Olympic ThoughtsPosted: July 27, 2012
It’s easy to be cynical about the likes of London 2012 (and I often am) but whether or it was smart to even bid for it, the fact is it’s too big an event to do badly.
Until leaving the British Council in May I’d been living with the Olympics for some time. Information from on high would be filtered out and we were all given orders to maximise promotion of the Olympics locally. For the most part orders didn’t come with budgets so a certain amount of ingenuity was required to squeeze in a little Olympics into already planned events.
But that also included arranging trips to Olympic London for journalists, spots on local TV, that countdown, briefings and language training for paralympians, Olympic themed summer schools and language lessons, not to mention assorted Embassy meet-the-committee/athlete events.
Coming on the back of the Jubilee and with Wimbledon, including a British finalist sandwiched in between, this feels the most British time ever – which I guess is the point. Vietnamese teenagers as ever seem to have a love affair with the Union Flag which appears to be everywhere right now.
That whole “soft power” thing in full effect. Nice work.
Tonight it’s the opening ceremony which, the football aside, is realistically the only thing I’m especially interested in – alongside the closing event of course. Despite that cynicism, just typing this I realise just how nervous I am about it. The eyes of the world and all that.
In the meantime time Mitt Romney and #romneyshambles (the best twitter hashtag forever) has done the organisers a favour in uniting UK behind a hopefully successful games. Just to prove a point if nothing else.
What does grate includes the BBC going into Jubilee-non-objective-overkill mode. Even Prince William being branded in Adidas gear on the telly and that whole McDonalds embarrassing bit. But mostly that feeling that as each day passes the idea that Britain = London (and only London) is further enhanced. Yes the torch toured Britain but the story was always the torch rather than the locations. Also the feeling that if all goes to plan then those who will benefit most will be Cameron and Johnson – neither of which I have much time for.
Here in Hanoi, there’s sadly nothing to celebrate the opening ceremony. Time difference is against us but BBGV’s 9am breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City would have been fantastic. I’d have been there like a shot if a similar event had happened in Hanoi. That seems like an opportunity missed.
The above pic was an Olympic event I attended in Danang on 10th March earlier this year. My investment is comparatively small and yet, as I said, I’m nervous.