I’m up the creek with Olympic tickets to the Canoe Sprint

canoe 300x225 Im up the creek with Olympic tickets to the Canoe Sprint

The canoe sprint will take place in Buckinghamshire

Lord Coe has got me by the short and curlies. After all, it was his decision to hand me two tickets for the Canoe Sprint event in August not realising it was a last-ditch ‘jokey’ attempt to get to the London 2012 Games.

But now reality has struck and a mere 114 days from the grand opening I’m left with the stark and somewhat unattractive early morning trek to Buckinghamshire for day one of the Eton Dorney spectacular. The action starts at 9.30am. According to the doom-mongering travel warnings I shall need to set off later this week.

Although this is very much a self-inflicted problem, I still feel a duty to point the finger of blame at Coe, following a trend which has become an Olympic sport in its own right in the years since winning the bid.

Looking back, it was our great Olympic Lord’s stance that ‘everyone must be part of the Greatest Show On Earth™’ that suckered me in to bidding for any old tickets – a propaganda machine so slick in convincing people to part with their cash umpteen months early that you’re now left feeling as though you’ve not actually paid for the blasted things.

I remember the day vividly. After a lengthy planning process involving my diary, friends’ diaries, family diaries, Olympic competition schedules and a steady stream of coffee, I was relaxed and matter-of-fact about my chances of success upon reaching the log-out page.

But something (now being attributed to Coe’s powerful grip on my wallet) drew me back in and led me to entering a request for two tickets to the Canoe Sprint. It was the athletics and track cycling I had really targeted, so naturally I pretty much forgot about these late casual requests. And that’s when the law of sod came into play.

I cite ‘blokedom’ as a mitigating factor to my state-of-mind that day.

The ticket-buying process in itself straightaway appealed to man’s eccentricities, where the idea that attempting to attend an event you’ve never even heard of is seen as ‘quirky’ and ‘a laugh’. Unfortunately what often follows are ‘Consequences’.

In my case, waking up in cold sweats with visions of the 2012 mastermind laughing sadistically while performing a frenzied, mock-canoeing action right in my face is proof of this. His ‘stroke rate’ (kudos to the official London 2012 jargon buster) is unerringly impressive.

That’s the trouble with us blokes and our lethal concoction of bravado (“Yeah f*** it, I’ll try for these random tickets, go and watch, have a few beers, it’ll be a laugh”) and downright bad luck (“What do you mean you never expected to get them?”)

Why not sell up I hear you cry? It’s a good question, and one I’ve of course considered. But the whole sorry saga has now become like a mission, and to hark back to ‘blokedom’, it’s one I need to see through. It’s being viewed as punishment for my carefree approach to ticket purchasing, akin to applying for Kings of Leon at Wembley Stadium, but getting the reformation of S Club 7 at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Furthermore it’s the British in me to complain about it all, but then hypocritically attend anyway.

Attending should also help me when negotiating the many years of subsequent bar room banter. Many times since finding out I had the tickets, I’ve imagined drunken, wistful pub discussions taking the line of: “Ah, but remember the great Canoe Sprint event of London 2012 – don’t you wish you’d been there to see the Hungarians edge out the Uzbeks in the C1 1000m?” It’s at this point I will be able to stand proudly and exclaim: “I WAS THERE!”

Strangely, this pair of tickets has not seen friends and family beating a path to my door. When I explain (lie) to them that it is the equivalent of winning Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket, I am met with a sympathetic nod and an expression that says: “You’re on your own with this one”, quickly followed by the now customary “bloody Olympics”.

And this is what London 2012 has done to the nation. We’re a rambling mess of apathetic minor-Olympic sport followers, reduced to swotting up on the respective merits of the Kazakhstan and Ukraine women’s teams ahead of the eagerly-anticipated K1 500m race.

So I’m going. And I’ll bloody well have to enjoy it too.

Do you find yourself in a similar situation to the writer? Let us know below…

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  • Dylan Todd

    Chris, GB could get some good results, including medals in the 200m.

  • Grayman

    Arghh no, you’re joking! I’ve been scouring the web for someone selling a pair of those tickets, and only just last night I ended up parting with 500 quid to a bloke in a pub in Peckham.


  • Good_Evans

    I’m going to a few events and the canoe sprint is one I’m looking forward to. Admittedly 9.30 at Eton Dorney is a major challenge, particularly when they insist you get there 2 hours beforehand and I’ll have been at the diving heats at the Olympic Park on the other side of London which finish at 11pm the night before. And I’ll be dragging along my wife and 2-year-old son, when I’m not allowed to take in food or anything to entertain him for the 2 hours. But the whole rigmarole will make us feel like we’ve been through a challenge worthy of the Olympics, and the empathy we feel with our fellow British competitors will make us all the happier if and when they pick up their medals. Hey, we’ll even cheer the plucky Uzbeks, who surely have overcome almost as much adversity.

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