Beach volleyball the No. 2 spectator sport in 2012 Olympics?

There is a lot of history in London. It’s amazing the way it’s around every corner and on every lamp post. Even the Starbucks and Subway chains are in stone monoliths of buildings.

If you can’t tell, Tony and I went to the city center today and it is awe-inspiring. As soon as we came out from the underground we were at the base of Big Ben — which, we learned, refers to the bell and not the tower or its four clocks. Pretty crazy. We also saw the parliament buildings, of course, and did a great tour of Westminster Abby, perhaps the most beautiful church I have ever visited. Before we headed over to Buckingham Palace and eventually Picadilly Circus for a pint and dinner, we walked by Horse Guard Park, where the beach volleyball will be held (nice that it is in the city center). We chatted with the guards watching over the entrance to the construction (we didn’t see any sand by the stands, so they have a little ways to go before that venue is finished — like me, they must live for deadlines). They said they expect beach volleyball to draw the second biggest crowd of the Games, right behind the men’s 100 meters. Not sure I believe it, but that’s pretty exciting for the sport if it can outdraw gymnastics and swimming. Might have something to do with girls in bikinis ….

Anyway, people here seem to be getting ramped up for the Olympics, and we are too. We shared a train with the the Belgium field hockey team on the way under the Chunnell — a fairly anticlimactic experience considering we were flying along at the bottom of the English Channell — and we saw someone waiting for the Togo table tennis team when we arrived. I hoped to see the men’s basketball team, which is training here, but they have that gym locked down tight. Guess I’ll have to wait until the actual Games to see Lebron and Co. in action.

I’m trying to enjoy a couple more days of peace before really delving in head first, but I am also eager to dive in, so to speak. Wish me luck, and send us ideas of what you’d like to see covered. Some of the events I’m considering, in addition to full coverage of our local Olympians, include: the first Olympic women’s boxing match ever, a match by one of the first women ever sent to the Olympics by Saudi Arabia and the showdown between US swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. Like those ideas? Hate them? I’m here to write for you, so let me know what tickles your fancy. Hey, I’ll even park myself in a boozer all day, get slaughtered and scapa through Leicester Square.

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