Dutch and British hockey fans become unlikely best friends
An unlikely alliance has built in the Olympic Park over the past two days with Dutch and British fans swapping tickets in order to attend the right medal match in the hockey.
Holland qualified for both the women's and men's finals of the hockey competition while Team GB made it to the bronze medal match in both cases and many fans who either hedged their bets or obtained their tickets through ballot have been left with the prospect of missing their team at the Riverbank Arena.
"It's a lucky thing GB play for bronze today and tomorrow because we can swap our tickets quite easily," said Stijn ahead of the women's final on Friday afternoon.
"I won't be disappointed if we lose today," said fellow Dutch fan Randy ahead of the women's final on Friday. "We still have tomorrow – and then tonight we can go to Holland Heineken House and have a big party whatever happens."
Along with his girlfriend Nicolette and Stijn, Randy had managed quite easily to swap tickets with British fans for the women's final. They were hoping to do the same on Saturday for the men's final, which pits the Dutch against old foe Germany.
A fourth member of their impromptu orange gathering, Mari, already had tickets to the women's final in what has been a busy Games for the Olympics regular.
"I've seen Usain Bolt win both sprint finals live and now I have Holland in the hockey final," said Mari. "I have been to the Barcelona and Athens Games and this is by far the best. London 2012 has been so well organised. It's an amazing park which contains so many beautiful stadiums. It gives you a good feeling inside."
All four fans predicted a win for the Dutch women – but none guessed the correct score of 2-0 over Argentina as the Netherlands successfully defended their women's Olympic title on Friday evening.
"It's been a good Games for us and we already have more medals than the target set," said Randy before being distracted by a topless man walking by with an orange Dutch t-shirt wrapped around his head.
"Hey, that's Dorian van Rijsselberge, the Dutch windsurfing gold medallist," said Randy, running after the star to ask for a photo.
"Dorian will have to change to kitesurfing for Rio because they're ending windsurfing as an Olympic sport," said Stijn. "They have to stop taking away Holland's best sports!" He joked. "Maybe hockey is next? Probably, if we win gold in both!"
One gold down, the Dutch are en route to a famous hockey double. All Stijn, Randy and Dorian need now are some tickets. On Saturday, fans of Australia and Great Britain – who face each other in the bronze medal match – will no doubt be approached by many a fan in orange willing to do a trade...