True highlight of 2012 Olympics

Prior to the start of the Olympic Games in London, if you had asked me what I was looking forward to seeing the most, I would have definitely said that it was the races between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.  They were neck-and-neck with each other all during the Olympic trials. 

Therefore, I was more than eager to see the results of the actual Olympic Games.  And although some of the races did not go so well for the two great swimmers, overall they did put on a great show for the world to see.  Both swimmers were able to earn their share of medals, and Michael Phelps continues to make Olympic history.  Yet if you ask me, the true highlight of the 2012 Olympics thus far is Gabby Douglas and the rest of the “Fab Five” from the USA women gymnastics team.The “Fab Five” pretty much dominated the entire final round of gymnastics.  No major errors were made, and there were spectacular performances such as the seemingly flawless vault done by McKayla Maroney.  The “Fab Five” definitely deserved to win their gold medals for the event.

Then come time for the women’s individual all-around gymnastics competition, Gabby Douglas was able to continue to put on stellar performances.  True to form, the “Flying Squirrel” was able to show great height when on the uneven bars.  She was consistent with her performances throughout the event, and was able to win her individual gold medal.  Gabby Douglas and the “Fab Five” did what they set out to do in London, and they are the true highlight of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Train for the Olympics

A cheaper way to travel to the London 2012 Olympics

We all know that prices rise during important events -- conventions, trade shows, concerts coming to town -- and the 2012 Olympic Games in London are no exception. The problem is that London is already expensive in its own right. Factor in the exchange rate (the GBP is almost double the U.S. and Canadian dollar) and hotel costs that have tripled for the Olympic season, and you've got one expensive holiday on your hands. What to do? Cancel your trip? Sell your soul to VISA and go into debt for your Olympic dreams? 

Nah. There's always a way to beat the system, even during peak travel seasons. The same goes for the 2012 Olympics. This tip comes from a friend of mine from across the pond. 

Budget travelers know that the further away you get from the city, the cheaper the accommodations. Getting to the tourist attractions just means navigating the public transportation system. So let's look at one of the best ways to get to the Olympic Games without going broke. 

About 25 miles outside of London in the county of Kent is a new development -- quite literally, a brand new town -- called Ebbsfleet. What's there? At first glance it would seem that there's not a whole lot.  Maybe some residences, a few pubs and a soccer team. But there are lots of cheap hotels and even several tourist attractions. But why am I really recommending Ebbsfleet? Why not some other London suburb? Why is Ebbsfleet so important to your Olympic vacation?  

Because Ebbsfleet has this:


That's right. A train station. A very important train station. 

Ebbsfleet International was built in 2007, which makes it brand spanking new as far as European railways are concerned. The Ebbsfleet station has high-speed domestic trains that will get you to Olympic Park in under 20 minutes. All you have to do is take the train from Ebbsfleet to Stratford International Station and you'll be within walking distance of the Olympic Park in Stratford City. Or you can go from Ebbsfleet to the St. Pancras Station and you'll be in London proper -- and don't forget that St. Pancras has direct connects to Heathrow and ​Gatwick. Catching your flight home just got easier, didn't it?

What's more? The Ebbsfleet station has a park and ride and greeters to help you figure out where to go. And what if you feel like skipping the Olympic events for a day? Not a problem. You can hop a Eurostar directly from Ebbsfleet and be in Paris (or Amsterdam or Geneva) in a couple of hours. Just remember that trains from Europe don't go directly to Olympic Park in Stratford, so make sure your return ticket is to Ebbsfleet station. That way you'll avoid speeding by Olympic events. 

You can book your tickets to and from Ebbsfleet International here. Their website also has information about car rentals, bus lines and tons of things to do in the area. 

Just knowing you're traveling smarter will put a smile on your face. Your checking account will thank you. 

Host your own Olympics

Have some fun with friends and family.

Last week, we had an Olympic Games day at our library, and it was so much fun! The kids really had a blast, and it was so simple to put on—simple but genius, as our librarians tend to always be!-that I decided that we need to host such a thing in our homeschool group, as well.

To host your own Olympics, plan out a few events and invite the kids (or friends—adults can do this, too) over for the event. Be sure to have plenty of water at the ready, as well as snacks for hungry kids. Doing these events at a park may be the easiest way, since you can play real volleyball and such if you want to—but you can also keep it simple with string and balloons like our librarians did. Here are just a couple of fun activities you can do.

Tug-Of-War: This game is easy enough to do if you have a rope. Do it over a mud puddle if you can! I’d say do it over a kiddie wading pool, but that could be quite dangerous, especially if anyone trips.

Volleyball: Hang some string across the yard and divide the kids into two teams. Then use a large balloon as your ball! This is so much fun to watch and play, especially since the balloon takes so much more effort than a real volleyball. This is a great way to tire everybody out and sleep well!

Shot-put: Our librarian had everyone throw a small balloon; after each person’s turn, she marked their progress with a taped piece of paper with his or her name on it. Some balloons didn’t go very far; others were carried off in the breeze! This is something that you could experiment with, using water balloons as well.

