London 2012: Looking Back

A recap of the London 2012 Olympic Games and a way to recapture the magic and glory of the XXX Olympiad. From the Opening Ceremony to the gold medal winners, the athletes to the venues in which they competed, the medal tallies to the glittering legacy of the Games that will live on all the way to Rio 2016... I felt particularly inspired by the London 2012 Olympics, so much so that I wanted to write something special to remember it by. Hope you enjoy it!

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7. A Review of the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony

The end of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Surely a sad moment for all. After a fortnight of competition, of victory, of defeat, of unity, of hope and of glory it’s finally drawn to a close. And I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that it can’t last forever. Before the ceremony begins there are poignant images of athletes clutching their medals and of their victories, both personally and competitively. Jessica Ennis is unashamedly teary as she clutches her first ever Olympic gold medal, Chris Hoy still overwhelmingly proud of his sixth and in particular rower Katherine Grainger, who faced disappointment in multiple Olympics by winning silver instead of the coveted gold, crossing the finish line while knowing that she’d achieved what had always eluded her. These are scenes of joy, of determination and of strength of spirit- Baron Pierre de Coubertin would have been proud.

   The Olympic Stadium has been transformed. From a bird’s-eye view, a massive Union Jack is on the floor and upon it are replicas of some of London’s landmarks covered in paper with writing that reads as some of the greatest British quotes found in literature or elsewhere. Definitely a good starting point. Emeli Sandé appears with a piano and performs her song “Read All About It” which leads into members of the physical theatre group Stomp leaping across the buildings and hitting pots and pans as they do so to create an intro for Timothy Spall’s Winston Churchill to appear from out of Big Ben to deliver his lines in the rasping tones of the WWII Prime Minister. Cars circle the inside of the stadium as a violinist plays, but is soon drowned as the sound of the pots and pans from the Stomp crew increases and everything begins to assemble to give a portrayal of British life.

   Prince Harry and Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC appear to say a few words before everyone sings the national anthem. Rodney and Del Boy pop up in full Batman & Robin costumes (as they do), Madness perform British favourite “Our House,” “Park Life” is sung, The Pet Shop Boys appear flamboyantly, then One Direction perform. Wonder which one doesn’t belong in that group? The Stomp cast leap down and begin to play louder and louder and louder, then the set gets de-assembled for the gymnastics troupe Spellbound to impress the audience with their flips and jumps and impressive contortions.

   Emeli Sandé again as a tearful montage capturing the joy and despair of the Games is played on our screens. This is followed by the entrance of the flags, which is less lengthy than the Opening Ceremony as Elbow perform the uplifting “One Fine Day” in the background. It truly is a sight to behold as all the flags of the nations who competed in these memorable Games together and waving in unison, saying that though they went against each other on the playing field for medals we are all friends. It’s an important message and one conveyed perfectly.

   A Kate Bush song is the rhythm to which a group of dancers move, putting block together to symbolize all the events of the Games. But then comes the final medal ceremony of the Games, with marathon runner Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda claiming the gold medal with the euphoric smile of a man who knows that his is the first gold medal won for his country since 1972. The selfless volunteers of these Games are rewarded, then the real summing up of the Games happens when a group of children and a video of John Lennon sing “Imagine,”  a song of world peace and a brotherhood of man, a dream that there would be no wars or fighting and that everyone would love each other.

   But then George Michael comes in to shift the mood and pace. Then the Kaiser Chiefs, then after that there is an homage to the British fashion industry as supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss appear, pose and strut down the catwalk as only they can do. Then the mood shifts again to brooding creatures out of veils of mist, clad in tattered finery in order to flank Annie Lennox as she sings aboard a gothic pirate ship. If it sounds strange, that’s because it is. But even weirder comes Russell Brand on top of a multi-coloured mini-bus singing “I Am the Walrus.”  On top of that, Fatboy Slim is DJ-ing on an inflated octopus.

   Before long, Jessie J is singing “Price Tag” then doing a duet with rapper Tinie Tempah. Not wanting to be left out, singer Taio Cruz pops up then they all gather to perform a rendition of a famous BeeGees song. Almost straight after, the Spice Girls are driven up in bejewelled taxis (as they do) then Liam Gallagher sings “Wonderwall” without his brother’s accompaniment. Then Eric Idle is shot out of a cannon before singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” You really can’t make some of this stuff up!   Muse appear, then Brian May and Jessie J perform the infamous Queen anthem “We Will Rock You”. The London Welsh Male Voice Choir with some of the Welsh Rugby Team give a stunning performance and then it is time for Boris Johnson to pass over the Olympic flag to Eduardo Paez, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the next host city. Brazil then give a taste of what to expect from their Olympics, complete with carnival and typical feel-good factor that makes it seem like the warm rays of Brazilian sun are shining upon us all.  Sebastian Coe delivers a speech, as does Jacques Rogge before Take That deliver an amazing version of one of their most popular songs of recent years.

    Then, in an awe-inspiring sequence featuring ex-ballerina Darcey Bussell, dancers sway and move as the phoenix which emerged from behind the Olympic Cauldron gazes upon them. Then the extinguishing of the Olympic Flame, when we all finally must realise that these Games are well and truly over. But weren’t they the best? As the last flicker of the flame dies, I can’t help but feel reminded of all the victories, all the defeats and everything that has made London 2012 the spectacle and wonder that it has been. The Who serenade the audience with their rock ballads and all the performers are back on the stage, raising their hands above their heads in thanks. And the images replay; Jess Ennis, Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger and so many others.

   Thank you for these Games. They have truly been the best.

 

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