10 February 2012
As I approach the official London 2012 white
water course in my private minibus I focus my mind on the task
ahead. Today I will be tackling the Olympic white water rafting
course and, with a gold medal in my sights, I know I'm going to
have to bring my A-game.
I look out across the water, the bright sunshine streaming
across the, as yet, untouched course. In final preparation for the
morning's activities I lift the apple custard Danish pastry to my
mouth and gobble it down in record time. I have a feeling it's
going to be a record breaking day.
The clock strikes 9:00 and my team mates begin to arrive; BBC
News Online, London Metro, ITN, Computer Weekly, Computing, Data
Centre Management, thedatachain - we're like Team GB, only better.
Then in walks our captain, Tim Brabants.
Olympian, gold medallist, Cisco ambassador and emergency room
doctor (I know, right?!), this is just the man to lead our motley
crew to glory.
Unfortunately, we're not quite Olympic ready… not yet. We are in
fact all gathered for a Cisco press event to learn about how, as
official network infrastructure provider, it plans to ensure the
integrity of the network for London 2012. The men
delivering the presentation are so intrinsic to the running of the
Olympic Games I can't even name them. So, you know, pretty standard
We spend an hour learning about just how mind-blowingly
intricate and awesome the London 2012 network is going to be.
80,000 connections across 94 locations, 65,000 active network ports
and over 20,000 hours of network testing before the Games even
begin! Then, brain-workout complete, we head downstairs for the
first of our physical tests - getting into our wetsuits (and
subsequently breathing in for two hours).
Exhausted, we step out into the courtyard to meet our
instructor. A few safety instructions later and we are ready to hit
the water. Observing the universal rule of not looking below the
waist of a person in a wetsuit, we all walk toward the course,
looking skywards, feet squelching in our damp booties. I imagine
this is just like the Olympics.
On the water our first task is to row forwards. We nail it.
Unfortunately, there is more than one stroke to learn… but after
rowing in circles for a few minutes we have a quick race with Tim
(we win) and then find the start of the course. This is it. We
practice our paddle high fives and then we're off..!
If the ocean is a fickle mistress, then truly the rapids are her
rabid, feral children. We are thrown about, spun, flipped, splashed
and soaked. We scream, laugh, choke and splutter. And then disaster
- the water gets the best of us and we are flung from our vessel
with dramatic force.
If you had told me a month ago that almost drowning journalists
and clients would make for such a great day out I'd have laughed in
your face. However, it turns out swallowing all the water in the
River Lee and scrambling over one another to get to the shore is
the BEST fun. PRs, journalists and Cisco execs bonded and happy, we
all walk into the sunset, safe in the knowledge we could probably
achieve a gold medal if we really wanted to…
, cisco, London 2012, Olympics, Tim Brabants | 1 comment
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