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Everything posted by mjb22

  1. ...and why not, exactly, given the Games' 'birth' at Stoke Mandeville?
  2. There is an element of 'shooting the messenger' in your response to my post. All I was relating were the views of one member of the IOC who I once happened to get the opportunity to ask. I can't pretend to know this person well nor, indeed, am I likely to get the opportunity to meet them again but the single most important factor, he thought, in Paris' loss of 2012 was that they were an 'arrogant' bid team who hadn't done much 'groundwork' was the word that he used. He also said that a lot of other IOC members who he had spoken to felt that London had worked exceptionally hard and that Paris had breezed in and assumed that the Games was theirs. Now put your guns away and don't 'shoot the messenger' again.
  3. In my view (and the view of a Swiss member of the IOC who I once met!) London won for three main reasons: (i) Seb Coe's leadership of the bid team. The fact of the matter was that most members of the IOC 'just trusted him.' (ii) The presence (and lobbying ability) of Tony Blair and, indeed, of his wife, Cherie and (iii) London's appeal was better than Paris' on the day. This was to do with the presentations and the fact that Paris was regarded by some (including by the Swiss IOC representative) as an 'arrogant bid.'
  4. With regards to the 1996 race (in 1990) some people seem to be ignoring the levels of arrogance demonstrated by the Athens bidding team. They considered themselves as almost having a 'God-given right' to stage the Games in 1996 as it was the Centennial edition. I definitely recall this being given as a prime reason why the IOC had opted for Atlanta rather than Athens.
  5. Well, if Thorpe didn't make it in 2012, how is he going to make it in 2016?!
  6. As regards the Atlanta victory in 1996, I get the feeling that the Olympic movement were still grateful to LA'84 for putting the Games back on track. These were the days of the boycotts, remember, and major cities were simply not interested in bidding for the Games. 1980, 1984 and 1988 were hardly competitive bidding processes but of the 1980s Games, LA stands out as by far the best. Perhaps in 1996, there was a certain amount of 'payback' for the Americans.
  7. I've been to (Summer only): Athens Paris London (for the Games) Stockholm Los Angeles Rome Tokyo Montreal Barcelona (for the Games) Sydney and Beijing Going to Moscow this Summer and would like to visit Berlin and Rio.
  8. I have just decided to go to the Moscow World Athletics Championships! Compared to London 2012, it is absurdly cheap! I literally paid more for an ice-cream at London 2012 than I could get a ticket for, for the Men's 100m final in Moscow!!
  9. Beijing, I agree did. Athens didn't. It just leaves me totally cold.
  10. ^^Ok, I take your point about the 'time and progress' theme and perhaps that was not made clear in the BBC coverage which i will have watched. I'm obviously not going to agree with your points about the 'very, very boring' elements of the London ceremony after the forging of the rings, however? Was the Head of State in a James Bond-skit boring? Was the Mr Bean sketch boring? Did not London attempt to liven up the - traditionally boring - athletes' parade with a soundtrack including 'Mr Blue Sky' and 'Stayin' Alive?' What did you find 'boring' about the NHS/children's literature segment? Was J. K. Rowling's reading not long enough? Was Voldemort too short? Weren't there enough Mary Poppinses? Was the lighting of the Cauldron 'boring?' From where I was sitting, all I heard were gasps of astonishment. The Chinese woman net to me turned to me and said: "That's amazing," as the petals rose up and the woman from Texas on the other side of me couldn't say anything because she was in tears. Were the fireworks at the end to the strains of Pink Floyd, 'boring?' You may not have liked what happened after the forging of the rings sequence but I find the use of the word 'boring' to describe much of what happened afterwards, very curious indeed.
  11. I totally disagree. It was one of the very few Olympic Opening Ceremonies WITH a consistent thread! The unifying theme was revolutions: industrial and technological. The event programme (and media guide) explain this very well and the audience were then dependent upon their commentators for explanation, if they hadn't appreciated the overriding theme themselves. I don't want to get into dissing the Beijing OC because I loved it but there really wasn't an overarching theme to the narrative, other than perhaps, "We're a very big international player now and we can do BIG things!"
  12. In my view, it had one of the worst! I've seen every one since 1976 and Athens' was the least enjoyable, in my opinion! Well, we are never going to agree on Olympic ceremonies because, for me, London's was the best of all time. It beat my previous favourite of Barcelona in 1992.
  13. Illustrado: "you forgot to add that during the remembrance portion of 'pandemonium', the audience were signaled to stand in respect." I did say that if I had had more time, then I would have come up with other examples. By the way, the audience (or at least my section of it) were not motioned to stand up. The audience did so spontaneously. I don't think the organisers expected or anticipated it. Volshy: Hello! My take on the 'rugby inclusion' is the same as yours. I think it was no more than to just include the other UK nations, especially the Welsh, who are doing rather well in Six Nation tournaments, at the moment, I believe :-))
  14. There are an awful lot of so-called 'observations' regarding the London 2012 opening that I disagree with but I would like to put one to bed immediately: the notion that the audience in the Stadium would not have felt 'involved' in the performance such was it's 'passive' nature. I was at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 and I could not have felt more involved! A few examples spring to mind immediately and more would if I had the time to think about it: Firstly, the 'pixel devices.' Members of the audience were encouraged at various points in the Ceremony to remove them from their stands and effectively 'play' with them! That might be move them back and fore in time to some of the music or simply give them a hearty wave and form part of the patterns which were made - not shown prominently in the TV coverage, I hasten to add. Secondly, at various points in the Ceremony, the audience were encouraged to sing along with various songs and also play with 'zorb' balls which descended upon us (as illustrated by the video extract shown.) Thirdly, and by far the most poignantly, a couple of days before the Ceremony, we all received an email inviting us to send in a photograph of a close friend or relative who had passed away for display in a 'memorial wall.' My mother passed away back in 2005 and I sent in a photo of her as she would have loved to have attended the Ceremony. This photo was displayed as part of the 'memorial wall' and the fact that it had been chosen had a real impact on me for the rest of the evening and, to be honest, has had since. I would challenge those who have criticised the Ceremony to look at the clip below (and it is my own, so no copyright issues) and tell me which bit of 'passivity' they'd like to take a swipe at now. My apologies, for some reason, that link is to the wrong clip, although people are quite welcome to watch it anyway! This is the correct clip...
