Olympics 2012-The Highlights
August 20, 2012
By: Bridie Wilkinson
It has now officially been a week since the last day of the Olympics. Chances are, you’re slowly adapting to a life that no longer includes hours of BBC coverage, yelling and cheering at the screen, judging sports that you had no interested in before and getting emotionally invested in handball (Trust me. It can happen).
But the party isn’t over quite yet, as London gears up for the Paralympic Games on the 29th of August. With a fresh round of sports, a plethora of Union Jacks and another Opening Ceremony to get through in the near future, it’s time to take a quick look back at the highlights of those magical 17 days of Olympic glory.
For all of Boris and Lord Coe’s assurances, there was an air of slight apprehension on the 27th July. Our Opening Ceremony was to be a declaration of our identity-the world wide equivalent of a ‘WELCOME TO THE UK’ poster. How would the city do under such scrutiny? In the end, Danny Boyle and his team did superbly, producing a ceremony that was spectacular, whilst still having a very personal, British feel to it. Fusing cultural and historical references with music, dancers and visuals a show was created with images that people will forever associate with the Games (I, personally, am never going to forget the giant Voldemort being attacked by an army of Mary Poppins). Amidst all the performances, sounds and dashing of the monarchy, the ceremony also had a sense of a community. Not only due to the hundreds of volunteers taking part, but in the design of the Olympic cauldron. Structured with petals representing each competing country, when the torch was finally lit and risen into the night sky, it was a unifying symbol that set the tone of the Games to come.
August 4th will be forever immortalised as one of those ”where-were-you-when” days. Where were you when Great Britain had their most successful day of sport since 1908?
The gold rush started at the rowing, where the men’s four and women’s lightweight double won gold in a display of blood, sweat and endurance. The momentum set there crossed over into the veladrome where the world witnessed the women’s team pursuit breaking world record after world record and securing the gold medal. By the time the action hit the Olympic Stadium there was a buzz surrounding the athletes, expectations high and hopeful, and Team GB did not disappoint. Jessica Ennis was well ahead of her competitors, but refused to play it safe in he final 800 metres. Her sprint finish secured a victory that was so celebrated that the BBC nearly missed Greg Rutherford winning his gold in the long jump. And then came Mo Farah and the 10,000 metres. The nail biting first half of nudges and near misses turned into a powerful finish, cheered on by the roaring audiences in the Stadium and at home. You could practically feel the pride emanating through the television screens, and it would have taken a heart of stone not to feel the least bit weepy as the night ended with the athletes struggling not to cry on the podium.
BBC Experts and Commentators
Not so much those who would grab a breathless, just-finished athlete and drown them in a sea of questioning, but more the commentators who showed a genuine excitement at being at the Games, witnessing their favourite sports in action, and in the case of older athletes, reminiscing over their past . Something which encapsulates this is the video of Denise Lewis, Colin Jackson and Michael Johnson losing it when Mo Farah won his race. So enthused and in the game was Lewis that she nearly falls off of her chair. Another is Matt Baker’s reaction to the Men’s Gymnastic team winning the bronze. In that moment, his Blue Peter present past was forgotten, and it was purely the gymnastic fanboy that was celebrating.
Who Run the World? GIRLS
Our Greatest Team
There was a tweet going around during the closing ceremony that went along the lines of “Hello the World, we are a small island in the North Sea, we gave you Shakespeare, The Beatles and we won 60+ medals at the 2012 Olympics”. Great Britain, which one American commentator claimed was the size of the state of Oregon, came third in the Olympic tables, with 65 medals in total. It’s a staggering achievement for the country and the city, which around the same time last year was dealing with the aftermath of the riots, and the destruction they caused. The country stepped forward this summer as a proud, united nation, honoured to host the Olympics. Here’s hoping that the Paralympics gives us all the same sense of patriotism.
(Images courtesy of www.thesun.co.uk, www.thestandard.co.uk, www.telegraph.co.uk, www.insidethegames.biz)