Medals: Gold – Anthony Joshua – Boxing Super-heavyweight. Silver – Fred Evans – Boxing Bantamweight, Samantha Murray – Women’s Modern Pentathlon
The Olympics of London 2012 are over and we are getting ready for the Paralympics. I feel so proud of what we achieved, how we presented ourselves to the world, and of how the whole event has made us feel. The medals certainly help and even yesterday the boxing finals and the Modern Pentathlon kept the interest during the afternoon. At what other times could the Community Shield match and Rory McIlroy winning the US PGA pale into significance? How silly do we now feel quibbling about the merits of the Logo, whingeing about the cost and laughing at the medal prospects?
One interesting interview on the Radio yesterday was with Charles Van Commenee the head coach of UK Athletics. Some time ago he said that he would resign if the athletics team did not achieve 6 medals with at least one gold. In the event the team achieved six medals and four golds. The BBC Five Live journalist pressed hard and repeatedly on whether he would be resigning and if not why not. His stoic response was that he stood by his original statement and was going to take some time before making the announcement. Charles’s comments were that very few athletes had failed (I suspect he reserves that category very specifically for Phillips Idowu), a few had failed to step up their performance in the Olympics and that some had really made their mark but not necessarily won a medal. At a time when scenes of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah are still fresh in the memory and the atmosphere in the Athletics stadium is still ringing in the ears it seems churlish to push the poor man further.
The Closing Ceremony just made me smile and smile. I love the fact that the emphasis has turned to the legacy and in a very direct way. The message was clear when the British Olympic team strolled out in very clearly branded Next jackets. It was further reinforced by the listing of fashion brands when the catwalk models emerged. We should be very American about this – we’ve paid the bill and now we need to reap the benefit – the projected £13bn of returns for Britain will not just happen by itself. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Bob Geldof used and an appeal telephone number flashed on screen.
The set for the show was stunning with the wonderful Damien Hirst Union Flag centre stage. Emeli Sande has certainly had her fair share of coverage in the event and she got the evening off to a good start. Only the British can laugh at ourselves and include sad songs, mucky lyrics and mucky band names, traffic jams, crying athletes, dead athletes and weather – all done with just the right amount of pathos.
The lighting around the stadium will be installed in lots of sports grounds around the world – they can probably have ours as we are taking the top layer off the stadium. It worked really well to create excitement and also helped to hide the empty seats as the crowd dwindled away towards the end of the show as the Who closed the gig.
The flood of athletes and the excitement and joy on their faces was a highlight. Arranging events so that the turgid march around the stadium was avoided and instead it gave them a chance to unwind and enjoy themselves. It would be interesting to see who attended the Closing Ceremony and who stayed away. I wonder whether any of the British Men’s football team were there or the American basketball Dream Team? I did see Hope Powell from the women’s team.
The brief introduction to Rio de Janeiro was fine and put our London bus in Beijing into context. At least we had Beckham, Jimmy Page and Leona on board compared to just Pele.
- The announcement and caption of Prince Henry – could nothing be done?
- Always look on the Bright Side of Life with random bhangra dancing and a human cannonball.
- The Torch Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick – a beautiful concept and execution and the phoenix motif at the end was a stroke of genius. The cauldron is going to be broken up and the petals sent to each competing country who carried them into the arena in the first place. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sports/2012-08/12/c_131780054.htm
- The music – we lead the world and the show could easily have been 4 times as long showcasing international British talent
- The Spice Girls appearance was suitably humble
- The John Lennon mask
- The flying Darcey Bussell
- If I’m begin churlish why music from Blur, Kate Bush and David Bowie with no appearance? No appearance = no songs in my book
- George Michael – one song only per person
- The choice of The Who to close. I know the song My Generation includes the word “generation” but it also includes the lyric “hope I die before I get old”
- After celebrating clean athletes we then paraded a string of drug users, felons, and poor role models in front of them
I can’t remember the last unmissable event we watched as a family but all I saw were smiling faces around the room