Spectator's View - North Greenwich Arena

Gail Maman had the best seats available for the final of the men's team gymnastics with her husband. They also saw some weightlifting heats at ExCeL on the same day. Here's how she experienced her first taste of the London Olympics.

Spectator's View - North Greenwich Arena

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North Greenwich Arena, a London 2012 venue

What did you see and where did you watch it?

We saw the final of the men's team gymnastics at the North Greenwich Arena. I think the build-up to the Olympics has been great - plenty of publicity and excitement. I have to say, my husband spent a small fortune and I was a bit disappointed by the high price of the tickets. I don't see how the average Brit, or average anyone for that matter, can afford to go. The other thing that bothered me a bit was that so many events were "sold out" but when you got there, there were blocks of empty seats - as if companies had bought seats and just simply not used them. There were so many people who would have loved to be there but couldn't, because either the event was listed as "sold out," or they couldn't afford to go.

How was the build up? How was your journey and getting into the venue?

Our journey to every event, including gymnastics, was delightfully stress-free. We were so impressed with how well the tube was running, how easy it was to get everywhere, how great all of the volunteers were at directing people, and how well behaved in general everyone was. I just can't say enough about what a great job London did at handling such a complicated event in such a bustling city. It has been truly impressive to be in London these last few weeks; it's given me a whole new respect and appreciation for my adopted city and country.

Where was your seat and how was the view?

I'm embarrassed to say that we had front row seats yesterday and it was simply amazing. We were right behind the cameras almost on the ground with the athletes and it was an experience to say the least. That said, it seemed like you could have been sitting anywhere and still had a great view and a great time.

What kind of fans were in the crowd and how was the atmosphere?

The best part of going to the events, for me, was sitting in the crowd surrounded by people from all over the world. Everyone clapped and cheered for all of the athletes, no matter where they were from. There was such a spirit of encouragement and camaraderie, it was lovely to witness. We sat next to a British couple, a French family, a group of Israelis, a large group of very excited Japanese people, an Italian family, Germans... I could go on. Everyone was polite, respectful and just so impressed with the athletes. Why can't the whole world get along like that all the time? Don't get me started...

What was the highlight?

For me there wasn't really a highlight. I just thought the whole thing was so amazing. The pressure these kids are under, and how well they handle themselves is truly inspiring.

How will you remember the event?

I think I'll always remember being front row at the London Olympics, because it allowed me to actually see the faces of these athletes live, not on TV. I'll always remember the young man from Japan on the rings, his muscles straining and his face clenched in concentration - or one of the athletes who missed his landing, seeing his face as he had to rise, turn and face the judges, knowing he'd just messed up. It was painful at times, inspiring all of the time, and a true privilege to be there.

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