Monday 9 July 2012

Olympics and Wimbledon ...

Time frames sometimes just rush towards us – the Olympics is less than three week’s away ....
A touch of purple on the hallowed turf.

The Wimbledon staff must be wondering what hit them this year – usually once the annual tournament is over that is it ... then there’s high-class maintenance work over the coming eleven months.

2012 alters all that – Wimbledon will not host the Olympics a third time for many a century – the first was in 1908, when the tournament was distinctly different to that of today.

Already replanting the grass
Our sense of what Wimbledon stands for will change this year – no longer the unique event at one venue that dominates Southfields for two weeks of the year ... another anachronism in the season’s rituals that are pervading British summer’s sense of normality.

The imagination boggles at how the Olympics will unfold on the venerable turf of the nurtured grass – this is the first year that Olympic Tennis will be played out in a Grand Slam Setting and, of course, that will be on grass.

Number One Court ticket options
and Wimbledon venue layout
c/o Olympic Tennis exchange
The opportunity for both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games will be mutually beneficial .... the All England Club will have a global audience of billions, instead of the 50+ million ... while Olympic Tennis will be showcased in an arena that is revered around the tennis world.

Players from different countries have an opportunity to play at a venue esteemed as the best in the world ... while tennis lovers (who get tickets or are prepared to queue for the few available) will have another chance to see the world’s best players in action.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club will become garish ... coloured clothing will be allowed ... the Olympic Rings, London 2012 logos on violet canvas hoardings will enliven the dark green backdrop ...

Dayglo shoes ...
... the only colour that applies to both events is the rich deep purple of Wimbledon ... a colour in classical antiquity that could only be worn by the elite ... and that garish violet is now being stretched out around the ground. 

Even the hallowed ‘white only’ clothing and shoes – as was found out this year – will be set aside for the Olympic tournament – when the courts become occupied with the colours of the nations.

The draw for the 190 players will be made two days before the tennis starts on 28th July ... culminating in the medal events on Saturday and Sunday August 4th and 5th.

Centre Court showing retractable roof
The main difference in the tournament will be that each match is decided over three sets, except for the men’s final, which will be over the usual five sets – however the mixed doubles has a unique format where the 3rd set, if required, will be played as a first to 10 tie-break.

Twelve courts will be used, while there are plenty of practise courts – for Wimbledon there are twenty-two, then there are seven other courts ... so the Olympics looks well catered for and set to go live.

Wiki - purples: left centre Wimbledon
colour, centre bottom square - Olympic
The centre court holds 15,000 spectators - and at least those lucky people will remain dry under the retractable roof, while there’s room around the grounds for another 15,000 to find a court, or to soak up the action on the big screens with a cold drink in hand, or an umbrella raised – cheerful aren’t I?

Did you hear the rain on the roof during the Federer v Murray match – amazing noise ... buckets of the stuff – honestly it just goes on raining. 

Yesterday it was strange seeing a flooded drain being attended by a van stating “We are in Drought” in large letters on its bonnet/trunk for you guys over the pond ... all hosepipe bans have been lifted as of today.

When we hosted that first Olympic tennis tournament here in 1908 - the British had a slightly more successful outcome ... winning all six medals ... what likelihood this year?  No, don’t answer ...!

The 1896 Olympic Games Report
Well we did have one medal winner this year – Jonny Marray (not the Murray the British nation had hoped for), who had entered as a wild card and with his partner, the Dane, Frederik Nielson then won the Men’s Doubles.

But – the origins of tennis being included at the inaugural Olympics goes back to 1896 in Athens.  The first tennis gold medal went to Ireland’s John Plus Boland, who happened to be visiting Greece and volunteered himself as a last minute replacement in the Singles.

Another ‘British’ wild card winner ...

So sit back, relax and enjoy those
believe it or not green balls
Tennis was voted off the Games after Paris 1924 – surprising really with the French being fairly dominant then – Susanne Lenglen et al – only to return as a medal event in Seoul 1988.

What is the green leafy suburb of SW19 going to be turned into when 190 tennis players descend to contest the five events, during which 26,400 tennis balls will be whacked about ...

