Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics Day 0: London's on fire

OK, I know Shadows isn't a sports site. But the Olympics isn't that different from a really huge film festival. And my entries here won't bog down in results that you can get anywhere on the internet. I'll be talking about how it feels to have my city invaded by the Games for the second time in my life. And I'll be looking for more entertaining anecdotes, as well as commenting on movies I see as usual.

First a bit of history: I barely remember watching the Olympics as a child. I was vaguely aware of the 1972 Munich tragedy when that happened and of Bruce Jenner being the golden boy in 1976, followed by the American boycott of Moscow 1980. Then this changed drastically, as I was living in Los Angeles when the 1984 Games arrived - a massive event that wasn't nearly as disastrous as everyone predicted. I particularly loved the fact that streets were suddenly filled with people from all over the world; I spend much of the Games roaming around pedestrian areas like Westwood Village (where competitors were living) and around the Coliseum.

I also had a weekend student job working as a TV camera assistant for ESPN. We covered synchronised swimming at USC (its Olympic debut) and water polo at Pepperdine University in Malibu. I also watched the torch run past the end of my road and bought tickets to a few other events.

Cut to 1992: I was living in London and was asked to cover the Barcelona Games with a newly formed news service, mainly because I speak Spanish. I then continued in this role as this group has grown, travelling to Lillehammer 1994 (my only Winter Games), Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. London 2012 is my eighth Olympics, and the second to come to me.

So I've been enjoying the buildup since London was announced as Olympic host city in July 2005. I went into central London yesterday to see the flame relayed down Regent Street. I'll be glued to the TV tonight while reporting live through the opening ceremony. I have tickets to four events. My only fear is for London's notoriously fragile transport system, which takes far too long to recover from even a minor problem. 

So let's see what happens over the next 16 days...

No comments: