Top Shows

ONE News at the Games: A very Kiwi celebration


By Claire Watson

Published: 9:41AM Monday August 13, 2012 Source: ONE News

ONE News Olympics bureau chief Claire Watson writes from London

We had the best day ever, here in London as the games came to a close.

We managed to get every Kiwi medallist, bar a few who were off competing away from the Olympics, over to our broadcast position for a final celebration. It was the first time they had gathered as a group and it was awe inspiring.

We mused on what the collective noun would be for a group of medallists. Paul Hobbs settled on a Mahe of medallists. Nice.

Our international broadcast colleagues sharing our space were utterly overwhelmed that we could get the Kiwi medallists to come to us. It was very, very Kiwi.

We took photos and gave out berocca to those who were looking a little worse for wear. Storm Uru told us he'd been eating pretty much nothing but junk food since his bronze medal row half way through the games. He says he's put on seven kilos since the win. Awesome.

They told us how they haven't had to pay for entry to clubs and for dinners, that a medal is passport to free stuff. They told us about their favourite moments of the games and for many it wasn't their own win, but one of their team mates, that brought it home for them.

Lovely Lisa Carrington, the final winner, was there. Still coming to terms with her success. She was sleep deprived but smiling and I think happy to be sharing the limelight with her team mates.

The sailing women, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, came back from Weymouth. Still buzzing with their gold medal success.

It was hot, we were effectively in a carpark, there were a fair few hangovers, but it was one of the happiest, most optimistic events I have ever witnessed.

But I am a little worried for London. This city has been almost unrecogniseable to me during these games. People smile and talk to each other on the tube. Londoners with some connection to New Zealand see our One News shirts and tell us how well our team did.

My favourite thing is travelling to the Olympic Park on the Docklands Light Railway. As the train rounds a corner and the Olympic stadium is revealed for the first time to many of the occupants, there is often a gasp, and excited talk. It is purely positive.

But in maybe a sign of things to come on one of my final trips to the park, the train broke, we got grumpy and it was just a little less shiny and happy. I worry there will be a bit of hangover, a collective Sunday night feeling for London that might take some getting used to.

But as we watch the closing ceremony, tired but happy, it's hard to be downcast.

The athletes really get to take part in this event unlike the opening when the pressure of competition is all before them.

It's a party, their party and boy do they deserve it. Our lot play up for the cameras bless them. We'll wait for the fireworks before we go home and think about the day a Mahe of medallists came to our place.