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Olympics 2012: What would you do?

October 3, 2010

The opening ceremony for the 2010 Commonwealth Games didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Holding my attention for three hours was always going to be a tall order. Even so, I did give it a go.

I wanted to be ‘wowed’. I wanted to see things I hadn’t seen before. I wanted to be swept away. I wanted to be persuaded to watch 11 days of sports events I never dreamt I’d ever be interested in.

We ended up watching Horizon on Sky+ interspersed with momentary visits to the stadium in Dehli to see where we were in the speeches and athletes parade. Then we watched the rerun of Damages on BBC HD. That was the extent of the pull of the Commonwealth Games. To be frank, I don’t care. I fully appreciate that some people might.

That’s what got me thinking. With our big night approaching in 2012, how will London and the wider United Kingdom (or will we refer to ourselves as Great Britain in 2012?) be represented? Will we recognise the host country represented in the opening ceremony or will we feel as confused as the rest of the world when we observe the proceedings?

Don’t underestimate how tough a tough a job it is. Three hours of live television. Hold the world’s attention with a stadium-scaled performance which looks breathtaking, says something unique and makes a statement. We won’t get another chance for a long time. It could be the making of you. It could even be the end of your career. No one wants another Millennium Eve at The Dome. That’s some television programme to have to mount. And that’s before anyone’s stood up and said anything approximating a speech.

So. Just suppose you had the chance to plan the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. What would you do?

The picture above entitled ‘Circus’ was published by Flickr User Marja van Bochove and is used here in accordance with the Creative Commons License.

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9 Comments
  1. Karen Redman permalink

    I would have a parade of illiterate children & underpaid doctors pushing patients in wheelchairs and beds. However, I am in a very sanctimonious mood and am very fickle. Tomorrow I shall want fireworks and sparklers.

    • We can do both. The budget can accommodate both.

  2. Karen Redman permalink

    That would be wonderful but in order not to go over the top, I suggest we get the illiterate children & pushed patients to hold sparklers?

  3. Jane permalink

    I would cancel it.

    • But it’s happening. It’s going ahead. Cancelling it isn’t an option Jane. What music would you choose to represent the host country? How would you use it to communicate a message to the rest of the world? What would that message be?

  4. Jane permalink

    Don’t tell me it’s not an option, because it is. All it needs is for Cameron to call in the International Olympic Committee and tell them that there is no way we can afford it, so we’re going to cancel it, even at this late stage in the proceedings. If they (the IOC) don’t like it, they can lump it. If they threaten that we’ll never be “awarded” such a drain on our finances again, then (a) they are being childish, and (b) Hooray! Why do we have to hold the Olympics? There are plenty of other countries who would like to do it; why has it got to be us?

    My message to the rest of the world is quite simple: we can’t afford it (and if we can’t afford it, then neither can you). There are plenty of other things that we could and should (and would rather) spend the money on, such as education and health in this country, as well as helping to clear up the awful situation in Africa regarding AIDS and the general health of all the population there who are in grinding poverty.

    • So are you arguing that the Olympics should only be staged by those who can already afford it – ie those whose domestic economies are in a healthy enough state that they can fund it? Doesn’t hosting something like the Olympics – or indeed any other large scale event with global reach – help improve infrastructure ?

  5. Jane permalink

    I couldn’t care who stages it; I just wish it weren’t us.

    • Seems like Leo Benedictus fro the Guardian is asking a similar sort of question – “Are opening ceremonies worth it?

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