Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Olymics 2008 trailer - Bronze medal

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.


toomanytribbles said...

i think the athens opening ceremony was the best ever. i cannot imagine that it can be topped.

deviousdiva said...

You're right. Nothing can beat that feeling. 2004 WAS electric.

Roll on 2012. Hoping to be there !

itelli said...

I have never seen the Beijing clip u r talking about... Instead, what the BBC feeds us constantly is this

smaro said...

I agree, Athens 04 can't be topped. Instead of trying to volunteer I spent the entire time in Botswana with my Greek grandparents glued to the magic of the Athens Olympics. You could feel the electricity of it from so far away!

I have seen the professional usshers, hand clappers, crowd controllers, elegant bystanders that they have plucked from sweatshop factories to work in the Beijing Olympics. I read somewhere that they have signs up directing citizens that they must not hassle the athletes with questions about their love life, religion, political views as it will make the athletes angry. They are not allowed to say, "over there, up here, behind you" to visually or physically disabled athletes, they will get angry. I feel for the poor Chinese citizens being told what to do and given lessons on the perfect smile for greeting athletes!

Anonymous said...

I like the BBC Olympic idents; recruiting Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame) was an inspired and original move. A different approach from 2004, granted, but one that'll go down well with a younger audience.

And yes, I am getting all nostalgic for 2004 too... sigh... hosting the Olympics really is the pinnacle of any city's existence - it's all downhill from there!

I think the British company that put together Athens's opening ceremony is doing Beijing's too, though, so it should be quite spectacular.

toomanytribbles said...

i have a set of pictures from the capital museum in beijing, of an exhibit of costumes and objects used in the athens opening ceremony here:

i just thought it might bring a lump to your throat as it did to mine.

Sesi said...

Smaro, I hate disillusioning you, but people were told how to treat various visitor segments in the Greek Olympics as well, in special training sessions.
I was working at the Peace and Friendship Stadium for Spectator Services during the Games.
I have to admit, the atmoshpere, the little I lived it, was electric indeed. It was an experience I will never forget in my life. Unfortunately, I was so swamped, that I never actually got to live what was happening on the streets.
Athens was looking its best, people were behaving their best, the city was glowing in glamour and vibrant life and bigger than life sentiments.
I do have to note here though, the treatement I received from visitors was mostly horrible. Worst of them being the Greek-Americans, who were entering my Stadium as if they had recently bought it and me as one. Second came the Chinese, who were violating every spectator rule there was and ignoring our translator (might have kicked out a couple of them). Third were the families of American Athletes, again horribly arrogant, looking down upon us from their thrones of majesty.
The Peace and Friendship Stadium was hosting the volleyball tournament. Our nightmare as a department were games between Brazilian and Russian teams. The night the mens teams of these two people played together was the absolute version of Nightmare on Elm Street. The Russian spectators were entering the Stadium drunk and were getting drunker as the time progressed (most stupid idea ever, selling beer in stadiums), and the Brazilians were on their natural high, so trying to keep both of them at bay was an effort that required our mental and physical strength.
Ever tried to prevent a 2 meter 150 kilo man from entering a stadium arena without touching him? Must have been my magic moment of the 2004 Olympics.
I honestly believe that what we had here will only difficulty be topped, ever. Greeks are keen on showing off and looking hospitable, and they were at their best at those Games. And considering what Ive read about the Beijing Games, I can only feel for the people being forced into working for them.

bollybutton said...

See Sesi that's where I got incredibly lucky. I was at the Shooting Centre way out in Marcopolo. The centre was small with not that many staff, athletes or spectators compared to the other places, so we had a nice, relaxing time doing our jobs and enjoying the olympic experience. I had wanted to be based in OAKA but on hearing what a nightmare the volunteers were having there, I counted my lucky stars that I was based in my nice little shooting centre. Mr Zeus had compiled the volunteer list and actually stole me off the list that was going for OAKA, so there was destiny in action!

Anonymous said...

I think I've said this before. I never wanted to be a volunteer at the Athens games.

My story started on Easter Sunday 2004 where we were at the home of one of the top people of the Athens games (I'm not naming names cos you'll all know the person) and we were talking about the upcoming games and they said to me "so are you going to be a volunteer?" and I was like "er... I would love to do it but I guess it's way too late now" and they were like "we'll see".

So I just assumed it was talk. Imagine my horror when a month or so later the phone rang and the voice said "right... so you're going to be a volunteer... where do you want to go? What is your preference?"

I too avoided OAKA like the plague cos I figured it'd be wayyyyy too hectic and instead opted for the Schinias venue which hosted rowing venues etc.

Ultimately I never wanted to volunteer but I am soooo happy I ended up becoming one. I had a great time (despite the 5am starts) and loved the magic of Athens 2004.

I am also so nostalgic right about now.

"Olympic games... welcome home"

Anonymous said...

i think the barcelona lighting was the best one that one cannot be beat and athens was pretty cool too