I know this could be considered a little late but I thought I’d give my opinion on the Olympics this year, considering that my country were the hosts too.
First off there was that opening ceremony. This was the part most of our country was worried about. We could have done an awful job but actually it was amazing. I don’t expect that everyone in other countries would have really understood it but it was very British and well planned out.
My favourite bit was when James Bond went to pick up the Queen in the cut away video. We all thought it was just a Queen lookalike but when she turned around and greeted him and revealed that it was indeed our monarch a cheer went up in our house full of spectators.
I had heard she had a good sense of humour but I think this just proves it. She even allowed her darling Corgis to be in the video.
On top of that I have to admit I really quite like Daniel Craig as James Bond. He’s not the best actor that’s taken on the role but for this moment he seemed to have the perfect expression. His face when the Queen said ‘good evening Mr Bond was spot on.’
into the industrial age, tower-filled forge below. And yes that is the same house in the shot and that ring to the left is covered in grass in the first shot.
Amazingly they managed to do this while stuff was going on around. Workers appeared and stripped back grass while others appeared to be winching up the towers into the middle of the stadium and Isanbard Kingdom Brunel surveyed it all with satisfaction after reading out an excerpt from the Tempest.
On top of that we had sillyness from Mr Bean and one very amazing music medley of 60’s to the present. The final stunning part, however, was the Olympic flame itself. Not only had they managed to keep it secret that seven young athletes were going to light the Olympic cauldron instead of an established professional as it normally is but they had also managed to keep it quiet that the copper petals each country carried in with their parade actually all came together to make a stunning cauldron.
Each petal alone was stunning as you can see to the right. and there were 204 of these that came into the arena, one with each country. All we knew as they were coming in was that they were very pretty and we were told they would all feature later. Well they all ended up in the centre in a spread out spiral. As the bottom few were lit the flames jumped from petal to petal around and up the spiral and then it was all lifted up to create one large cauldron.
Not too bad really for an opening ceremony from us. I also really liked that almost everyone involved was a volunteer. It was nice that any old joe could give up time to practice and get to take part, as well as all the builders being honoured during the torch bearing.
Unfortunately the first day of the olympics didn’t go quite so well in Britain’s favour. We had hopes in the men’s road race but just couldn’t get enough other teams to work with us to catch some early leaders so none of the British could get near a medal.
The following day saw us pick up a couple of medals, however. We did a lot better in the women’s road race and picked up a silver, then a bronze in the pool with Rebecca Adlington.
Monday saw us do well in the Equestrian cross country after our good start in the dressage. We also did well in the gymnastics, though there were upsets there with the Japanese fall that was possibly a wonky dismount.
Tuesday granted us a silver in the team equestrian which wasn’t too surprising after the amazing cross country we had the day before.
Then all of a sudden it really took off on the Wednesday with the female rowers getting us our first gold medal and then over the following days we got loads more in the cycling, rowing and even a few unexpected ones in the athletics.
The second Saturday was our best day with six gold medals being acquired throughout the day. I believe they were two rowing ones, a cycling one and the female heptathalon, men’s long jump and men’s 10,000 run. On top of a bunch of silvers and bronzes.
By the end Team GB had 29 golds 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, a lot more than had been expected and I think our best games for over 100 years. The whole buzz and excitement of the olympics was extraordinary too. Almost everyone was talking about it and watching as much as possible.
Eventually the games reached the end and we came to the closing ceremony. This was put together by someone different but still followed a similar theme to the opening ceremony. There was a lot of music and bands playing. Unfortunately not everyone could sing as well as they used to but they did their best.
It started with Winston Churchill reading more of the Tempest from inside the top of Big Ben while chaos ensued around him. There were suddenly street parties and golden oldie songs beginning with Our House by Madness, who popped out the back of a newspapered covered truck driving around the edge.
As they sang more newspaper covered cars, people and dancers appeared around the stadium and the stadium led a rendition of parklife, which led into westend girls by the pet shop boys being driven around on bright orange chariots. I kid you not. Bright orange chariots! I did spend most of my time wondering how their drivers could see and also wondering if the petshop boys had done something naughty to deserve their black dunce caps. It was entertaining at least, however and did make me think of their whacky music videos.
Unfortunately then came the first of the oldies who is getting a little past it now in terms of singing voice as Ray Davies tried to treat us to a rendition of Waterloo Sunset. It could have been better but it was bearable and watching everything else going on around him was at least interesting.
This was rescued by Emeli Sande who sang read all about it on her newspaper covered car. Thankfully at this point all the newspaper disappeared and the parade of atheletes final medal ceremony and all of the official things happened. The best bit of this was allowing the atheletes to enter from all parts of the stadium so all the crowd got to see them and congratulate them as they walked in. I thought that was a great idea.
After everything official they started us off again with an excerpt from Bohemian Rhapsody, which led into Imagine by John Lennon, sung by The Liverpool Philharmonic youth choir, followed by more madness from George Michael’s white light and the Kaiser chiefs version of Pinball Wizard.
Then things got more odd with David Bowie’s fashion and those lorries that were newspaper covered earlier all came back with lots of big fashion brands and models on their sides. At the end of the song they all opened up to reveal models for each brand and some very lovely dresses, plus one man.
And at that point, just when you didn’t think things could get any more odd Annie Lennox came on stage to sing Little bird. Her mode of transport was a sail-less boat, complete with a guy holding wings up for her. Thankfully she sang better than she did in the Queen’s jubilee celebration and I really liked her boat. Everything else was a bit odd but the boat was cool.
The next song was pure genious with Ed Sheeran singing Wish you were here with a band comprising of a genesis member, a pink floyd member and several others.
Russel Brand then added his mix of eccentricness into it by singing pure imagination from the original charlie and the chocolate factory film followed by I am the walrus. Which led into Fatboy Slim dj’ing from a giant octopus for a couple of songs and then a medly from Jessie J, Tinie Tempah and Taoi Cruz, who sang their own songs followed by coming together to sing the Beegee’s, you should be dancing.
Unfortunately this very bright vw camper powered octopus was followed by another oops of the closing ceremony. Five taxis came driving into the stadium with some passangers most people probably didn’t want to see, the Spice Girls. They climbed onto the roof of their taxis and drove around singing a medley, although thankfully some of it was mimed.
When that was finally over the director decided to take a leaf out of the opening ceremonies book and went back to the eccentric humour the brits are best at.
After this it pretty much wound up to the extinguishing of the olympic torch with the official olympic song by muse, a brilliant screen of Freddie leading everyone in random scatting from a recorded concert moment and a phenominal guitar solo from the ever loved Brian May. He was then joined by Queen’s drummer and Jessie J helped provide the vocals to We will rock you.
Once the flame was extinguished there was Take that and finally a trio of songs from The who. All in all not too bad if you forget the few that seemed more pointless. I Am torn between Eric Idle and Queen +Jessie J for best act of the night, however.
This concludes my olympic round up. Right now I’m very proud to be British.