Meaningful London Olympic opening-A A +A
Sunday, July 29, 2012
THE third Olympics in London just kicked off. Yes, I woke up early just to watch it. It didn’t have the grandeur of Beijing or the Hollywood spectacle of Los Angeles or the visually dramatic artistic flair of Barcelona or the opening in Greece that evoked nostalgia, but it definitely hit a cord. It showed British Pride! It was not stuffy, stoic, or prissy. Oddly enough, it was warm and welcoming. It seemed like the British were saying this is what we have and what we have to offer. Please step in and enjoy the Games!
Upon the arrival of the Queen, we were entertained and educated at the same time by director Boyle showcasing to us what the British have given to the world in the form of art. We were educated on how the British coped after the Second World War highlighting institutions erected to help them rise up after the war and even host the 1948 Olympics. Juxtapositioned in this was Boyle showcasing Britain’s contribution to the literary, visual, and performing arts. As children, we get transported to worlds and dream of the what ifs and fancy of other things our imagination might conjure up. Mary Poppins, Cruella de vil, Valdemor, and the child abductor or child catcher in Chitty, chitty, bang, bang were all featured. Mr. Bean was featured as a bumbling member of the London Orchestra as well as being part of the Oscar winning film Chariots of Fire. Even the river Thames was featured when Beckham drove a speedboat up the river with the Olympic torch, evoking how many times the river was actually a star in James Bond movies. The opening decidedly had a VERY British constitution. Strangely enough, it was a very warm welcome.
As the opening continued, we were also entertained by a presentation of a historical montage and tableau of their music from the Beatles to Annie Lennox and numerous others. It had a panache and a spirit that made you want to go to London for a concert. It felt like you were actually in one of their numerous stadiums attending a concert, dancing away to the music. The British musical invasion has ensconced it’s beats in every culture as well as in every attendee in the stadium. I would think that most of the Olympians would not have even been born during the times that much of the musical pieces or songs performed became popular hits yet oddly enough, every Olympian in the stadium as well as everyone in the audience danced to the beat. It was one big street party. It somewhat evokes a prelude to the expected samba of Rio four years from now.
Then, of course, came the parade of nations and I just have a qualm with the British announcer or commentator who said that our nation, the Republic of the Philippine Islands, was a country of 700 islands. Could you correct that please! But for the sake of the ideals of the event, I just counted to 10 and let it go, but hoped that such would not happen again.
More music came after until the much awaited Olympic torch made its way into the stadium and the Olympic flame ignited by seven unknowns. During this time, you realize that that copper colored cauldron-shaped object carried beside each nation’s flag bearer would actually be carrying the Olympic flame and an ensemble of all of these be grouped to form the cauldron that would carry the flames for 17 days. This is quite symbolic for me since anybody can participate in the Olympics. Nobody is a nobody.
Furthermore, every nation no matter how small or how much economic or politically one is in trouble, is still a member of the Olympic movement – coming together as one family aiming for excellence and for being better.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 30, 2012.