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Q. Why was rugby included?

A. The name of the choir on the Isles of Wonder soundtrack was the "Four Nations Choir". There's your clue.

It's really very simple IMHO, certainly from a UK perspective.

Ask yourself this: why was there a Four Nations Choir? Why were they singing 4 hymns? What was the point?

Rugby was chosen as sporting way to do the same job as those 4 hymns. Nothing more, nothing less.

But come on, guys. As the opening of the Games? Seriously? A moment would've been fine, but we got more rugby than anything else in Green and Pleasant (which was supposed to be about the UK's pre-industrial agrarian society). I loved the hymns. Truly. I loved the Green and Pleasant set. Why cover up all of that with contemporary rugby footage? A real waste, in my opinion.

And Mark, such convoluted, attenuated connections make absolutely no difference. This was the opening moment of London's Games. It was not the place for a very obscure, peripheral reference.

Much as I think the rugby was a poor choice, I agree with Baron: others were far worse.

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it will be the most boring opening ceremony after atlanta :S

Fly over for a visit. There were some wonderful moments, but also quite a few disorganized looking head-scratchers. It wasn't terrible, but I have yet to speak to anyone on this side of the pond who

I will always see Beijings as a celebration that the Chinese beat their drums to the same beat and Londons a celebration that we each beat our drums to very different beats. Im certainly not trying

But <SNIP> . As the opening of the Games? Seriously? A moment would've been fine, but we got more rugby than anything else in Green and Pleasant <SNIP>. I loved the Green and Pleasant set. Why cover up all of that with contemporary rugby footage?

You saw a different show to the one I did.

The Four Nations Choir segment lasted 3m 40s ....

The 4 short rugby clips totalled 17 seconds. 17 seconds. That's less than 10% of the hymns segment alone.

And yet you saw "more rugby than anything else in Green and Pleasant". Sorry, I don't get it.

Did I miss some more rugby?

I saw some cricket... some maids milking, some guys watering....

I mean... all the evidence is there on Youtube.

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You saw a different show to the one I did.

The Four Nations Choir segment lasted 3m 40s ....

The 4 short rugby clips totalled 17 seconds. 17 seconds. That's less than 10% of the hymns segment alone.

And yet you saw "more rugby than anything else in Green and Pleasant". Sorry, I don't get it.

Did I miss some more rugby?

I saw some cricket... some maids milking, some guys watering....

I mean... all the evidence is there on Youtube.

Then yes, we saw a different show.

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Q

Rugby was chosen as sporting way to do the same job as those 4 hymns. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yea...but so what? RUGBY was not a sport played at the 2012 Olympic Games. Again, another instance where Danny Boyle pushed his weird views on the IOC. That and cricket have NO place in the OC because they are not on the 2012 summer slate. This is perhaps the only Opening Ceremony which made explicit references to sports NOT on the official summer menu. Bizarre.

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A video taken by one of the "doves on bike" performers during his segment in the opening ceremony:

That was really one of the nicer, visually, moments of the OC. But I don't remember one "dove-cycle" being hoisted in the air, as in 4:45.

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The flying dove bike was accompanied on NBC by a feeble E.T. quip.

As for "Green and Pleasant"- NBC viewers really did see a different show, but not hugely different:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brgwWLKfuJ8

(the kids do shut up quite quickly)

And I'm just going to have to live in permanent disagreement with Athensfan about the "attenuated" connection of Rugby with the Olympics being held in the UK. I think the IOC President probably appreciated the reference, at least:

Jacques Rogge, speech at the 2012 Opening Ceremony: "In a sense, the Olympic Games are coming home tonight. This great, sport-loving country is widely recognised as the birthplace of modern sport. It was here that the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play were first codified into clear rules and regulations. It was here that sport was included as an educational tool in the school curriculum. The British approach to sport had a profound influence on Pierre de Coubertin, our founder, as he developed the framework for the modern Olympic movement at the close of the 19th century. The values that inspired de Coubertin will come to life over the next 17 days, as the world's best athletes compete in a spirit of friendship, respect, and fair play."

French Wikipedia ( http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_de_Coubertin ): "Dès 1883, lors de séjours outre-Manche, il y pratique tous les sports anglo-saxons ... Pendant trois ans il observe le plan de formation sociale et morale des établissements scolaires britanniques qu'il considère comme une des causes de la puissance de cette nation. De retour en France, il se consacre à l'amélioration du système éducatif français en s'inspirant des exemples britannique et américain, particulièrement des travaux du Britannique Thomas Arnold concernant le sport scolaire."

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Yea...but so what? RUGBY was not a sport played at the 2012 Olympic Games. Again, another instance where Danny Boyle pushed his weird views on the IOC. That and cricket have NO place in the OC because they are not on the 2012 summer slate. This is perhaps the only Opening Ceremony which made explicit references to sports NOT on the official summer menu. Bizarre.

Not true. Beijing displayed tai chi - a sport that is not on the Olympic programme either. Seoul had a taekwondo demonstration in its opening ceremony - before taekwondo became part of the official Olympic programme in 1996.

Just like tai chi for China and taekwondo for Korea, rugby is one of the definining sports for Great Britain. So it had the same justification to be represented in an opening ceremony in London just like the other two sports were rightfully displayed in Beijing and Seoul.

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@runningrings: "The rugby cutaways were lost on me too. I get that Rugby is an iconically British sport, but it was unusual.

