Thoughts on the London Olympics Opening Ceremony

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The Olympics always bring memories to me. The earliest one I can remember was the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Games. Papa Wham and I actually watched the “Miracle On Ice” when our ragtag group of amateur hockey players defeated the mighty Soviet juggernaut and for a minute, yes, we all DID believe in miracles. I also have distinct memories of Sarajevo ’84 and looking back at how beautiful the city was then it’s hard for me to imagine how devastated it would be fifteen years later.

I remember Mary-Lou Retton capturing all our hearts. I also remember little Kari Scruggs bravely vaulting on her broken foot to assure the gold medal for the women’s team. I watched Kurt Angle when he was a “real” wrestler; that gold medal he wears to the ring is real, you know. I saw the unbelievable happen as Roulon Gardner beat the unbeatable Alexander “The Experiment” Karelin to win wrestling gold.

In short, I really love the Olympics and getting to watch the opening ceremonies last night with Budge and the other half of our family at Deuce and Cam’s house was about as good as it gets. Long before the parade of nations ended, I thought about blogging what I felt, so here, in no certain order, are my musings on the XXX Olympiad’s opening pageant.

  • I quickly got sick of hearing how “No one could possibly top the scope and spectacle of Beijing.” Danny Boyle can stand proudly because this opening was every bit as spectacular and beautiful as ’08 AND he accomplished his vision all while dealing with labor unions AND volunteers who really were volunteers, not conscripted peasants worrying about getting shot if they messed up.
  • Was I the only one who — whenever anyone mentioned Danny Boyle’s name — kept wanting to belt out “The pipes, the pipes, are calling?”
  • Brazil does not produce ugly women. No female rating less than a 9 on the International Hottie Scale was walking in their entourage. I’m convinced the place is like ancient Sparta only instead of the elder warriors, a group of gorgeous supermodels are on call at the hospitals to inspect each newborn girl for completely overboard hottness and any who don’t measure up are sent to Puerto Rico.
  • Staying with the hottness theme, I don’t have a homosexual bone in my body, but Daniel “007” Craig is one fine, fine looking hunk of manhood.
  • Why does every other country’s costume show something to do with their culture or heritage or the way the world views them while OUR made in China United States costumes look a lot like military uniforms, right down to the fatigue pants and bere- . . . oh, I get it.
  • His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh looks extremely fit and well for approaching 92.
  • Speaking of the Royals, I think it was right sporting of Queen Elizabeth to go along with the festivities and allow an effigy of Her Royal Highness to skydive behind Mr. Bond into the stadium. Also, she’s not much for long speeches is she? “I now pronounce the Games of the XXX Olympiad open.” Sits. Poker face.
  • Those poor people banging on all those drums have GOT to have sore arms this morning.
  • I hope everyone sitting at home poking fun at the tiny delegations of countries like Burkina Faso and Tonga realized at some point those folks were IN THE OLYMPICS while they — armchair critics they are — never will be.
  • Anyone else wonder how many people soiled themselves when all the pyrotechnics blew up near the end? Worst part was just about the time you got your sphincter back on the chain, the bloody things went off again!
  • Whoever designed the Olympic Flame Cauldron needs to be knighted or raised to the peerage or something. That is the most beautiful flame holder in any Olympics I’ve ever seen. I just wondered how many times some guy was running around in the dark making sure all the “petals” were placed and attached correctly.
  • Anyone else think it was kind of Matt Lauer and company to cover Sir Paul’s quavering opening bars of “Hey, Jude” as being “choked up?” Paul isn’t a bass or a baritone and as anyone who heard Pavarotti or Domingo sing late in their careers knows higher pitched male voices don’t weather age as well as the lower registers. Still, “Hey, Jude” sung and played by the man who wrote it isn’t a sight to be missed. I hope Ringo was at the show and somewhere John and George were smiling.
  • Those youngsters need to brush up on their “na, na, na, NA, NA, NAAA . . . NA, NA, NAAAAA, Hey Judes!!” Sing it like you mean it kids and while you’re at it, learn if you’re a guy or a girl and sing at the right time!!
  • I’ve got to get some music by The Arctic Monkeys. That “Come Together” cover rocked.
  • BTW, where the crap was Sir Elton John? WTH?
  • Why can’t we Americans act like we’ve been somewhere before and walk in gracefully waving instead of lampooning around and snapping pictures non-stop on our cell phones? Really, people?! You’re in front of the Queen AT THE OLYMPICS for pete’s sake, show some respect.
  • How is it one of the probably four white girls in all of Zimbabwe has won 7 of the 8 medals in the country’s history? I may be wrong, but I’m betting she’s an immigrant or, worse, a colonial left over.
  • Why did so many of the countries have a taekwondo fighter, a judoist, or a shooting sports participant as their flag bearers? Were they afraid someone was going to run out and take the Armenian flag or something?
  • Speaking of the flags, Glastonbury Tor — the little green hill with all the flags on it? It’s a real place. Google it.
  • Finally, was it just me, or did anyone else hope the whole time the steel workers were “forging the ring” someone would pull a master prank and project a huge red eye on top of one of the smokestacks while hacking the sound system to boom out “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them …” After all, J.R.R. Tolkien was about as British as they come even if he was born in South Africa.

Enjoy the Olympics everyone! They really are one of the few times the best things about this crazy world actually come to the front and displace all the violence and sadness we see in the news every day.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

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6 responses »

  1. Jubilee–Elton John was there…

    Voldemort being defeated by Mary Poppins…Really?

    Final torch lighting—very, very well done.

    No comment on Mr. Bean? Come on, man!

    • First of all, thanks a ton for stopping by and taking time to read! I didn’t know Sir Elton performed at the Diamond Jubilee. I can understand how he would prefer that pomp and ceremony to the Olympics though. After all, old queens do like to hang out together. As for Mr. Bean, I just couldn’t think of anything much to say about him. At the risk of offending every subject of the United Kingdom, Rowan Atkinson has always struck me as the British version of Pee-Wee Herman albeit blissfully silent. It could be the comedy escapes me. I’ve always loved Blackadder and I know all the “important” quotes from the mainstream Monty Python movies, oh yes, and the first seriously unclad decolletage I ever saw was courtesy of the venerable Benny Hill Show. Much of the rest just doesn’t resonate with me. Finally, if you think a proper English nanny like Mary Poppins couldn’t banish Ol’ Snakeface, take a gander at this trailer and tell me if you change your mind.

  2. You bring up some interesting points. I thought the opening ceremonies were very touching and very appropriate. Comparing Beijing to the United Kingdom is no comparison; the countries are way different and size and fundings make a difference. The Chinese government put a lot of money into the games because they have. The UK doesn’t have the backing like China has.

    You are right about the Queen being a good sport about the James Bond effigy, although we never really saw him jump out of the plane – only saw a figure of a female in a dress jump and yet there were two parachutes.

    As far as the younguns go – they haven’t a clue, and part of it is they don’t care and have never learned Paul McCartney by himself – they only know him from the Beatles. And respect? – they are super clueless on that as they don’t know what it is to be respectful of anyone or anything.

    Nice posting and looking forward to seeing more from you during the games. E 🙂

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of FINALLY HOME, a middle grade/YA mystery (written like a Nancy Drew mystery)

    • Thank you for stopping by, Elysabeth!
      Also, we are all operating under the assumption that actually WAS the REAL Paul McCartney, right 🙂
      I would have loved to been there and earlier this year for the Diamond Jubilee as well.

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