Author Topic: London Olympics - News & Views  (Read 177022 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #130 on: August 14, 2012, 08:37:27 am »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/sports/olympics/after-olympics-golden-glow-for-britain.html?_r=1



Memo From London
Britain Basks in a Golden Afterglow
 
By ALAN COWELL
Published: August 13, 2012



Britons during one of the Olympics closing events on Sunday in London. Britain had the
third most gold medals in the Games.




Mo Farah, who won gold in the 10,000- and 5,000-meter runs, was representative of Britain’s
growing diversity.



LONDON — So what do they do for an encore?

Over the past two weeks, Olympic Britain has become used to a daily diet of awe at its own success; of cheering on the excellent to feats of greater prowess; of rediscovering a sense of possibility that had been muted.

All too often in the past, Britons have deluded themselves about their prospects of sporting success, only to see their heroes tumble in the face of a real challenge.

But, contrary to all the curmudgeonly grumbling that preceded them, the Olympic Games have replaced such ambiguity with a tally of 29 gold medals, exceeded only by the United States and China, as if the nation had been blessed by what Samuel Smiles, the Victorian advocate of individual will and self-betterment, called “the gift of miracles.”

The simple answer to the question of an encore is that Britain’s attention will turn to the Paralympics later this month. But the legacy of the London Games may lie in something more imponderable, a finer sense of a nation relaunched, albeit in a time of economic doldrums that could yet becalm its renewal.

Most lands tend to see the Olympics through their own jingoistic prism, and Britain has been no exception, focusing obsessively on its triumphs — though not to the exclusion of the great sporting moments provided by non-Britons like Usain Bolt of Jamaica, among others. But consider just a few omens.

The Games took place almost exactly a year after riots and looting spread from London to other British cities, shocking the country with a vision of a society whose greed had produced an underclass fueled by violence, envy and alienation.

“Of course, the comedown will happen,” Suzanne Moore wrote in her column in The Guardian.  “But we have seen ourselves for a while in our best light: glittery and happy, belonging to something bigger than all of us.”

“Here we are, all in it together, just for a while,” she added.

What were the markers along the way? First off, perhaps, was the opening ceremony, a celebration of a land at ease with its past and its present. But then, with the men’s 10,000- and 5,000-meter runs, when Mo Farah, who had arrived in Britain from Somalia as a child, took gold twice and enfolded himself in the union flag, something else seemed to crystallize about these Games.

True, some of the contests — dressage on fancy horses, for instance — have long been the domain of a privileged few. But here were voices from a different Britain.

The cavalcade of winners included the queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips (silver, equestrian), but it also ranged over a spectrum of skin tones and a medley of speech patterns — the accents that signal origin and, to a large extent, education and class.

And who was doing the talking? The “golden girls,” as one headline writer put it, included Nicola Adams, a black 29-year-old flyweight from northern England who became the first British woman to win Olympic gold in boxing, restriking the gender balance, at least on the victor’s podium.

The banner under which the athletes jousted for glory also bespoke a greater sense of inclusion. Britain often competes internationally with separate teams from its component parts. But the Olympics offered a chance for Great Britain — Team GB — to draw on broader reserves of talent.

“So the Union Jack has been rescued from the old connotations of vanished empire and has become a vibrant, colorful symbol of contemporary British identity,” The Independent  said in an editorial, suggesting that the surge of Britishness, engulfing athletes like Andy Murray (Scottish, men’s singles tennis, gold), may at least temporarily drown the clamor for Scottish separatism.

Of course, this could all get too gushy, coming only weeks after Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee coaxed forth an equal stirring of the national soul. The British still have a talent for taking success for granted until complacency proves their undoing.

For all the Olympic excitement, this is a country facing deep economic woes. From anecdotal evidence, the $14 billion Games may have set the economy back further, frightening would-be visitors and Britons alike away from central London, even as others thronged the Olympic Park.

