Live From the Olympics: I Got Kicked Out of Olympic Park

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Today was my first time to go to an Olympic event at the 2012 London Games. I went to the gymnastics event finals that were held in North Greenwich. For those not familiar, that venue is not located in the Olympic Park. However, I had a couple of hours to kill before going to that event, so I decided to try my luck at going to the Olympic Park as it was only a few stops on the Tube from where my event was being held. I traveled thousands of miles, how could I miss seeing the Olympic Stadium, the Orbit, the world’s (temporary) largest McDonald’s, and the London 2012 MegaStore?!

As I rode the Jubilee Line to the last stop, Stratford, where the Olympic Park was located, there were multiple announcements that advised us to exit prior to the Stratford stop due to extreme congestion at that station. My first 24 hours in London had been complete devoid of any lines or congestion, so I wanted to see if the Olympic Park area was as bad as they were warning. It wasn’t. It was busy to be sure, but everything was still moving and was very orderly. In a very smart move, they were not requiring people to scan their Travelcards/Oyster Cards as they exit Straford. That really helped with very limited lines and congestion.

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Once you exit the station there are ample people, signs, and loud speakers directing you to the entrance for Olympic Park. Again, there were lots of folks heading that direction, but it was not chaotic or over-crowded. When you reach the entrance, there is a person who checks to make sure you indeed have a ticket to an event or to Olympic Park itself (which is required for entrance).

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After the first check-point you head through security (somewhat similar to airport security). Once you get the “all clear” from security, then you go to the final ticket checkpoint. I made it just fine all the way to this point. I thought that perhaps I had either mis-understood the rule about needing a ticket to an event within the Olympic Park, or they had changed the rules since it wasn’t as crowded as they expected. As it turns out, I had just been “lucky” with the first checkpoint.

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Once I got to the final checkpoint I got a big “no go for launch” for entry to the park. Since my ticket was for an event in a different location, I was not permitted to enter the Olympic Park. No sight-seeing. No shopping. No eating. No nothing without a same-day ticket to an event within the park. I was a little disappointed, but I was certainly not shocked since that was what I thought the rule meant. I was a tad surprised when I was escorted out not by one of the many folks in official polo shirts working the games, but by an official uniformed member of the military. They were very nice, but nonetheless I got a military escort out of Olympic Park! Oops!

I am sure that the rules were enacted to prevent over-crowding within Olympic Park, but it really is too bad that I have tickets to two Olympic events, but still can’t get within the confines of the actual Olympic Park since both are in venues outside of the park. At least I can say that I tried. 😉

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Comments

  1. Tecnically, you didn’t get kicked out of the park as you were never actually in it. You were right on the edge. 😉

  2. The Military have taken over much of the security – the soldier was replacing a private contractor who failed to employ enough people. Were they courteous, professional to you?

  3. Hello Mommy Points!

    How did you score tickets for any event? I’ve been scouring for days and so far haven’t found anything worth purchasing (1,600 pounds for women’s basketball?…no thanks). I’m headed there on Saturday and would love to find out what venue you went with to get your tickets. Are there any ticket options there at the park? Hope the flight with the little one went well! Thanks!

  4. Nice going! I thought I read somewhere that you can buy a separate ticket just to the Olympic Park? I could be mistaken.

    I have a question: did they check your ID when entering North Greenwich Arena, or just the ticket?

  5. @patrick, I was pretty much in it. So close and yet so far. 😉
    @Jer, I was certainly the only one I saw getting turned around that late into the game!
    @Mark, they were very nice and professional. Even helped make sure I knew how to get to where I was supposed to be for my event. 😉
    @DP81, the little one stayed with grandparents this time, but the flight was well without her. 😉 I saw tickets available for many events yesterday. I haven’t seen that today, but it comes and goes. I look on Cosports.com for the US official tickets, but each country has their own official source. That is where I bought my ticket. You just have to be obsessive about it.
    @Patrick, yup. 😉
    @mazimizer, just the ticket. No ID checked. They do sell tickets for Olympic Park, but I never saw those available on the US site. I’m also not sure that they do that during the track and field events.

