and now a break from our current theme programming …
eight years ago, I was studying in England as London bid to host the 2012 Olympics. as a temporary local and twenty-one-year-old with only a vague understanding of what bidding for the Games entailed and could mean, few of the outwardly-visible self-promotion efforts the City made stuck with me. I remember there were special bid-themed seat covers on some of the Tube trains — that’s about it.
my elation that London won the bid was tempered by the 7/7 attacks and, to some extent, the latter took on greater prominence in my memory. the Olympic Games were a long way off (2012!? what kind of futuristic, mystical place is that?!) and 7/7 was more immediate. during the intervening years, the terrorist attack has faded and the excitement of the XXX Olympiad grew, in spite of the mishaps that threatened to overshadow any successes London might enjoy. missiles on residential buildings that will only work if it’s not cloudy? the ticketing debacle? poor London, it seemed, would never overcome the derision, gaffes and flubs.
yet somehow they did. for the most part. to some extent, I think the oddities of the Opening Ceremony were aided by the absurdity of how NBC edited the program for “American sensibilities”, but I believe Danny Boyle said something to the effect that because the Beijing Opening Ceremony was so spectacular, precise and over the top, it took some of the pressure of being supremely perfect off. he could focus more on developing a program that captured the British spirit.
I don’t remember much of anything about the Beijing Games; I’d just graduated from UCSD, was working crazy hours at two different jobs and searching for something full-time. I don’t know if I watched any of the Games, much less the Opening or Closing Ceremonies. maybe its the change in my circumstance that has me more engaged this time around, but it probably doesn’t hurt that I’m already plugged into a lot of British culture. one of my favorite podcasts is doing “micro-episodes” every day talking about the events one of the hosts is attending — events for sports that he has no particular interest in beyond the fact that they are a) sports, b) Olympic events, and c) happening in/around London (the first he went to was actually a soccer match held in Cardiff last week) I can’t imagine he’d trek across the globe and snatch up tickets to events anywhere else, but he’s so enthusiastic about all the elements associated with London 2012 that it’s infectious.
all this is to say that watching the Games have me thinking about my previous time in England, reminiscing and yearning to go back sooner rather than later. to assuage that itch, I’m going to do a few posts about my ’04 adventures — keep an eye out.