I have always loved the Olympics and really wanted my troopers to experience the excitement of the greatest sporting event on earth first hand. So I tried everything I could to get tickets: I entered the ticket lotteries for the Olympics and Paralympics, and every competition to win tickets that I could find. But it was all to no avail. I could not get a single ticket. It would be fair to say I was bitterly disappointed.
For the two weeks of the Olympics, London will be the most watched city in the world, seen by over a billion people. More than just an event for sporting achievement, the games are, for two weeks, a projection of London. But a look at the legacy of past games offers a cautionary tale that hosting the Olympics needs to be seen not just as a short-term event but a long-term investment. If China was the Olympics' golden darling, Britain is the austerity Olympics. The elaborate games in Beijing reflected a booming economy -- exports had grown a whopping 22%. The UK has taken a more modest approach: a reflection of a sobering market and steep cuts in government spending.
2012 is the first year that every nation competing has a female athlete in their team. This is a significant step given that in the first modern Olympics held in 1896 women were excluded and it wasn't until 1900 that Charlotte Cooper, a British tennis player, became the first woman to win an Olympic medal.
Reading about the athletes reminded me that such pride and inspiration is a key ingredient of the Olympics. These people have worked unbelievably hard to reach the top of their game and in the coming days they'll be competing at world-class level, representing their country, in front of their home crowd.
As London gears up for the Olympics, marketers are getting ready for what many believe will be the first social media Olympiad. At the centre of events, the largest audience will be held by live television - the content distribution channel that has dominated audience figures for decades and shows no sign of giving up its top spot.
When Ankie Spitzer, widow of Andre Spitzer, stretched out her hands to Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic Committee president, and begged him to hold a minute's silence, he refused. "My hands are tied" he said. "No," Ankie replied: "Your hands are not tied. My husband's hands were tied, so were here his feet, when he was murdered. That was having your hands tied."