  6. I got kicked out in ATL a few times. And I was actually inside at the time. Turns out that they didn’t take lightly to unlicensed vendors doing business in a non-commercial part of the facility. Whoopsie. 😮

  7. Hi Mommypoints, i know EXACTLY what you are talking about… Unfortunately, they did not let you inside the Olympic Park unless you had a specific ticket for that date/time. This was my fourth Olympics and security was REALLY tight for this one. Rest assured, you missed NOTHING inside the park. There was no where to sit down, no shelter when it was pouring out, the food options were minimal and similar to something found at a country fair. The wasn’t any “shopping” … just a pin trading tent that I could see… you didn’t miss anything. TRUST ME! Funny you got kicked out by the military though (good story to tell)… I was invited into the CISCO VIP area, but was denied entry when I tried to bring my (non-invited) friend in with me. doh!

  8. I thought those English military officers were super hot and was disappointed when I did not get frisked. HA!

  9. @Seth, I almost almost almost tagged you in this post saying “getting kicked out of the Olympics seems way more like something WA would do than me!”, but then decided against it. Should have gone with my first instinct!
    @Whiskarina, ha ha. Glad I didn’t miss much! A little crazy how hard it is to get in there though!

  10. My boyfriend and went to London to watch Olympic events, however, we spent most of our time at the custom house.

    We road the underground and dlr for almost an hour to sightsee around olympic park. (it’s a park, isn’t it?!) We didn’t know that you neededed tickets to get in the park. Would’ve been nice if the foam finger waving told us 25 mina earlier to save us the loooong walk.

  11. I like to read your blog, I missed the Park Inn gathering last time in Houston. I signed up for the United Mileage Explorer card, with 2 club passes, and I matched to AA Exp with 2 club passes (I used one), I would like to give them to your blog, would you email me?

    I bought United club membership for 3 years, so I don’t need them, I also have AMEX plt card, so I don’t need AA club either.

  12. ticket situation very frustrating………just got back from london with my 6 year old……….work for delta so went on a whim when i saw flight availability……….as an american YOU CANNOT BUY ANY AVAILABLE TICKETS ONLINE………the tickets are available only to the people of great britain………we got very lucky with a woman selling 2 tix for indoor womens volleyball just down the street from the venue…..her two daughters did not want to go……….she was the only one i saw with any tickets for sale……….went out to the olympic park and it was a disaster………NO TICKETS ANYWHERE and when i asked one of the olympic helpers stationed just outside the olympic park about resale ticket market (scalping) she looked at me like i was from mars………….i approached many americans and asked them about their ticket situation and most had preordered long before……….on tv the venues look fuller when i was there the emptiness of the stands was international news…….if you plan on going keep this in mind if you have no tickets………ebay and londons craigslist had availability but presented other logistical complications that i did not want to deal with………good luck!…………USAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSAUSA

  13. @maximized: they don’t check your I’d anywhere, that was BS. The best shot at getting tix this late is to buy from the official UK/Euro ticketing website. They only offer will call pickup this late, so any old address in UK/Europe will do. U just need your credit card used for purchase to pick the tix up at will call box office. No I’d check or anything. I was able to find tix outside the venue for face value for 3 of the 4 events I went to, from scalpers/touts. I may have lucked out though. Couldn’t find a single extra ticket for the 4th event so had to sell our original two tix and watched from the chase VIP lounge instead and gorged ourselves on Morimoto sushi, not a bad consolation prize.

  14. @ Mazimizer: Just to clarify, they do NOT check your credit card billing address to the phony UK/Euro address that you will give them in the previous step. In fact they don’t require you to give them a CC billing address at all……..

  15. Hahaha – TSA should start using the military to escort everyone out of the building who tries to clear security in the wrong terminal 😉

  16. I got tickets from cosport.com – the USA site without a problem. Inventory changes rapidly, but it does come available. Right now handball semis are available at a reasonable price. Also, go to the Cosport will call office – folks are getting tickets there from folks who don’t want theirs. Many US folks here have gone the UK address route as well.

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