LONDON — For many veteran fans of the Olympics, the London experience has so far been quite different than that of the Beijing games in 2008.
American Gary Davis has been to nine Olympics and says the stadiums built for the London games cannot compare to the iconic architectural design of the bird's nest stadium and water cube aquatic center built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Still, he says, London has other advantages.
“The facilities in Beijing were truly spectacular. They were really incredible. There is nothing wrong with these. They are very nice. Everything is very well organized. It is nice to be speaking English,” Davis said.
John Fogarty from Los Angeles says so far the London games are fun. But he says there was more public excitement in Beijing.
“I don't know if that's because that city was although big, a little more central and everything here is a little more spread out but it seemed like everywhere you went in Beijing was just a little more intense in terms of the focus on the Olympics aspect of it,” Fogerty said.
Of course for the Chinese, the Beijing Olympics was a chance to showcase the country's emerging wealth and power, while the Chinese government kept a tight lid on political activities surrounding the games. In London, political activists and other protestors have free rein. For the British, the Olympics are just one of many international sporting events held in London over the years.
Die-hard Lithuanian Olympics fan Alius Bilunas and his friends say they prefer the focus on fun and sports in London to the artificial grandeur of Beijing.
“China was a bit of a blow up. They made it look not as good as it was. I think London showed real respect to everybody,” Bilunas said.
And many of these experienced fans prefer the cool, wet climate of London to the intense heat of Beijing in summer.
Spectator Nat Aaronson, whose face is painted like a Union flag, poses for a portrait on the Box Hill circuit of the men's cycling road race at the London 2012 Olympic Games in London July 28, 2012. 012 Olympic Games in London July 28, 2012. REUTERS/Mark
A young Great Britain fan enjoys the atmosphere before the London 2012 Olympic Games men's quarter-final football match between Great Britain and South Korea at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on August 4, 2012.
A soccer fan of Spain with her face painted, smiles during men's Group D football match against Honduras in the London 2012 Olympic Games at St James' Park in Newcastle July 29, 2012.
A spectator with a Brazilian and an Egyptian (L) national flag on either cheek smiles ahead of the men's Group C football match between the two countries at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff July 26, 2012.
A Switzerland fan smiles while attending their men's Group B football match against South Korea in the London 2012 Olympic Games at the City of Coventry stadium July 29, 2012.
Fans of France's handball team pose for photos before their men's handball Preliminaries Group A match against Britain at the Copper Box venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
Fans of Japan's national women soccer team smile before the team's women's Group F football match against Sweden at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the City of Coventry Stadium July 28, 2012.
Fans wave Brazilian national flags ahead of their men's Group C football match against Egypt at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff July 26, 2012.
Hungary fans pose for pictures in their men's handball Preliminaries Group B match against Denmark at the Copper Box venue during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 29, 2012.
A Britain fan, with her face painted in the style of the Union Jack, smiles while attending the men's Group A football match against Senegal at the London 2012 Olympic Games in Old Trafford, Manchester, northern England July 26, 2012.
Young spectators watch the men's -81kg and women's 63kg judo competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012.
A British fan waits for the Britain - Brazil women's Group E football match at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium in London July 31, 2012.
A supporter of the US watches the women's doubles semifinal match of the London 2012 Olympic Games between Russia's Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko against US Venus Williams and Serena Williams, at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest Lon
A fan of Iceland's handball team wearing a hat reacts ahead of the men's preliminary Group A handball match Iceland vs France for the London 2012 Olympics Games on August 4, 2012 at the Copper Box hall in London.
Fans of France and Spain's handball team pose ahead of the women's preliminary Group B handball match Norway vs Spain for the London 2012 Olympics Games on August 5, 2012 at the Copper Box hall in London.
A Britain supporter waves before the men's preliminary first round Group A soccer match against UAE at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Wembley Stadium in London.
Glenn Frank from central England wears contact lenses depicting the Union flag, commonly known as the Union Jack, as he walks in the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 3, 2012
Spectator wears glasses with the shape of the Olympic logo attending the men's 94Kg group B weightlifting competition at the ExCel venue at the London 2012 Olympic Games August 4, 2012.