National Stadium, Beijing

With one spontaneous gesture, a nervous tic really, Boris Johnson signalled exactly how London should attempt to follow the glitz and grandeur of the Beijing Olympics: don't even try.

The London mayor's comedy salute as he set foot on the red carpet at the Bird's Nest was a late bid for my moment of the Games.

It encapsulated what many British observers here have felt throughout these Games: we're all pretty blown away by the show the Chinese have put on, and we certainly can't afford anything as fancy as this, but we'll muddle through in 2012, and we'll try to put a smile on your face while we do it.

And did I really see him shout "I want the flag!" to Olympic impresario Jacques Rogge before it was his turn to do the ceremonial swirling bit? If so, I apologise for voting for Ken: you are a legend, even if you don't know what to do with your hands.

So that's that then. They are sweeping up around me after the most spectacular closing ceremony I can remember, and there really is no getting away from it - we are the next hosts of the summer Olympics. Gulp.

Boris Johnson

It's a huge challenge - make no mistake - but also a massive opportunity. And in some ways the Chinese have made it slightly easier for us. Hold on a minute Chinese bloggers, let me explain.

The closing ceremony was absolutely in keeping with everything I have seen in Beijing over the last three and a bit weeks: staggering in scale, perfectly choreographed, visually stunning and absolutely on time.

The drum carts, the heavenly drums that looked like giant cheeses, the acrobats on rotating poles, the "memory tower" with its 396 performers on wires, the fireworks, Jackie Chan's singing (especially that), will live long in the memory. I really can't imagine London, or any other city, topping that.

And it was also done with genuine enthusiasm and sincerity. London should take special note of that.

But these were also emphatically China's Games. The ambition and expense on display here is pretty unsustainable, if not for China, then certainly for the rest of the Olympic movement. And the International Olympic Committee knows that.

The magnificent venues, the remarkable infrastructure improvements, the stuff-the-expense measures taken to improve the city's air quality, the mobilisation of an army of smiling student volunteers: China has risen the bar to such a height that I don't believe any other city in the world could or should try to reach.

So that bar must remain where it is. The records these Games have set should be Beijing's forever. It deserves them, as London 2012 boss Seb Coe said on Friday, it is difficult to know what more the Chinese could have done.

But now the Olympics must draw a line under the big studio era and think humbler, smaller and smarter. The Olympics needs to think about the footprint it leaves behind when the circus moves on, and it needs to reassess what it is trying to celebrate.

That is London's opportunity. The budget will be under half what they have spent here and that is only right and proper. Every host city has a story to tell when they bid to stage a Games, London's story is different to Beijing's. Not worse, not better, different.

And we got an early glimpse of just how different that story is during the eight-minute handover segment. I'm not entirely sure we nailed it but it was a good first stab. I'm glad we realised there was no point trying to match the hosts' Cecil B. DeMille meets Cirque du Soleil approach. After all, it's not our party yet and I don't think we do that kind of thing very well.

So what we offered up was a Carry On caper with added cheese and a dollop of celebrity. I have a feeling it will get crucified in the papers on Monday but I hope not.

If I had a criticism it would be that it was a bit too knowing at times, a bit too cute. And because it was on such a small scale, it lacked impact in this arena...but then, what could we have really done in just eight minutes?

On the positive side, Jimmy Page's opening riff was the loudest thing we heard here all night, "Whole Lotta Love" was the best song ("Beijing, Beijing, I love Beijing" being the worst) and Leona Lewis looked lovely, if a little precarious on that pole.

And David Beckham got the biggest single cheer of the evening, and the dancer who caught the football he somewhat shanked into the crowd will have the greatest story to tell his grandchildren. But I do wish we wouldn't play up to the "it always rains in London" stereotypes so much. It's the same weather as Paris!

But for me, the real highlight of the closing ceremony was watching the athletes, which, if you think about it, is only right. Watching Yao Ming being hounded by the other Olympians for a group photo was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. It's not like he could hide.

I was desperately trying to pick out the Brits but it was tough, there were at least a thousand dancers between me and them. I did spot Chris Hoy, though, wandering about with his camera looking a bit embarrassed, and it was good to see Shanaze Reade chatting and smiling, despite her crutches.

She was supposed to be one of the London commuters that overtook the bus on their bikes but knowing her luck a white van would have pulled out of the mixed zone and sent her flying into the bus stop.

It was also great to pick out little vignettes on the stadium floor - three tall Sudanese distance runners chatting to a group of blondes from Ukraine, tipsy Aussies clowning around with the dancers, Tom Daley sitting on somebody's shoulders like he's a 14-year-old boy...oh hold on, forget that one - because it helped remind me that the athletes are at the heart of all this. They're the real stars of the show.

So well done, Beijing. You've put on an amazing spectacle and I think you've helped change your country's story for the better.

But, in the words of the man I thought Boris was trying to impersonate on the red carpet, don't panic, London! Just remember to keep it simple and keep it fun and we'll be all right on the night.

And with that I'm off to pretend to run through the finish line like Usain Bolt.

Matt Slater is a BBC Sport journalist focusing on sports news. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 5:42pm on 24 Aug 2008, respectedterry wrote:

    Your posts are very long. WHAT is your word limit?

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  • 2. At 6:02pm on 24 Aug 2008, mrmichaelh wrote:

    London will do a superb job and I, for one, can't wait. Roll on 2012!

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  • 3. At 6:07pm on 24 Aug 2008, james montgomery wrote:

    Pity somebody from Boris's PR dept didn't tell him to keep his jacket button. He looked untidy and and shabby.

    And what on earth was the bit about screwing up newspapers and throwing them away when the bus came in? Do we have to re-inforce what a couldn't care less, litter strewn city London is?!

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  • 4. At 6:07pm on 24 Aug 2008, attiq786 wrote:

    Wow - what a great closing ceremony by the Chinese!!!!!

    Thought it was a bit ungenerous for Jac Rogges( could the man get any glummer?) to say the games were only exceptional and not the consesus by everyone that they were the best. Jac even had the gall to critiicise Usain Bolt for daring to have a personality. Me thinks Jac you are turning into Max Mosley ( stupid comments about Lewis Hamilton) with your posturing and dull personality. Remember Jac, you don't own the Olympics, you are merely a servant of the IOC.

    With regard to the British 8 minute segment in the handover, I have to say I was not that impressed. A double decker bus, Beckam and Leona Lewis. Or was it a failed transport system, a past it footballer and a winner of the crappy X Factor. Simon Cowell must have been happy with his continuing domination of the entertainment scene.

    I would have preferred something a bit more imaginative than a red bus and something that described London today as a mixed society with a rich sporting and cultural heritage. I know 8 minutes is short but a red bus. Is that how we would describe London to the world in the 21st century?

    Thank you to the people of China and Bejing for presenting the best Olymics games ever!!!!

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  • 5. At 6:08pm on 24 Aug 2008, REDHEADONE wrote:

    I agree with what you say but I hope the Lord Mayor won't put his foot in it as he tends to spout off more than he needs

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  • 6. At 6:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Huw Edwards? Surely, he had forgotten his medication. His most bizarre comment was when Boris was waving the flag (without mishap - well done Boris) and the coverage cut to The Mall at which point the crowd cheered because they were on the screen and Edwards said (I kid you not) "the crowd getting excited about seeing their mayor waving the Olympic flag" Hilarious! Does Edwards assume everyone watching is a bit, well, slow? The crowd were cheering because they were on the big screen. They couldn't care less about Boris and the Olympic flag. They were waiting for the fun to start.

    Edwards, go back to royal commentary, when you know everyone who is listening is in care.

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  • 7. At 6:11pm on 24 Aug 2008, PACSYIP wrote:

    The Beijing Olympics was the best in recent history. I am afraid I don't think the London 2012 can match that or even beat the Beijing opening and closing ceremonies. The Chinese government and organisations don't have to worry about the budget, becasue they have no limit at all. They can raise money easily without any doubt. They've got lots of sponsors all over the country and also from the chinese communities around the world to support this olympics. If they want money, all the billionaires give money to the government without any hesitation. Will all the rich billionaires do the same to our London 2012? I don't think so, becasue we are far less as enthusastic as than the Chinese about the olymics. I don't understand why people in this country oppose the olympics games, I just don't understand, we are such a single narrow minded people. The Olympics games is to show the world how powerful our country is, and show the world our culture and wealth. If we want to compete with the Chinese, American and Russian, we have to show them our power, otherwise we will fall behind them.

    When you compare the Beijing and the Sydney games, you can spot the differences. The opeing ceremony of this olympics was far better than any other games. No one could even beat that. The Chinese have the brain to create the most sophisticated sequences and they want to show the whole world they have the power to do anything. I can feel the power that they showed when I watched the opening ceremony. It was stunning, even the closing ceremony was far far better than the Sydney games, never mind the Athen games.

    If we can rasei twice the amount of the Beijing games, we are very lucky. I doubt we can raise more than 15 billion pounds to hold the games in 2012, unless we have lots of support not only the government but all the top rich billionaries, we definitely need them to behind it. Because at the moment we only have 9.5 billion pounds in our pocket, not good enough to hold the games, not even good enough to have a stunning opeing ceremony. If we want to beat the Chinese, we need support all over the country.

    I can understand why Boris Johnson said we would not be intimidated and I can assure you that he will do anything to match the beijing games, even better than that because I can see it in his eyes, he will show the world London can hold big event under his belt. He's got the brain to do it and he's got some cunning ideas as well.

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  • 8. At 6:13pm on 24 Aug 2008, denwyn wrote:

    Pity BJ has no dignity at all, what a slob he looked with his jacket open, hands in pockets. It does not bode well for these games with this buffon at the helm

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  • 9. At 6:17pm on 24 Aug 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    "he [bumbling Boris] will show the world London can hold big event under his belt. He's got the brain to do it and he's got some cunning ideas as well."

    Are you Frankie Boyle? Do you do stand-up?

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  • 10. At 6:24pm on 24 Aug 2008, SportsUnited2009 wrote:

    London won't be able to compete with Beijing. And that's not because London aren't capable of putting a great Olympics on, it's just Beijing was that good.

    The organisation was terrific, stadiums looked breathtaking, it's a bit of a shame about some of the scandals the Chinese have been involved in.

    Also, this Olympic games will be remembered as great because of the peformances of the athletes. No matter how well organised a Olympics is, you can't guarentee one competitor is going to win 8 gold medals and break 7 world records or one competitor wins the 100m and 200m gold medal, also breaking both of the world records.

    A great two weeks.

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  • 11. At 6:25pm on 24 Aug 2008, attiq786 wrote:

    I was watching John Sopel interviewing Gordon Brown and Gordon looked ecstatatic. Maybe he thinks that this will give hime a rise in the polls. Don't think so as despite the fact we are happy with the British Olympic team, the credit crunch and recession will be the only determining factor in the winning of the next election.

    Joh Sopel also looled quite flustered and was trying to cogole people to go and get something stronger to drink. The BBC seem to have a huge number of reporters at Bejing and it must be the best gravy train to be on at the moment.

    Another gripe is why do the BBC always seem to have a US sports personality on when they are covering big events. At Wimbledon we have John McEnroe and at the Olympics we have Michael Johnson. Is this a bit of an inferiority complex? Do we not have great Olympians such as Daley Thompson, Steve Ovett, Alan Wells etc that could also do the job. Another question is why Sue Barker gets to present every big sporting event? I would like to see a better mix of presenters and correspondents at the BBC.

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  • 12. At 6:30pm on 24 Aug 2008, kwinquark1 wrote:

    Not quite sure about all this hyperbole that is being applied to Beijing. I saw several sports where standards have dropped quite markedly, Gymnastics and Boxing being the prime examples. Not a Magyar Zoltan in sight.

    Doubtless one could not find fault in any of the venues - superb. But only a nation with such political will could possibly marshall that effort in these times. What is plainly evident, though, is how much more competitive most events are becoming - many of the smaller nations are beginning to raise their game like never before - Jamaica an obvious example, but Mongolia, The Netherlands - not exactly giants of the world.

    Let's assume the majority of contributors are simply bedazzled by the growth of access to the spectacle via the Internet and Satellite TV, rather than the contests. Not a bad thing in itself, but a sense of proportion isn't either.

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  • 13. At 6:30pm on 24 Aug 2008, NIKUZAI wrote:

    Oh of course most people will be attacking the London segment - because it was crap! There are always going to be two sides to this: those who want to harp on about Britain in WW2 and those who want to paint a modern vision of Britain (i.e. the street dance team seen in the London segment) which is frankly a vision of Britain as seen by a member of our cultural elite (i.e. the London organisers, the BBC, etc).

    Some people are at pains to paint us as being no longer stuffy, etc, but they have thrown out the baby with the bathwater by presenting a vision of modern Britain that is so bloody mediocre.

    I balked when I saw Leona Lewis, I thought 'these buffoons actually think that an X-Factor finalist is actually representative of Britain. But then, upon reflection, I'm wondering whether a crappy handover segment does sum up modern Britain: crappy, celeb obsessed, an Equalities-derived vision of 'normal' people that normal people wouldn't recognise. Great!

    Can I assume that it's going to be more of the same at the 2012 opening ceremony? After the Chinese breathtaking events I have given up hope us rivalling them; instead, all I'm hoping for is that our cultural leaders, sitting in the media, encourage the organisers to put on something that manages not to embarrass the whole country.

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  • 14. At 6:30pm on 24 Aug 2008, newselflee wrote:

    The female who hugged Yao Ming was Lauren Jackson, an Australia basketball player playing in WNBA. After Yao entered NBA, there was rumor she had a crush on Yao, but Yao turned her down. There were many gossip about them.
    So, seeing them hugging at the closing ceremony really really made me laugh, because 4 years ago, at the closing ceremony of Athens Olympic, Yao and his girlfriend 'Ye Li' came out together and that was the first time their relationship went public.

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  • 15. At 6:32pm on 24 Aug 2008, chel2006 wrote:

    re james montgomery

    the bit about throwing newspapers away was spot on. the true face of Londoners! what a pity they couldn't show the interior of the bus where bits of newspaper soggy from the rain are plastered all over the floor and seats.

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  • 16. At 6:34pm on 24 Aug 2008, Lestif wrote:


    Michael Johnson is the best 'expert' the BBC have. He's erudite, precise in his analysis and he really knows his stuff. He also comes across as a really good bloke.

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  • 17. At 6:43pm on 24 Aug 2008, coblette wrote:

    Just seen the GB's contribution to the closing ceremony and I think the organisers should be ashamed of themselves.

    What was so great about a representative who couldn't even manage the fundamentals like doing his suit up, keeping his hands out of his pockets and waving a flag... and why celebrate a couple of popstar and a footballer who doesn't even live in the country anymore rather than any of our amazing medallists....???

