Kerron Clement to tweet: "Um, so we've been lost on the road for 4 hrs [sic]. Not a good first impression London.
"Athletes are sleepy, hungry and need to pee. Could we get to the Olympic Village please."
Kelly, who has been a media attache at two summer Olympics and one Winter Games, said the Australian group had taken the extended detour in good humour.
"Everyone was having a few jokes and we saw some great sights," he said.
"We eventually got there but we did lots of backtracking and going around streets we'd been down before and all that sort of stuff, but we eventually got there.
"We saw Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge and a few other things, I presume we were supposed to see them anyway but I'm not really sure. Someone on the bus described it as the Monopoly tour."
Members of Australia's 410-strong team begin checking into the gated village in Stratford today.
Sydney Morning Herald