Friday, July 27, 2012

Inspiring a Generation - 2012 Summer Olympic Games


Once every four years, the best athletes from all over the world get together at a chosen location to showcase their remarkable physical abilities, and remind the rest of us how we seriously need to consider joining a gym. For the latest session of these convergences, an estimated 10,500 sportspersons have come together in London this year, participating in 302 events in 26 sports. Prepare for round-the-clock coverage as the Games of the XXX Olympiad commence, and London attempts to “inspire a generation”, as per the Games official motto.


Many logos – Olympic or otherwise – receive criticism, but few cause a furore quite like the one triggered by the 2012 London Olympics emblem. The jagged 2012 design that reportedly cost £400,000 – yes, that’s four hundred thousand pounds! – was unveiled in 2007 to an avalanche of criticism. A representation of the number 2012 with the Olympic Rings drawn within the zero, the logo comes in shades of orange, green, pink, and blue, and “aimed at reaching young people”. Instead, it ended up receiving attention for all the wrong reasons; it was derided for resembling a distorted Swastika, appearing to spell out “Zion”, and for being just plain hideous. Others still feel that the design is modern and edgy, and that the £400,000 – yes, four hundred thousand pounds…really! – was money well spent.


One of the more unusual ideas for a mascot, London 2012 has chosen to embrace two drops of steel as its official mascots. Wenlock – named after the town of Much Wenlock, which held the forerunner to the current Olympic Games – and Mandeville – named after Stoke Mandeville, a village which held the forerunner to the Paralympics – are created from droplets of British steel used to build the Olympic stadium. The one-eyed creatures that have cameras for eyes supposedly “reflect the personalities and appearances of the people they meet”, and Wenlock wears five friendship bracelets on his wrist, one for each colour of the Olympic rings. As for their unusual appearance, what can display the Olympic spirit better than a pair of mutant Teletubbies? They’re a hit with children, and both locals and visitors seem to have warmed up to them after giving them a less than enthusiastic initial reception.


Fans of British music have plenty of reasons to get excited. The region that has given the world some of the best musicians of all time now gets to showcase its musical talent by tying up music with the Games in various ways. The most prominent tune that will emerge in the coming weeks comes from alternative rock band Muse, who have composed the official song of the Olympics. Sure, the Olympics aren’t the first – or second or third or fifteenth – thing you would think of when you hear Muse, but wait till you listen to their new song ‘Survival’… and then hear snippets of it about a gazillion times again in the next two weeks. A rock anthem armed with a rousing intro and suitably cheesy lyrics, ‘Survival’ will be broadcast at the events and sessions as well as during Olympic reporting and other coverage. Also keep an ear out for alt rock band Elbow’s ‘First Steps’, which was written for the BBC coverage of the Olympics. But that’s not all! Expect some live music to accompany the Games. Sir Paul McCartney is slated to perform at ‘The Isles of Wonder’ opening ceremony as well as the ‘A Symphony of British Music’ closing ceremony, which will also feature performances by Take That and The Who. Additionally, the likes of New Order and Blur are expected to appear at a closing ceremony concert at Hyde Park.

So watch the sports, enjoy the festivities, and keep hoping that this will be the year we end our medal drought! May the force be with us!

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 27th July, 2012

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