    Seriously disappointed.

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  • 18. At 6:47pm on 24 Aug 2008, equalityliftsall wrote:

    I thought the London bus scene was very creative. However, I couldn't help see the comparison between the bus transforming into a green stage, and the bus that was blown up in 2005 in Tavistock Square. The top and sides of the bus "exploded" upwards and outwards, then hang at the sides.

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  • 19. At 6:47pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    I'm sure we'd all agree that the opening closing ceremonies were fantastic and the facilities too.

    So how do we top these games?


    Full stadia so that all competitors get to compete in a fantastic atmosphere.


    No controversy concerning home nation bias or rumours of rule breaking.

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  • 20. At 6:49pm on 24 Aug 2008, Ten_Thousand_Fists wrote:

    "Pity BJ has no dignity at all, what a slob he looked with his jacket open, hands in pockets. It does not bode well for these games with this buffon at the helm"

    I didn't realise we had an Italian goalkeeper as the Mayor of London.

    Boris did look a bit shabby, but that is just who he is. I have never seen him looking 'smart', at least his hair seemed under control this time!

    But suggesting that because he doesn't look like he has a personal stylist on his entourage will mean the 2012 games or anything else he is involved in will not be successful is idiotic in the extreme.

    Appearances mean nothing, by any chance do you think Tony Blair is God with his ever shiny teeth? Or that Gordon Brown is a different person now he is made to smile more in public?

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  • 21. At 6:51pm on 24 Aug 2008, MoorWatcher wrote:

    Actually, I think the organisers of the London 2012 segment had an impossible task.
    If they played the "Modern, multicultural Britain for the 21st Century" card, the assembled masses of Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph readers would slate them. If they play the "Glorious past" card, the Guardian and Independent readership will howl in protest.
    Frankly, I think they did a good job of pulling it together.

    Yes, it wasn't perfect... but then, does anyone now remember China's 8 minute segment at the Athens 2004 closing ceremony???

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  • 22. At 6:52pm on 24 Aug 2008, attiq786 wrote:


    I don't question Michael Johnson's talent and analysis but I question why the BBC seem to ignore our great Olympians such as Daley Thompson and Steve Ovett.

    I agree that he is a top bloke but the BBC seem to only invite their 'chums' to the party and ignore champions of the past.

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  • 23. At 6:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    Post 22 - Steve Ovett was one of the studio analysts!!!

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  • 24. At 7:00pm on 24 Aug 2008, bitterblogger wrote:

    ""Beijing, Beijing, I love Beijing" being the worst"

    Exactly. This is typical of state manufactured propaganda songs under the hood of pop music created by mediocre composers and endored by senior party officials.

    Can you find anything more ridiculous than crying out "I love myself" to the world?

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  • 25. At 7:04pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:

    I thought Boris looked ok and did ok so get off his back people!

    Happy with the London bus, am surprised it didn't mow down the cyclists, or at least poison them in a cloud of carbon dioxide from its exhaust.

    Leona and Jimmy Page were good but why thrust up into the sky like a fairy on top of an xmas tree?

    Beckham shouldve come out waving, not just standing there grinning, oh well.

    And the dancers throwing the newspapers away - what dunce dreamt that up? The dancing was generally rubbish - all of them freestyling got lost in that giant stadium.

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  • 26. At 7:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    For me, I think our Games will be better than Beijing in a sense that they will just be more fun. It was so good to see 40,000 having a good time in the Mall today, an in Weymouth and Glasgow. That is something that didn't occur in Beijing. From what I could see, there was no sense of carnival, no big groups on the streets all watching on big screens. I mean, did they really need a massive fence around the Olympic Green??

    I thought the handover was really good to be honest. It was colourful and fun with good music. Add great sport into that and I think that should be exactly what the London Games is all about. Beijing did very well, but in the ceremonies there wasn't many moments for the spectators to be on their feet having fun. But people were doing that today in London, and we still have four years!

    I say we should all be positive as 2012 will be one great party and I cannot wait.

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  • 27. At 7:13pm on 24 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    Oh and people might complain about the people in the handover, but Jimmy page playing a classic British song, sung by a fresh, talented, successful girl from Hackney, and Beckham a HUGE British, East-End star who is a great ambassador for Sport and this country. Perfect combination I say.

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  • 28. At 7:15pm on 24 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    "19. At 6:47pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:
    So how do we top these games?


    Full stadia so that all competitors get to compete in a fantastic atmosphere.


    No controversy concerning home nation bias or rumours of rule breaking."

    Well said! As long as we aim to make them the open games that the world needs after the slightly sinister Beijing Olympics, we will not go far wrong. Big screens in the parks, more access for the spectators, less officious stewards..these should be high on our list of priorities.

    As for Boris' performance, I, along with at least a million or so Londoners who voted for him, relished seeing him up there in the spotlight. I am sure there was an official Beijing Olympics Organising Committee steward telling him to button up his blazer, but he is who he is and shouldn't change simply because some red tape zealot tells him to.

    It's also,( for those of us who were able to understand what Livingstone was really about and not just blindly vote Labour), so, so sweet to think of that loser sat at home seething that he didn't get to go and wave a flag in front of the world at the centre of communism, although I think that flag was a little less red than the one he would have wanted to see flying!

    Bring on 2012, the Open Games!

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  • 29. At 7:18pm on 24 Aug 2008, Freddie71 wrote:

    attiq786 - What did you expect in 8 mins a full scale orchestra and a concerto. Gawd some people are so trivial.

    I was born and bred in Hackney and I can tell you we definitely know how to party........hang around for 2012 and see for yourself

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  • 30. At 7:18pm on 24 Aug 2008, air1jwilkins1212 wrote:

    Boris should be very ashamed. Undoubtedly he looked like a scruff with his jacket undone - he could have featured in the eight minutes as a barking dog at the bus stop...

    And as for those eight minutes, I was embarrassed. As soon as the ultra-modern, tinted-windowed, double-decker bus made its appearance into the Bird's Nest, I knew this was going to be bad. I agree with people about Leona Lewis. She is a winner of the X Factor, so? Most of us would rush to turn the TV over if we caught a glimpse of that show. "Whole Lotta Crap" was awful - too repetitive and annoying. We have an extensive music taste, and I just thought this didn't help to represent it.

    I kind of liked the umbrellas. We all know we're a nation who love to bring up the weather in conversation, and I think the world are aware of that. What the hell was with the hedgerow? It looked like grimey sewerage was all over the city in that green light. And David Beckham looked like a lost schoolboy.

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  • 31. At 7:23pm on 24 Aug 2008, beagle7210 wrote:

    Let's be frank - it wasn't the best handover section ever but it was never going to be (Beckham landing the ball onto the head of that dancer who was nevertheless so pleased to be hit was priceless though).

    There will undoubtedly be criticism tomorrow but I will not accept any of them unless the critic is actually able to come up with a better 8 minute segment of their own.

    Personally, at this moment, I struggle to imagine how London 2012 will 'look'. How do you define Britishness any more? That said, I very much look forward to it!

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  • 32. At 7:24pm on 24 Aug 2008, air1jwilkins1212 wrote:

    Oh and another thing. There was no sign of a cup of tea!! Or a TEAPOT! How could they forget :(

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  • 33. At 7:24pm on 24 Aug 2008, Ryan86 wrote:

    I thought it was OK, but we never remember these slots 4 years on. The one thing I hope is that we get away from some of our manufactured safeness that we had at the London event in The Mall today. It was quite embarrassing to watch that boy band killing that ABBA song which was actually about divorce, but it contained the word "Winner" so, never mind, whilst the self promotion of the BBC's latest reality show was cringeworthy.

    We do have a fantastic musical heritage here in the UK and I hope as we get nearer the event we will see these types of stars turned out. Elton John instead of Will Young, The Rolling Stones instead of Busted.

    It is the right idea, IMO, of what should be carried out during the 2012 Olympics, using the capitals landmarks to hold nightly concerts and such, but we need to get away from some of this safeness.

    I think the games will be a success, I just hope that the "safeness" written into things controlled by politicians with alterior motives doesn't dampen the fun.

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  • 34. At 7:26pm on 24 Aug 2008, air1jwilkins1212 wrote:

    Perhaps occupying more of the floor would have made it more spectacular(?)

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  • 35. At 7:27pm on 24 Aug 2008, chachi3 wrote:

    London handover??? What a load of RUBBISH!!!! Who the hell is Jimmy Page??? Led Zepplin So what, I certainly don't think that they represent Britains music. Mic's did'nt work properly, says a lot about what to expect 2012. Beckham, great embassador, nuff said. Child leaves bus walks over dancers to get back on bus??? All this to give an invitation to the world to come to London in 4 years time. On those 8 minutes, why would they?

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  • 36. At 7:32pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:

    David Beckam says: "I'm an East End boy and I'm proud that it's happening in London. I was very proud to be involved in the first place bringing it back to England and to London," he said.

    I say: "What happened to the rest of the UK...Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland?"

    If they're not part of it, they should be getting some money back.

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  • 37. At 7:33pm on 24 Aug 2008, mxb160 wrote:

    willy86, I know exactly what you mean about 'The Winner Takes It All.' A very strange choice, but I strangely liked it.

    But can I suggest that we have Elton John AND Will Young. And the Rolling Stones AND Busted. I say the more the merrier!!

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  • 38. At 7:34pm on 24 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    Thank you for a great Olympics, China. Best Olympics I've seen... and I usually ignore the opening/closing ceremonies, but loved these.

    As for all the negative "we won't match Beijing" stuff, it'll be different but still great! This City is messy, with terrible transport, but people know how to have fun. We need to throw in some world-class organisation for the next 4 years to sort the infrastructure as well as possible, but we can do it.

    I think that the Beijing volunteers were a great example for all of us. Why not learn a language over the next 4 years to help foreign visitors? Why not volunteer to help - gps could work as medical cover, those of us who work in finance could help with that side of things, etc. The Olympics is too big for one team of consultants to provide, we all need to get involved.

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  • 39. At 7:34pm on 24 Aug 2008, hendero wrote:

    The hedgerow on the bus that was supposed to be carved into shapes of famous London landmarks reminded me of the miniature Stonehenge block from Spinal Tap.

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  • 40. At 7:40pm on 24 Aug 2008, DCHeretic wrote:

    Thank you China for an outstanding Olympic Games!

    London should not try to compete with Beijing while preparing the 2012 Games. As an authoritarian society, Beijing had certain advantages that London does not, and hopefully never will, have. London is a classy, charming city and should focus on letting its many natural attributes shine through.

    And can we please have men's synchronized swimming in 2012??

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  • 41. At 7:41pm on 24 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    #36 - first of all, I hope that the whole of the UK will be involved. This isn't the US where you can have different Olympics in different states, smaller countries get behind their Olympics wherever they're held - we should too.

    As for London "giving money back" to other regions, as London subsidises the rest of the country to the tune of 30bn+ every year (the reason we have such bad infrastructure), I don't think London has to give money back to anyone!

    Sadly, I think we'll have lots of this sort of moaning over the next 4 years.

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  • 42. At 7:43pm on 24 Aug 2008, Michael Hartley wrote:

    cant understand what 30 and 35 have against jimmy page.

    it was a good cermeony and olympics because dictatorships are good at organizing things.

    it shuldnt be too hard some fireowkrs some dancers and have the stadiums built on time seems simple to me

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  • 43. At 7:44pm on 24 Aug 2008, Michael Hartley wrote:

    and also why was there no cricket or rugby in the olympics ad why did the womens cycling have so few events

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  • 44. At 7:46pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:


    Swallowed the "London subsidises everyone else myth" I see. Maybe you should read a broader range of newspapers.

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  • 45. At 7:50pm on 24 Aug 2008, Ryushinku wrote:

    I've never been able to take Huw Edwards seriously since he had that cameo in Doctor Who a couple years back.

    "Bob? Bob? Not you too, Bob..."
    "Does this mean the Olympic dream is...dead?"


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  • 46. At 7:52pm on 24 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    #44 and maybe you should do a degree in economics and study the treasury figures.

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  • 47. At 7:56pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:

    London's problems are largely of its own making. Don't try to pass the buck. That would be ungrateful moaning. The rest of the UK has unselfishly helped you build the institutions and wealth you have.

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  • 48. At 8:00pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:

    At 7:52pm on 24 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    #44 and maybe you should do a degree in economics and study the treasury figures.


    Although I'm French, I actually do have a degree in Economics from Edinburgh University...that's a little bit to the north of London.

    I have studied the figures and those figures are clearly open to interpretation.

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  • 49. At 8:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:

    I only wanted to point out Beckham's mistaken use of the word England instead of Britain.

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  • 50. At 8:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, andy wrote:

    or UK.

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  • 51. At 8:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, traingirlie wrote:

    Well, as a Brit living in Australia, can I just say that we are immensely proud of our British athletes that raised the Union Jack so brilliantly during these Olympic games. It has certainly given the Australians something to talk about.

    Internationally, all eyes will be on London in four years time. People here are already beginning to talk about London and asking whether Britain can step up to the plate and carry off such a huge international event.

    Regardless of what people may feel about the closing ceremony, the British people should actually take a lead from the Australians. Take pride in our country. I am very proud to be British, and the national anthem being played during the closing ceremony moved me to tears. Yeah, the 8 minute segment could be discussed endlessly but to do so would be to criticise, and there are enough people to do that for us. Let's focus on the positive running ourselves down yet again.

    The London Olympics will find it difficult to compete against Beijing, but it doesn't need to. Let's show the world what Britain can do, and I only hope for the UK's sake that the next 4 years is about building a dream, rather than moaning, in-fighting and media criticism. Don't think for a second that the rest of the world doesn't get to hear about it, because we do!

    Yes, London has its problems, the transport network will groan, commuting to work will be a nightmare, it will cost a fortune to put on. True. But look at the exposure Beijing has had for the last 2 weeks.

    The world is our stage - let's show them our Games. Let's get behind London 2012 and most importantly our sportsmen and women.

    PS. Australian TV has used Steve Ovett as their track and field commentator!

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  • 52. At 8:14pm on 24 Aug 2008, qprplovegr wrote:

    Boris Johnson, you completely embarassed yourself and the entire nation. Seeing him go up on that stage alongside the other two smartly dressed men, I couldn't help but put my head in my hands. It looked like a spot the difference competition. Firstly why did he keep on waving and making weird hand gestures towards the crowd. Secondly and perhaps this was the best bit that made me laugh out loud was when he and the chinese president were about to go up on stage, boris turned to him and said something, and in return he completely blanked him. Thirdly, why can't he make an effort to just smarten up a little. At least do your buttons up. I couldn't help but think as the idiot walked off with his hands in his pockets, there are probably a billion people watching this and thinking exactly the same as me.

