Posted 2 Aug 2012
In Trafalgar Square on Thursday night the Olympic countdown clock anticipates the final day before London 2012. The following day I fly home from Berlin, wondering about the Olympic chaos that awaits. Slightly delirious from the sun, I arrive home to catch Danny Boyle's rather surreal opening ceremony on TV, which begins with the Queen and James Bond (Daniel Craig), parachute into the stadium from a helicopter.
Despite the huge scale of the event, Kingston upon Thames has its role to play in the games. The torch travelled through the heart of Surbiton and Kingston on July 24th, although I didn't catch a glimpse of the action. Even better though, Kingston is at the heart of the Olympic cycle route. On Saturday, 28th July, the streets are the busiest I have seen them as the men's Olympic cycling comes through Kingston. The sun is shining and hoards of avid spectators line the streets to catch a glimpse of the Olympic action - for free. So much for spending hundreds of pounds on tickets, this is something even the poorest student can be part of. The route comes through Richmond Park in the morning, down through Hampton Court and then into the depths of Surrey, where the cyclists have to complete nine gruelling laps of Box Hill, before coming back through Kingston Town centre and back to Westminster. I watch the beginning of the race on the TV; it is strange to see coverage of such an important sporting event in my home town.
Later I walk along the river, stopping over for a pub lunch, before finding the perfect spot to view a split second of the action. The atmosphere is great, lively yet relaxed, as we wait in anticipation for 3pm, the estimated time that the race will pass through. Police motorbikes patrol the route at regular intervals, met by cheers from the public; the coppers seem to be enjoying their five minutes of fame. Although I could see how fast the cyclists were going, you can't quite comprehend it until they fly past. Team GB may have missed out on a medal, but it was a winning day for Kingston.
See you soon
Course: PhD Humanities
Hometown: Kingston Upon Thames
Other information: I came to Kingston after being employed for five years. I am a Kingston University Student Ambassador. I chose Kingston because... Kingston is the home of the London Graduate School; London's most exciting centre for the critical humanities. I am supervised by leading academics here and have exposure to CRMEP (Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy) which has recently moved to Kingston. It is a strong place for arts and humanities research. I have got to where I a...