Jump to content

Opening Ceremony


Recommended Posts

Its not usual for a US president to be at an Olympic Opening Ceremony is it, its unusual for them to be there. I thought you posted that nugget of information Baron, I really hope they have more important things to do.

All the important people were there thats what count, Martin and I were there.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking at the list, it's odd how London's celebration got snubbed by the Big 3 leaders (US, Russia & China) whereas all 3 countries' leaders showed up in Beijing 4 year earlier. I wonder if that was a conspiracy or merely a coincidence.

Looking at the whole list, I'd say neither- they were just following a general mood. In particular, I think Russia was by no means the only country with an executive President to send the Prime Minister instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, didn't Obama cite the US election as his reason for a no-show? Bush was at the end of his 8 year term, so going to Beijing made no difference. Why not take advantage of the free tickets, if you have nothing to lose?

Regardless of the individual personalities involved and their particular circumstances, it just strikes me as odd now...and I don't know if commentators made any mention of it then that the leaders of, say, the more important nations than the host UK, did NOT show up whereas Russia and the US...neither of whose leaders had previously shown up in a non-native Olympics, much less of a contemporary or erstwhile rival, could not make it this time. If only one, say, Obama could've made it, would the other two have shown up? Or because neither the other 2 were coming, the 3rd decided that he wouldn't come to an event that what he considers are his other two global rivals, "not important" enough to attend?

I see that Medvedev, indeed in his capacity of PM for Russia, did attend. But we all know he is a mere ceremonial figurehead to Putin...and of course, Russia, as the next host up, and trying to make a big splash in London, had to send someone fairly important, if only in name and title. (Italy likewise, sent only their "President," and not their Prime Minister. Japan didn't send ANYONE at all.) And the list gets even weirder because it lists Prince Albert only under "Title" (and blank under Head of State column, when he is Monaco's true head of state)...or maybe because he already is an IOC member as well...and Monaco is NOT a truly independent state?? Similarly, Mrs. Obama is listed under the "Head of State" list, but is correctly titled "First Lady of the U.S."

Whoever assembled the list didn't have all his/her protocol ducks together. Just a curious observation, especially coming from one who had worked with the Protocol Dept. of the U.N.

I wonder who will make it to Rio??

Edited by baron-pierreIV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its not usual for a US president to be at an Olympic Opening Ceremony is it, its unusual for them to be there. I thought you posted that nugget of information Baron, I really hope they have more important things to do.

All the important people were there thats what count, Martin and I were there.

It is. Beijing was only the 4th Olympics (and the FIRST non-home Games) for a sitting US president to attend. And of course, that dumb Dubya now holds the very dubious distinction of being the first US president to attend TWO Olympic OCs.

No argument on your 2nd comment. You 2 and that old paratrooper herself, Lizzie 2!! ;)

Edited by baron-pierreIV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is. Beijing was only the 4th Olympics (and the FIRST non-home Games) for a sitting US president to attend. And of course, that dumb Dubya now holds the very dubious distinction of being the first US president to attend TWO Olympic OCs.

No argument on your 2nd comment. You 2 and that old paratrooper herself, Lizzie 2!! ;)

It makes sense. As head of state, Dubya had to open SLC (plus it was shortly after 9/11 at a time when the country needed to be galvanized). Beijing marked the ceremonial emergence of a superpower, so I think its totally understandable.

London wasn't freighted with the same political significance, plain and simple.

I suspect ANY sitting US President would have gone to Beijing's OC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We need to remember that Michelle Obama attended London 2012 as the official representation of the US Government - The First Lady is still a pretty substantial figure in her own right.

It's better than what we got in 2000, the awkward and gawky college student Chelsea Clinton.

I'm quite sure that George Bush Snr attended the Opening of Seoul 1988 as Vice President, and in the lead up to his own election. Wasn't there a lot of fuss made about the Seoul Olympics in Washington because the 1988 Olympics it was seen as a by-product 'successful' U.S. foreign policy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We need to remember that Michelle Obama attended London 2012 as the official representation of the US Government - The First Lady is still a pretty substantial figure in her own right.