After the closing ceremony Sunday night, it seemed even more difficult to imagine how Britain might produce an encore. Perhaps the answer lay in a recalibration of the national myth, evoked in what could be the fondly self-mocking anthem of this rediscovered Britain — Monty Python’s Eric Idle leading the Olympic Stadium in singing his classic song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

“Sporting failure has fitted comfortably into the story of a nation in decline, a country that has lost an empire and failed to find the goal net,” the often dystopian broadcaster Jeremy Paxman wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.  But the “biggest revelation” about the Games “is the obvious one,” he said. “A nation that had elevated failure into a conviction is actually rather good” at its opposite.


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


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Offline Kelda

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #131 on: August 14, 2012, 11:55:08 am »
Weird that Robbie Williams wasn´t with them... now when he is part of the gang again





Sophie.. he just did the one off tour and album las year...at the tour he did a section of his solo stuff, they did a sectiumon as a 4 piece, and a section as a 5 piece with the old stuff and the new album..
http://www.idbrass.com

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #132 on: August 14, 2012, 01:44:41 pm »
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline oilgun

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #133 on: August 14, 2012, 07:35:11 pm »
How hot is Handballer Nikola Karabatic?  He plays for France who won the gold medal on Sunday.  He has his own line of underwear and I want the style that he's wearing in the epic.

Nikola Karabatic

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfbkrIR5wS0[/youtube]

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #134 on: August 14, 2012, 10:24:10 pm »



http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/13/take-a-bow-london-the-olympics-were-a-triumph.html


Take a Bow, London:
The Olympics Were a Triumph

With the Olympics’ smashing success behind them, Brits
are waking up to an unfamiliar feeling: triumph. Peter Jukes
on how the Games took the hard edge off national politics—
for now.


by Peter Jukes
Aug 13, 2012 1:35 PM EDT



Dancers perform at the Olympic stadium during the closing ceremonies of
the 2012 London Olympic Games, Aug. 12, 2012



It’s been like one of those parties you’re a bit reluctant to attend because it might be crass, embarrassing, or difficult to get to, only to find yourself confounded by the good time you had. For most Londoners—most Brits, actually—Monday was the morning after the night before, and we awoke with the same questions: “Oh my god, did we really do that?” and “Damn ... What do we do now?”

For the past 17 days, if TV ratings and venue attendance are anything to go by, the British nation has been transfixed by the spectacle of the London 2012 Olympics. On a train ride through the rural countryside this weekend, I found the entire crowded carriage was busy with sports chatter. Gone was the traditional alienated reticence: strangers were talking to strangers about their favorite moments so far. It’s been a wild ride, with eventually ecstatic press at home and rave reviews abroad. So if this hangover has left us feeling like victims, it’s as victims of our own success.

The last time Brits were so publicly bonded was the day after the successful Olympic bid was announced: July 7, 2005, when London was hit by the Underground 7/7 bomb attacks. Seven years previously, the country had lost its reputation for the stiff upper lip with the unprecedented displays around the funeral of Princess Diana. But the Olympics have brought a new emotion beyond shock and grief—a feeling so unfamiliar that it invariably made British athletes and spectators tear up whenever a medal was awarded. We’re not used to enthusiasm. We really don’t know how to cope with joy.

I spent the past three weeks as a volunteer reporter in the Olympic Village, and the rising roars from the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome, and basketball arena were audible from more than a mile away. The enthusiasm is actually measurable—a crowd at the boxing arena was clocked at 113.7 decibels, louder than a jumbo jet at takeoff. Part of this was pent-up relief. After seven years worrying about the cost of hosting the summer Games, the ticketing, the congestion, sponsorship, the security, and more, Mitt Romney turned up in the U.K. three weeks ago, shared those reservations, and became a lightning rod, discharging our cynicism into a familiar contempt of foreigners. 

Then came Danny Boyle's bizarre, bonkers, and mind-altering opening ceremony. It might have baffled foreign observers, but it pretty much unified the country with its eclectic mix of history and humor. This was no accident. The organizers had known for four years that they could not compete with the Beijing 2008 games in terms of power, numbers, or centralized expenditure, so they borrowed lots of suggestions from the Australians who organized Sydney 2000, and cannily played to our downbeat strengths: eccentricity, individuality, and humor.