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  • 53. At 8:14pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    Just a thought.

    Why should London have to "compete" against Beijing?

    What London has to do is put on a games that those watching enjoy, that those competing enjoy, and that it leaves behind a legacy to be enjoyed.

    If it succeeds in all those it will be a successful games.

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  • 54. At 8:18pm on 24 Aug 2008, mblmbl wrote:

    What did people expect in 8 minutes. To really have made an impression we should have had 20 minutes.

    Personally, I would have gone for The Jams thats entertainment, that would have sounded much better there. Also, we could have showed iconic images of London and British sports crowds cheering on the big screen to show what we are like at big sports events.

    Although the message that the London Olympics will be fun seemed to get through to everyone. I struggle to think what traditional British cultural events we could show off come the Olympics.

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  • 55. At 8:21pm on 24 Aug 2008, kennyllee wrote:

    Without doubt the best games ever. I don't know how the Chinese have done it! London shouldn't compete against the opening and closing ceremonies - it would be a false economy. We mustn't lose focus - it's the sport that matters. With the competition getting so tough we must continue the investment in our teams if we are to match the number of medals attained over the past 2 weeks.

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  • 56. At 8:28pm on 24 Aug 2008, aeroColnago wrote:

    Totally Embarrasing but predictable input from the GB No thoughtfull artistic content just second rate loud and lousy so called entertainment

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  • 57. At 8:29pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    Traditional British cultural events?

    How about a Last Night of the Proms section - with Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory?

    A changing of the guard section?

    Something that represents each of the home nations?

    A music tribute - The Beatles, The Stones, Queen - let's have Brian May playing God Save the Queen again?

    Let's have a WWII fly past - spitfires, hurricanes and lancasters - lets get Concorde a safety certificate and fly over the stadium with the red arrows.

    Let's have iconic moments from the 20th century played around the stadium - Churchill "We will fight them on the beaches" for example.

    I'm Welsh and I am not a fan of this idea of Britishness by the way - but hell its the Olympics so let's celebrate British achievements and celebrate the things that are now traditions.

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  • 58. At 8:32pm on 24 Aug 2008, gsalaska wrote:

    Post #1. Who's counting?! Thanks, Matt. Great blog!

    What is it with us Brits? Why always so negative?

    Too many chips on our colective shoulders, perhaps?

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  • 59. At 8:33pm on 24 Aug 2008, qprplovegr wrote:

    I found it funny when Huw Edwards said 'get ready for the first of our megastars' and it turned out to be Leona Lewis, the winner of a reality tv show. But well done Mr Beckham for kicking that football off the roof successfully without gazing at that violinist.

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  • 60. At 8:36pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:

    Hahahaha all you oldies going mental about Boris not having his jacket done up. And a billion people would feel the same as you? I don't think so! Most people in the world don't own a suit, and most that do would rather not. The vast majority of people couln't care less about or even notice the status of Boris' buttons.

    He did well, he showed a bit of character and he enjoyed himself.

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  • 61. At 8:36pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    #59 - seeing as Leona Lewis went to number one in the US - the first British artist to tope the US charts with a debut album - then in the current scheme of things she's doing pretty well for a reality tv winner!!

    (Can't stand X-Factor by the way)

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  • 62. At 8:41pm on 24 Aug 2008, Iron_Jack wrote:

    London 2012 will never surpass or live up to Beijing 2008 in any aspect, you can see from that eight minute handover which if i'm being kind was mediocre.

    Oh and i'd like to congratulate the BBC on their fantastic coverage of the Olympics, many times I stayed up right through the night watching it on BBC1 and any time I missed something the BBC kindly had put it on their website. So thumbs up to you guys!!

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  • 63. At 8:44pm on 24 Aug 2008, Carole wrote:

    Thanks Beijing for a gorgeous stadium, and Games. Well done!! I love the SPORT wherever it is. At least Wimbledon will have a roof for next year! Haha! 'Our' Olympics??? Pass. Jury is still out on that one. Proof is in the pudding.

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  • 64. At 8:44pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    OMG - Breaking news - a 2012 promotional video was shown in Beijing containing a portrait of MYRA HINDLEY.

    Oh for god's sake how on earth could be have done such a thing.

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  • 65. At 8:48pm on 24 Aug 2008, world_unite wrote:

    The Chinese Olympics will never be surpassed by any other country, for its imaginative genius and the scale of excellence in every aspect of these games - it was truly unforgettable. The first chance London had to show that we could, even slightly, come close to the hard work, and professionalism, was shattered by our handing over segment - a few umbrellas being spun around, a football being kicked into a crowd and dancers throwing pieces of newspaper into the crowd. Top that off, with our Mayor, not even having the courtesy towards China and indeed the event itself of buttoning up his jacket when walking towards the stage, and in the process augmenting the thoughts of people around the world that the british are 'snobs'. Oh, how we miss Mr Livingstone. One can only feel proud of the British athletes who are the only people who make us proud to be British.

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  • 66. At 8:51pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:


    China has just declared war on Britain because Boris didn't have his jacket buttoned up.

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  • 67. At 8:56pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    #66 sadly locohero - the breaking news I posted is correct.

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  • 68. At 9:01pm on 24 Aug 2008, mblmbl wrote:

    I don't think that 8 minute section was that bad, just a bit boring. We just don't seem to be good at showing off. The only things we are good at showing off are things like trooping the colour. They should move that to the saturday after the opening ceremony in case its a big let down. At least the tourists and athletes can go and watch that and be impressed by that.

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  • 69. At 9:06pm on 24 Aug 2008, Shesgotlegs wrote:

    London will have no problems in following China.

    We are a city blessed with natural iconic buildings with a real history.

    We are prepared to let visitors talk to real people and wander around our great city without hinderance and embrace all that the olympics stands for.

    Think Sydney 2000 and then some.

    Bring on 2012 and let's her Rogge say "this was the best Olympiad"

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  • 70. At 9:06pm on 24 Aug 2008, dh_645 wrote:

    Does anyone know if or when a DVD showing Beijing Olympics Highlights is coming out?

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  • 71. At 9:07pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:

    Yes I saw the story about Myra Hindley briefly appearing in the promo video - thankfully we haven't quite perfected Chinese-style censorship!

    Storm in a tea cup.

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  • 72. At 9:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    #71 - i just think it is a major embarrassment - the Olympics are about the youth of today - and we go and show an image of someone who destroyed the lives of some of the youths of yesterday.

    Quite honestly I am disgusted.

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  • 73. At 9:13pm on 24 Aug 2008, CW wrote:

    You know, I think that London will not be able to match Beijing and its opening ceremony, but who cares? The Olympics is about sports, 2 weeks of it. Why focus so much attention on the 8 or so hours of opening and closing ceremonies (important thought they are).

    I think a way of putting on the 2012 games is to follow Boris Johnsons example - do it with pride, happiness and a sense of fun! Why focus on a button being undone?!?! But please, no more X-Factor, Pop Idol celebs, surely that barrel has been over scraped!!!!

    A dissapointing aspect of these discussions is how there is a lot of negativity. I'm chuffed that the UK has the next Olympics, let us get behind them and support the event and please, let us be positive!!!!!!!!

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  • 74. At 9:23pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:


    The picture of Myra Hindley was artwork from the Tate Modern, it appeared for a split second.

    I'm sure you will get over your disgust.

    I've never read so much complaining from everyone - if it was a sport we'd be world champions!

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  • 75. At 9:26pm on 24 Aug 2008, lwelshbloke wrote:

    #74 I'm sure I will - but it will Keith Bennett's mother? Or anyone else indeed?

    Its not about complaining here is it? It is about having the balls to say that this is unacceptable.

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  • 76. At 9:33pm on 24 Aug 2008, sisterkaff wrote:

    Leni Riefenstahl makes another "Triumph des Willens". Indeed, the massed ranks of Chinese performers resembled the huge and relentless human ant colonies available to produce a Nuremberg rally, or a great Soviet display of totalitarian power.

    I so disagree with those sycophants driveling on indulgently about the excessive extravaganza that was staged at Bejing - with an endless opening ceremony that didn't know when to stop. The end too, was ostentatious to the point of vulgarity, and embarrassingly kitsch and panto-land with those flocks of flashing Tinkerbells "flying" on the ends of cables. None of it had ANYTHING to do with sport.

    I trust London to do something completely different.

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  • 77. At 9:35pm on 24 Aug 2008, selyomL wrote:

    Boris Johnson will ruin the 2012 Olympics with his stupid green policies. And who made the decision to have Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page at the closing ceremony? At least have an iconic band that make good music.

    There will be such high expectations in 2012, Britain cannot afford to mess it up. But they will, because it's Britain.

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  • 78. At 9:42pm on 24 Aug 2008, antoniogoard wrote:

    Well now it is over and we [London] are the host city!

    I decided to pop down to Trafalgar Square to watch the closing ceremony (and a great end to the Olympics it was, well done Beijing), and immediately realised how our Summer Games will be completely different. London can't and won't try to compete with Beijing, firstly we wouldn't allow it (the cost!) and secondly why should it anyway? It isn’t all about big fireworks, fancy stadia and slick organisation, no that’s not Britain and certainly not London. What London 2012 will be about is the people. The people that live here, the people that come to watch and the people that compete in the events. Today showed that we will invite the world to come celebrate with us, not just inside the venues but on the streets along with the locals.

    It was really great to see everyone out wanting to be a part of the handover celebrations that were going on. We applauded politely after each of Beijing’s closing spectacles and speeches and cheered whenever a Brit was shown on the big screen. The Mall hosted many little tents where kids could get involved and try out some sports and as always we put on a big cheesy pop show in front of HRM’s Palace. In short we put on a good old celebration on our streets, something we are good at, and something that everyone loves. This is what our Summer Games will be about – how everyone can join in and celebrate the world’s biggest event.

    As for London’s time in the spotlight. Boris Johnson was as always comedy, untidy I agree but fun to watch him salute then stand there like an excited child ready to receive the Olympic flag. Unlike many people on this forum, I actually quite enjoyed our 8-minute sequence and thought that it was a real mix of London cool and tongue-in-cheek humour. The big red bus was a great touch and I loved the dancers who reflected all the different groups of people you’d expect to see in the morning waiting for a bus (note: girl in suit with trainers and folk with ethnic dress). Throwing the newspapers away, despite people’s hate of it (including mine) is quite simply a fact of everyday life in today’s London and along with the umbrella’s added a bit of light humour to the closing events. Also, was funny to see the mad dash to the bus and squeeze to try and get on. Admittedly, the rest of the world may not have quite understood much of what was going on but hey it was certainly London and reflected what our games will be about. Oh and well done to the Soho agency who put together the animation sequence, it was superb.

    I can’t wait until the Olympics and have looked forward to it for 3 years now. Finally it seems many others are starting to accept it and get excited and if we all carry on that support then together we will make it a great London Summer Games in 2012.

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  • 79. At 9:42pm on 24 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:

    So far no one has mentioned the cost breakdown of the games in Beijing, the labour cost for the local performers were next to nothing and their pop stars appeared for free....Staff and performers had signed contracts not to mention their pay.

    Directing and choregraphy cost was also low in Western standards.....

    What London need to get concern with is not the content of the Opening and Closing ceromony which is still buzzing!!!

    Really what London wouldn't be able to match China is on the capital project cost in todays prices. The security is £1 billion in sterling equivalents.

    Michael Thelps said it was the best swimming facilities he had ever seen, and U' Bolt said that stadium track was fast....and as for the living quarters China gave the competitors dulux room fit for an Olympian.

    Brick for Brick mortar for mortar the cost for the UK to match the facilities would be more than what China paid in its yuan currency.....pegged to the greenback dollar.

    I know as I work for a construction firm with 2012 and this has been the talk in the industry since late

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  • 80. At 9:45pm on 24 Aug 2008, budesurfdude wrote:

    Our British athletes contributed to a spectacular and successful games; surley that is what we should take away from the whole event? The sailors, rowers, cyclists set the height of the bar which the track and field people were unfortunately unable to rise to. Steve Cram spoke a lot of sense on the BBC this morning .
    The 8 minute resume of GB was an embarassment; newspapers being thrown away as though no-one cared about littering the world, an aged rock star, a "celebrity" pop singer, an ageing English footballer. If the same people who came up with these ideas also created the video with a shot of a convicted child killer they should be fired immediately before they force more of their distorted views of Great Britain onto the rest of the world over the next 4 years.
    It had been going so well up to then..

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  • 81. At 9:50pm on 24 Aug 2008, Wazza1806 wrote:

    Why did Coe and his team inflict Beckham on the closing ceremony audience - this man has never achieved any honours for his country despite playing in several World Cup and European Championships. What would he know about winning gold or any other medals on the world stage? We are staging the 2012 Olympic Games not a football tournament.

    Congratulations too to Boris on his scruffy demeanour.

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  • 82. At 9:57pm on 24 Aug 2008, clearGwotz wrote:

    I am embarassed about the 'handover'. A mistake was made by the planning team, of the target audience. Was it, our own public? This seems very introverted and small-minded.

    The whole world outside, UK - from South Africa, to Hong Kong, Mexico and Russia would have missed the significance of 'a red bus', 'umbrellas', 'X-factor', 'some old sweaty bloke playing some strings and then of course, Beckham, kicking a football (hardly an Olympic sport) randomly which was caught by an overpleased Chinese steward.

    Come guys - think big and wide. If we resort to our own insular world, we become irrelevant and retreat to the sidelines.

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  • 83. At 10:01pm on 24 Aug 2008, budesurfdude wrote:

    re 80 - I missed out the contribution made by the swimmers, apologies to all of you, as well as the canoeists.

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  • 84. At 10:02pm on 24 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:

    Hindley becomes famous at last after her death, her family should sue!!!! And this is what the UK organisisers call have some fun......Brown will be out of power by 2012 so he can just stop riding on the team GB success!!

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  • 85. At 10:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, squawvalley wrote:

    Watched the London part of the ceremony through my fingers as it became increasingly clear that what was being offered was some 6th form art project-take on what London (and vicariously, the wider UK) is all about. Let me out of here, it's terrible.

    A bloody double-decker bus for crying out loud, can you find a bigger stereotype of London? What about the cheery, Dixon of Dock Green, evenin'all 'Bobbies', or a Union Jack plastic bowler just to round off the codswallop that this unimaginative dross offered up. How long did it take to put it together, five rounds of drinks on the back of a beer mat? The closest think I saw to real London was the fighting in the bus queue, and even that wasn't representatively violent enough.

