ACCESSIBILITY/FACILITIES: 4/10 - Earls Court is ancient. After a fortnight of slick, modern Olympic venues the creakiness leaps out - especially in the top tier with its wooden seats. It is still perfectly functional, but whereas I was proud to think of foreign visitors at the other venues, this ramshackle place let the side down a little.
VIEW: 9/10 - Volleyball is a great spectator sport. The playing area is just the right size, and the aim of the game is obvious even if the intricacies are not. And even from the back, it is perfectly obvious what is going on.
FANS: 8/10 - There were a few empty seats - no small task filling a 15,000-capacity arena for volleyball - but the fans were terrific. There was plenty of support for both teams, and the neutrals cheered enthusiastically. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but it was great. Again.
SPECTACLE: 8/10 - Though beach volleyball gets all the attention, the traditional version is a much more interesting sport - one in which the players display almost miraculous skill. You would think it is impossible to dig a spike (stop a 'smash' from hitting the ground), but they do it all the time. Nearly every rally contains some feat that seems to defy physics.
X-FACTOR: 7/10 - Dilapidated premises notwithstanding, Earls Court provides a fine setting. Though it wasn't quite full, the large arena generates a superb atmosphere. Given the nature of ticket sales, it was highly impressive to see so many Japanese and Koreans in the crowd.
TOTAL SCORE: 36/50 - creaky.
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Alex Chick will be writing from London 2012 throughout the Olympic Games.
- Sports & Recreation
- Earls Court