Olympic Round-up Part Three

I really should have started posting my reflections on London 2012 sooner, but here is the third and final installment.

Eric Idle at the Closing CeremonyThe Ceremonies

We all found the GB contribution to the closing ceremony in Beijing rather toe-curling so we looked forward to the opening ceremony to London 2012 with a degree of trepidation. We needn’t have worried.

Danny Boyle did a fantastic job with a show that had drama, humour and style. Whether the rest of the world understood what was going on is another matter, but you can say that about all opening ceremonies.

The closing ceremony on the other hand was a curate’s egg – good in parts. I still don’t quite understand why buildings, buses and people were dressed in newspaper or why we’d want to celebrate a traffic jam.

The sound through the tv was awful and it must have been worse in the stadium, but the star of the show was Eric Idle singing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life which should have been the finale.

Marketing Ploy of the Games

P&G Ad showing Paula RadcliffeI was a bit sneery about McDonalds and Coca-Cola sponsoring the games, but it turned out not to be a big issue. Since tv coverage was on ad-free BBC, the sponsors brain-washing opportunities were limited to their outlets and the venues.

Procter and Gamble must have been devastated when their Pampers Ambassador and golden girl of GB athletics, Paula Radcliffe, pulled out of the marathon at the start of the games.

The ad above showing Paula as a girl (how do they do that?) appeared full page day after day during the games when she wasn’t even there.

Gold postbox in Albert Square, ManchesterBut it was the good old Royal Mail that was that made the most imaginative and effective use of London 2012 to promote its products and services.

Producing stamps featuring every Team GB gold medal winner was bound to be a success and bring in sales, but painting a traditional red postbox gold in the medallist’s home town was positively inspired.

There is now a gold postbox website that has a map so you can track them down. It’s also a good visual to see which parts of the country the medals were coming from!

Winners, Losers and Sobbers

The Wall Street Journal drew up an alternative table awarding lead, tin and zinc medals for those who finished in the bottom three which showed that Team GB not only did well, but also very badly.

It is misleading, of course, because as host nation we could enter any event we wanted without qualifying, even those we’re rubbish at.

Which reminds me, when did we become so useless at water polo? There’s even a statue in a nearby town commemorating the exploits of Hyde Seals who were World Water Polo Champions for three years running once upon a time.

Felix Sanchez in TearsBut back to the WSJ which also analysed who cried and who remained stoic when they received their gold medals. A comparison of the sexes showed that 25% of women switched on the waterworks and around 8% of the men.

Felix Sanchez was perhaps the most memorable after winning the 400m hurdles, but then he had just completed a promise to regain his title that he made to his grandma who died just before the same event in Beijing.

The Logos

London 2012 Bid LogoI really hated the games logo from the day it was unveiled in 2007 and it still resembles Lisa from the Simpsons performing a lewd act.

I much preferred the one on the right used for the original bidding process with its typography that harks back to the previous London Games in 1948 with the ribbon representing the Thames. It was obviously too conservative and uncool for the then Labour government.

Celebration of London 2012

There were plenty of memorable winning celebrations, such as Mo Farah’s Mobot. A thumbs down here for the logo cops who banned Mo’s wife from handing him a union flag with his nickname ‘Fly Mo’ on it after he won the 5,000m on the grounds that it advertised a brand of lawnmower.

Usian copies WenlockThe most universally recognised celebration was games mascot Wenlock’s lightning bolt pose (right) which was sadly devalued when it was copied by some athlete called Usain Bolt.

But for sheer exuberance and pride, you will have to go a long way to beat the celebration by Ukraine heavyweight boxer, Oleksandr Usyk.

After defeating Clemente Russo to win the gold medal he danced the ‘Hopak’ in the ring and that is where I’ll leave my Olympic reflections.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

2 comments… Add yours
  • Arctic Fox 14th August 2012

    ok here’s a bit of info….. I thought the newspaper theme was something to do with Emile Sande’s “Read all about it” song that formed a sort of theme? Perhaps it was just a nod to fish and chips for which we’re famed?

  • Sponge Pudding 14th August 2012

    Thank you for your thoughtful reflections on The Games which pretty much co-incide with my own reactions to the sporting festival. Seems to me that GB did so well that we don’t need to interfere with current school sports provision. Wonder which sports Cameron and Osborne excelled in at school? Cameron – rhythmic gymnastics? Osborne – hiding in the changing room to avoid getting muddy on the rugger field.


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