    I was embarrased, but sadly it's just the kind of shallow mediocrity that now passes as entertainment on our TVs and in the media - we even had a reality show winner, and a Blue Peter contestant - do you think if we'd had the same deal back in the 1970s we have offered up Bobby Crush? Unfortunately, we might have to put up with such dross, but once you put it on a world stage, you get found out really rather quickly.

    Can you imagine the French, the Italians, or even the less-than-imaginitive Germans offering up something as wilted and past its culturally stereotyped sell-by-date? Pierre the onion-seller cycling down ze rhode? Fritz the Bavarian dunking his sausage in his Weisbier?

    What now is now offered up, and increasingly accepted, as modern Britain by the liberal PC minority in charge of all aspects of the media, and is consistently rammed down our throats through government policies, non-governmental agencies (including the BBC) just looks sad, tired and hopelessly out of touch.

    I strongly suspect the vanquished Parisians will be sniggering into their coffee this morning and muttering a collective "we told you so". The shame!

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  • 86. At 10:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, icegillan wrote:

    Under no circumstance must Beckham be allowed anywhere near London in 2012, if we manage to get a UK team(not wanted by anyone)then should some idiot make Beckham manager or assistant then the entire games should be boycotted and those in control sent to bedlam.

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  • 87. At 10:10pm on 24 Aug 2008, timwest31 wrote:

    "It encapsulated what many British observers here have felt throughout these Games: we're all pretty blown away by the show the Chinese have put on, and we certainly can't afford anything as fancy as this, but we'll muddle through in 2012, and we'll try to put a smile on your face while we do it."

    ^^^ Oh come on!! Buck up! How weak are you? Already talking in terms of inferiority! Weaklings! Defeatists! I'm ashamed of my British cousins. Boo-hoo, hoo. Already saying you can't do as well as China. Come on mates! Get up! Be strong! Of course you can! That statement above is just pathetic.

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  • 88. At 10:11pm on 24 Aug 2008, glidingwing wrote:

    I think what contributed to the success of this Beijing Olympics was seemingly the wholeheart support of the event from the Chinese all over the globe. You rarely read stuffs like why host the Olympics? And throughout the competitions the Chinese's support , their passion to the game was unbelievable.

    People often talked about the cost of creating the opening and closing ceremony, yet to me it seems like missing the point. Olympics is still very much about the "games". Had it been poorly organized, would it still be considered as a "success" despite a stunning opening ceremony?

    Like the Beijing Olympics slogan "One World, One Dream", it did strike me the Chinese were all in it TOGETHER, and determined to make it a success.

    I believe that will be the key to the London 2012 game.

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  • 89. At 10:16pm on 24 Aug 2008, WHATwiththeseFEET wrote:

    I'm sure I read somewhere that to bring to fruition the 8 minute blockbuster cost, flying the people, and dancers into the country, calling off at the local paper shop to buy those papers only to litter poor old china, the bus, and that pathetic - painted on zebra-crossing, no doubt done on the cheapest roll of cheap wallpaper they could find in china during the bus journey from the hotel to the stadium - a few million quid?

    I hope that person was seriously mistaken.

    And when I saw that privit hedge kinda contraption unfold on the bus, well, i had to cover my eyes in embarrassment! What the eck was that lighting effect outlining the london Sky-line?

    No invention, no idea, get a new Chief designer please!

    The whole 8 min simply reinforced what i have always believed. The chinese designers are from a different Planet and from a different art school upbringing?

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  • 90. At 10:24pm on 24 Aug 2008, CULXHJ wrote:

    To 69. Shesgotlegs,
    69. At 9:06pm on 24 Aug 2008, Shesgotlegs wrote:
    London will have no problems in following China.

    We are a city blessed with natural iconic buildings with a real history.

    We are prepared to let visitors talk to real people and wander around our great city without hinderance and embrace all that the olympics stands for.

    Think Sydney 2000 and then some.

    Bring on 2012 and let's her Rogge say "this was the best Olympiad"

    Shame on your ignorance. Beijing natural iconic buildings and interests are far more than London (we are taling about 10 times min, not only a few), Beijing is also famous for its thousands of years history if you are talking about "real history". what you want to express?

    "We are prepared to let visitor talk to real people" -- so, London is the city prohibiting visitor talk to "real people" now? lol. Seriously, dont leave so funny comments to make me laugh.

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  • 91. At 10:35pm on 24 Aug 2008, lillywr wrote:

    Well I think everyone should get into the spirit of these games and stop being so sceptical!!

    As a student who lives and works (and grew up around) London, I have seen what the city is capable of and it is definitely able to put on a good show!

    Why compare what we can do to previous events, that for one reason or another have a never ending pocket of cash and support and power. Though look at London, a city where it's people are lucky enough to stand up and be counted for, where our voices can and will be heard and where we can make the city a positive place for all visitors in the run up now to 2012 and the time of the Olympics itself.

    Stop nitpicking at the mistakes, who wants a perfectly choreographed show? I can tell you not I? I want to be dancing in the streets, screaming from the stands and cheering in the parks, not sitting on my sofa at home looking for any fault possible just to come onto blogs like these to complain and moan!

    Get into the spirit of things and bring on 2012 it will do both you, this nation (GB) and London the world of good!

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  • 92. At 10:35pm on 24 Aug 2008, dudepod45 wrote:

    A good stab at it? You must be joking. That 8 minute sequence had me cringing in embarassment. Does an ageing rock star, an X-Factor winner and an overpaid footballer really represent the best of contemporary British culture. I hope not.

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  • 93. At 10:37pm on 24 Aug 2008, PACSYIP wrote:

    Glidingwing, I hope you are right. However, after the breaking news tonight about the disgraceful and disgusting video, I just wonder how we could be behind the game together.

    Look at the Chinese, they support the games all the way. They are proud of the sucess of the games, and they are proud of being Chinese. What about us? no passion, only complaint. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. Are you proud of being British?

    Just tell me why you all hate to see the Olympics coming to London? I just don't understand, give me 1 good reason, don't just tell me ohhh I don't want to pay anymore tax for it. To be honest, apart from that reason, I am sure you can't think of anything.

    Let's me remind you all who don't want the Olympics, do you want the World Cup coming in 2018? Perhaps you all want 'football is coming home', but not the Olympics. What a hypocrite you are, like I said earlier 'single narrow minded people'.

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  • 94. At 10:38pm on 24 Aug 2008, colinmckail wrote:

    Here we go again!. We really now how to be number 1 at shooting ourselves in the foot.

    It really depresses me how many people are willing to put us down.

    We will certainly win the gold medal for running ourselves down. While I see a lot of good posts There are loads of people willing to put ourselves down. Why!!!

    We always have people willing to tell everybody how crap we are.

    This is an amazing opportunity to show our multicultural society

    We may not be able to better Bejing, but by being different we can certainly be on a par and certainly more fun and entertaining.

    However it does need EVERYBODY to get behind the Olypmics.

    If you actually see how much Bejing spent on these olypmics it far more than we are spending.

    Yes I liked Beckham and the slightly dogdy red bus. It's what th eworld knows us for. To see the face of the person who picked the ball up was fantastic!

    Leona is world class just see what she has done in the US and around the world. And I am a real detractor of these reality shows but shes a star!!

    Lets celebrate our whit and tongue in cheek British Humour. I loved Boris's speech and Ping Pong is coming home!!!

    Sums it up in one.

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  • 95. At 10:45pm on 24 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:

    Tje FA could not agreed how to field a UK squard for the Football, and thats the biggest joke in these games.....

    The 8 min UK theme was a sixth form Arts project alright costing.......a eurovison entry from bulgaria wou;d look better

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  • 96. At 10:49pm on 24 Aug 2008, chronise wrote:

    As a Chinese, I think one thing that the British should learn is to be passion and friendly. The passion of Chinese people to the game was unbelievable!

    I had several really bad experience with some really arrogant British people.

    Look at how good the Chinese volunteer is! They are passion and friendly, they always try their best to help everyone. How many British in London would like to point out the way for a foreigner? I had some really bad experiences in asking British in London for pointing me out the way.

    Good Luck to London, and wish 2012 Olympic game could be a very successful Olympia

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  • 97. At 10:59pm on 24 Aug 2008, word4word wrote:

    - 94
    very well said.

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  • 98. At 11:00pm on 24 Aug 2008, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    #96 - as a Londoner, I agree that we should learn from the volunteers, think I mentioned it above. And as a Londoner, I'm sorry that you've had bad experiences here. Some of us will always try to help foreigners, but not all - it has a 'big City' mentality like New York which has good and bad aspects. It is also a melting pot of every nation in the world (what is a 'Londoner' these days?) which again has good and bad aspects, for example in some parts of London the people you asked may not have spoken much English.

    I've had quite a few bad experiences in Shanghai, but I try not to let it influence my view of the Chinese people who I have generally found to be friendly and hard-working.

    Finally, congratulations on the great Olympics your country hosted.

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  • 99. At 11:07pm on 24 Aug 2008, Danhkrules wrote:

    The closing ceremony was good but wasn't as good as the opening in my opinion.

    But, what a disappointment, Boris Johnson had to look informal without buttoning his suit, jumping the stairs and messing up waving the olympic flag. Now it makes other people think we aren't serious enough!

    And that 8 minute presentation of London didn't even help it! A red bus to show the only culture we have in the UK :(

    We will never pull it off - Beijing is the best olympics that i have seen in my life so far!

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  • 100. At 11:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, antoniogoard wrote:

    [addition to my post #78]

    Watched the London 2012 sequence again and realise now that actually the newspapers were actually broadsheets and one of the iconic symbols of London past and present (workers waiting for bus reading paper). The dancers threw them away, not to emulate today's messy habit of throwing away 'free papers', but so they were free to perform the next bit of the dance.

    [response to Myra Hindley in video]

    I get the sense that many have assumed that the news story that has surfaced regarding MH is to do with the animation shown in The Bird's Nest stadium today.

    Actually it is not! The Marcus Harvey portrait of MH didn't appear in that animation. The article refers to a video promoting London that was put together by Visit London and shown in Beijing elsewhere (not in closing ceremony).

    Anyway, it was passing footage of an art gallery and didn't solely focus on that image. Storm in a tea-cup!

    [response to everyone slamming the 8-minute London 2012 sequence]
    Come up with better idea!

    [response to post #89]
    The art direction was purposely made to look how it was as the style reflected what was being communicated.

    Yes the Chinese pulled off something much more stylish because they have been working on it for 3 years and a great deal more money on it.

    No-one remember's the closing ceremony and certainly doesn't just for the next host cities' segment.

    Everyone get over themselves and start supporting our efforts.

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  • 101. At 11:11pm on 24 Aug 2008, sanda_china wrote:

    As a Chinese, I truly appreciate the kind words people post here about the Beijing Olympic Games.

    I don't get the bashing about Beckham. I think the London Olympic Commitee did a smart thing to invite him at closing ceremony. Regarding the 8 minutes performance, I myself think it is quite interesting. Many Chinese audiences were not familiar with Jimmy Page and that girl from X-factor and they were left a little confused by the dancing scene. It was until Beckham showed up when people cheered up because everybody knows him. To people outside Britain, Beckham represents courtesy, good style, sportsmanship and sense of honour. I think he represents Britain really well.

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  • 102. At 11:27pm on 24 Aug 2008, mselephantbarbiegirl wrote:

    Let's not get too obsessed about the 8 minute slot! It had some very good parts- no one has mentioned the music, incorporating the Greenwich Time Signal and the Shipping Forecast-highly original. The short animation film was also excellent. I agree with other bloggers that the bus 'routine' was a bit obvious, lacked impact and was a confusing mish mash of ideas. The important thing is that London hosts the games well for the athletes and spectators, not that it puts on a good 'show'. Believe me, we may all have been dazzled by the Beijing opening and closing ceremonies but memories of these fade very quickly- who can remember anything about the Athens or Sydney ceremonies? Let's be positive, optimistic and enthusiastic about London 2012. We all have a part to play in making our games a success!

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  • 103. At 11:29pm on 24 Aug 2008, richj1209 wrote:

    Trust us to be negative already.

    The 2012 organisers had eight minutes in a very small spot of the stadium to give a presentation. I felt that it was reasonably good, humorous, witty and fun. It gave a flavour of what the 2012 games will be about - fun.

    Of course we have to pander to stereotypes: it is a shorthand of reflecting our culture and introducing Britain and London to the world. The Chinese, Greeks and Aussies had similar handover presentations with cliched stereotypes.

    The Aussies have us to a tee when they call us "whinging Poms"... all this about "we should give up hosting the games... we can't match Beijing"... all this negativity! Calm down... relax, have a very English cuppa. It will be fine.

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  • 104. At 11:32pm on 24 Aug 2008, richj1209 wrote:

    102: Yes, I liked the animation as well. Its on London 2012's YouTube page, too.

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  • 105. At 11:34pm on 24 Aug 2008, womble78 wrote:

    Having attended sporting events, including Athens 2004, around the world I'm extremely optimistic about London 2012.

    It's obvious that our venues aren't going to be as opulent and the fireworks won't be as impressive but since when has the barometer of a succesful games been based on the opening/closing ceremonies and the artistic quality of the Athletics stadium? Does anyone remember what the venues in Sydney or Athens looked like or their cermonies for that matter, all I can recall about Sydney is Rolf Harris and Bananas In Pyjamas in the closing ceremony and I'm pretty confident we can do better than that.

    Crucially the London games will beat the Chinese hands down in terms of a festive atmosophere for the fans and public. I was a bit of a sceptic but after attending the Tour De France Prologue in London last summer when a million people congregated around Hyde Park I've got no doubt that the party atmosphere will be something very special and I'm looking forward to it already.

    The 8 minute segment was a little naff and Beckham definitely mishit the kick, much like some of his penalties. However criticising the use of Jimmy Page is ridiculous, our Rock'n Roll heritage is something we should be rightly proud of and Led Zep are still an iconic band all over the world.

    I don't think the 8 mins will be a sign of things to come, we can do pomp and cermony with the best of them and there's an awful lot of talent within the performing arts in this country. I think we'll do a good job.

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  • 106. At 11:39pm on 24 Aug 2008, richj1209 wrote:

    Womble: thats the spirit!

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  • 107. At 11:40pm on 24 Aug 2008, Alex wrote:

    The Beijing Olympics was the best I've seen so far, just marginally edging Sydney.

    The stadia and locations were spectacular, and the organization was spot on. However, it still wouldnt have been as memorable without the performances of Phelps and Bolt.

    Really looking forward to London 2012 now. And I really liked the handover to London - it was quirky and fun.

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  • 108. At 11:40pm on 24 Aug 2008, nicedribbler wrote:

    Get over yourselves, those of you with an evident downer on London 2012 and, clearly, life in general - your negativity offers nothing other than a reflection of a miserable outlook.

