The last few weeks you may have noticed the official Beijing Olympics advert running on TV. It was at this stage four years ago that I was watching the Athens 2004 trailers on TV and feeling sad about not having been picked to volunteer. Of course that was only because they took their own sweet time to get around to telling me that actually I was through.
Anyway, the Athens 2004 campaign captured what the Olympics were all about. For those of you who didn't catch it, this is what was running on the BBC in the build up and during the 2004 olympics. Nice, huh? Dignified, simple and to the point.
Contrast it to this which is running for the Beijing Olympics. Guys, I don't know who came up with this idea and who actually put it through, but I absolutely HATE it. For one thing, it's a shameless copy of 300 and furthermore, it's just so dark and miserable. And it's STUPID! Flying girl? Aquatic woman? I mean, what? Was this really the best they could do? The first time I saw it I thought it was a commercial for an energy drink. Bad, bad, bad. Does not capture the Olympic spirit at all. Whoever made this, go home and say 30,000 Hail Mary's.
You might think I am being harsh because I didn't get through to be a volunteer this year. That's not particularly true. There was a time when I felt put out by it - after you've volunteered once you kind of expect it as your right. But not any more, not at all. My spies on the ground, friends from 2004 who made it into the 2008 games and are in Beijing tell me that security is so tight that the fun has been sucked out of the events and these are being called the No Fun games.
Plus, no matter how spectacular the Beijing opening ceremony may be (and I've heard it will be the best ever), they don't have what Athens had. And I'm not talking about Mr Zeus. No Olympic event could be how it was in Athens. I'm talking about the life, the fun, the joy and the electric buzz. You know when you hear people talking about an electric atmosphere? I didn't really know what that was till I came to Athens for the 2004 Olympics. The whole place literally buzzed. It felt like the ground itself was oozing energy because it was happy that the Olympics were back where they started.
You can throw all the money you want at it, but nothing can recreate that magic. That's something that no amount of money can buy. And quite obviously from the Olympics trailer, no amount of money can buy good taste either. Sheesh.