It is with a heavy heart that I refrain from waxing lyrical about Friday's Olympic opening ceremony. It has been done countless times already by far more qualified writers than me. My comparative lack of lexical flair will only detract from the sentiments I wish to convey. All I will say is that it was unquestionably a successful and glorious representation of British history, culture and everything in between. With Hey Jude still ringing in my ears three days later, I have definitely been bitten by the Olympic bug. If gushing praise and commendation is what you're after, have a look at Boris Johnson's 20 Jolly Good Reasons to Feel Cheerful About The Games. In true town crier fashion, BoJo pulls on his Olympic breeches and tricorne hat, yelling "Hear ye, hear ye" to the world. My favourite item on the list is Boris' reference to the female beach-volleyball players in the rain, "glistening like wet otters" - everyone loves a mysteriously erotic simile, right?
I admit, I read this article with dreadful trepidation, waiting nervously for BoJo's inevitable yet always unintentional racist/sexist/xenophobic/ageist/homophobic (delete where appropriate) comment. However, this time, I was pleasantly surprised. What did catch my eye though was the praise heaped upon IOC President Jacques Rogge and his "excellent speech". It was at this point that I wondered whether or not Boris and I were watching the same ceremony on Friday. Sorry for my cynicism but the speech in question was undoubtedly my least favourite moment of the event, other than the tribute to The Sex Pistols - I never did like punk music. Rogge's speech was, I suppose, a necessary evil - as so many speeches are: something to sit through, not something to savour. Yet it's no wonder that so many athletes are drugged up to their eyeballs - they're the poor buggers who have to stand just spitting distance away from grandpa Olympics whilst he delivers his inaugural sporting sermon.
It was Rogge's Olympic volume of clichés, more than anything else, that I found so hard to stomach: "honour", "dedication", "commitment", "respect", "role models", "harmony and peace". This bombastic beauty-pageant jargon wouldn't have felt out of place in that epic Al Pacino 'Inch by Inch' speech in "Any Given Sunday". At the very least, Danny Boyle could have given Rogge a Hans Zimmerman soundtrack to which he could have set his cheesy discourse.
I don't take particular issue with Rogge himself - although I do find his refusal to publically commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich games thoughtless and insensitive. Anyway, I just wish that Rogge could have grabbed his speech by the proverbial bollocks and really gone for it hammer and tongs like Boris did at the Torch Relay concert in Hyde Park. In one 2 minute speech, Boris coined the word Olympomania and managed to take a dig at Mitt Romney and the Eurozone. He was passionate, rousing and his genuine pride shone through. So a word of advice to you Mr. Rogge: lose the sporting clichés in your Closing Ceremony speech. Instead, try and offer some real personal insight - tell us what the Queen smells like, or who your favourite Brazilian beach-volleyball player is. Whatever you do Jacques, please let your speech do the Olympics justice. After all, as Boris describes beach-volleyball so succinctly, and I think it's a description that fits the entirety of the games itself, "The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers".
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