This mixture of punk and pomp, skydiving monarchs and East End rap, was quickly taken up by Londoners, who can often be remote and unwelcoming to visitors. The usually sullen and overworked Underground staff at Stratford Station, the gateway to the Olympic Park, turned crowd control into a comedy routine:  “Champions this way; losers can stay at home.” The transport system, usually heaving and problematic, seemed to work almost perfectly for once. Security—the biggest mobilization of personnel since World War II—was finally put in place without incident. Above that, the London Organising Committee managed to stage hundreds of events across the capital, in iconic but tricky locations, covered flawlessly by the BBC, without a hitch. The city looked beautiful, unrecognizable, especially when the sun eventually came out.

But the success in organization was also matched by results on the sports fields. Notwithstanding U.S. medal rankings (which, unlike every other country, gives no added weight to gold medals) Team GB came in third, ahead of Russia. Russian tweeters have pointed out that they would have won if all the countries of the former Soviet Union were included in their medal tally. But two can play at that post-imperial game—Brits would have beaten off the Soviets if their former colonies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Jamaica were included. But that’s the point. For the first time I can remember, we didn’t play the post-imperial game.

The previous two London Olympics—1908 and 1948—are bookmarks in the rise and fall of the British Empire. For decades since, Britain has exercised its political resentments in the defeatism of the sporting field. So what if the German soccer team beat us on penalty shoot-outs, the Australians bowl us out at cricket, the New Zealanders trounce us at rugby? We taught them everything they know. We still had the best violent soccer hooligans and most virulent nationalist tabloid headlines. As the old soccer chant went, “Nobody likes us and we don’t care.”

That theme has definitely gone for good. When a Tory M.P. denounced the opening ceremony as “multicultural crap,” he was met with near universal rejection from right, left, and center. It was a bad Games for old-school resentment. Just after the opening spectacle, the Daily Mail  tabloid ran an article claiming the depiction of a successful mixed-race British family was unrealistic. Then along came Jessica Ennis, the poster child of the team and with precisely such a background, to win a gold in the women’s heptathlon. As for the “plastic Brits” the Mail  had griped about in the runup to the Games—a term meant to question whether athletes who had been born overseas were English enough to compete under the Union Jack—the Mail  was forced to eat its words and picked out double gold medalist Mo Farah, "who fled to Britain from war-torn Somalia as a child" as "a fantastic role model ... for millions of young Britons of all walks of life."



Jessica Ennis proudly shows off her Member of the Order of the British Empire medal (MBE)
awarded by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth for services to athletics, with her fiancee Andy Hill (left)
and parents Alison Powell and Vinny Ennis at Buckingham Palace, London in November 2011.



This social shift in our perception of ourselves could have the longest-lasting legacy. For hundreds of years the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland has been a multinational, multidenominational state, but often hid its own diversity in foreign adventures and acquisitions. Loss of empire—and particularly the arrival of former subjects from Asia and Africa—threatened to fracture that identity. Now with figures like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis, this postcolonial world seems more of a source of strength rather than guilt or weakness. This could also have a direct impact on constitutional politics, especially with the chief minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, pushing for a referendum on independence for Scotland. Some of Team GB’s top medalists, such as the cyclist Sir Chris How and the tennis player Andy Murray, are Scottish, and they conspicuously draped themselves in the Union Jack when celebrating their wins. At a popular level, the Games were a powerful visual symbol of the benefits of a united team for those campaigning against the break-up of Great Britain.

On the other hand, the success of the Olympics could be arrogantly misused by English politicians. Already the lead writer of the best-selling tabloid, The Sun,  has argued that the success of London 2012 proves Britain should leave the European Union. Nothing about the greatest show on earth changes the underlying political and economic realities of the U.K. Today, we’re still back in a double-dip recession, with growing youth unemployment, income inequality, overreliance on a dysfunctional financial sector, and a shaky coalition government.

