An evening at the Anniversary Games, London 26th July 2013

The man most people have come to see, Usain Bolt rides a rocket car on a parade lap around the stadium before the athletics events begin.

How quickly a year goes. It was this time last year that the eyes of the world were focused on London and great Britain as it prepared to host the 30th games of the modern Olympiad. It was fair to say at the time that not many had high hopes for it when comparing to glitzy games of the past, the previous Beijing games of 2008 being the direct measuring stick.
On Friday 27th of July 2012, the world focused its eyes on a small corner of London at 20:12 pm to witness the opening ceremony titled ‘Isles of Wonder’ to see what Britain could conjure up. I was sat watching on a big screen in Victoria park, literally a stones throw from the stadium.
Though as soon as we all saw the spectacular ‘pandemonium’ opening sequence. These games were going to be special. Indeed they were. The games showed London and great Britain in a great light, that they could faultlessly pull of an event of this size. Team GB left with a record medal haul, transport worries before the games quickly faded along with security concerns after the armed forces stepped in to fill in any gaps. The volunteers also contributed to what was considered as a friendly games, always joyful helping people out giving a feel good factor in the park and around the country.

1 year on, the stadium, surrounded by ongoing legacy building work was back into action for the Anniversary games. 3 days of elite competition. Including a diamond league athletics meeting as well as many athletes who achieved success during the Olympics and Paralympics.
I was lucky enough back in April this year to secure tickets to the Athletics on Friday the 26th where Usain Bolt was the headlining athlete, competing in the 100m. It was fair to say straight away, even before going through the security bag checks, that the same atmosphere and feel good factor from the Olympics and Paralympics was back.
Below are a small selection of the photos I took during the evening.

With development work either side preparing the park for reopening in 2014, the main entrance (same as 2012) leads spectators down to the stadium.

As we walk towards the stadium. The Aquatics centre on the left hand side has lost it’s seating wings, leaving just its wave like form with interior and exterior work continuing prior to opening to the public in 2014.

Looking to the right of the boulevard is the area where the temporary Water Polo arena used to occupy, this is being developed and landscaped ready for the ‘south plaza’ reopening in 2014.

I managed to get into the stadium relatively early, but it wouldn’t be very long before 60,000 seats were filled with people ready to see some top level athletics.

The women’s pole Vault competition was the first of the events to take place.

As more famous names entered the stadium ready to watch the events along with the crowds.

Press photographers take up their positions on one of bends around the track.

The sun sets behind me as darkness descends on the stadium.

Perri Shakes-Drayton powers around the final bend en route to a closely fought 2nd place, only just missing out on a victory.

Churandy Martina soaks up the atmosphere as he prepares for the men’s 200 metre race, which finished with a Jamaican 1-2.

With this man, Warren Weir winning ahead of compatriot Jason Young.

Pyro is set off around the stadium as Weir wins the 200m race.

There were different methods of preparing for the Women’s 4x100m relay race, which was eventually won by a relatively new team gb team, to the delight of the home crowd.

Kirani James sprints down the back straight on his way to a win in the men’s 400m race.

It was now main event time, as camera flashes around the stadium fired while Usain Bolt was announced to the crowd.

Before yet another 100m victory for Mr Bolt, he soaks up the roars from the adoring crowd as his competitors are facing an almost certain battle for 2nd at best.

The expected media scrum around Usain follows him around during his celebratory lap around the track.

It was 10pm, however no one had left the stadium until they got a good glimpse of Usain Bolt as he lapped up the cheers and applause from the crowd, 2 of whom were lucky enough to catch one of his airborne shoes he hurled into the crowd at either side of the stadium.

And then… It was time to head out of the park after what had been another fantastic night of sport.

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