It's better than what we got in 2000, the awkward and gawky college student Chelsea Clinton.

I'm quite sure that George Bush Snr attended the Opening of Seoul 1988 as Vice President, and in the lead up to his own election. Wasn't there a lot of fuss made about the Seoul Olympics in Washington because the 1988 Olympics it was seen as a by-product 'successful' U.S. foreign policy?

I understand that. But in my book, that's NOT one and the same thing. She is merely standing in ceremonially. She is NOT vested to deal,negotiate, or talk policy with any other heads of state...as say her husband might've done had he come. And those heads of state usually sneak in policy meetings since it is far and few between that they can get together. I mean Hillary also represented her hubby and the US at Lillehammer and Nagano. But again, it was merely face time...nothing else.

Didn't know about the Seoul thing and GB, Sr. Was not important enuf to appear on my radar screen.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand that. But in my book, that's NOT one and the same thing. She is merely standing in ceremonially. She is NOT vested to deal,negotiate, or talk policy with any other heads of state...as say her husband might've done had he come. And those heads of state usually sneak in policy meetings since it is far and few between that they can get together. I mean Hillary also represented her hubby and the US at Barcelona and Lillehammer. But again, it was merely face time...nothing else.

Didn't know about the Seoul thing and GB, Sr. Was not important enuf to appear on my radar screen.

In Barcelona? Most probably not - because Bill Clinton wasn't President yet by the time of the Barcelona Games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Count yourselves lucky - the best our closest ally US did for us in Sydney was send Chelsea Clinton.

I remember the Australian broadcast cutting to her at one part of the OC and she looked either thoroughly disinterested or stoned. If the Internet had been as intense then as it is now she would have been all over the Internet as a meme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If we want to continue that nit-picking we should also repeat how often the Queen looked disinterested during London's OC... Not everyone gets excited by Olympic ceremonies like we do - and even we know our boring moments during those ceremonies. So we shouldn't make such a fuss about it.

Anyway: I ordered the BBC Olympic DVD set and it just arrived yesterday. And after watching the OC with Danny Boyle's and Frank Cottrer Boyce's commentary, I have to agree with those who already said this: Now I understand Danny Boyle's idea behind the opening ceremony much better. I still think that the "Frankie and June said..." segment was contrived and out of proportion, but at least it conveyed Boyle's motto of inclusiveness. It really was a very, very inclusive ceremony, thereby linking to the cosy and intimate design of London's Olympic Stadium.

Just a few examples: The smell of cordite during "Pandemonium" by which the spectators got the impression as if they really are part of the action and in the middle of a steel factory. Or: The performers of "Frankie and June" going up the stands and Tim Berners-Lee tweeting "This is for everyone". Or: The idea of including 500 workers who built the Olympic Park as guard of honour for the entrance of the Olympic Flame. Or: The fact that the Olympic Oaths were taken right in the middle of the athletes, and also very close to them. It also carried the idea of inclusion by letting a choir of deaf and hearing children perform the national anthem, something that Boyle called a symbol for progress.

And I think that Boyle deserves credit for that - he really wanted to make that a human, embracing, open-hearted ceremony. And I think that is something he definitely achieved, notwithstanding the occasional flaws here and there.

By the way: It was really interesting (and amusing) how often Boyle bitched against the OBS TV director - who directed the protocol parts of the ceremony. He criticised that the cameras showed Alex Trimble only once singing "Caliban's Dream" during the final leg of the torch relay inside the stadium, he criticised that the choir of deaf and hearing children couldn't be seen applauding the Queen during her entrance in sign language, and so on... So you got quite a good hint how heavy his clashes with the OBS must have been - if it still pissed him off months later, when he made that commentary for the BBC DVD.

Finally, by that DVD I got reminded again of the BBC's official theme for the 2012 Games - which was used also as theme for the DVD menus. And here's the complete piece. It's called "First Steps" and it's by Elbow, the band that also performed during the entrance of the athletes at the closing ceremony. And boy, what a brilliant piece that is - modern, majestic, stirring and with the necessary pomp of a typical Olympic tune. In my opinion, this would have been a very decent main 2012 Olympic Games theme as well (instead of or at least besides Muse's "Survival"):

And the lyrics are also quite moving, I think:

The sun, the moon both shine for you.