    After the State choreographed drama of Beijing, awesome to look at but in my view strangely bland, London's segment struck the right tone and said we'll do it ourway - fresh, youthful, not embarassed (unlike some of you), and fun. Some great music by Phillip Sheppard to kick it all off too. I do agree it was a little unfortunate about the newspapers, and like Matt Slater I didnt know whether to laugh or cry about Boris, he was clearly a bit nervous. But then he is what he is and you Londoners voted for him! So lets encourage his genius side.

    Bring on 2012.

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  • 109. At 11:45pm on 24 Aug 2008, MartinDFerry wrote:

    colinmckail (post 94):

    I suggest you leave it an hour or so before posting again - give your exclamation mark key time to cool down. I don't follow your line of argument either:

    "To see the face of the person who picked the ball up was fantastic!"

    Was it Colin? Was it really?

    Can you see why this sort of infantile enthusiasm may get a bit wearing after a while?

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  • 110. At 11:45pm on 24 Aug 2008, Saintsmann wrote:

    So many comments and I can't be bothered to go back through them all but, if no one's mentioned it, I bet Boris will have been a bit depressed that the bus they used wasn't a Routemaster.

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  • 111. At 11:46pm on 24 Aug 2008, glidingwing wrote:

    I think ppl are being too harsh on Beckham. He may be an overhyped, over the hill footballer, but this guy has a tremendous pride being an English. Other superstar, following being dropped by his national team manager (Big Mac), probably would declare he would never play for his country again. Not Becks. He bited the bullet and worked his way back to the England squad.

    whenever playing for England, he always gave his all. when we look at the bright young things such as David Bentley, who refused to travel to Euro Under 21 championship citing he was exhausted. Could you see Beckham every doing this? Refusing to play for his country even if it's "only" an under 21 tournament?

    Beckham very much reminds me of Yao Ming to China. Yao, despite just recovered from a broken foot, insisted in playing for China during the Olympics, citing that even if it would risk his NBA career he would still be playing for his country.

    I believe Beckham falls into this category. That alone would be more than enough to make him a good ambassdor for London 2012.

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  • 112. At 11:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, locohero wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 113. At 11:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, Shire_Gas wrote:

    The complete ignorance of some posters on here is staggering. The whole point of the London 2012 presentation was to project it to the whole world, and not 'middle England'. IMHO it achieved that aim and should be classed as a success

    Take the inclusion of David Beckham for starters. Regardless of the thoughts of the naysayers on here he is the only true global sports person that this country has. Does anyone seriously think that 80% of the couple of billion or so that were watching have ever heard of the likes of Redgrave, Ainslie or Hoy? (Personally I think that these three have achieved far more than DB.)

    Leona Lewis is the first Brit in a generation to have a simultaneous number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic and currently is one of the hottest musical talents in the world. IMHO only Paul McCartney would generate a bigger impact. Jimmy Page is a bona fide guitar legend.

    It seems that some people wouldn't have been satisfied if we'd have resurrected Boudica, Elgar and W G Grace on to the stage!

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  • 114. At 11:53pm on 24 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:

    There is a greater show before 2012.......its called the General election and we are all invited to participate and dance in the street and binge like its 2012!!!

    There will be gold medals for the winning party......

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  • 115. At 11:54pm on 24 Aug 2008, U1158320 wrote:

    Why DO we have to suffer those utter morons babbling away during the commentary? It can't be turned off on the footage of the 8-min segment on here, only when the whole thing was live.

    Less is more!

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  • 116. At 00:04am on 25 Aug 2008, MartinDFerry wrote:

    Shire Gas, it appears that Visit London have beaten you to the idea of resurrecting famous Britons to promote the games. If only they'd chosen Boudica, Elgar, or W G Grace instead!

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  • 117. At 00:32am on 25 Aug 2008, Baron_Daguerre wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 118. At 00:39am on 25 Aug 2008, AddisonSteele wrote:

    Call me sentimental, but I thought the moment when the little chinese girl passed the ball to the little london girl was just perfect. Something very small and simple standing for something very big. To me it was much more moving than the men in suits with their flag. And it perfectly made the point that the London games aim to put kids at the centre. Bonus points for picking our girl via Blue Peter...not that the rest of the world cares, but there's a British institution if there ever was one.

    So now we've got our ball, are we going to party with it or are we going to squabble like spoilt brats? Let's hope we can be more like the crowds in London than the typical poster on this blog!

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  • 119. At 00:49am on 25 Aug 2008, Rich Barber wrote:

    The handover bit was just about made worth it by the sight of Chris Hoy wobbling along on a Brompton!

    All in all, I think it just about worked - assuming a worldwide audience - Beckham, Leona and Led Zeppelin (or at least 'Whole lotta love' anyway...) are all pretty well known; and the higher-impact dancing was clearly different to that provided by the chinese.

    However, after you've used "brand Beckham" once; how exactly do you then manage to deliver a whole Olympics which doesn't then descend into crass, celebrity obsessed tat?

    Additionally (judging from the post-handover show, featuring Michael Phelps getting largely used as program filler?!?!) is there any chance that we could avoiding complete corporate advertising overload at 2012? I saw more 'VISA', 'Panasonic'... ads in the space of 2hrs than in the whole Beijing games :-(

    broadcast event was a stark, and unwelcome contrast to the more 'olympic' branded Chinese efforts...

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  • 120. At 00:55am on 25 Aug 2008, thefterian wrote:

    I must give credit for the London 2012 section yesterday in the closing ceremony. I do admit that using David Beckham was a rather brain dead (and in that I mean - lacking in creative imagination) idea - surely, the artistic direction could have thought of other more appropriate figures. But generally, the use of the bus, the suits, bicycles, umbrellas and the animation at the start was pretty good. Talking about animation - BBC take note - thats how you link animation relevantly to its subject and to an event unlike the stupid monkey cartoon.

    London 2012 does not need to replicate Beijing 2008 to better. Being better does not need £43billion of money being spent. Sydney and Athens were all different to Beijing and were fantastic in their own ways. They had their own particular qualities to demonstrate and they demonstrated them well. Sydney's exuberance, effervescent optimism and passion for sport and general lifelong contentment was done well and was missing from the Beijing games. And in turn, the proud Olympic heritage coupled with warm and all embracing Mediterranean culture brought about its own characteristics which contrast sharply with the experience in Beijing. Yes, the games in China may have been planned and exercised to the minutest degree, with wads of money and militaristic completion timescales, but they were lacking in soul and human spirit which I think is required to ensure that the competitors and spectators and citizens get some kind of souvenir fulfilment.

    London will offer I am sure its own type of culture which hopefully will be self deprecatory, humourous and a far cry from the sterility and overt security of Beijing. If everyone tried to outdo Beijing, we would lose the national identity of each country. After all, medals are not awarded for the ceremonies.

    Therefore by being different and not a lame pastiche, it has every chance of being just as good if not better. However, thats providing it does not rely on reality tv temporary celebrities.

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  • 121. At 01:00am on 25 Aug 2008, notimeforlosers wrote:

    ''117. At 00:32am on 25 Aug 2008, Baron_Daguerre wrote:
    London is infinitely cooler than any city in the world. London could spend 1% of Beijing and still be better. ''


    should I remind you the delay of Wimbley stadium and chaos in Heathrow terminal 5

    who is the loser?

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  • 122. At 01:13am on 25 Aug 2008, cjglov wrote:

    There is only one word to describe the London input to the Olympics closing ceremony - embarrasing

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  • 123. At 01:30am on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    @ 120 : "Talking about animation - BBC take note - thats how you link animation relevantly to its subject and to an event unlike the stupid monkey cartoon."

    I think the animation for the 8 minutes is great. But it's a very contemporary and "familiar". I can name at least 6 animator friends whose styles are just like that! but not the BBC's animation! I think BBC does a fantastic job with that Journey to the West animation.

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  • 124. At 01:34am on 25 Aug 2008, taobo33 wrote:

    As a Chinese I wish London 2012 game can be a successful game.
    I can remember the 8 mins performance in Anthens for China is also getting tons of critisim. Not even mention how many 'noise' we had on the way till the summer game begains even thou some part coming from UK x)
    Having faith in yourself and just do the thing while others are bitching. You have lead the human into industrial age remember! There is a lot more to showcase UK.

    Hope I can see a spectacular game in London at 2012!

    Go London!

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  • 125. At 01:54am on 25 Aug 2008, BritBelle wrote:

    Our 8 minute presentation was frankly appalling. The Olympic games are seen and remembered by millions, we had 8 minutes to show the world what we are about and we blew it! I sincerely hope this is not a taste of what 2012 will be like. We have such an incredible amount of talent in the UK, so why is it that we used the National Youth Theatre to sing (surely the Youth Choir would have been more appropriate and tuneful?), had to resort to a reality-TV star and the awful Beckham? I hope we don't rely on celebrities for our opening ceremony - they come and go so quickly that when we look back on 2012 we'll be embarrassed. Please, please, let us draw from our vast history and wealth of culture for something more enduring and magical for 2012.

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  • 126. At 01:59am on 25 Aug 2008, BritBelle wrote:

    By the way, I am normally proud of our culture, but this really was embarrassing. I hope we can steer clear of being "down with the kids" and just do what we do well, rather than being edgy and "cool". The message this 8 minutes seemed to convey was that Britain is confused.

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  • 127. At 02:09am on 25 Aug 2008, waterboy wrote:

    Well the Beijing games were amazing, the stadia look better than anything we have planned and there were some great performances from athletes from all over the world. The Chinese plan to dominate the medal table almost came off, 51 gold, but the USA still won 10 more medals overall.

    As for the opening and closing ceremonies, London cannot hope to match those. How do we draft in 10,000 military conscripts and drill them for 4 years under the direction of an outstanding film director?.

    What was embarrassing about our 8 minute contribution was the uncoordinated dancing, the "oh, it's going to rain" use of umbrellas, the throwing the newspaper on the floor (come to London and see how much rubbish there is everywhere), the red double decker bus ( I haven't seen one in years, they are all covered in advertising), the 'dancers' climbing over each other as soon as the bus stopped (whatever happened to queuing?) someone’s sweaty granddad playing the guitar (did anyone know who he was until the announcer told us?), the talent show wannabe dressed as a Christmas tree (did anyone who doesn't read the tabloids know who she was?), the has been footballer (OK he is featured on a million billboards in China, but he never has been and never will be an Olympian) and finally the shambolic Boris in the worst fitting suit I have ever seen (aren't we famous for our tailoring), bumbling about like the a**e he is with his hands in his pockets.

    There is more than one word for this, embarrassing, humiliating, shameful and ill conceived.

    How could our wonderful city have let itself down so badly on the world stage?

    Oh yes, that would be because Boris decided to cut Ken's budget and spend 50p on the whole event.

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  • 128. At 02:16am on 25 Aug 2008, marion24 wrote:

    Congrats for the successful Olympics to Beijing, and can't wait to see the 2012 one in London. I thought the use of a double-decker bus was pretty nifty, and was amused to see it become a green-and-fuzzy-transformer.

    The dancing caught the youthful energy well (though to be fair the performance as a whole was disadvantaged when placed next to the scale of the Beijing acts). I'm sure London will succeed the Olympics well, in a different style centred around a different theme, to create a different vibe.

    But please, please fix the Heathrow airport terminals before then. And make sure more affordable accommodation is available for the younger people (especially students!) who wish to view the games....

    To comment #24 who thinks the closing ceremony was choreographed by the Chinese state and filled with propaganda songs; well, it's not. Most of the songs used last night were updated version of old folksongs. The more modern "Beijing, Beijing, I love Beijing" song, whilst cheesy, hardly does qualify as propaganda.

    And #120's comment is self-contradicting....saying that the Beijing Olympics felt sterile and bland, yet also saying how different host countries create different atmospheres based on their maybe the commenter is just not understanding Beijing culture? It's true the games convey part of the culture to the world, but it is equally important for the foreign visitors to reach out and seek knowledge about the culture themselves...

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  • 129. At 02:40am on 25 Aug 2008, G_Plamantouras wrote:

    Good morning from Tokyo. Well, last night's Closing Ceremony was very telling:

    1. China filled our minds, ears and hearts with an incredible two plus weeks. The closwing ceremony sealed the Beijing Games with an unforgettable Asian kiss.

    2. The London 2012 piece was the worst display I have ever seen. You'd think after Sydney, Athens and Beijing, London would have something better to show for itself than having a bus come to Beijin, take the football, give it to Beckham and then have him kick it back into the crowd where it is picked up by a Chinese volunteer!!! In other words, the ball doesn't leave China and perhaps the Olympics shouldn't either. And my goodness, Jimmy Page's appearance could not have been more out of place. Finally, how will I ever forget London's mayor with his hand in the pocket of his unbuttoned jacket lumbering onto and off the field? The only thing worse than that was his two-fingered salior's salute to Beijing's mayor when he should have actually shaken the man's hand!

    London has been consistently one of the world's greatest cities over the last seven hundred years. They will not need to set off more fireworks or get more people onto the field but for heaven's sake, show us SOMETHING of what makes London so great instead of reminding us how much it rains and how fun that won't be.

    If the LOC cannot be expected to produce pieces as telling as the previous three, then perhaps they would be well advised to head for the British Museum and steal a few things from there to parade around the Opening Ceremony. I think the Elgin Marbles would make for a more interesting show than a washed up Jimmy Page and some electric umbrellas.

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  • 130. At 02:44am on 25 Aug 2008, rebecca0813 wrote:

    The Arrow And The Song


    I shot an arrow in the air,
    It fell to earth, I knew not where; ;

    For so swiftly it flew, the sight
    Could not follow it in its flight.


    I breathed a song into the air,
    It fell to earth, I knew not where;

    For who has sight so keen and strong,
    That it can follow the flight of song?


    Long, long afterward, in an oak

    I found the arrow still unbroke;

    And the song, from beginning to end, ,

    I found again in the heart of a friend. ?

    -----by [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 131. At 03:01am on 25 Aug 2008, teresalhy wrote:

    I am a chinese ! Thank you for everyone who pay more attention to CHINA and Beijing ! YES , there is a chinese saying goes: It is hard to please all. Everyone has his/ her own taste ! BUT, in OUR'S OG , no matter the opening celebrate or the closing
    celebrate all implication CHINA'S particularly
    BUT also , i expect 2012 in london has a great celebrate and a different GAME !!!!

