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2012 London Olympics


djbhammer
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Here's a good article about how the Olympics could change the BBC's regular sports coverage:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourbeeb/alex-macpherson/after-olympic-feast-can-bbc-sport-really-return-to-diet-of-football-football

What's also noteworthy is the vast gulf in terms of tone and character between the Olympic fortnight and quotidian sports coverage. Olympic viewers are often characterised as fickle, flighty types, temporarily caught up in a spectacle rather than committed long-term to a sport - but it's little wonder that so many of them fail to self-identify as "sports fans" on a more regular basis when that regular basis comprises an unrelenting and, crucially, alienating diet of blokey team sports. A crucial lesson to be learned from London 2012 should be the positive response to the diversity of sports, from the grace of gymnastics, to the one-on-one toughness of judo, to the individual lone missions of athletics, to fencing's compelling blend of the archaic and futuristic, to the mind-boggling hardcore endurance of the open water swim and triathlon competitors. During one afternoon, Team GB won almost concurrent gold medals in boxing and dressage: excelling at opposite ends of a vast spectrum of sports, one that's usually represented by only a tiny fraction of the multitudes it contains.

...

The BBC may underestimate both the range and the passion of both pre-existing and newly converted sports fans in this country - but, of course, merely increasing coverage is an insufficient solution. The coverage has to be done well - but this doesn't mean overblown VTs or excruciatingly awkward, overly tactile post-race interviews, contrary to what the corporation seems to believe. Viewers respond to passion and knowledge; while the gold medal surely goes to the incomparable Clare Balding, perhaps a notable example was the gymnastics commentary team of Matt Baker, Christine Still and Mitch Fenner. Covering a niche sport with complex rules and scoring, they managed to communicate key points to the audience without ever over-simplifying the sport; but crucially, they were obvious fans as well as analysts. Their enthusiasm during the spectacular men's high bar final - which didn't even feature a British competitor - was a joy to hear, and their evangelism was infectious. Too often, the model of sports journalism in the UK requires young generalist reporters assigned to cover events they neither know nor care about - a turn-off to both viewers and readers

After after a morning of mostly postive posts about the games as a whole, I'm sorry to return the thread to the negative subject of the closing ceremony again. But here is a blog post on the closing ceremony, by the musician Chris T-T (who I'd never heard of before), and as you'd expect from a title like "Not just shit but dangerous", he doesn't hold back! Here are a few paragraphs from towards the end:

From the Opening Ceremony, take Atkinson-as-Bean’s comic bit around Sir Simon Rattle conducting Chariots Of Fire. Whether or not you enjoy Bean, this was an undercutting and re-humanising of an epic ‘classic’ piece of music that – without fundamentally lessening its power (it was subsequently used throughout the Olympics) – took it to a previously unseen, interesting, funny place. THAT is how to treat an icon. It was Gerard Hoffnung-esque, de-mythologised the orchestra and took itself lightly without deadening itself. Meanwhile, there was Akram Khan’s powerful Indian dance in near silence, linked to Emile Sande singing Abide With Me in tribute to fallen comrades. Here, crucially, the ethnicity, or ‘exoticism’ of the dance is not the point of the dance, rather it is presented as part of a bigger ‘us’, while the emotion in the dance is its strength and focus.

Compare those two sections to their near parallel in the Closing Ceremony; where Eric Idle flounces through Python smash Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life before being interrupted by, again, some Indian dancers, who befuddle and confuse him, throw dust on him, leave him distracted. On a quality level; again nothing new or rare. Performances of this song take place every night somewhere across the UK as part of Spamalot. On a political level, it no way captured any of the subversive silliness of the original from Life Of Brian. All reference to the film’s edgy content exorcised, of course.

But far worse, this routine was entirely about the otherness and exoticism of the Indian dance juxtaposed against Idle’s familiarity; this was the dancers’ sole point; to be alien where previously there was comfort. This is deeply malignant. Idle’s uncomfortable adversity was cultural diversity, because that is how this ruinous establishment needs us to feel about multi-culturalism, even as we pay lip service to difference. We already saw clearly – for example in far-right Tory arsewipe Aiden Burley’s “multi-cultural crap” tweet and a Daily Mail piece so bursting with racism even they re-edited it – how Boyle’s opening work was drastically radical by comparison: ethnicity and background properly enmeshed and un-highlighted.

Kim gave a similar bashing to gender, sensitivity perhaps heightened by how the past three weeks has been an extraordinary Olympic Games for women; with significant, real steps taken. The ‘fashion biz’ segment in the Closing Ceremony was an unfathomably regressive bit of choreographed objectification. It felt deliberate, as if designed to rein in any aspiration or hopes that briefly glimpsed light this past month. Huge photos of girls in posh frocks. Superstar models appear, celebrified, apeing their runway work on flatbeds. It wasn’t a fashion show in itself, or a true celebration of design (which would’ve told us something about design). It was more like the revenge of the owner of the commodified clothes-horse: as if womankind needed to be ritually re-objectified, after a short respite month of being valued in a better way. Ramming back home the wider truths of rape culture and wealth-based costumery idealism.

Appalling on both fronts: politically (not party-politically but in its representation of us as a people, a nation, to the world) and culturally, through its sheer, gobsmacking lack of material. Kim Gavin’s ceremony contained not a single new or unexpected idea. Not one! Just relentless looping of overly-seen bits from other big recent shows, produced by the same hegemony. The Who perform. Tick. Brian May does a big guitar solo. Tick. Ed Sheeran. Tick. There is no content and no meaning here whatsoever.