Relay Races: You know the drill here; you run around the track and pass off your baton (in this case, rolled up, taped paper) to the next person on your team, making it their turn; the team who finishes first, wins. During our game, the kids had to tag each tree in the front of the library in order to complete a lap.

In addition to all of these fun activities, you can of course feel free to include your own. How about holding something in a spoon (maybe a grape so as not to waste eggs?) and running with it, or potato sack races (you can use pillow cases if you want), or a Hopscotch match?

Post-Apocalyptic Olympic Sports

If 2012 is the end of humanity as we know it, there’s no reason we still can’t have the Olympics!

So what if you are staggering around like a zombie, carrying bludgeon tools like Woody Harrelson, or choking on radiation come 2014? You can still have all of the Olympic fun that you would have had had the world as we knew it remained as it was. All it takes is a little post-Apocalyptic creativity and some dystopian ingenuity and bam, you are good to go. You may not be able to keep the same sports as usual—the high jump, for example, could be hard to do over a puddle of radioactive goo—but you can make up new games based on the times just like the Greeks did centuries ago. Here are a few ideas to help you out.

Zombie Head Chop: Even though you might chop off zombie heads on a daily basis, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t still be sport worthy. Just use your favorite zombie trap to get a few of them together, then pile them into the arena and let them stumble around (or run supernaturally fast, depending on which filmmaker was right in his or her predictions) while you go after them with cool implements, from a scythe to a frying pan. If there are other survivors to get in on the sport, be sure to invite them as well.

Gas Siphon Relay: Since the gas stations are all out of fuel, you’ll have to become an expert at siphoning fuel out of other tanks to put in your vehicle (or simply using other vehicles quickly). Whether you have a mechanical trick up your sleeve or you just suck it out the old fashioned way, you must siphon the gas out much more quickly than other survivors to remain a survivor.

Breath Holding Challenge: If the air is full of noxious gas and fumes, you are probably used to wearing a gas mask all of the time. If so, this challenge is for you! See how long you can hold your breath without breathing in the ashen air and dying. If you’re a strong swimmer and used to holding your breath, you might not even die!

100 Meter Dash: There will always be an opportunity for you to keep running away from other survivors, whether they be zombies, military men who want to “procreate” with your last-female self, cannibalistic families who’ll harvest your organs, or whomever. Just keep running and you know you’ll ace this sport.

Nike+ FuelStation Opens up Just in time for Olympics

Nike is moving ahead full force with its Nike + Fuelband in Europe. The powerhouse brand opened up its first ever Nike+ FuelStation at the relatively new BOXPARK pop-up mall in London. This move comes just in time for the summer Olympics, which is guaranteed to bring out athletes of all sports.  The mall serves as the world’s first pop-up mall, and works to bring together top brands. The station will work as more than just another holding place for Nike products. It will also be one of the main driving forces behind the Nike+ Fuelband. There consumers, and athletes alike can gain exposure to some of the many gadgets designed to improve performance. This may become a safe haven for dedicated and passionate athletes of all sports.

The Nike+ Fuelband tracks your activity, including anything from running to dancing. The Fuelband allows athletes to set a goal and challenge themselves, by meeting that goal. Beginning in May the Nike+ FuelStation at the BOXPARK pop-up mall will be one of the few retail locations selling the Nike+ Fuelband. The band is currently only being sold in small quantities with each batch selling out. With the fast approaching arrival of the Summer Olympics in London visitors are looking to get a good feel for what the Nike+ FuelStation and the Nike+ Fuelband each have to offer.

In a move to make the experience a lot more worthwhile for customers and athletes, Nike has also opened a NIKEiD Studio. The studio is separate from the fuel station, but gives athletes a way to customize their own performance footwear with the aid of design consultants.

Planning on visiting London for the 2012 summer Olympics this year? Well don’t forget to make a stop at the Nike+ FuelStation before you leave.


Dara Torres Rejuvenates

Dara Torres took the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics by storm. Torres was and still is the forty-something year old mother, who was taking another stab at possibly winning a gold medal. Torres intends to compete in this year’s Olympics, defying the odds once again.

Something about being human is that our body tends to break down, and deteriorate overtime. If you take care of your body you can slow down this process. Athletes go through this process as well, but eventually they get to a stage where they can no longer compete at a certain level. The older athletes tend to make room for the younger athletes. This is not the case for Dara Torres.

The 44 year old mother has continued to defy the odds, and gives the younger swimmers a run for their money. With this success comes practice, lots of it. As a result, Torres has to find ways to help her body rejuvenate, and one of them includes Sleep Innovations. According to Business Wire, the Olympic gold medalist turns to their Rejuvenation Memory Foam Sleep Products. Torres turns to the pillows in order to remain at her best each and every day. As an athlete every benefit counts.

If the sleep innovations pillows work for Dara Torres, then they may in fact work for you. If the pillows really work for the swimmer, it will not be a shock if she becomes a spokesperson for the brand. I am in no way in Olympic shape, but I am looking for a pillow that will also help to rejuvenate my body.

