London Diary: It’s great to be back at the Games

The Olympics are about enjoying the remarkable stories only possible in sports, and that is the spirit of London 2012.

July 26, 2012 22:17
2 minute read.
London olympics

London olympics 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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.

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It seems all but impossible for London to outdo Beijing.

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.

While 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 time.

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 Games.

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 throat.

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 Olympics.

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.

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But all of these issues will hopefully quickly be forgotten come Friday night when the greatest show on earth officially gets going.

The Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger” remains as relevant as ever, but the Games aren’t just about winning or even participating.

There is something else that is easily forgotten amid the security concerns, corporate sponsorships and ceremonial hoopla.

The Olympics are mainly about simple enjoyment of the remarkable stories only possible in sports, and that is the spirit of London 2012.

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