  15. The best works of art work on different levels (is anyone suggesting that 'Hamlet' is simply the story of a son who murders his father?) and some people on here are now criticising the Opening Ceremony for absurd reasons.
  16. Well, as you know, I was there as well but according to some people on this thread, the music doesn't count. Any analysis must totally disregard it. Yeah, right. As you've indicated, anyone who thinks that, wasn't being shaken to their core by "And I will Kiss" or being moved to tears by "Caliban's Dream" on the sultry night of 27th July last year!
  17. How anyone can argue that the NBC coverage was anything other than dire when: (a) the commentators clearly hadn't read or digested the media guide properly; ( were unaware of who Sir Tim Berners-Lee is (showing blatant contempt live on air, in my view) and © omitted parts of the Ceremony such as the Sande tribute to the fallen ...to name but a few indiscretions is totally beyond me! The difficulty that any producers now face is that as time goes on, it is increasingly difficult to be original and spectacular with such stadium-based events. If a Ceremony contains one or two elements that make me go 'wow,' then in my view, that represents a successful and worthwhile production. London certainly had a few such moments. I don't wish to denigrate Beijing at all as, on the whole, I found the Ceremony amazing. however, there is one part that I found very disappointing and in my view, London beat it hands down in this regard. I refer to the lighting of the cauldron. I'm afraid, I think that Beijing's was just rather silly! A runner being winched up to the perimeter of the stadium and then pretending to run around until he reached a rather bland-looking cauldron. Just didn't do it for me. On the other hand, London's lighting of the cauldron was deserving of the much over-used term 'spectacular.' It was original both in it's conception and design. It was full of metaphor in the notion of the nations coming together in a transitory Olympic-period and as for the music, it was just sublime! One other segment of the Ceremony that really did make me go 'wow!' literally, I hasten to add, was the creation of the rings. It was a really dramatic piece of theatre - not at all too slow, as some have suggested - the culmination of an incredibly painful period in British history. The musical score that accompanied this segment was one of the best ever heard in such Ceremonies, in my view. (I don't blame non-Brits for this at all but some people's comments on here betray a staggering ignorance of some aspects of British culture and history.) This isn't to mention the elements of British humour evident within the Ceremony (again, much mis-understood on this board.) What other nation on Earth would have pretended to have thrown it's 86-year-old Head of State out of a helicopter?! I still think Beijing is my favourite Ceremony of all time. As for Athens, I can take it or leave it. Very little to commend it in any regard, frankly. So, I return to my original criteria. Did, in this ever more difficult to please, 24/7-media dominated-world where it is ever more difficult to be original, the London 2012 Opening Ceremony contain a few original concepts or elements which appealed to the home and an international audience? To paraphrase from Obama on this, the day of his inauguration, "Yes, it did."
  18. I know four Spaniards who all loved the Opening Ceremony. So let's add them to the list of (apparently insane) foreigners who liked the show!
  19. Exactly! I don't think anyone who was there would say that it was anything other than amazing. I also don't know of anyone who didn't like the Ceremony albeit that I have mainly talked to British people. No it didn't! That is a sweeping and silly generalisation. I do think that some parts looked better than others and I do think that the blame for that lies with OBS. I would challenge you to look back at the end of the 'Pandemonium' section where the rings come together or the lighting of the cauldron where the petals come together and maintain your view that those elements look, as you say, 'bad!' Why would they have 'assembled' the countryside after the 'Industrial revolution' segment when that, historically, is not what actually happened?! I think there's a basic misunderstanding of what the 'Pandemonium' section was all about on the part of some people here. By the way, I did pay to see the Opening Ceremony and far from feeling 'cheated,' I think it's one of the best experiences of my life!
  20. I think it is a great pity that the OBS directors did not show more of the pixels in the TV coverage and that they consequently did not come across as well as they might have done on TV. I hope most people would agree that from an audience perspective, they looked really effective:
  21. It is made clear in the Opening Ceremony programme that the overriding theme of the Ceremony is 'revolution' i.e. the industrial and the technological. By the way, I totally disagree with those criticising the selection of Danny Boyle as director. It was a brave move and without Boyle, we would not have had the selection of Underworld as creators of the soundtrack, the people responsible of two of the most sublime pieces of music I have ever heard: 'And I will Kiss' and 'Caliban's Dream.' In addition, hardly anyone has mentioned or given London any credit for the innovation of the pixel devices in the Ceremonies. I happen to think that this innovation has 'pushed the envelope' as far as Ceremonies are concerned. Witness some of the ingenious ways that they were used throughout the Ceremonies, particularly in the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
  22. I also haven't spoken to anyone who didn't like the Ceremony, although being British, the vast majority of my sample are indeed from the 'Isles of Wonder!'
  23. My video footage of the Cauldron dividing towards the end of the Closing Ceremony.
  24. I don't really see why the fact that one element of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony bore some similarity to one part of a Cirque show matters that much. It doesn't detract from the overall quality of the show although not many people seem to think that the show demonstrated much quality judging by most of the comments around here.
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