The only explanation I can think of is that by then we knew that it was to be included in 2016, so perhaps this was acknowledging that achievement, and giving it some inclusion in the London Olympics. "

While "iconically British" and "included in 2016" together form a good justification in themselves, why does everybody seem to ignore Baron de Coubertin's spiritual connections with Rugby School and the ethos established by headmaster Arnold, and his consequent personal enthusiasm for Rugby Football as a team sport?

This isn't exactly common knowledge, even for many Olympic buffs.

Yea...but so what? RUGBY was not a sport played at the 2012 Olympic Games. Again, another instance where Danny Boyle pushed his weird views on the IOC. That and cricket have NO place in the OC because they are not on the 2012 summer slate. This is perhaps the only Opening Ceremony which made explicit references to sports NOT on the official summer menu. Bizarre.

Cricket and rugby are two HUGE global sports, given to the world by Britain. They are hugely cultural to the British Empire - hence the inclusion in the Opening Ceremony. I was just initially perplexed at the focus on Rugby in the cut aways at the very beginning.

This is no different to Cheerleaders being wheeled out in Atlanta's ceremonies. Cheerleading is not an Olympic sport, but it has an iconic association with American sport. Cricket also made an appearance at Delhi 2010 ceremonies, despite not being on the CWG program, and similarly Australian Rules football took centrestage in the first segment of the Melbourne 2006 closing.

Edited by runningrings
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This is no different to Cheerleaders being wheeled out in Atlanta's ceremonies. Cheerleading is not an Olympic sport, but it has an iconic association with American sport.

I don't consider Cheerleading a sport and that's NOT how it was used at the Atlanta Opening. The Cheerleading was used as a metaphor to show the energy, exuberance and vitality of the youth in the new American south ...not as a sport per se. (I mean they had to find something visually exciting. Just a plain party would've been boring and corny.)

But Rugby and Cricket are CODIFIED sports while Cheerleading isn't.

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Codified or not, they were there as they transcend simply being sports, but rather iconic cultural icons of Britain and its Commonwealth - hence their rightful inclusion in the Ceremony.

I'm not going to argue about Cheerleading either - but many would disagree with your assertion that it is not a sport.

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- but many would disagree with your assertion that it is not a sport.

They're wrong.

It's very hard for me to see any comparison between the spectacular Chinese tai-chi sequence and video clips of rugby during Green and Pleasant.

Exactly. The Tai Chi sequence was molded into entertainment. In Green & Pleasant, it was played as it was...a sport per se. :wacko:

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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By linguistic definition, Cheerleading is a sport.

By SportsAccord's own definition, Cheerleading is a sport. Furthermore, it is governed internationally by the International Cheer Union, who are ascending to SportsAccording membership in 2013.

So there you go.

Doesn't get my attention or time. It's a fake sport. So there you go!! :P

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By linguistic definition, Cheerleading is a sport.

By SportsAccord's own definition, Cheerleading is a sport. Furthermore, it is governed internationally by the International Cheer Union, who are ascending to SportsAccording membership in 2013.

So there you go.

yes but a tomato is fruit, do you put it in a fruit salad?

this subject is getting too pedantic. can we move on.

rugby and cricket was shown at the OC to show you the culture of Britain. i will agree that the cutways were bizarre and did not fit right. but discussing that 'these should not be at the OC' just lead us to a spiraling descent of pedantic frustrations and useless discussion.

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I love the shots looking down from the Tor amongst the drummers, the brassband and the paperboys in the directors cut. Its definately superior to the shown version. Makes you appreciate the BBC even more knowing we could watch the full show rather than it peppered with ad breaks.

If anyone in the UK isnt aware you can vote for the ceremony to win a BAFTA, its in the Radio Times viewers award.

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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...

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@illustrado: "rugby and cricket was shown at the OC to show you the culture of Britain. i will agree that the cutways were bizarre and did not fit right" ...

That, I think gets part way to an interesting truth. If I see something in an artistic presentation that is obviously planned but still "does not fit right" then my instinct is to try and work out what the heck it could be doing there. Hence, in this case, I have now learned that Baron de Coubertin read "Tom Brown's Schooldays" as a child, and based his life's work on that fictional Rugby School.

@mjb22: "My apologies, for some reason, that link is to the wrong clip, although people are quite welcome to watch it anyway!"

The first clip does show the Pixel waving (though obviously they just look like black squares from the back)- and both clips are splendid illustrations of just how many odd things were happening in that stadium! Thank-you.

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The flying dove bike was accompanied on NBC by a feeble E.T. quip.

As for "Green and Pleasant"- NBC viewers really did see a different show, but not hugely different: <SNIP>

(the kids do shut up quite quickly)

@JMarkSnow2012

Thanks for that clip - interesting to see that NBC had a slightly different cut/edit going on. I'm sure the likes of DurbanSandshark knows much more about this than I do.

But even so, the rugby clips in the NBC broadcast are exactly the same as the BBC & IOC broadcast.

I respectfully disagree with your theory re: the de Coubertin references for rugby's inclusion.

In my opinion, it was simply a flag-waving chest-beating moment for those naysayers living in Scotland, Wales & NI.

A way to include everyone.

I thought the stadium reaction said it all.

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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!

SNIPPITY SNIP

Mark, thanks for posting these. Great clips and the crowd atmosphere really shines through.

FWIW, what was your interpretation of the rugby clips during the Four Nations Choirs?

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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...

you forgot to add that during the remembrance portion of 'pandemonium', the audience were signaled to stand in respect.

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