Which country will win the gold, silver and bronze medals at this green green grass of home tennis tournament ....?

See my other four posts on Wimbledon:

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Anonymous said...

It's an exciting time for the good folks of England. I'm looking forward to the Olympics as I always do. I hope security is top notch as there are people who would love to disrupt the Olympics being held in London.

Lynn said...

I know my tennis loving friends will be excited about this. I only watched the end of the mens' final yesterday. But how exciting that they will play at Wimbledon during the Olympics.

Diane said...

Marray was better than nothing :) I am glad I am not on the staff at Wimbledon this year they must be running around like looneys.

I will watch some events at the Olympics but I will not be glued to the TV. Too much else to do! Keep well Diane

MorningAJ said...

I know a lot of people are ecited about the olympics but frankly I am already bored with the whole thing. I just don't understand the attraction.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It was such a shame to see Murray lose yesterday - it would have made an incredible Jubilee/Olympic year story!

Luanne G. Smith said...

I'm excited for the Olympics in London this year. A chance to revisit in a way.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics, and can still remember how I felt when I first heard the announcement that Atlanta had been chosen to host them in '96. Tears actually came to my eyes. Dunno why exactly, because it wasn't any reflection on ME, and I sure as heck wasn't going to mingle with the horrific crowds in Atlanta while the world was paying us a visit. Still, it was exciting. Must be how you feel now. It's super exciting that Wimbleton will be hosting the tennis competitions, but I sure hope the rain finishes before the party begins.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Can't wait for the Olympics. What would be better is if I could be there in person. That would be thrilling!


Grace said...

Greetings Hilary,
I have been absent from your blog for too long, and was at once swept up into the spit-spot cadence of your writing rhythm.

Have I mentioned that I do so enjoy your writing style?

You simultaneously educate, supply sparkling commentary, and share with us an insight as to the way you must communicate with others in daily face to face encounters.

I do have to ask...have you ever been a Classroom Teacher?
(Having been in the profession for 23 years, I have a certain scope on the basic personality of "Those of US who TEACH"...and you certainly strike me as a Teacher."

Either way you are a treasure.

BTW, I am thorouoghly enjoying your olympic posts. Keep up the good work.

In Him,

Rosaria Williams said...

It's such a treat getting the up-close and personal touch! Thanks, H.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi everyone .. I'm away for ages - get up a post and within two hours have 10 comments .. you're all amazing ...

@ Steve - it is just dashing towards us .. it will be amazing - but crumbs so much is happening!

@ Lynn - that's great .. it'll be so interesting to see Wimbledon in different colours - even today the tv footage of Federer going back - those purple awnings were on their way up ..

@ Diane - I agree Marray was definitely better than nothing .. and as for being on the Wimbledon staff - that is another matter. I've a cousin who I'm sure will be down there line-judging she was on centre court last weekend ..

I agree lots to do .. and there will be summary repeats - thank goodness ..

@ Morning AJ - I love my sports - and am so looking forward to seeing how it all pans out - it's the competitive streak - in some of us!!

@ Annalisa - it was a pity - but Federer made some incredible play - just fantastic to watch .. I feel sorry for Murray - but I think he'll be stronger ... but it would have rounded off a fantastic jubilee-diamond year .. as Virginia Wade did for the Silver Jubilee back in 1977 - who knows what the Olympics will bring.

@ Luanna .. oh boy am I - and looking up venues for posts etc .. is a great way to learn about London. You'll be having happy memories ...

@ Susan - I'm hopeless .. always in tears .. so quite understand your reaction to the USA and Atlanta back in 1996.

The crowds will I suspect be terrible .. I'm going north, but am flying over London!

It'll just be great to be able to see it on tv - as long as we have better commentators than the hash they made for the Jubilee Pageant ..

Rain rain go away - come again another day .. unlikely for the foreseeable future?!

@ Teresa - wouldn't it be fun if we go to an event together .. I didn't apply for tickets as I was unsure of my mother's situation .. but just being in the UK will be brilliant I think .. and we have the net .. not the same, but we can share in the time zone .. Thrilling it will be!