Ah. That’s so reassuring. Back to bad news. Cynicism is so much more predictable and easier to deal with. As John Cleese’s controlling depressive character said in Michael Frayn’s movie Clockwork : "It's not the despair … I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand.”
 
And that’s really the summary of the success of the last two weeks; not how we triumphed over other nations, but the way we triumphed over ourselves.


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #135 on: August 21, 2012, 01:18:29 am »


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19323535


Somalia Olympic runner
'drowns trying to reach Europe'

A Somali Olympic athlete has reportedly drowned
while attempting to reach Europe on a migrant boat.


20 August 2012 Last updated at 14:46 ET



Samia was said to have moved
to Ethiopia in search of a coach




Runner Samia Yusuf Omar was trying to cross from Libya to Italy in April when the boat she was travelling in sank, according to Italian media.

The head of Somalia's National Olympic Committee confirmed to the BBC that she had died but did not say how.

Samia competed in the 200m event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 despite having almost no formal training.

Although she came in last place, several seconds behind the other competitors, the BBC's Alan Johnston in Rome says it is extraordinary that she was able to take part at all.

She had grown up and trained in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, facing war, poverty, a complete lack of athletics facilities and prejudice from some quarters against women participating in sports.

According to a profile of Samia on al-Jazeera, she faced death threats and intimidation when she returned to Somalia after the 2008 Olympics, with the Islamist militia al-Shabab controlling parts of the capital.


'We will not forget'
 
In October 2010, the runner is reported to have moved to Ethiopia in search of a coach to help her train for the London 2012 Olympics.

What happened between then and her apparent death in the Mediterranean Sea is unclear.

According to al-Jazeera, there were no guarantees that she would be accepted to train at the stadium in Addis Ababa - it was dependent on her running times and permission from the Ethiopian Athletics Federation.

Reports in Italian media suggest she may have been hoping to find a coach in Europe who could help her reach the London Olympics.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera  says Samia's fate only came to light when former Somali Olympic athlete Abdi Bile brought it up at a talk.

He mentioned Mo Farah, the Somali runner who moved to the United Kingdom aged 12 and triumphed in this year's Olympics.

"We are happy for Mo - he is our pride," he said. "But we will not forget Samia."


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline oilgun

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #136 on: August 21, 2012, 06:38:47 pm »


London 2012: Hits and Misses
A look at the architecture and design from the London Olympics that made headlines, including Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond's Orbit, Hopkins Architects' Velodrome and Thomas Heatherwick's cauldron.


1 Velodrome by Hopkins Architects

While some speculate that the Olympic Stadium, designed by Populous, will nab the 2012 Stirling Prize in October, Hopkins' pringle-shaped Velodrome remains the star of this summer's games. It's the combination of stunning form and sustainable construction and operation that makes this venue a hit. Steel-framed and clad entirely in locally sourced FSC timber, the home to the indoor cycling track features a glazed concourse and two tiers of seating. Sustainable measures include passive cooling and a grey water system.



2 ArcelorMittal Orbit by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond

Guests entering Olympic Park were baffled by the 115-metre-tall tower. Designed by Anish Kapoor and structural engineer Cecil Balmond, the functional sculpture received a cool reception that included comparisons to rollercoasters and hookahs. One of the game's permanent structures, it's made from 560 metres of red tubular steel and features an observation deck (spectators are encouraged to exit via the 400-plus spiraling stairs). It's a daring engineering feat but it's a far cry from Kapoor's seamless and refined public art pieces.

3 Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid

Hadid came under heavy fire when Olympic officials began offering refunds to spectators watching – and, to some degree, not being able to see – the diving and swimming competitions in her 8,000-capacity stingray-like structure. Many blamed the undulating roof (sculptural, gravity-defying and huge: signature Hadid) for blocking the views of the 10-metre diving board. Hadid's office denied the existence of a design flaw, saying that the firm delivered a stadium with 5,000 uninterrupted views, just as it was asked to do.  