Adele Performing at the Summer Olympics?

Britain is planning on ending the 2012 Olympic ceremony with a bang. The closing ceremony is expected to pay tribute to the music created by artists old and new that celebrate the British culture and the influence it has had on the music world. Artists ranging from Paul McCartney to the Spice Girls are expected to take part in the ceremony. One of the newest music sensations worldwide, Adele, is expected to participate in the ceremony as well.

Adele has started off the year with a positive start, winning six Grammy’s and two BRIT awards already. The years has just begun, so there is bound to be a handful of awards still to come her way.Therefore, performing at the Olympics will be one more thing she can take off her bucket list. The singer also recently announced that she plans to take a few years off. Hopefully before she goes into hiding she can take part in this one in a lifetime experience.

Stephen Daldry, the executive producer of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing performances said “It is, in a sense, the soundtrack of our lives.” Britain has produced a number of superstars, and it will be interesting to see all of them united for a spectacular performance at this year’s Olympics. The last summer Olympic Games were held in China. There the country made sure to show athletes from around the world a part of their culture. Everything from the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony was over the top. Surely Britain has taken note, and plans to leave viewers with a memorable performance from start to finish.

Can You Name Any Olympics Sponsors for 2012?

The first sponsors that come to my head when I think of the 2012 Olympics consist of McDonalds, Coca Cola and possibly Nike? Well it turns out I am not the only one who is unable to name a list of sponsors for the 2012 Olympics.  A survey conducted by IPSOS MORI shows that the recognition of Olympic sponsorship is incredibly low, even though the event is only a few months away.

he survey also reveals that 59 percent of the individuals surveyed in Great Britain were unable to name any Olympic sponsors. 11 percent of those surveyed acknowledged McDonalds and Coca Cola as being a few of the sponsors in the games. These two were the highest recognized sponsors. In regards to my guess that Nike is the official clothing sponsor of the Olympics, that was wrong, it is actually Adidas.

A few other sponsors include VISA, Samsung, Panasonic, and ACER. Click here for the full list of official sponsors of the 2012 summer Olympics.

The ability to recognize Olympic sponsors is directly related to who the top Olympic athletes are associated with. Seeing Olympic track and field runner Allyson Felix associated with the Nike brand time and time again does not help. In addition, seeing Michael Phelps in numerous Subway commercials does not help the cause as well. Many people including myself look at the brands that are associated with athletes. I can’t remember the last time that I saw an ACER commercial that incorporated an Olympic athlete, or at least had something to do with the Olympics. To be honest I don’t ever remember seeing one.

2012 Olympics Creates Jobs

The 2012 summer Olympics is expected to bring in tourists from all over the world to London. To make the Olympics possible there are thousands of job opportunities made available, to those who apply. With the apparent tough economic times, this comes as a positive sign for many unemployed London residents.

Even though there are thousands of positions available, there seems to be 3x the number of applicants. According to the Washington Post there are said to be 10,000 security positions available and the organization has received almost triple that amount.

For those who get the job working at the Olympics, it sounds like a good way to see the world’s best athletes compete for free. Though I doubt with the expected intensity of the security at this year’s games you will be able to take a moment to enjoy the presence of Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps without looking too suspicious. The bright side is that you get paid to take part in a historic event and maybe even find yourself on TV, who knows?

The two main downsides to the job include dealing with the fear of any prospective terrorist threats, and the fact that it is a temporary position, that will only last a few months. Though, I do think that the fact that this position is temporary is the bigger downside. At the end of the day having something is better than nothing. If you are interested in applying for a position at this year’s Olympics then you can go here for more information.

No Cheaters allowed at the 2012 London Olympics

Around 10,500 athletes are said to be competing for a shot at the gold medal in the competition this summer in London.

Sports like baseball, cycling, swimming and track are notorious for having massive cheating scandals involving doping. The quadrennial Olympics is unfortunately no different, remember Marion Jones? The London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG)  is on a mission to make sure that only the best of the best win each competition honestly. They are completely sure that advanced drug tests and a new anti-doping lab will take away any possibility that athletes have of winning any kind of medal, with the assistance of drugs. Let’s hope that athletes will learn from Marion Jones and Barry Bonds mistakes, by choosing the ethical route of practice, practice, and more practice.

Around 10,500 athletes are said to be competing for a shot at the gold medal in the competition this summer in London. Of course every athlete will be tested, but some will be tested more than others. Organizers plan to conduct more tests in areas where drugs are more commonly used. Even though the majority of athletes take these drug tests without testing positive, there is always room for cheaters. I find it hard to understand why anyone would spend their life training for Olympic gold only to have it tarnished because you are found guilty of cheating. This is like Lance Armstrong with the Tour de France, even though this man is known as one of the greatest cyclists of all-time the constant allegations of drug-use and cheating make it hard for him to be only remembered for his success in the cycling world.