Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Games begin

Like most Americans, I'm an armchair athlete.

In my defense, though, my armchair is relatively new and almost too comfortable.

And there are fewer times to give that armchair a workout than during the Olympic Games.

First off, kudos to Beaverton, Oregon's Mariel Zagunis, a two-time gold medalist in fencing, for carrying the flag to lead the U.S. contingent into the Olympic stadium.

The opening ceremony, by the way, had classic moments of British cheekiness with Mr. Bean working a single piano key during the London Symphony Orchestra's version of the theme from the film "Chariots of Fire."

The bit with the Queen and James Bond was surprising given the Queen's glum demeanor she exhibited during the opening ceremony.

And, it was audacious to see "England's green and pleasant land" give way to the smokestacks of the  Industrial Revolution's "dark, satanic mills," which are key lines from William Blake's poem known as Jerusalem, a classic British hymn. I've always loved Emerson, Lake and Palmer's rendition of this song heard here.

If this wasn't left wing enough for American audiences, director Danny Boyle included a crazy sequence of kid's jumping on hospital beds, which was meant to extol the virtues of Britain's National Health System that the Brits cannot live without.

As we fret about "Obamacare," the United Kingdom responded to the ravages of World War II by mandating universal health care in 1948, the last time London hosted the Olympic Games.

But, on to the Games.

I'll root for the Americans, but marvel at all the incredible performances by all the other athletes that NBC will allow us to see.

I'm pulling for the South African "Blade Runner" in the 400 meter race. Some claim Oscar Pistorius has an advantage because he has no legs and gets to use carbon fiber blades as legs and feet.

And, I'll cheer for the home team, the Brits, who deserve a few more medals than they normally earn, for putting on such an epic show.

No comments:

Post a Comment