4 Oscar Pistorius' prosthetic legs

Dubbed the Blade Runner, the South African sprinter – and double amputee – raised eyebrows when he qualified for the 400-metre race. Donning the Flex-Foot Cheetah prosthetic legs, created by Össur, he was targeted by critics who postulated that the lightweight prostheses gave him an unfair advantage. Made of carbon fibre, the J-shaped legs are also fitted with shock-absorbing spike pads specially developed for Pistorius by Nike. Pistorius's qualification opens the door for devlopment of high-tech innovations in sports gear, as well as a new debate over performance-enhancers.

5. Olympic cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick

Not only was the design for this Olympic icon top secret, but the final piece was almost impossible to catch a glimpse of. (The Vancouver winter games in 2010 made a similar blunder by surrounding the flames with a chainlink fence). Still, it was a hit. Made from 204 copper petals – representing each participating country – attached to long poles, it was lit by British Olympians and drawn up to form an 8.5-metre-tall cylinder topped with a single massive flame.

6 London 2012 logo

Instantly dismissed at its 2007 unveiling, the dense geometric logo based on the date 2012, was an undeniable eyesore. Designed by Wolff Ollins, who has also worked with GE, Target and (Red), the emblem was also turned into an animation that allegedly caused seizuring. According to Unbeige, organizers for Rio's 2016 games took note – its sans serif logo is simple and easy to read.


http://azuremagazine.com/newsviews/blog_content.php?id=2145

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #137 on: August 22, 2012, 09:42:28 am »
That logo, London 2012 - I hadn't even seen (or even looked for) the numbers in it until I read your post Gil. What I had seen (after considerable effort) were the distorted letters of 'London'. I'm sure that was intentional. At first , and for a long time, I imagined that the 'letters' represented a mini map of the buroughs of the city.  :P

L   N
  o
D   N    
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #138 on: August 23, 2012, 09:07:10 am »



http://www.buzzfeed.com/jpmoore/insane-minnesota-couple-hated-the-olympics-for-bei


Minnesota Couple Hated The Olympics
For Being Too Sexy

This couple was furious about the “pagan noise”
and “cleavage” on display. Way too sexy!


By Jack Moore
BuzzFeed Staff
Posted about 14 hours ago


Click for the comic BuzzFeed commentary/response:



Here is the real letter:

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/240419/


We’ve enjoyed past Olympic openings and closings, and some of the sports.

But the quality of the past two or three Olympics has been a great disappointment.

The entertainment of this latest Olympics was dark, loud, sexualized with scanty clothes and revealing cleavage on women, and with disturbing pagan noise. Connecting children, beds plus frightening villains made one think of pedophiles.

The black and red colors of sex and violence dominated most of the closing. The nuns were obviously there to mock Christianity while one could only think of Satan being glorified.

The comical entrance of the queen was one of the few bright spots.

Past Olympics had spectacular bright, cheerful and family-style entertainment but the English seem to have put teens who worship Satan in charge. It was disgraceful and we suffered through them hoping for some improvement.

Some of the clothes the competitors wore also reflect the sexualized entertainment.

The male swimmers look unprofessional with their hip-huggers trunks stopping just above their pubic region, as also the women’s track and volleyball with their underwear-bikinis.

All are offensive and degrading. These styles are also now worn in our schools and colleges, which no one seems to have objected to.

The girls’ gymnastics also are sexualized in their swimsuits and are too tight around the buttocks plus partially expose their butts.

We had enough with all the sexuality which took away any enjoyment to watch so we only watched the entertainment.

Rio Di Janeiro [sic] has nothing better to offer with more dark juvenile entertainment and women parading around sexually, displaying cleavage and little talent.

Dennis P. & Rosemarie Mitchell

Duluth



"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline oilgun

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Re: London Olympics - News & Views
« Reply #139 on: August 23, 2012, 10:51:36 am »
"The black and red colors of sex and violence dominated most of the closing."

"[...]disturbing pagan noise."

"[...]the English seem to have put teens who worship Satan in charge."


Good grief, why do they even publish this crazy stuff?  For the entertainment value?  These people are obviously religious nut-cases. To hell with them, lol!