LONDON — While tickets to the London Olympic games may be hard to come by, there are still plenty of places in the city where fans can go to cheer on their favorite teams for free. The city of London has set up of sites that offer perhaps the next best thing to being at the games.
In London's Hyde Park no expensive tickets were needed to watch the women's triathlon. Kate Davis Clarke came from New York City to cheer on her best friend, American triathlon athlete Sarah Groff. “We got up incredibly early to stake our spot. We have been in Hyde Park since 4:30 in the morning, but we were pretty much the first ones here. And everyone has been incredibly friendly. The stewards are super helpful and nice. We got some cheers from the volunteers being here so early," she said.
Clarke and the crowd got to see the swimming segment from a distance and the biking and running up close as the competitors circled the lake a number of times during race.
Nearby in Hyde Park, Jane Oughton from Great Britain was able to simulate the triathlon experience. “I have never swam in a pool like that so really, just out of interest. You only get a chance at doing something like this and I can not believe I am doing this in the middle of Hyde Park, [with] people watching me. But you know, you just got to give it a try," she said.
The triathlon simulation is part of "BT London Live," one of many locations set up by the city and sponsored by British Telecom where the visitors can get into the Olympic spirit. There are a number of big screens to watch different Olympic events, concerts and activities for children, and all for free.
Bernard Docherty with "BT London Live" says more than 30,000 people have been coming to these free sites on a daily basis. “What we got here is all the sports on lots of different screens. Yes, you are not physically in the arena watching the sport, but there are a lot of people who come here and actually say to me that I had a better day in Hyde Park than I had [in] my one sport that I had a ticket in the Olympic Park," he said.
So even if one cannot get a ticket for the actual games, there are still many free Olympic-related events happening at which people can cheer for their favorite teams and enjoy the games.