Beyond traffic fears, security chaos and pre-Olympic protests, there are so many things special about the 2012 London Olympic Games. London is the first city in the world to host the Games three times. This is the first year that Team GB have athletes in every field. This is also the first year in history that all participating countries have allowed women to take part in the Games. For you geeksters, this is the first Olympic Games that uses HD-TV freeze-frame technology. And of course, there is Danny Boyle’s vision for the opening ceremony, which was phenomenal.
Everything from the depiction of the idyllic countryside, to the age of industrialisation and the mix of great British music from the 60s to present day was so brilliantly choreographed and executed. The inclusion of NHS doctors and nurses, and staff and patients of Great Ormond Street Hospital was a nice touch. I also loved the inclusion of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”. Although I am not a huge fan of Mr. Bean, his sketch was rather amusing and was up there with one of my favourite moments. And let’s not forget the magnificent fireworks!
I’m not bothered that two balloons didn’t go off during the countdown. I did notice the transition between James Bond (day) and the Queen’s dramatic entrance (night) felt a bit off, as shows of this calibre are certainly no easy task to pull off. That said, I must admit that I wished we’d seen a wee bit more syncrhonised choreography and somehow included Beefeaters. But hey, you can’t have everything!
I suppose I wasn’t surprised that most Americans didn’t ‘get it’, though perhaps they were a bit cheated by NBC’s coverage of the show, which was interrupted by long adverts and a random interview with swimmer Michael Phelps. I wonder if they cut out the tribute to the 7/7 victims because Americans wouldn’t have understood the reference. But based on reactions on Twitter I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered if Americans did see the entire show from start to finish.
Sir Kenneth Branagh was dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In perfect form he gave a speech from The Tempest. Seeing as it was chosen to be part of the opening of the London Games kind of clues you in that it’s a big moment in English history. Ah, but that didn’t quite translate for the American audience (again, are we even surprised?). In a ridiculously hysterical moment on Twitter that made Americans seem self-centered, online media became overloaded with Americans wanting to know why Abraham Lincoln was being represented at the Olympic opening ceremony in London. Hold on! There’s your biggest clue! Yet everyone was too busy tweeting about how clueless they are to notice.
Sadly, that is how the Olympic Ceremony played out among most Americans. But I was happy to hear that a few clued-up fans enjoyed the show for what it was worth — which I saw as a great tribute to the Best of British (or at least what once was).