@ Grace - you're extremely kind - I have no training and just write - but I like to know and therefore educate myself - as I pass on information to you all ... if you're all happy - so am I!!

So no - I've never been a teacher - a little late to take it up now - but can do it this way ...

Delighted you enjoy the posts and they'll keep coming ... many thanks -

@ Rosaria - glad you enjoy the different approach I take to the posts ..

Thanks so much all of you - I really appreciate your comments .. just a wonderful supportive group - Hilary

Old Kitty said...

Oh I thank the wise person who decided to build a retractable roof over Wimbledon centre court especially yesterday! LOL!!!

And after the excitement of the torch relay going pass Herts over the weekend, I totally can't wait for the Olympics to begin!!! It's all so exciting!

Take care

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

I didn't know tennis was every played on grass. I guess it makes sense though.

A tennis ball chair? Doesn't look that comfy.

Enjoy the games!

Anonymous said...

We were not among the lucky ones to get Olympic tickets - but given the crowds and the vagaries of the British Weather, I will be just as happy to watch from home. I love the tennis ball sofa and although I watched the Federa/Murray match I confess to not noticing the rain thundering down - my mind turns off to everything else when I concentrate (much to the chagrin of my family at times) besides, it was bright sunshine here! :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah .. I know some people who have got tickets - lucky things .. but I think I agree with you re the crowds, let alone the weather ..

I can't believe you missed the rain beating on the roof - the commentators couldn't hear themselves think .. and the players couldn't hear the ball hit the racket, or the score etc ... we had rain down here!

The sofa has a story .. perhaps I'll tell it in my next post ...

Cheers - and hope we can keep relatively dry ... Hilary

Jo said...

I remember the last London Olympics, shortly after WWII I seem to think. I can imagine what is going on these days. Its wonderful that Wimbledon is going to host the tennis. I do wish we could produce more tennis winners though. I was interested in the history of tennis and the Olympics.

Laura Eno said...

I'm not much for tennis but I LOVE those day-glo shoes! And that sofa is a real hoot - probably not very comfortable, though.

Sara said...

Hilary -- I think England has a good chance at the tennis gold this year:~) There's something special about playing for your country and Murray, while he didn't win on Sunday last, showed his strength in the Wimbledon finals. It was easy being Murray. He's like the horse given extra weight -- It's hard to win with a whole country and history on the line:~)

As always, I love your posts about places in England and especially the ones about the Olympics. I was able to tell my daughter (though she already knew) exactly where the beach volleyball would be played:~)

To be honest, she's not exactly looking forward to being in the midst of the actual Olympics. They've having drills about how to get themselves to work on time:~)

Great post, Hilary and thank you!
I hope the weather gets better soon!

Unknown said...

I can not wait for the Olympics. I'm especially waiting for football.

Chuck said...

I am ready for the games to begin!! I cannot imagine how that grass is going to hold up though all the saw how worn it was in the Federer/Murray finals. BTW...I was really rooting for Murray, I love watching history being made. He gave a great showing but Roger was a little too tough. Maybe the Olympics will be Andy's time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo - more is coming out about the austere games of 1948 .. at least reminding us of how life was after the War. I'm sure Andy Murray will succeed - it was an incredible match - but Federer just came up with the goods when it mattered ... incredible ability they both have.

@ Laura - sport isn't everyone's cup of tea is it .. but I'm looking forward to seeing Wimbledon transformed .. and the sofa has a history - and apparently is very comfortable - surprisingly.

@ Sara - well let's hope so .. six chances maybe we'll get one I hope so - it'd be a good year to do it. Murray has changed and is stronger in his mind - I'm sure he'll be a grand slam winner sometime soon.

Well you too have first-hand feedback of what is happening in London via your daughter - I saw about the drills at London Bridge Station - where the Shard is - I want to make one last visit before the Olympics to that part of London ..

I think Londoners and London workers are going to be slightly upset at things - just sincerely hope all goes well and everyone can enjoy the time.

Sara - having sat through two rainstorms this a.m. already - I hope so too ..

