Posted by: James Rhodes | August 10, 2012

“Olympo-mania” Day 5!

July 6th 2005. London gets the Olympics. Insert picture of a happy (although very young) James here. I remember being at home when it was announced (even though it was a school day), and remember feeling overly excited. 7 years on, it has lived up to every expectation I had. Nothing has gone wrong, Great Britain (I refuse to say Team GB) are doing fantastically, my running hero and inspiration Mo Farah defied the odds to win the 10000m. Oh, and I got to be in the cast of the Opening Ceremony (I’ll post about that one day!). Secondary to my excitement of the Games being here was the autograph opportunities I thought it would present.

However.. as recently as last weekend, it looked like I’d have an Olympics and meet no one. Every interview done in secure areas of the Olympic Park, hotels on lockdown, central London quiet. I wasn’t giving up easily. As such, every day this week (Monday-Friday, and I still have tomorrow to go), I’ve been on the trail of some of my Olympic heroes.. let’s just say it’s gone pretty damn well!

Here’s a write up of Friday. I headed out on the trail of one of the most successful swimmers of all time, Ian Thorpe. With 5 Olympic Golds, 3 Silvers and a Bronze, he’s an Olympic legend. With a couple of Olympics-related events today, I had mixed feelings leaving home, but here’s how today went.

I started off at the BBC Radio Studios to see if anything was going on there. Zilch. Anyone good is in the Olympic Park, bummer. Decided to head to a nearby hotel, used to house Coca Cola guests (not knowing whether this included any celebrities). After about 10 minutes of waiting, lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas Will.I.Am arrived. I can’t claim to be a fan of the Black Eyed Peas these days, but I love some of their older stuff.. Where Is The Love is simply awesome. He was happy to sign an index card and to pose for a quick photo. Pretty awesome start to the day!

Stayed for a bit longer, but after another 10 minutes or so headed to the Criterion Theatre for a talk with Clive Owen and cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti. The best bit about walking along Regent Street is the likelyhood of seeing an athlete; spotted an Australian with athlete accreditation on, and it turned out to be 3000m Steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze, who was happy to sign an index card for me.

Arrived at the Criterion at about 12.15 for a 1PM start, and within literally 5 minutes Clive Owen arrived. Star of films including Closer, Sin City and Children of Men, Clive started to sign a few things for the 20 or so people waiting. He didn’t sign for everyone (but then he has a reputation for being an awkward signer, he refused for me in February), but I managed to get my autograph book signed. He didn’t hang about long enough to try and get a photo with him.

Headed back towards the BBC to see if anything was happening, and walking along Regent Street bumped into  British actor Peter Capaldi, known for his roles in The Thick of It, In The Loop, Torchwood, and Dr Who. Peter was more than happy to pose for a photo, and said he’d been filming a trailer for the new series of The Thick of It.

Walking past Broadcasting House spotted a car waiting for Ellie Goulding (I love it when the driver puts the name of the passenger in the window!). Now I can’t lie, I think Ellie’s a fantastic singer; songs like the Writer are awesome, as his her cover of Your Song. However, Ellie has a bit of a reputation for being not the fan-friendliest. She’s refused me in the past, and when she has signed IP she has a tendency to sign in the corner of the item. However she couldn’t have been nicer today; she signed an index card for me in a normal position, and posed for a photo with me. So happy she agreed to a photo! 😀

With nothing happening at Radio 2 decided to head back to the Criterion to see if I could get Adrien Niyonshuti as he left. With the show finishing at about 2pm, it was perfect timing so made sense to do so. Having survived the Rwandan Genocide, Adrien has become Rwanda’s first cyclist at the Olympics, and is competing tomorrow in the Cross Country Mountain Bike race. He was happy to sign an index card and to pose for a photo with me. Clive Owen decided to use a side door rather than the stage door to leave, so luckily there was only 3 or 4 people waiting for Adrien.

From there had a bit of time to kill, so along with having lunch and having a look at a couple of hotels, visited NBA House (a pop-up event in Covent Garden to promote NBA Basketball). It was a very.. unique experience, not my cup of tea but was good to visit. There were a few NBA legends doing a signing at 4pm, but didn’t stay since I know nothing about the sport, and can name the basketball players I know on one hand!

Slowly headed towards the ITV Studios on the Southbank (did I mention it was awesome weather? the view from Hungerford Bridge was fab in the sun!), where the final episode of Beat TV was recording. I’m gonna miss this show, I watched it once in the week and it was awful, but it has had some good guests on. Today was, for me, the best – Ian Thorpe. Sadly (for one occasion only), it also had Colin Farrell on, which meant a fairly large number of dealers. As they waited round the back, I tested in the week to see if I could run from the front to the back of the studios (round the outside of the grounds) faster than a car can drive it (through the middle). I could, so I waited round the front. It was nice, as there was only me and my friend waiting in the sun. After a little while, triple World Champion boxer Duke McKenzie left, and kindly signed an index card for me. Asked him and he said he’d been recording with Al Jazeera TV in the Olympics, and said who else to keep an eye out for. He was followed by former Olympic decathlete Dean Macey, who signed an index card and posed for a photo.

Spotted a nice car driving towards the studio gates (for the back entrance), so ran around. It was Colin Farrell, who I don’t think really needs an introduction. He was more than happy to sign for the people waiting, and kindly signed my autograph book, and an index card (for a friend). Due to the railings at the back I didn’t get a photo, but am sure he’d have posed if I’d asked.

Went back round the front, and was slightly surprised no one followed. After about 5 minutes TV presenter Andy Kerr left, and signed an index card and posed for a photo.

Not long after a car pulled up, and out jumped Ian Thorpe! Insert happy James, as there was only two of us there (everyone else at the back). Ian kindly signed my autograph book, and despite saying he was running late kindly posed for a quick photo. Happy James!! Day 5 of “Olympo-mania” (google it plus Boris Johnson!) had worked fantastically.

Brilliant day! Got who I wanted, and some awesome surprises throughout the day. Now need to post days 1 to 4 of my Olympics IP week, and if I’m honest, two of the days easily beat this for me, although that might not be the case for others who read this blog!

Go Team GB (eurgh, I said it!)



  1. Great day James!!! Love your write ups.

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