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July 27, 2012

Time to Banish Olympic Cynicism

By Spear's

Will Britain pull it off? A cast and crew of 10,000, working over three hours, with the world’s television channels watching their every move. Hmmm

There is an awful lot of cynicism surrounding the Olympics. A Telegraph reader summed it up saying, ‘£10 billion for some prats to run in circles and throw sticks – what a waste of money – only 16 days till it all becomes history.’

Whatever your perspective, the tone will be set by tonight’s Opening Ceremony. Costing £27 million, it will mark the start of 10,000 athletes competing across 302 events, and will be attended by David Cameron, Boris Johnson and the Queen.

Will Britain pull it off? A cast and crew of 10,000, working over three hours, with the world’s television channels watching their every move. Hmmm.

Everyone knows how Olympic ceremonies can go. Remember Seoul 1988: the doves of peace were released too early and were incinerated by the Olympic flame.

A shot of the Olympic Park during the Opening Ceremony rehearsal for London 2012
Even if Danny Boyle’s ceremony goes according to plan, it’s fair to ask how will it compare to Beijing? Synchronised movements of the kind that only a communist country can muster, CGI-enhanced fireworks, and, of course, the final torch-bearer flying skywards before running around the roof of the stadium.

Seb Coe would say it’s all expectation management, and so Britain has already declared that it’s not trying to compete with Beijing. After all, this is the Olympics – it’s the taking part that counts!

Rumours are that from 9pm, we’ll see 21st century London turn into the English countryside: farm animals, cricket players and Victorian squires running amok, together with a cameo from James Bond.

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It’s been seven years in production – and come what may, it’ll add to what’s been a great year for the Brits already. First the Jubilee, then the Olympics, all we need now is a Royal baby. At the very least, the cynics will applaud another bank holiday.
Read more from Spear’s about the Olympics
Read more by Freddy Barker


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