Fowler: Getting zorbed in Olympic spirit at Victoria Park

sfowler@charlotteobserver.comAugust 2, 2012 

— Since London is overflowing with people who would like to go to the Olympics but can’t get tickets, the city created a few alternate opportunities.

One of the best is at a place not too far from the Olympic Park site. This park is called Victoria Park and is the site of three giant screens showing Olympic action, as well as one of the largest ferris wheels you will ever see.

The coolest thing I saw, though, was some kids inside what looked like large watertight balloons. These plastic balls (with the kids inside) were then placed in a small manmade pond and the kids got to run around and fall down inside them without ever getting wet. But they could bump into each other without getting hurt – it was a little like bumper cars on water.

They called it “water-zorbing.” And while I’m sure it’s somewhere in the United States, I had never seen it, and somebody needs to franchise it if they haven’t already.

• France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was so out of sorts during his Olympic tennis quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic that he bounced the ball off his foot while getting ready to serve. Then, on the next point, he bounced it off his foot again. This time, he just paused and stared at the ball as it rolled slowly into the court, like a golfer watching a 15-foot putt. Once Tsonga finally picked up the ball, Djovokic won in straight sets.

• Congratulations to Caroline Lind, who grew up in Greensboro and won her second straight gold medal in rowing in the women’s eight. Lind is the daughter of Fred Lind, the former Duke basketball player who once had the game of his life in a memorable Blue Devils win against North Carolina.

• You may have heard an airplane pilot announce the score of some sports event in the air at some point. But have you ever heard someone who drives a subway train announce that Great Britain had gotten a silver medal in rowing – and received lots of applause for doing so? That happened to me Thursday.

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