It is only natural that the London Olympics be compared to the 2008 Beijing
Games, especially in my mind, with them being the only two I have had the
pleasure of attending.
Every Olympics is ultimately measured according to
the standard set by the previous Games, making the London Organizing Committee’s
job especially daunting.
It seems all but impossible for London to outdo
Every one in the British capital understands that, hence the
decision to go for a completely different approach.
From my early
impressions, it seems that the organizing committee has decided to counter
bombastic Beijing with leisurely London.
It would be an exaggeration to
write that the city is taking the Olympics in stride, but the laid-back manner
of the locals sets a relaxed atmosphere, for the time being anyway.
the Beijing Games were all about proving China’s muscle to the world, London
2012 organizers will seemingly be content with everyone simply having a good
One of the key aspects to that is keeping all involved safe, but
doing so without requiring suffocating security measures.
Of course, it
is only at the end of the closing ceremony that the massive security operation
can be judged, but without going into too many details it seems that the
organizers have taken every reasonable measure, as well as several unreasonable
ones, while trying to avoid the army-base feel of the Beijing
Thankfully, there is no more compulsory drinking out of your water
bottle at every security check, just in case the contents might pose a danger to
the safety of the Games.
However, they have gone one step further in
London, barring spectators and journalists alike from taking any liquids through
the security checks.
As a result, you will see the same scene repeated
time and again at every check point, first, a look of bewilderment at the
soldier’s orders, soon followed by a hasty emptying of one’s bottle down the
With the temperatures in the capital reaching the heights of the
Beijing summer in recent days, any precaution against dehydration should be
welcomed, but surely this is taking it a little too far.
Since the 1972
Munich massacre, security has always been a major issue at the Games and the
reality of the 21st century is that terror is a real threat to the
British officials have no intention of taking any chances and
called up an additional 1,200 soldiers on Tuesday to fill the shortfall left by
private company G4S.
But all of these issues will hopefully quickly be
forgotten come Friday night when the greatest show on earth officially gets
The Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” remains as
relevant as ever, but the Games aren’t just about winning or even
There is something else that is easily forgotten amid the
security concerns, corporate sponsorships and ceremonial hoopla.
Olympics are mainly about simple enjoyment of the remarkable stories only
possible in sports, and that is the spirit of London 2012.