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  • 132. At 03:13am on 25 Aug 2008, 0darroch wrote:

    For heavan's sake everyone, LIGHTEN UP! Must we make such a fuss that Boris had his button undone (shock horror), and seemed genuinely excited about the whole occasion? And please stop criticising his intellect, the man has a 2:1 in Classics from Oxford, having been a scholar - more than most of his critics, I imagine. He was also president of the Oxford Union, editor of the Spectator and has held high positions in the shadow cabinet - you dont get all that without being extremely intelligent.

    I've said it before, but only in the UK could we find so much wrong with so little. People seem to enjoy finding fault with everything that happens in the UK.

    You say why David Beckham, he is a worldwide superstar, is hugely popular in China, and is an ambassador for UK Sport.

    You say why Leona Lewis, she is an internationally admired star who has sold millions of records and is currently the face of British Pop Music.

    You say why Jimmy Page? He was the lead guitarist in one of the UK's most famous and iconic bands, playing one of our most famous songs.

    You say why the London Bus, it is a symbol of London and is something tourists remember when they go away (like the Yellow NY taxis).

    Why cant we just enjoy the fact that we have the chance to host the most amazing sporting spectacle on the planet, the one that means the most to the most people? Yes we cannot throw as much money at it as Beijing did (because everyone would start complaining....again) but we can still put on a damn good games.

    And can people please stop saying "What are Aberdeen/Manchester/Cardiff/etc etc going to "get" from the games. What you will "get" (if indeed you should get anything) is your country being portrayed in a hugely positive light to the rest of the world, and a chance to feel immense pride in your country.

    I tire so much of the Scots (of which I am one) complaining that it will be an "English" event, when you can bet your balls that if it were in Glasgow or Edinburgh the place would be teeming with Pipers and kilts, and the same can be said with Wales and (admittedly impressive) male voice choirs. The games will showcase London and the UK, and will encourage people to come to our country and see why we, despite the constant grumbling, are so proud of it.

    Let's lighten up and be proud of our chance, pull together and make it a games to remember.

    And to #90, shame on you too: Beijing is known for its Ming and Qing dynasty architecture, stretching back to the 1300s, hardly "thousands of years". The Tower of London is 400 years older than the Forbidden City. Westminster hall was built in 1097, again almost 400 years before the Forbidden City. London has more than its share of historical buildings.

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  • 133. At 03:15am on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    @ 129: "then perhaps they would be well advised to head for the British Museum and steal a few things from there to parade around the Opening Ceremony."

    I think that's not a bad idea. British Museum is the greatest museum on earth :) !The 8 minutes wasn't bad! But I was kind of hoping it would be more than a pop/celebrity culture. I knew it 's geared towards the 'youth' and 'modern' theme, but it reminds me too much of pop concerts and music festivals!

    Looking forward to 2012 already though :)!

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  • 134. At 03:16am on 25 Aug 2008, Sandrasoto wrote:

    I am hoping that the London Games turn up great, but I worry about the xenophobia against the Americans, French and Aussies that is so rampnat in England. Can people put these aside and be welcoming hosts or will they simply tell people from these countries to stay away? Hmm...

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  • 135. At 03:18am on 25 Aug 2008, joe-blow wrote:

    it's very very hard to make a more spectacular opening/closing ceremony than the one in beijing

    but as many others have said, london *doesn't have* to compete in this aspect

    the bottom line should be making a safe and *fun* olympic games. i've faith in britain in making something creative and inspirational

    the beijing olympic games has been very successful if we can separate sports from politics :)

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  • 136. At 03:23am on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:


    nah,I am a foreigner here, London is really quite friendly and people are happy to help most of the time.

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  • 137. At 03:23am on 25 Aug 2008, buumaa wrote:

    After seeing the "8 minutes" performance, I do have my doubt and worry.

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  • 138. At 03:24am on 25 Aug 2008, ArsKinetic wrote:

    Good luck with 2012 London. Hope you all will do a excellent job.

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  • 139. At 03:30am on 25 Aug 2008, KnightsofPi wrote:

    The first fundamental task of a great olympic event is to make sure that the infrastructure is world class. Good transport, good sporting facilities e.t.c. No short cuts there. (the architecture of teh venues do play a significant part in teh olympic spirit)

    in addition to the fundementals, the best way to create an olympic even better than beijing would be to incorporate subjects that could never be part of the beijing olympics.

    one such example is to some how incorportae the idea of democarcy into the olympics... off the top of my head, voting via SMS (from around the world?) could be used to choose fire works (music?) for ceremonies...

    Using new technology, only possibility would be to create a Virtual torch rally via via e-mails (or sms), that could culminate in the torch being lit.

    Another possibility (maybe a little painful for national pride) would be to use the internet to accept 'donations' from around the world for a olympics could be actual cash itself, or it could be funds from sponsers based on internet 'votes'...(i'll call any some things votes for obvious reasons). This progresses to another possible strategy. The london olympics could be used as a shocase for how great the world is, as opposed to how great a particular city/state/country is... this emphasis on multiculturalism suits london perfectly.

    these are just off the top of my head, but the underlying thinking is differentiation from thinking, and a basic level, what beijing would not have done

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  • 140. At 05:40am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Wow, in the 8 minutes allocated to London, it managed to include 2 boopers, 1. graffiti and 2. littering.

    Is someone nuts?

    There's no excuse for it, the perceived image is of graffiti and littering being part of London culture, regardless of any reasons why the dancers may have thrown their newspapers away.

    I was watching them and when I saw them throwing the newspapers on the ground the first thing I thought was "who on earth could have choreographed that and not have thought how that action would have been perceived", dumb.

    Good start London, job well done.

    At least you've got Boris to sort things out for you........ good luck!

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  • 141. At 05:50am on 25 Aug 2008, gbinusa wrote:

    Bejing 2008 from start to finish was awesome. Team GB performed brilliantly, my hats off to the athletes and those behind the scenes. Watching the Olympics in the USA didn't allow us Brits to see all the achievements of team GB athletes unfortunately.

    I hope these results will forge the way for the kids in schools around our Great Britain to try harder, practice harder and reach for Gold in 2012. The Chinese stepped up to the plate during thier opportunity, I hope our leaders , trainers, coaches and athletes take this once in a lifetime opportunity to produce greatness for our 'Island" .."what ever the cost maybe'

    Boris. A little sloppy mate. Love the enthusiasm for what you are doing, but the world was watching!

    As for the 8 minutes we had to show the world what we have and can do we could have done a lot better. The bus wasn't a bad idea. Beckham, not a fan,, but understand the symbolism he had around the world, but Jimmy Page (big fan) and whats her face....not good.

    Who ever organized that for us should have stood out side Buckingham Palace during a Trooping of the Color for inspiration. Watch the tourists (and us British types) as the Mass bands march down the Mall followed by the pipes and drums of the Scotts Guards. Breath taking and it amazes those who visit our Green Isle.
    If that lot would have marched into the Birds Nest tonight, swaying back and forward, blasting out their favourite tune.....well I think we would have made 90,000 + and the world watching take notice.

    Maybe Boris has that up his sleeve for the openning ceromony in 2018..lets hope.

    Well done Team GB. V. Proud to be British!

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  • 142. At 05:58am on 25 Aug 2008, gbinusa wrote:

    meant 2012 openning ceremony...tired sorry

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  • 143. At 06:02am on 25 Aug 2008, Toby wrote:

    Way too many comments to read through, and I doubt this one will get read either but I thought id throw my two cents in.

    Firstly, congratulations to the Chinese on hosting what was by far the most ambitious and stunning Olympics, certainly in my lifetime.

    However, as I think is the main focus of this blog, there is no way that London can match it. The reason for this is that as a democratic nation our government is answerable to its people. Can you imagine the government trying to justify spending however many million on an opening ceremony, while a small but significant percentage of the country live in poverty, the NHS remains a bit of a mess and taxes are already high.

    Conversely the Chinese people have very little say in how their government spends their money. Economic reforms in China have been exceptionally effective in reducing poverty, however over 10% of the country remain bellow the poverty line (2004 wikipedia) and i'm sure these people would have preferred an investment in poverty reduction or welfare services than a visually stunning opening ceremony?

    The UK is by no means perfect but people have a say in government spending. Most people will agree that there are plenty of other more important things the money could be spent on than the Olympics. For this reason the games in London must be on a considerably smaller scale than Beijing.

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  • 144. At 06:27am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Since when did people in the UK have a say on government spending..... ha ha, what a joke!!

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  • 145. At 07:00am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Don't highlight poverty in China when in many western countries, including the UK, there is also poverty.

    You could say the same about the UK's Olympic budget, why spend it on that and not to reduce poverty and regeneration.

    So look closer at the problems in your own country and society before critising China for those very same points.

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  • 146. At 07:54am on 25 Aug 2008, EuroPaddy wrote:

    Jeeez. What's wrong with you people? The London bus was not indicative - they should have stuck with a queue of people complaining about absolutely everything.

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  • 147. At 08:17am on 25 Aug 2008, franxon wrote:

    As a Chinese, I thank you all for your kind words for the efforts BJ and we Chinese have put in. And I thank you for the criticism equally, if not more.

    It's BJ Olympic Games but by no means BJ's games. The games belongs to all athletes and sport lovers (and the businessmen as well) all over the world. BJ is just the host of the party for this year. And the world will be your guest 4 years later. The Games is just the biggest sport party that is always OURS as one mankind on the same planet.

    We all enjoy being a good host, regardless religion, culture, language or history. At the end of the day, all you need is your guests telling you "thank you for what you did, I enjoyed". Nothing beats that feeling. We host our friends this way at home in real life, don't we?

    I'd say BJ, or rather China, as it has been deliberately confused who actually hosts the Games, has done a good job, maybe somewhat overdone as a first timer. Excuse the organisers, my Chinese fellow tax-payers, you know as clearly as I that it is not the worst spent money, there's a lot more being stunningly wasted every hour.

    All cities and their people that hosted the Olympic Games before were good hosts, so will you, once again, my London/Britain fellows. There may be some Games more successful or more fun than others, but all hosts are EQUALLY good. Don't doubt if you can put up a fun party 4 years later. We see you again in 4 years time!

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  • 148. At 08:57am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    In response to this comment: "#117. At 00:32am on 25 Aug 2008, Baron_Daguerre wrote: London is infinitely cooler than any city in the world. London could spend 1% of Beijing and still be better. Beijing,you are losers"

    Heathrow terminal 5 debacle. Over budget and late Wembley Stadium. Home to some of the poorest and deprived people in the UK. Frequent knife attacks and murders. Drunken yobs everywhere, especially on a Friday and Saturday night... actually most days of the week. Some of the less positive things about London town.

    After such a successful Beijing Olympic games China has nothing to prove now. Seems like sour grapes on your side.

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  • 149. At 09:16am on 25 Aug 2008, PaulGrass wrote:

    I would not criticize too much the infamous "8-minutes-of-London" -segment - invariably these segments tend to be rather quixotic and less than memorable parts of the show. I remember thinking "what the heck was that" after the Beijing segment at Athens Closing Ceremony.

    The part I do criticize is the rather odd and out-of-place behavior of the London Mayor. Usually when attending a function, one do wisely to follow the guidance of the host, however "colorful" one's personality may be. In this occasion, the Mayor a bit too well hammerer down the juxtaposition: on one side there were the confident and suave hosts, on the other side their rather inebriated country cousin not feeling home outside his neighborhood pub.

    Regarding the London 2012 Games my main worry would be the transportation. Having spent my share of time on stand-still train at the Central Line due to "signal failure", I just cannot imagine how the system can survive when extra half-a-million (or more) people should be shuttled daily from one place to an another during the two weeks of the Games.

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  • 150. At 09:27am on 25 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    What are all the Livingstone supporters going to whine about after Boris delivers the most wonderful Olympics to our amazing city in 4 years' time? I'm sure they'll find something, maybe his shoes or something. It's pretty funny, but also pretty sad. Livingstone lost, badly, so let's all just get behind Boris and do what's best for London.

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  • 151. At 09:38am on 25 Aug 2008, Moutarde wrote:

    1.2 million people, according to Sky News, were "displaced" by the Chinese authorities to allow the Beijing Olympics to take place.

    Food for thought...

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  • 152. At 09:39am on 25 Aug 2008, taffyles wrote:

    I think making the 2012 Oympics all about youth and modern is a HUGE mistake. The 8 min segment was naff- the bus was ok until it turned into a carnival float. The dancing was appalling- really appalling. The singing from the youth theatre- oh for heavens sake- we're on the world stage not the local hall's variety show. The animation was cheap. The traditional tunes mangled (jarringly so)...and this is modern!! We don't have the money to throw at the opening ceremony like the Chinese but do we have to be so cheap? The rest of the world is expecting class and sophistication tapping into to our wealth of culture and history. Turning it into a hiphop street party in the name of modern youth and +fun+ will make us a laughing stock.

    Six horse guards riding in to collect the flag would have been a stunning, genuine spectacle...and unique. We already have all the things that makes Britain unique. Trying to be modern and cool is going to get us laughed at.

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  • 153. At 09:47am on 25 Aug 2008, GoonerCow wrote:

    Hi, chinese from Hong Kong here. I've been living, studying and working in London for 6 years. So, beijing has done its job and i'm really looking forward to see London Olympics 2012! It would be very nice to turn on the tv here in hk and see all the places where i've been living for 6 years!

    Thx for all the positive comments the beijing olympics. Just wanted to tell you, in fact, there are a lot of critisicms in China and HK that it was a waste of money on this olympics, which i partly agree. The chinese people should focus more on education, health, law, rebuilding of the Sichuan Earthquake zone etc... anways.. my motherland was too pressured on showing the world on what we actually could show the world. in other words, my country wanted to prove something.

    Not like the majority of the chinese, I'd always believed it was more important that it is going to be a successful olympics, rather than how many medals china could win. I'd also would like to remind all the chinese, to keep a clear mind, and China is still far, far away from being a powerful nation. Unless we can solve the law, corruption, education etc problms first. Back to the budget being spend on the olympics...well...nways, it was a once and for all change. So, let's leave it.

    As to the comparison, I think it is unfair to compare London to Beijing. Well yes, my mother who was sitting close to me in the living room watching the tele was asking me, who is that guy (Boris) ? He looks so much like Chris Patten (From Hong Kong Governer) and why is he so untidy and put his hands in his pocket? hahaha.. I told him, tomorrow the media will talk about this. and here we go.

    well... i think we shouldn't say he was unpolite . in a more nice way, he was just being casual and it was a bit of fun watching his relaxing face. Also, What london has to do is to show something different.

    Opening/closing ceremony was operated by Zhang YiMao - the famous director of oscar winning movies like ' House of Flying daggers'. He was just doing what he used to. What UK has to show is something different; perhaps on the mix Culture of London and friendly society. I don't agree with one poster here saying that the UK people are not friendly. My first 1 week in London 8 years ago i was lost on the streets on the home back to my campus. It was a nice old lady who teached me my way home to the Avery Hill Campus in Eltham , London.

