Olympics: 2012 vs. 1948 Featured

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The Olympics are on their way, and it is an exciting time to be British – apparently. We’ve hosted them before, but can we make it a success again? Britain has already had its difficulties with the Olympic Torch Relay, as it has certainly seen its fair share of classic British weather. The poor soul David Follett had to suffer the humiliation of it being blown out during his stint in Devon. This is Britain though, and one thing we do better than any other nation is remain cheerful even at the most depressing times. Community spirit is drilled into us at an early age, and we have come to accept that it is more likely to be overcast on a Sunday than be glorious sunshine, yet we persevere with our barbeques and street parties because that is what we have always done, and must always do.

As the flaming torch makes its way around the country, spreading its light through each district, many people have been asking how the Olympics could possibly affect them personally. It is true that the further north in the country you go, the less the Games seem to have made any impression. The torch relay is the first glimpse that something big is coming to this country for many of us that live outside of London, and the great spectacles and celebrations held across the country have shown the first major difference between the 2012 Olympics and the last time we hosted the Games back in 1948. Rapper will.i.am brought the ancient Olympics into the 21st Century by tweeting constantly during his stint in the relay. Although this was quite controversial, his argument seems to show that he is a man that understands it is possible to keep the true spirit of the Games alive, even in the modern world: “When they created the Olympics, there wasn’t Twitter... That torch is light. When I’m tweeting it’s like literally sending light across the planet.”

Danny Boyle, director of London 2012, has unveiled the plan for the opening ceremony (above). Many have laughed at his idea, which is to recreate a twee image of the British countryside, livestock included. With the Queen’s recent jubilee, and last year’s royal wedding, this country has proved itself perfectly capable of celebrating the wonderful quirky qualities of good old Blighty. So can the British countryside that we hold so dear really captivate and wow the rest of the world, to all those nations that don’t have a special place for our country in their hearts as we already do? England does not have an Everest, a Grand Canyon or a Great Wall visible from space. We are a tiny island in comparison to the vastness of the world, and so size and spectacle of our landscapes is not necessarily something we are known for. Yet a walk in the Peak District on a British Summer’s day could not fail to connect you to the simple beauty of Mother Nature. Although 2012 is a modern age, the Olympics are about tradition and history, and what is more historic than the land to which our majestic country is built upon?

Through all the scepticism towards this year’s Olympics, just remember that London once hosted one of the greatest Olympics of all time. After 1936, the war torn world could not support such an event, and it was not until 1948 that London stepped up to host the most vital sporting celebration that could epitomise the coming of world peace. With a total of 4,099 athletes, 59 nations were represented in London that year. The Games were a symbol of how sport could put back together the nations of a broken world.

How this summer will compare to the summer of 1948 we will soon find out, but it is just as important now as it was before that we, as a nation, pull together to support the Olympics. If you don’t want to cheer on the athletes, then at least be there to champion what they stand for in our history. We are privileged to have the Olympics back, so let’s show the world what this little island still has to offer.

Frances Clarke

I love to write about stuff that I think is important for people to hear.

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