I have been out in the north of England, with the UAE Olympic team, for most of my time in Britain, and today marked my first visit to the epicentre of London 2012. I got in far enough ahead of the football, at Wembley Stadium, that I decided to take the cool and quiet Javelin train from St Pancras to Olympic Park, and get a look around.
I realised it might not quite work out as planned when, as I neared the park, a volunteer shouted, "Please be prepared to show your tickets!"
So, yes. A curious person, at London's event of a lifetime, cannot stroll the grounds of the heartbeat of the Games ... without a ticket for an event that day - or a special credential. You may, however, spend as long as you want in the shopping mall that lies astride the most direct path from the train station to the Olympic Park.
I took pictures of people stopping to look who, like me, would get no closer. And I took pictures of myself under the sign pointing to the park, and calling again for tickets to be displayed.
This is my eighth Summer Games, and I do not recall one, previously, in which generic fans could not walk the broad boulevards between venues. Maybe I don't remember correctly, though I think I do. It seems sad. John Q Public may be able to look at all that after the Games - when most of the electricity and all the Olympic action is gone.
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