@ Clarissa - it's going to happen in a flash .. personally I really do not enjoy football - but then we have it 11 months of the year - and I guess this is a great opportunity for you .. enjoy it!

@ Chuck - a few weeks of jet stream rain and that grass will be bright green once again! I just hope it stays dry .. this weather is getting everyone down ..

The final was fantastic wasn't it - amazing match - full of drama but such wonderful tennis .. I was sort of watching as I'd other things going on .. Andy will have his day - this I'm sure.

Thanks everyone great to see you and enjoy life - cheers Hilary

Juliet said...

I've dropped off your blog list again, so have just signed up once more. Whatever is happening?! I just hope that the rain stops for Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Theresa Milstein said...

So much going on in England these days! Wimbledon purple and Olympic purple? This is going to be a very happy color time for me!

That chair must be very odd to sit on.

I can't wait for the Olympics to begin.

Liara Covert said...

This trivia trove is amazing. You are a wealth of information that rivals versions of Trivial Pursuit. Ever consider creating your own trivia game? My gracias! You certinaly have more than enough content here in a blog. Love how you acknowledge a sense of 'normal' is forever changing. The judgmental mind interprets what changes in life while the unseen remains silent, humble and unchanged.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - I've noticed I've going from 382 to 381 on occasions recently .. but as you say why - you drop off I've no idea .. I've been out for a few hours and number 382 has still not come back. Strange.

Well it hasn't stopped raining today - we've got our fair share today on the south coast.

@ Theresa - there's an enormous amount going - and it's countrywide, not just London - the Olympic Flame gets down here next Tuesday ... I hope we have a dry day!

I'm told it's remarkably comfy .. not long to go now just over two weeks ..

@ Liara - thanks so much .. I just select the interesting snippets from things I hear or read and weave them together ..

Yes - the blog content is well stocked with 'useless fun information' isn't it .. I'll get to sort something out soon ..

Life never stands still - it's how we interpret our time through it - normality is today and tomorrow .. just take any opportunity arising and enjoy life. Certainly the Olympics is embracing London's fun ..

Cheers Juliet, Theresa and Liara .. always good to see you all - Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I just know you're going to enjoy the games very much. I'll be there in spirit. Thanks for this post. Most fascinating... as usual.

Anonymous said...

Yep, looking forward to watching the Olympics on TV.

That chair made out of tennis balls is pretty cool. Wonder how comfortable it is?
: )

Paula RC said...

Wow another amazing posting, Hilary! I love the idea of driving a Van with 'We in a drought' logo plastered on the side through flood water. Crazy or what! I bet the driver has had his leg pull a few times over that ;-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think it will be great seeing the games played at Wimbledon. I remember watching the tournaments there many years ago.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joylene .. it will just be amazing to be in the country, while the Olympics is going on .. I'll need a year to catch up!

@ Susanne - amazing how many of us sit ourselves down on the sofa to Olympics watch .. enjoy

The chair is just such fun isn't it - and comfortable apparently ..

@ Paula - now that the hosepipe ban has been lifted down here .. I expect they'll put the vans back in the workshop for repainting very soon. I'm sure the joke is on them now .. must get tiring hearing the ribald comments! Glad you enjoyed the post ..

@ Alex - it's just going to be plain fun ... I'm going to love seeing what's happening ..

Cheers Joylene, Susanne, Paula and Alex .. many thanks - see you soon .. Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Great post, Hilary!
They had an article about the 1948 London Olympics in our paper last week - apparently, despite rationing and everything, the Olympics actually made money that year!
Wonder how long it's been since any city could say that? We (in Montreal) only just finished paying off our Olympic stadium - from 1976!! - a couple of years ago...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz - that's amazing isn't it - I've got some information here on the Olympics in general .. but haven't had time to check things out due to recent circumstances.

I'm looking forward to catching up - and your snippet is fascinating .. I wonder how our Games will pan out in the long run .. especially as we've gone from the wealthy noughties to the economic upheavals of a few years later and global recession or near enough ..

Thanks for giving us this insight .. times are not easy for so many now ... but everyone mucked in after the war - let's hope we can all muck in and help out again in the years ahead. Cheers Hilary