London 2012 Olympics schedule and ticket prices released

Olympics, olympicsIf you’re thinking of going to the London 2012 Olympics, now is the time to start planning.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has just released the competition schedule and ticket prices. The race is on for tickets, hotel reservations, and flights. Personally I’m avoiding the whole thing. London’s transport system is chaotic at the best of times, and an influx of hordes of sports fans isn’t going to do it any good. My family and I spend every summer in Oxford but we’re headed elsewhere in 2012. Being only an hour from London, rental prices in Oxford are sure to hit the stratosphere.

While the Olympics will be a royal pain in the ass for the English, it promises to be a memorable event for everyone else. The organizers boast there will be “19 days of sporting competition. . .over 640 sessions, across more than 300 events, 39 disciplines, and 26 sports.” If you love seeing the best athletes in the world competing live, this is the place to be.

For those of you planning to brave London in 2012, tickets go on sale March 15 and are sure to be snapped up quickly. You can register on the site to make purchasing quicker once tickets do go on sale. This is especially important if you’re outside the UK and Europe because you’ll have to apply for tickets via your local National Olympic Committee (NOC) starting March 15. For the Paralympics you need to get tickets from your National Paralympic Committee (NPC) starting September 9. Some NOCs and NPCs may appoint an Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) to sell tickets. If you register with the site via the above link, they’ll send you information about how to get tickets from an acronym near you.

And don’t forget to reserve a hotel or flat early, early, early. You might want to consider staying outside of London to avoid the crowds. Oxford, St. Albans, and Hertford are three pleasant towns all about an hour away by rail or bus and all have local attractions worth seeing.

A Look Ahead at London 2012

The closing ceremonies of Beijing ’08 were not quite as spectacular as the opening ceremonies. Not quite, but almost. There were still plenty of people wearing LED lights, drummers and acrobats climbing tall structures.

London got a chance to do their “we’re hosting the next Olympics” skit. It sucked in comparison to the other performances of the evening. There was some guy who looked like an gray-haired Jimmy Page. (It was obvious that the Stones said no to the gig). And Beckham kicked a ball off the top of a bus that had magically converted into some sort of green lump.

While they shake off their Olympic withdrawals, some people are passing the time by guessing what the opening ceremonies are going to look like in ’12. Here are some of the ideas:

1. They will hire the cast and crew of the Beijing opening ceremonies and perform the exact same show.

2. They will tap a different film director, like Ridley Scott or Madonna’s husband, and offer an unlimited budget to create a series of whimsical dance numbers featuring soccer hooligans and those guards with the furry hats.

3. Beckham will be, under order of the queen, part of the ceremony. Fine, as long as he doesn’t have to say anything in that high-pitched cockney voice or take his shirt off.

Whatever they come up with, it’s going to be great. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait until 2011 to get their hands on some of the 7.7 million tickets up for sale.