The London Olympics, where to begin?
The closing ceremony ended a seven-year journey for the city, and also a bit for myself. I had just joined Bloomberg when the London bid beat Paris on July 6, 2005. Elation was followed barely 24 hours later with despair when four bombs went off on the London Underground.
In the past seven years, we’ve seen – and reported on – one of the country’s poorest areas in east London being transformed from what London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe once called “a 50 foot pile of rotting fridges” to a beautifully landscaped park packed with some of the world’s best sports venues.
All of that against the backdrop of the global economic downturn. In the run-up to the games, we’d profiled numerous athletes, some of whom were bankers who’d put their careers on hold for one last shot at Olympic glory.
I worked with Bloomberg Markets Magazine’s Stephanie Baker, profiling former Goldman Sachs banker and London 2012 CEO Paul Deighton. We followed him around town for about a month, and spoke to him in his Olympic office.
Although I was brought up in the Netherlands, London has been my home for a decade. I’ve never felt such excitement in the air – across the entire city – as on the afternoon of the opening ceremony on July 27.
The energy of the crowds inside the Olympic Park, the volunteers, the workers on the London tube and the soldiers scanning our bags at the Olympics Media & Press Centre, it’s something that I’ll always remember.
Our Olympic reporting team of around a dozen people covered a wide range of sports, and stories for our readers. From sports business articles to Usain Bolt becoming what he says is a ”living legend.” From the badminton players being thrown out of the Olympics, to a Dutch judoka taking charge when a man threw a bottle at the start line before the 100-meters. We were there. Our editors were based in the Olympic Media & Press Centre (and in the U.S. and Australia), while we filed copy from inside the venues. It was pretty much a 24/7 operation.
I covered the swimming and athletics with soccer writer Tariq Panja, was on Ann Romney watch with political reporter Thomas Penny at the dressage at Greenwich Park and covered the tennis from Wimbledon.
Getting an interview with Mrs. Romney, turned out to be a far easier task than reporting from the pool.
One night at the Aquatics Centre, the roof started to leak, and rain drops fell on our lap tops, as Michael Phelps was about to swim. We ended up filing with our sweaters over our heads and computers until the rain finally stopped.
The closing ceremony completed the French Open-Wimbledon-Olympic treble for me. The days were long and the nights short, and I’m so tired I will probably sleep for a week.
But who cares?
We’ve had a ring-side seat at sports history, and the best or worst day of someone’s life. It’s been a privilege to write about it for our customers. We were lucky enough to see Usain Bolt run, Michael Phelps swim and watch many, many other athletes try their hardest.
I’ll never forget it.
Danielle Rossingh is a Bloomberg News sports reporter based in London. Follow Danielle on Twitter @DRossingh.