    Just have some confidence and focus more on the sporting facilities, olympia campus , food and organizing, which are the most important areas. Ceremonies are just a show. Of course, a nice show would be impressive. My country has a long histroy and culture but so does UK also have.

    Honestly I had been very angry and dissapointed when the olympic flame went to London and all protest and anti - china. But after watching team GB sportsman who won their medals and the laugh and cries... lets forget about the unhapiness. After all, it was only a group of extremism who has not much knowledge about my Country. The reason why Chinese people are so enthusiastic about the Olympics is only because we wish you could understand us a bit more.

    Lastly, the only thing I'm worried about London Olympics is the security. Becareful, because China main worries were not the pollution, the boycott but the extreme East Turkistan terrorist.

    Be alert!! Thanks for all the good memories you all gave us and our job is done. Good luck and our best wishes from the chinese; Seeya in London 2012!!!

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  • 154. At 09:50am on 25 Aug 2008, Strompy82 wrote:

    Beijing did a magnificent job, of this there is no doubt. But there's certainly no need for all the self-deprecation and fear because of it's magnificent achievement.

    London is one of greatest cities in the world, and as such shouldn't feel inferior to anyone.

    2012 will be magnificent!

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  • 155. At 09:57am on 25 Aug 2008, GoonerCow wrote:

    O yes, one more thing here about Beckham.

    Well... it seems that most english people don't like that part and some claimed that he didn't even ever participated in the olympics.

    I actually though it wasn't such a bad idea to have him there. Beckham, who had been to China many times, for sure is not only well known here, but internationally. To the chinese people, we see him as a friendly a polite professional football player, who had been always loyal and felt honour to play for his country.

    As for the 8 min GB showplay; yes many were a bit confused with the dance and my mum asked me why the guy picked up the newspaper and throw it away? I told her that's just a part of the dance , hehe..

    and yes we did not know who was the X-factor girl was, until i just read it here.

    But doesn't it goes the same when some of our pop stars were on stage. I don't think you'd have a clue who's Leehom Wang and Andy Lau, Joey Lee, who are pop stars in the Chinese entertaintment industry. I think the only one you'd know was jacky chan. Just turn the things around.

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  • 156. At 10:02am on 25 Aug 2008, Karlblogger wrote:

    Talking to my French neighbour this morning , summed the opening ceremony up perfectly " It was total rubbish"
    What I have seen so far of the British olympic campaign and launch has not impressed me
    one bit. Firstly that awful olympic logo you have had designed, it just does not work at all, unfortunately it is to late to alter it for a better one. How nicely designed the Chinese logo was.
    Secondly , that so called Mayor of London
    ' Buffoon Johnston', what a representative ! the man just irritates me with his whole demeanour, his dress, haircut, and that chummy Eton public school boy sense of humour that Little Colin And Lord Coe found so amusing. What the hell was he on about " table tennis coming back to England", talk about embarrassing the Nation .

    Ken Livingstone would have far more dignified , and handled it much better

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  • 157. At 10:05am on 25 Aug 2008, pmatson wrote:

    As a neutral Irish man, in my opinion I think London will put on a great show even if it doesn't have the same budget as Beijing. London is a great city and I was delighted when they were awarded the Olympics. I can't see them doing a bad job.
    One thing I will say is that I hope the Olympics in London is fairer than the Olympics in Beijing. I've never seen so many home town decisions in my life. China got about 20 easy golds handed to them in events where judging is needed. It made a mockery out of the oath taken at the start of the games by the officials and judges to be completely impartial.
    I'd be interested in other poeples opinions as to whether they agree with this or not.

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  • 158. At 10:11am on 25 Aug 2008, franxon wrote:


    Why don't you list out the 20 easy golds that the judges gave China, and how they did it, if you are indeed speaking of fairness?

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  • 159. At 10:17am on 25 Aug 2008, taffyles wrote:

    I forgot about Boris. I was embarrassed by him. Lord Mayor of London and he couldn't button his suit up. I'm sorry many found him funny- I thought he was rude and disrespectful. A sad advertisement for Britain.

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  • 160. At 10:20am on 25 Aug 2008, hydro_driven wrote:

    Did you notice the wheelchair dancers???

    At one point when the bus was transforming and the camera awung around to the back of the bus, one of the women was dancing on the back of the bus and then walked back into a wheelchair and rode off behind the bus!!!!! What is this about? why no get real wheelchair dancers, they would probably be a lot better at using a wheelchair for starters and its just wrong!!!

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  • 161. At 10:25am on 25 Aug 2008, chronise wrote:


    Could you list the 20 easy golds?

    Could you at least make sure your comment is based on some facts before you witting it down?

    AS FOR THE OLYMPIC SPIRITS, I have to mention a great British player -- David Davies (the British swimmer).

    He threw water from his bottle to the body of a lady volunteer, who was trying to tell him the victory ceremony started and ask him to go to the podium for his silver, after several other volunteers failed to persuade him.

    David was talking to the media when the ceremony had started. He felt interrupted so he shouted to the officials to shut up then threw bottle water to the lady who urged him for being late for the ceremony.

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  • 162. At 10:26am on 25 Aug 2008, walklim wrote:

    What a shambolic dance routine by the British delegation at the closing ceremony. It looked like amateur night at the bingo hall.
    And David Beckham, who has led our failed football team to nothing... who organised this ?

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  • 163. At 10:28am on 25 Aug 2008, pmatson wrote:

    In boxing they got several home town decisions in various bouts. From what I hear it was the same story in diving and gymnastics where they dominated the medals. Apparently their athletes didn't get drug tested as much as other countries. As I'm not an athlete I cannot 100% confirm these points but this is what is being said by other athletes and at the end of the day we can only go on this.
    When you analyze the boxing in slow motion there were several body punches that the Chinese fighters scored from. Body punches don't score points. The rules state that only punches to the head are suppose to score points. Please don't misunderstand me, China did brilliantly in the Olympics but I don't think it was all completely fair in every event.

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  • 164. At 10:33am on 25 Aug 2008, jollystarfish50 wrote:

    Was anyone else experiencing toe curling discomfort when Boris appeared to take over for London with hands in pockets and jacket undone.
    He only had to get that right and ended up looking totally out of place.
    We kept muttering 'please somone tell him to smarten up!'
    As for the cherry picker appearing out of the bus.......
    I think the creators of Wallace and Gommit would do a spectacular job...I hope someone has to sense to hire them to do something but am not holding my breath!
    David Beckham looks great - just don't let him talk 'you know?'
    Please someone save us from this embarrassment!

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  • 165. At 10:37am on 25 Aug 2008, chronise wrote:


    How many boxing gold medal that the Chinese team has won? It is 2, how about the rest 18 gold medals of your 20 easy gold medals?

    When you talk about the diving, you should definite go back and review the video to see how good the Chinese players have made. They always lead the No.2 by at least 10 points. The Chinese diving team is always performs pretty good no matter the game is hold in China or not. They won 6 gold medals in Athens (7 gold modals these years).

    You should also review the gymnastics video to see how good the Chinese player has performed, they dominate the gymnastics not only in Olympic but also in the world champions.

    I should say probably there are some human mistakes made by the judges and the host is always taking advantages of home town decisions. But I could know understand how could you draw a conclusion of 20 easy gold medals? Could you clarify this?

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  • 166. At 10:39am on 25 Aug 2008, chronise wrote:


    How many boxing gold medal that the Chinese team has won? It is 2, how about the rest 18 gold medals of your 20 easy gold medals?

    When you talk about the diving, you should definitly go back and review the video to see how good the Chinese players have made. They always lead the No.2 by at least 10 points. The Chinese diving team is always performs pretty good no matter the game is hold in China or not. They won 6 gold medals in Athens (7 gold medals this year).

    You should also review the gymnastics video to see how good the Chinese player has performed, they dominate the gymnastics not only in Olympic but also in the world champions.

    I should say probably there are some human mistakes made by the judges and the host is always taking advantages of home town decisions. But I could not understand how could you draw a conclusion of 20 easy gold medals? Could you clarify this?

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  • 167. At 10:50am on 25 Aug 2008, John wrote:

    Come on people.... Stop putting ourselves down and be proud of what we are. We are never going to better those olympics, but lets celebrate what we can do.
    We ARE the home of carry on and we ARE the home of Beckham and Leona Lewis, and yes there are lots of great things about this country, but I am pretty sure you guys are not one of those things with your negative attitude. Roll on 2012, I think we are going to do a great if not slightly understated job!

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  • 168. At 10:52am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    comment by pmatson #163.

    When has the world ever been fair to China.

    This is always the case with anything to do with China. No matter how good a job China does, someone will always try to throw cold water over any achievement and look for something negative to say.

    In sports, the refs are only human like everyone else. You need look no further than football (soccer) matches in the English Premier league to look at all the decisions that always get criticised afterwards and people saying the ref was biased.

    Those atheletes who said Chinese atheletes didn't get tested as much as others are just the same as you, just basing their arguments on their own biased perception of events. How can they possibly really know for 100% the testing regime carried out during the games. And how you can pass judgement only based on the thoughts of those atheletes is also astonishing.

    Did you micro analyze the results of every decision in the Olympics or did you just single out the Chinese sports persons.

    Like i said, when has the world ever been fair to China.

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  • 169. At 10:55am on 25 Aug 2008, valiantCharles wrote:

    A Chinese attended the London Olympics in 1908 and he asked three proverbial questions in a Chinese journal after the Games: 1. when could China send its first athletes to partcipate in the Olympics; 2. when could China win its first gold medals; 3. when could China become the host nation. To stage the Olympics was a dream conceived in an era when China was besieged by internal unrest and foreign invasion. It took a hundred years before China could have the political and economic clout to host the games. Ken Livingstone says China is sending the world a message with its spectacular opening ceremony but the message is more to ourselves than to anyone.

    True, the Beijing ceremonies were meticulously choreographed with an air of formality that the Chinese accorded to the importance of the occasion. But London, being a host nation for the third time, could afford to inject a breath of fun, wit and innovation into the games. The appearance of Boris Johnson at the closing certainly reminds me of the Brit's "the importance of not being seen to be earnest"attitude. And I think London 2012 will be great fun.

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  • 170. At 11:00am on 25 Aug 2008, benxiongda wrote:

    One very valid comment was made regarding the cost - because of the scale, the luxury, the extravagance - this is something that should not be repeated by London in 2012. To spend so much money on one event is totally crazy and goes beyond the scope or significance of the event itself.
    In this case the money is meant to show the power of the CCP. The people who helped build the events were paid not very much and when they became inconvenient were shipped back home (at their expense). The nature of the system here means a lot of money goes around in circles, ie it's government money paid to goverment organisations employing state paid employess, joint ventures where the Chinese partner may or may not be government controlled and so on..
    The colossal amount of money spent is not to help the masses living on African salaries or in miserable conditions, it is about showing how fantastic everything is. But beyond Beijing lie thousands of kilometers of hinterland, not all of it exactly prosperous and booming.
    This is inequality on a scale of Marxist proportions.
    England is suffering from a similar problem of inequality of income across the rich/poor divide, it would be scandalous that it proceeds along the same route in 2012.
    Keep the Games simple, honest and fun. For the athletes and also for the spectators. If you wanted Games were the spectators were indeed not able to really enjoy the events, this was one. You went - you were meant to see China win, scream "China, more oil/petrol", see them win and promptly leave and go home after taking lots of pictures of yourself/ves in front of some emblem or another.
    London 2012 - please please please: ban Coke and Mcdonalds from being sponsors. For a country of delicious food, to find that all China can muster is junk food and one pathetic fake McD in the Olympic Green, for 40bn+$?? This is unbelieavable! Allow small vendors in to sell food, have each nation represented in their cooking, show that Britain can get beyond crisps and sausages, and you will have good games. Oh, and do a better job of the ticketing. What a disgrace that was in Beijing!
    One last word on what was done right: keep the prices for drink and food low. 30p for a coke and 30-40p for a beer is good.
    have fun out there.

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  • 171. At 11:05am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    And also to pmatson.

    You certainly don't comment as neutral as you like to portray yourself as.

    In fact your views, perceptions and beliefs are in fact inline with typical western bias and prejudiced views, perceptions and beliefs.

    Hardly neutral!

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  • 172. At 11:05am on 25 Aug 2008, mblmbl wrote:

    #141 gbinusa

    You are absolutely right. We can have all of that dancing but we should have a marching band of some sorts in ours. The tourists seem to love that sort of thing and people all over the world watching on tv will probably find it fascinating.

    Another they should do is actually let the athletes watch the opening ceremony while they are waiting on a big screen or something. Aparently they just stood around waiting in China. After all, its about them so they should be able to see it.

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  • 173. At 11:10am on 25 Aug 2008, chronise wrote:


    I should say something about the 22 billion. This money is not only spent on a 16-days events, most of this money is spent on long term investments. Most of this money comes from industrial sponsors, not from the government.

    We built the forth terminal in Beijing international airport, which is bigger than the total of 5 Terminals in Heathrow. According to the increasing flight traffic in Beijing, this is worthwhile. We built two new subways in Beijing, and this could be very helpful for the city's traffic.

    We spent lots of money on plants and help to improve the air quality, and indeed the air quality has great improvement compared two 5 years ago.

    We built several new stadiums, and most of these stadiums are built in local universities, and these will to encourage ordinary people to involve into taking sports as well as these universities.

    We even have 30 million $ profit after paying 22 billion (10 billion was covered by soling the TV broadcast, and other parts are covered by tickets, and by selling Olympic related commodities) $ on those fundamental investment.

    It is a shame on some biasing western medics. They only focusing how much money we spent on the Olympic game while never mention how we spend the money. Probably London has to find an excuse for its 2012 Olympic game.

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  • 174. At 11:11am on 25 Aug 2008, pmatson wrote:

    Fair enough I didn't analyze every single decision and as I stated, my point is very much based on what some athletes are saying. As I'm not an athlete I cannot say for certain. I take nothing away from the great job China did in hosting the Olympics and their team's medal haul. All I'm saying is that I think London will do just as good a job but I'm hoping that there is no controversy over judging in the London games.

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  • 175. At 11:12am on 25 Aug 2008, WHATwiththeseFEET wrote:

    Why O why didn't some bright spark at the BBC get in touch with one our great british historians, to assist them in some way to help the 8 minute amatuers?

    If it was me doing the 8 min piece I would do a delicate and sensual piece on SHAKESPEARE, or maybe, on one of our greatest EXPLORERS such as Capt Cook?

    Did anyone see the GREEKS 8 minutes when they did their piece at Sydney?

