We’ve won the fight, scored the goal, and hit our target. And other such clichéd phrases under the strained semantic field of success in sport, to show our satisfaction at being able to claim we staged this “greatest of games”. No one can honestly say that they ‘knew it would be alright all along’… but it turned out to be. The long-prophesied ‘London traffic meltdown’ never really materialised. Most of the empty seats in the venues eventually found warm bottoms to comfort. The hugely controversial surface-to-air missiles on that block of flats thankfully never needed to be deployed. But, on the subject of hitting a target, our Great British teams thrashed the ones they’d been set: TeamGB finished with 65 medals (25 of them Gold) compared to their target of 48, while ParalympicsGB (who beat their target of 103 medals on Thursday) leave the Athletes’ Village in third place on the table, with 120 medals in their bags (actually eighteen more than second-place Russia), including 34 Golds.
Now, as the circus packs up and heads for Rio, and the world’s athletes and journalists head back to their own respective countries, I’m sad that the thing we’ve all been following for weeks, months, and years – with both excitement and anticipation, and yet (until it actually began) a strange, irrepressible sense of doubt – is now over.
‘The centre of the world’ is a media hyperbole used too frequently to describe something that people from around the world are perceived to be focussed on. But last night’s breathtaking Olympic Opening Ceremony really was just that: a spectacle beheld by an estimated 4.8 billion people (meaning more individual eyes watched than the sum of all populations of all nations). And, taking place just over four miles virtually due north of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (Greenwich Park the Equestrian and Pentathlon venue for the Games), there’s no denying that, last night, E20 2ST really was the centre of the world.
Work No 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes hardly sounds like the snappiest name for an artwork, but it is in fact pretty self-explanatory: the Turner Prize-winning artist and musical Martin Creed saw his vision for the nation to ring thousands of bells simultaneously, from Big Ben to bicycle bells, performed this morning. The country was woken, on the day of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, by jubilant members of the population.
No one quite knows why the time of 8:12am was chosen, but I guess the stunt was initially scheduled for 8:12pm (aka 20:12), but somebody probably told the organisers everyone would be watching the proceedings unfold whether that be in the Stadium, at home, or at big-screen sites around the UK (including in Kidwells Park, Maidenhead).
On my way into work, I watched as my church’s bell rang.