And through your days we'll light your way.

Our strength and love flow in your blood.

Our hope and pride glow in, your eyes, your eyes.

You shape our world with every step.

The will to fly is in your eyes.

Our strength and love flow in your blood.

Our hope and pride glow in your eyes, your eyes.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well ya know ...she is/was the ONLY First daughter. It's not like they sent the Spare Heir, Harry, to preside over the last Paralympics.

The queen opened the Paralympics.

I think you are thinking of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If we want to continue that nit-picking we should also repeat how often the Queen looked disinterested during London's OC...

... It was really interesting (and amusing) how often Boyle bitched against the OBS TV director - who directed the protocol parts of the ceremony.

It has occurred to me that those shots of the Queen looking uninterested are all in the OBS segments of the ceremony. I could be wrong ...

He criticised that the cameras showed Alex Trimble only once singing "Caliban's Dream" during the final leg of the torch relay inside the stadium, he criticised that the choir of deaf and hearing children couldn't be seen applauding the Queen during her entrance in sign language, and so on... So you got quite a good hint how heavy his clashes with the OBS must have been ...

And oddly enough, he skated over, for example, the little detail that his own team failed to get footage of the Carnival dancers following the Windrush (or maybe that was deliberate because they realised that Rio would blow them away anyway).

Finally, by that DVD I got reminded again of the BBC's official theme for the 2012 Games - which was used also as theme for the DVD menus. And here's the complete piece. It's called "First Steps" and it's by Elbow, the band that also performed during the entrance of the athletes at the closing ceremony. And boy, what a brilliant piece that is - modern, majestic, stirring and with the necessary pomp of a typical Olympic tune. In my opinion, this would have been a very decent main 2012 Olympic Games theme as well (instead of or at least besides Muse's "Survival"):

Yes, I too was fond of the Elbow theme; I guess they just don't have quite as much of an international profile as Muse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sun, the moon both shine for you.

And through your days we'll light your way.

Our strength and love flow in your blood.

Our hope and pride glow in, your eyes, your eyes.

You shape our world with every step.

The will to fly is in your eyes.

Our strength and love flow in your blood.

Our hope and pride glow in your eyes, your eyes.

And I learned only now that the lyrics are directed at a child learning to walk (therefore the piece's name also is "First Steps"). That makes them even more moving, I think. But that issue probably hits a particularly tender spot anyway, for me as the proud uncle and godfather of a cute two-year-old boy. ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Olympian2004

Bloody well said, my good man.

For those who are truly interested in such things, it is only by listening & reading to what the Danny Boyle & Frank Cottrell Boyce have to say about the show that you can truly understand what they were getting at.

The BBC Olympic DVD box set is excellent in that regard. It's shame that it's region 2, PAL-encoded and that those in the US will struggle to watch it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Voshy Im so jealous, how was it?

The Frank Cottrell Boyce talk was excellent Dave - really enjoyed the evening.

Here's my write-up, hope you like it:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZsL_e91frEMdBjldtNH5MrdYWBj-mU_48cXDXazKt60/edit?usp=sharing

For those who can't be bothered reading it and in the wake of Olympian2004's excellent post re: understanding Danny Boyle's vision, here is a link to similar talk but thise time with BOTH Frank Cottrell Boyce AND Danny Boyle, to a group of student at Liverpool Hope University back in February, explaing how the show came about and their vision for it:

Words of Wonder - Danny Boyle & Frank Cottrell Boyce at Liverpool Hope University,

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Frank Cottrell Boyce talk was excellent Dave - really enjoyed the evening.

Here's my write-up, hope you like it:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZsL_e91frEMdBjldtNH5MrdYWBj-mU_48cXDXazKt60/edit?usp=sharing

"Like it" would be a considerable understatement- brilliant job!

Many thanks for your summary, and for the link to the earlier presentation, which I had contrived to miss. Both capture the enthusiasm and playful intelligence behind the OC- and now I'll have to make yet some more revisions to "By Strange Conveyance".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...