London warms to its Olympic party

London warms to its Olympic party

Olympic athletes and spectators arriving last week might have felt a tad underwhelmed by the attitude of the locals. But, as I wrote in my column in this week’s American Spectator,  they needn’t have taken it personally. The British respond in the same sequence to all major events: indifference mixed with cynicism, then hostility, followed by resignation, and finally, in the nick of time, huge excitement.

 The first phase was reached around Easter, with people declaring their intention to “escape the Olympics”, like it was a noxious gas. The second, hostility, kicked in this month, at the news that G4S had badly screwed up. And now we see phase three, resignation, characterised by utterances such as: “I suppose I’ll watch a bit of it on TV”.

Lord Coe is trying his best to get us into the party spirit. But he tends to overplay his hand, describing every minor event in the Olympic build-up as “remarkable” and “extraordinary”. People just tune him out. Boris Johnson has been more effective, imploring the nation to snap out of its “Olympo-funk” and revel in “the greatest show on earth in the greatest city on earth.”

These panicky exhortations show that the British are comfortably winning the game of “chicken” with their own leaders. But Boris shouldn’t worry – everything will be all right once the show starts. Even the weather, with any luck.

Economic realities mean that London’s Games are unlikely to go down in Olympic history as the best ever, with little chance of rivalling LA’s swagger, Sydney’s cool or Beijing’s opulence.  But the country is capable of putting on a show if it really tries. And it seems, at last, to be readying itself to make a grand late entrance to its own Olympic party.

 

Article date

July 30th, 2012

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer

@RT_MediaTrainer

My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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