Saturday, July 28, 2012

London, 2012




The last time the Olympics happened in London was in 1948. A few years after the end of World War 2. The city had little choice. They were supposed to hold the games in 1944, if the Germans didn't plunge Europe into a bloody war. Instead of promoting world unity through sports competition, D-Day was commencing in Normandy. Peace was restored with Great Britain joining the victors. When the Summer Games resumed, London took the reigns of an old tradition and hosted the XIV Olympiad amidst its urban ruins.

Dubbed as the Austerity Games, not everyone in Great Britain welcomed the idea of bringing the games. There's a housing and food shortage across the country, and the tattered economy hasn't bounced back  after the war. Conventional wisdom states that it's better to spend the money elsewhere, and perhaps another city might host the games instead.

But the leaders of that time stood their ground, and insisted that London should be the heart of the Olympiad. With a budget of $1.2 million, the games happened, albeit with no new sports venues built, and athletes staying in schools and university dormitories throughout the games.

Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark sent fruits and eggs to help feed the athletes. Czech Republic and Slovakia (Czechoslovakia) sent tens of thousands of bottled water because London had none. Those were humble times and the Games concluded with sanguine expectations. National boycotts may have hampered the succeeding Olympiads but after London, the games will never be disrupted again.

I was never really a fan of the London Olympics unlike some people I know. Instead, I have bigger expectations with Rio De Janeiro, a city that will host the games in four years' time. I would always ask, what is so special in holding the games in Europe, when Beijing and other rising cities could enthrall the planet with dazzling shows? And then I learned the story behind the last Olympics in Britain and how the British were deprived of opening the games the way other nations did.

"It's all clear to me now..." I would say after reading this article.

Three hours before the opening ceremonies, my mind might be stuck in the soggy pre-dawn capital of Manila. But my heart, like many of those around the planet has at long last drifted, and found a digital spot, in the city that revived the games in a post-war world.



Google Map: London Olympic Stadium





6 comments:

red the mod said...

We too, me and my partner, are anticipating the opening ceremonies. Despite my personal aversion towards the much-debated logo, it's still The Olympics. A long-standing, well-loved tradition.

alex said...

thank you for that insight! i've watched the opening ceremony (in tv) and although it's not as spectacular as Beijing's it has a lot of story in it...

jetlander said...

Hi Mugen! 2 consecutive olympic games na ako nag check in sa motel para lang mapanuod ang opening ceremony. I don't own a TV set and walang live streaming and walang care ang friends ko sa olympics. The most economical way is to check in ng short time sa motel :) The Brits quirky humor made me lol and the tribute for the NHS made me teary eyed.

MEcoy said...

im also thinking of posting something about this hmm i've seenits opening at the news it was really amazing

Pepe said...

able to watch it through live streaming and it's awesome.. i am a follower of these grand spectacles and good thing i was up and awake to watch it live..

Ran Perez said...

watching the Games in one of my favorite places on Earth is remarkable. When IOC declared London as the host city of the 2012 Olympics, I was like.. meeehh. But due to my unexplained, growing passion and great love on this great city for many years, I didn't noticed that I crave so much to watch the London Olympics, especially the breathtaking opening ceremonies. :)