Sunday 24 August 2008

An Olympic Wave of Optimism

Qualified, Postive Stuff
Not even the sight of an over the hill musical hero of mine blasting out a rock classic with the Magnum-smooth vocals of last year's X Factor winner could destroy the good vibes emanating from Bejing's Bird Nest Stadium. Jimmy, we all know you want to get that reticent lead singer pal of yours back on the road, but did you have to go this far? But hey-ho, if the choice was between Jimmy or Brain May playing "We Will Rock You" (which some Team GB Art Director's brainstorming session must have thrown up, surely) then we were truly saved.

All right, some Negative Stuff (I'm holding myself back)
I think we have to probably face up to the fact Britain is seriously creatively challenged if Lewis, Page, Beckham and a Routemaster bus is all that we could come up with. I read with amusement that the lyrics to "Whole Lotta Love" had to be altered to tone them down for the closing ceremony. "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love" did not make sense for a female singer to sing, Leona Lewis advised. How quaint and subtlety put. Lewis's suggestion of swapping "inch" for "bit" was agreed by the "band" and so we have been all saved our blushes. [Led Zeppelin classic 'too racy' for Olympics].

Back on track, more Positive Stuff
Creatively challenged we may be, but I think our sporting heroes have been truly inspiring. The work has been put in and rewards were reaped. Rebecca Adlington's gold double in the swimming were the cream of the Brit crop for me. She swam as fast as Johnny Tarzan Weissmuller... wow! And she now has her own Wiki [Rebecca's Wiki]. And she's from Mansfield, Notts (a place I know). We've got an Italian coach for the English football squad and several Australian coaches in Team GB, let's get an international art director for the opening and closing ceremony. Who have we got anyway? Has it been decided? It's Tracy Emin isn't it? Sorry, I was getting negative again...

Very Positive Stuff
My defining memory from the Games was Usain Bolt's 200m record smash. The track side moving camera shot picked up Bolt on the home straight. It was filmic television at its best. Bolt was in sharp profile in the foreground and the Bird's Nest crowd on the other side of the stadium was one big, blurry shallow focus smudge. This was the moment. He had to get it! He had to beat Michael Johnson's record, who had just said in the BBC commentary box that he expected Bolt to run 19:50, i.e. not break Johnson's 12 year record of 19:32. Bolt had his eye on the prize - and, allegedly, on the "electronic timeboard" throughout the race - and Johnson escaped with only a speck of egg on his face. (If anyone could send me a link to that profile shot of Bolt I would be very grateful).

And finally...
The shots of street celebrations in Kingston when Bolt picked up his third gold and made a defining contribution to the 4x100 relay team were just sublime. The camera moved through and over an ecstatic crowd who knew that victory was theirs. [].

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