What Boyle’s Opening Ceremony had done was open up the doors; a box of delights; the best of what we are and what we can be in Great Britain, how we built this motherfucker. Showing us our truthful crazy-beautiful spirit and heralding in two weeks of sport in such a way that we felt something could be reclaimed and changed. We repaid him by being the best athletes, volunteers and audience in history.

What Gavin’s Closing Ceremony has done is to throw Britain back in the box and slam it shut; fiercely and unquestioningly placing current hegemonies back in charge; re-infantilising and re-exoticising all that Boyle had tried to unlock for us; a revenge for the otherness and the hierachy and the celebrity-for-its-own-sake, just as these bullshit Cowellian things had seemed to be proven unneeded. It was a boot on our face. I wonder how we’ll repay him.

Is he overanalysing something that was just meant to be a fun spectacle? No, I think it's an articulate take on just why the closing ceremony was so much more cringeworthy to watch than the opening.

EDIT: His site is currently getting overloaded due to the number of retweets of that link, so here's a Pastebin copy.

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He is ludicrously overanalysing it - it was just completely rubbish. The idea that the show, for instance, promotes "rape culture" is basically insane. I think he has a slight point about the indian dancers in the Eric Idle bit - I was a little disappointed that they were portrayed as "other", but the idea it was "dangerous" is an outrageous exaggeration.

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Just hearing on the radio that there is an England friendly on Wednesday made me groan.

Hopefully Bane will show up and level the playing field after kick off. Even better if he blows up another Mayor too.

As for 2020, I'm inclined to write off Spain because hey, Barcelona just had it...

..oh, wait - that was 20 years ago?? Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit, etc.

But nah, I really do think it's between Tokyo and Instanbul, probably Tokyo. Western Europe getting 2/3 just doesn't strike me as too likely.

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The post games depression is a killer. London 2012 is probably my favourite sporting event ever. I really wish I had of gone but alas I was caught up in super cynical mode before the games, writing them off as a waste of money and a chance for Daily Mail nutters to bang the nationalist drum. How wrong I was. I may have deprived myself of being a part of an all inclusive festival of sport in person but at least I got to appreciate the spectacle on the telly. Truly fantastic that you Brits put on a helluva show that everyone can be proud off.

Now who's up for a game of handball?

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Uefa are dragging their feet in giving Euro 2020 to Turkey - the only bidder - as they're sure Istanbul will win the Olympics.

Ireland/Scotland/Wales are bidding as well for Euro 2020 as well. I think Georgia and Azerbaijan also, doubt that one will get it though!

Seems a possibility that they might do this instead: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18657633

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My new Olympic highlight... Americans on Twitter asking why Pau Gasol plays for Spain

http://www.sport.es/...-espana-2184067

Fucking hell :facepalm:

By support I meant actually go down to your local club and be a supporter because it's what these sports need. If you want an olympic legacy for these athletes then help make it happen.

But, yeah, handball is shown on Eurosport.

Damn straight

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We now have to go from ..... Bolt to Terry, Phelps to Rooney .....

.... . From athletes giving it their all for their country to footballers more interested in their wages.

Olympics to soulless football.

I kind of get your point but Bolt and Phelps are hardly on the poverty line and are equally as motivated by money when deciding which events to appear in outside of Olympics/world champs.

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Just had a 90 minute chat over a glass of wine with the neighbours about everything about the Olympics. Felt like the moment in a wake where you start to have a laugh and a joke about the deceased with the other mourners and share some happy memories. I just might be able to get through this.

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:wub:

Oh my, Pendleton is so god damn saucy.

And Louis Smith is the best thing in that, makes me feel he should be in the standing for Sports Personality of the Year too, most successful male GB Olympic gymnast in how long? Ever? (probably not ever, can't be bothered checking Wikipedia on my phone).

Also, Beckham, why?

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Oh my, Pendleton is so god damn saucy.

And Louis Smith is the best thing in that, makes me feel he should be in the standing for Sports Personality of the Year too, most successful male GB Olympic gymnast in how long? Ever? (probably not ever, can't be bothered checking Wikipedia on my phone).

Also, Beckham, why?

Louis smith is good at that because he is an x factor reject.

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I felt that Danny Boyle gave us his vision of what he wanted us to see, what we ought to see, for the opening ceremony, whereas the closing event felt like it was designed to show us what we expected to see, and by giving us a sanitised, lowest common denominator set, missed the mark completely.

Boyles vision felt borne of imagination and creativity and personal joy in the subject matter, while the closing event felt like it came out of a focus group.

The opening ceremony swept away much of my cynicism of what felt increasingly like a corporate and commercial shindig. The closing ceremony brought a lot of it back.

Luckily, the previous two weeks will take more than this to dislodge.

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The only real way that we can have an Olympic legacy is if the people who have really bought into the last couple of weeks keep that up and not only try and watch the various sports when they are on TV (whenever that is) but also try and support them live if possible. There's a Grand Prix of athletics in Birmingham in a couple of weeks that (I think) the BBC will have some coverage of, for example.

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That ham-and-cheese shitefest last night seems to have earned good reviews from papers. Sometimes I really don't feel like I'm part of society - this is a perfect example of that feeling. Who could watch that and not want to claw their eyes out?

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