Live In London: More from Day 6—Canada House exclusive and How I (kind of) Met Lebron James
blog by Victoria Mintz • August 03, 2012 @ 3:00pm
After our exciting morning in Olympic Park, my younger sister, Natalie, and I met up with our older sister and father at Trafalgar Square for Part Two of our London adventure. The trip from Olympic Park was extremely easy, as there are literally hundreds of volunteers and British military members offering you assistance wherever you go. We took the tube from Stratford to Westminster and made it in under 30 minutes—quite reasonable for such a long distance!
The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the city, which included a private tour of Canada House—the High Commission’s diplomatic, public and educational space in London, now being used as a home base by all Canadian athletes to host their family and friends during the Olympic Games. Set up by my father’s exhibit company, GES, we were very fortunate to be given a behind-the-scenes look as athletes from all of the different Canadian provinces stream through for a variety of functions and galas.
The most exciting aspect, however, was the athletes’ section of the house, where there was a large lounge, bar and hangout area for all family and friends to utilize during any aspect of the Games. You need a specific badge to get into the building and lounge (which are extremely difficult to attain) and are constantly scanned by Parliament officials within the building. However, once you are in, you are good to go! Stocked with an endless array of food, snacks, drinks, etc., it is the ultimate chill zone for anyone and everyone—as long as you are Canadian, of course.
Every team has a similar setup within London, but they are located in secluded areas to prevent the general public from trying to enter. While we visited, the Canadian lounge was packed with supportive family members, friends and even athletes catching up on different events on large-screen televisions or mixing and mingling with other guests. It was utterly incredible and made me feel so special to be part of something so unique and private.
Lastly, to conclude our eventful day, while shopping in the city, my sisters and I ran into none other than Lebron James—yes, that Lebron James— who was casually walking the streets of London while heading to a Team USA meeting. My father actually was the first to say hi, pretending to be a close friend calling out, “Hey, Lebron, my man!,” which of course got a courteous reply and wave! We tried to get a picture with him but he was already far behind schedule and unfortunately couldn’t wait. It was still priceless to hear my dad shout out to Lebron and to actually meet him in person!
Overall, a great Day Six—and I can’t wait to see what the weekend has in store for my family and I!
Fun Fact: London 2012 is the first Olympic Games where the field hockey pitch isn’t green. Pink is used for the area surrounding the pitch and blue for the field of play—making it easy to spot the yellow ball.
Victoria Mintz is a Canadian student at Canisius College in Buffalo and is serving as Buffalo.com’s eyes and ears at the Olympic Games in London.