London 2012 ceremonies left much to be desired
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 30, 2012 23:08
The London Olympics was one of this summer’s biggest events. It gave everyone around the world someone to cheer for and something to talk about with coworkers around the water cooler. During the opening ceremony, viewers got the opportunity to see other nations being represented. They got to see London being showcased as well.
The Summer Olympics have always stood for athleticism and tradition. They take place in different locations every four years and draw many people to new countries. When the Beijing Olympics happened four years ago, I was old enough to realize the significance of the long-lasting traditions that are a key part of the Olympics. These traditions range from how the host nation creates grandiose infrastructures for the sole purpose of the Olympics to how the torch is lit.
Although all of the athletes train their entire lifetimes to be on this global stage, we tend to remember the opening and closing ceremonies more than the performance of athletes at particular events. This must be daunting for those who are involved in planning the opening and closing ceremonies.
These planners must represent the city where the Olympics are taking place. There are countless ways to go about this. No matter what organizers do, they will always be compared to the host from four years ago.
For instance, I could not help but compare the opening ceremony from London with the one that happened in Beijing four years earlier. The London ceremony was fine in general, but in comparison to what the Chinese had done earlier, it did not meet my expectations. All of the Chinese performances were done on a larger scale and had more precision than the ones in London. Along with this, China’s meaningful symbolism tugged at my heartstrings and made me feel like I was part of something larger than the living room from which I watched the ceremony.
During the parade of nations in China, as the athletes walked out waving at the audience, they seemed to be walking across a papery material while their feet touched some sort of colored powder. Each of the powders were different colors, so that by the time it was over, all of the athletes had played a part in making this beautiful work of art with their footprints.
Along the same lines, the music that was played in Beijing was cultural. It showed different instruments, including ones made of bamboo. The performers banged on drums while maintaining the most impressive precession that I think I will ever see. They showed the entire world what they were capable of, instead of reminding the world what they had already done.
The problem with the London ceremony was that it turned into a history lesson. It started with the colonization of the island, moving through the industrial revolution to present day. The ceremony had some cool performers, but it seemed like the organizers were using them to compensate for not having any unique ideas for their ceremony. I understand that J.K. Rowling is a big deal and that the British are proud of their health care system. But the Olympics is not the place to show off your past accomplishments. This was a platform to show off something new, something that we did not know Britain was capable of doing.
London had the chance to do something bigger. Granted, Beijing was a tough act to follow. London still could have done something better than what they put out there. That said, the lighting was still pretty amazing and I was impressed with how the stage was able to transform. The engineers seemed to have a better grasp of the cool effects than whoever designed those routines for the big numbers of the evening.
Needless to say, if I had paid as much money as most of the audience in those seats had, I would have been pretty upset at what I received in return. I’m glad I was watching from home so that when it got boring I could at least flip the channel to something better. Shouldn’t that be a testament to a good viewing experience – how little you care to see if anything better is coming on TV?