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London 2012 Insider’s Guide: Olympic Park Crowds, Bad Food & Questionable Stadium Quality

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Corespondent Phil Wallace is on the ground at the Games reporting back with a few unexpected finds. It’s not just about the events but also the experience. See how the food, the stadiums and the Olympic Park compare in the second of Wallace’s three updates from the Games of the 30th Olympiad.

Greetings from London again! So far I have to admit that I’m overwhelmed by the sheer size of these Games.

Some people claim that the Olympic movement has gotten too big and difficult to handle. It’s clear to me that only a small handful of cities in the world could ever host such a huge event. Every inch of London has just been consumed by the Olympics, which has been both good and bad for the city.

There have been stories about declining numbers of people in typical tourist hotbeds. It’s as if everyone has come here just for the Olympics and everything else in the city has faded to the background. Additionally, many locals have left town, and those who have stayed are praising the lack of traffic and crowds in the tube outside of Central London.

If there’s one big loser at the London Games, then it’s the food. Sure, Britain is not known for its great cuisine, but this being my first Olympics, I sort of expected a cultural smorgasbord of food from around the world.

At every event I’ve attended, the food has been horrible. Typically there are sad cold refrigerated sandwiches at every venue along with soft and chewy sausages. Sometimes there are meat pies that require some courage to eat.

Most everywhere else, you see bad carnival food. In the “World Square” of Olympic Park, there’s a stand for “Southern Fried Chicken” and next to that was as a stand that said “Mexican.” It reminded me of home where you can find a KFC next to a Taco Bell. Further down there’s a stand that says “Asian” and then “Pizza.” Not exactly the best display of food from around the world.