    It was done so beautifully with goreous women dressed very simply in one piece silk dresses. So simple and elegant, yet everything about it was a joy to behold!

    But what do we give the world. Someone waiting at a bus-stop? How inventive.

    Its like looking at the works of two different Artist and Designers. The first one was the work of an artist at the Milan School of Art, and the second work, was the work of a primary school pupil who had just finished his artwork for the schools christmas nativity play!

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  • 176. At 11:14am on 25 Aug 2008, i_amAlena wrote:

    Yea, Matt....London 2012 will not be better nor worse....just deliciously different and inimitably British...but still tugging at our heartstrings and leaving us hankering for more at the end of it all...and that's what unity in diversity is all about! Definitely looking forward to the creativity of the British. And I know they can do it!

    BTW, I like the way your thoughts came through...funny yet insightful!

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  • 177. At 11:20am on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    in repsonse to comment #170 by benxiongda.

    Wow, you can't armchair analyse the budgets of the Beijing Olympics by selectively highlighting your own activist based issues.

    The very same argument could be said about London, why waste billions in hosting the Olympics when that money could be used to regenerate many deprived and poor areas in the UK. Yes can you believe that, there is poverty and social disharmony in the UK too. In your perfect whiter than white western society. How about pouring more money in education, NHS, elderly care, the list can go on and on. Why waste it in hosting the London Olympics.

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  • 178. At 11:21am on 25 Aug 2008, sdymott wrote:

    We are always so negative.

    If you Googling foreign media, instead of our own, you'll find that our segment of the Beijing Closing Ceremony was generally favourably received. It didn't go down a storm but it wasn't rubbished either.

    However, I did like this comment from a Canadian newsite about our double decker bus:

    ".... that looked like it was booted out of the Transformers for being too lame (behold the awesome power of a bus that transforms into... a hedge?)"

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  • 179. At 11:36am on 25 Aug 2008, martin wrote:

    The scale was of epic proportion, the venues pristine and immaculate but, for me, the ambience of the Beijing games was ultimately soul-less. Thank God the sport itself was sublime.

    As I watched event after event I couldn't help feeling I was being presented with a staged and well produced televisual event - not something personal and engaging as I like my sporting events to be.

    And there lies the opportunity for London. Be parochial, be intimate, be simple! Let us put people to the fore in our games and entertain the World to one big street party where we can share in the successes (and failures) of our athletes close-up and personal.

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  • 180. At 1:44pm on 25 Aug 2008, antoniogoard wrote:

    Boris Johnson's speech in the press call after the Olympic handover was genius.

    Tongue-in-cheek stuff but that echoes what the London 2012 games will be about. We will make sure we make it a great games!

    Ping Pong is truly coming home.

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  • 181. At 1:44pm on 25 Aug 2008, ElmerT wrote:

    Honestly, it would really be difficult to top Beijing considering that Beijing spent USD 40b+ as compared to London, who is eyeing for half that Budget.

    Taking into account the cost of labor for both countries, London will not only have 50% of the budget, I think it will be on a 20 to 30% of Beijing's budget. If we will use the Big Mac index (, a big mac in Beijing will cost 44 minutes of labor while it will take 16 mins in London. That's almost thrice the difference.

    Hence, instead of topping it, I just hope that London will make it more fun and enjoyable for the world to see... since I will surely be in London by August 2012 (if I will still be Europe. =))

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  • 182. At 1:57pm on 25 Aug 2008, swimmer84 wrote:

    We're going to host the Party Games. That is what we do best PARTY! I think we'll have a lot of sporting success in 2012 and the streets will be going crazy. I cannot wait!

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  • 183. At 2:04pm on 25 Aug 2008, 19goldslater wrote:

    Judging by Boris Johnson's 'I'm so fun, so we're so fun' attitude (OMG what has London elected?) and the naval gazing insular 'so cool’ (?), but cheesy 8 minute routine slot in the closing ceremony .... What do you expect from a celeb self obsessed wannabe culture of a small minded inward looking Island?

    I like fun. I like to laugh and did lots of laughing and pointing when Britain took to the stage. It was like watching a real life version of 'Extras'.

    But I was rather hoping that the lasting impression of these great Olympics would be the fantastic performances of athletes from a small but great nation ......that opened the eyes of the world!

    So, the lesson to be learned from our closing ceremony confused mess of an impression to the world is..... We don't have to go down this road again!

    The Joke is over! Boris Johnson must be made to realise that the Olympics are not the same as 'It's a knockout'!
    Don't make London 2012 a bus crash waiting to happen! We, let alone the world, don’t want a ‘Whole Lotta Crap’!

    We must be more innovative than this! After all, we are the nation that gave the world the industrial revolution!

    There will be the vast audience of the world looking in on us, not just Little Britain. Don’t blow it!

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  • 184. At 2:07pm on 25 Aug 2008, antoniogoard wrote:

    Great posting I found that sums up my sentiments (from #78, #100 and #180 above) excatly:

    swimmer84 you are right on post#182 - it will be the party games!

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  • 185. At 2:21pm on 25 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    To all the commentors talking about how London will be known as the simple party games. A sporting event!

    If China had done a poor job of the Olympics, the comments would have been more a long the lines of London will host a better organised and run Olympics with more fan fare and dazzle and spectacular opening and closing ceremonies. Let show the communists how the Olympics should be hosted by a rightful western democracy!

    But no, because China did such an unbeatable job, both in the preparation, organisation and running of the Olympics, including the sporting events, you've got no option left but to say that London will host a simple party Olympics and will spend well below the budget that China splashed out.

    Have you heard of sour grapes before?

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  • 186. At 2:36pm on 25 Aug 2008, Shennong wrote:

    Hahhah, well said. Your post put a smile on my face, and reminds me why I like the Brits more than the French - you have a better sense of humour.

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  • 187. At 2:37pm on 25 Aug 2008, BritsInExile wrote:

    Boris is his own man and you have to admire him for that! That's why he was elected.

    This apart, the entire 8 minute London handover ceremony SUCKED from beginning to end. A bus load of rubbish that was definitely not worth the fare!

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  • 188. At 2:40pm on 25 Aug 2008, mahoo666 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 189. At 2:54pm on 25 Aug 2008, EastMeetWest wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 190. At 3:20pm on 25 Aug 2008, EastMeetWest wrote:

    To 88. At 10:11pm on 24 Aug 2008, glidingwing. I couldn't agree with you more! I, as a born Chinese now living in London, all my Chinese friends have showed great support of these games. e.g. 1 of the girls took the Friday off so that she can watch the opening ceremony. It's a team effort! Nobody can achieve something like that alone. For London 2012, I have already signed up as a volunteer. I could use my language skills, first aid skills etc to make the games better.

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  • 191. At 3:22pm on 25 Aug 2008, secondtheboydave wrote:

    Beijing is a very tough act to follow but our athletes and sports obsessed countrymen will pull it off.

    Within the limits of a liberal democracy to set boundaries on spending we cannot replicate or out-do the chinese when it comes to fireworks or pizzazz. But we can outperform them when it comes to good old fashioned competitive fun and atmospere.

    Our 8 minute slot cheapened the country a little and seemed under-rehearsed, with its leap-frogging child, bendy-bus and mis-kicked ball from Beckham (I am sure he shinned it!). But it also provided a hint of what we can do. The choice of song was highly original and when jimmy page broke into that riff i just thought it was incredible! If we could be a touch slicker overall we'd get more than the 7/10 i thought it worth.

    We will perform!

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  • 192. At 4:28pm on 25 Aug 2008, blacula wrote:

    Matt Slater should be appraised of the fact that it is either OVER or OUT - not both.

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  • 193. At 4:29pm on 25 Aug 2008, mwardhebburn wrote:

    The Chinese opening of the Olympic games was fabulous, as was the Greek's Olympic opening 4 years ago and previous openings have been equally spectacular and a pleasure to watch.

    Regardless of how we like to criticise our own politicians and how we are revving up to criticise our own opening of 2012 Olympics can't we just be the optimists that the British are supposed to be and say "well all that was fabulous I'm sure our opening will be too".

    I am extremely proud of our British Olympic team. It just goes to show you how well we can do with the correct injection of funds (thank you Camelot - splendid job!)

    Our British Government can now, hopefully, inject some of our hard earned revenue into our sporting characters and turn our silvers and bronzes into Gold too!

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  • 194. At 5:55pm on 25 Aug 2008, Astrologer wrote:

    Thank you to everyone involved for giving us the best Olympics ever. The stars didn’t let us down
    Song – Thank you – by Led Zepplin

    For the handover saw Aries (new beginning) rising and the Moon with Aldebaran ???, the 5th Star suggesting a Great Spirit and good fortune with success in future endeavours

    Song for London – magic bus by The Who

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  • 195. At 6:04pm on 25 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 180. At 1:44pm on 25 Aug 2008, antoniogoard

    Boris Johnson's speech in the press call after the Olympic handover was genius.

    Was it??

    maybe pingpong is invested by british in the old times as a game on the dinning table, but what is pingpong now? it's an international game with advanced technique skills. do you british people play it well? the Bojo's "pingpong in china was dinning table of england" is really stupid. Pingpong isn't a piece of cake on your dinning table. you don't know how to taste it at all!

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  • 196. At 6:18pm on 25 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 26. At 7:09pm on 24 Aug 2008, mxb160

    a group of insane people shouting , drinking, throwing rubbish, these are called "having fun on the street". yes , typical british style i saw so many times in UK. that's what the best GB can do. haha~~ i cannot wait to see how you going mad in 2012,too.

    today i discuss with my English teacher about the 8 minutes London 2012 segment.I told him I don't think UK show the world about their traditional culture. Maybe the traditional culture which won't embarrass the whole country is the bagpipe and Scottish dancing. But thoes are from Scotland , not England.

    I asked him what is the English culture. He said:" England doesn't follow any traditional culture. what culture we have now are beer, knife, sex, drug, youngster criminals."

    What a boring and poor country! To hold the Olympic game in such a country, do we have to worry???

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  • 197. At 7:19pm on 25 Aug 2008, griffoid wrote:

    How do we go about cancelling th London Olympics? Can we have a referendum to stop this money making scam and get back to proper amateur athletics please.

    Some of us are not sheep. Baaaaa

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  • 198. At 7:22pm on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    @196, Zhangzz

    Yes, England has its own social problems, which country doesn't??

    But I am sure you know England is as rich in culture and history as China.
    I have to agree the 8 minutes cameo might have not been the best in showcasing this. They have opted for a modern, mutlicultural, diversed London. A bit too pop for my taste. But wasn't too bad.

    I personally would love to see a more traditional Britain like the iconic troop parade or something like Edinburgh Tattoo! . Been one of the tourists myself, packed like sardines among hundreds of other tourists from at least 15 different countries, stepping on each other toes trying to secure a small square of land to stand on, outside Buckingham palace trying to catch a glimpse of the changing of the guard. all that under impending hail storm!

    So I am sure I am not the only foreigner who love to see a more traditional, cultural Britain than pop/hiphop/music concert-y or anything that looks like they came from So You Think You Can Dance..

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  • 199. At 7:23pm on 25 Aug 2008, Kevin2000 wrote:

    Beckham received a very warm welcome, and his kicking the ball into the crowd made some direct contact with the audience. I was puzzled though, by the choice of song 'Whole lotta love' Couldn't anyhting more modern be found, and a non-X Factor singer?
    Didn't the choreographers realise there was something wrong with throwing newspapers about?

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  • 200. At 7:25pm on 25 Aug 2008, maninman wrote:

    Being a host of Olympics is not about competing with previous host, it is about try your best to make the event enjoyable, for all the athletes and all the fans. Yes, Beijing did a fantastic job in a very Chinese way, i.e. make all the guests happy at all costs. For return, they would simply want every guest appreciate the efforts. I think no one would argue about the efforts. But this is a Chinese way of doing things. You brits can do it in British way, but whatever you do - to make it simple but effective or just for fun, please be innovative and be serious. Show the world your efforts!

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  • 201. At 9:02pm on 25 Aug 2008, everynameitryistaken wrote:

    One thing I can say China spent equivalent to 150 billion dollars (48b, multiply by price parity, cheap labor and free voluntiars) on this game, which is going to be unmatched by any other nation for a while, unless some petro-dollar middle east country takes a shot at hosting olympics. these states need validation of whatever they are doing, so tries to spend enormous amount of resources to show off. on the other hand western nations are not looking for world approval, there's no need to spend like a fool. regardless of the budget London will get, 2012 will be far more technologically advanced, creative, and enjoyable and not just for tv viewers, but for ppl who will be in the venue.

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  • 202. At 9:25pm on 25 Aug 2008, 4thegreatergood wrote:

    Just as you stated in your blog, we won't be able to beat what China gave to the world in the form of Beijing 2008 but you're also right that this is likely to be the last of it's kind.
    No doubt Chinese people all over the world may feel a surge of pride that China pulled off what may be the 'greatest' Olympics as of yet but at what cost?

    I can think of few countries in the world that would invest untold billions of dollars (or pounds) just for two weeks of an admittedly, very fancy Olympics. Who knows how much China could have done with that very same sum of money to raise the standard of living in China and further develop the country.
    But then, whatever China has invested into the Olympics may have improved the world's opinion of China, which is likely what they were hoping for.

    So no, London 2012 may not be the next best Olympics to look out for. At the very least, London 2012 will be the next benchmark of what the Olympics should not represent: an ostentatious display of wealth and self-aggrandisement.

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  • 203. At 9:48pm on 25 Aug 2008, stephanie11w wrote:

    Thank you for the lovely review! (Especially in comparison to some of your colleagues - Mr. Reynolds)

    Usain Bolt has become such a star in China! I love it when he donated to the Sichuan earthquake survivals and I love it when the entire audience in the bird net sang "Happy Birthday" to him after he broke the 200m WR! It was absolutely fantastic!!!

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  • 204. At 9:48pm on 25 Aug 2008, bluesteverose wrote:

    China spend 40billion USD or 20billion pounds, including more than half on infrastructure (road, stadiums, public transportation improvements, trees and grassland, etc)

    They do at least receive that amount from sponsors including companies from US and UK.

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  • 205. At 10:01pm on 25 Aug 2008, bluesteverose wrote:

    I think the people in UK are too concerned with cost. Spending in the Olympics is an investment; it is to show to the world how your nation is run and if your system works. If successful, you will attract far more interests in business development and tourism than the money you spend.

    Didn't Olympics make China more attractive to the developing nations, and appearing less hostile to the West? How much money you can spend to get to the same effect, without Olympics?

    $40billion cost to a 1.4 billion nation is truly just pocket change. And it is by far not the most expensive public project China has taken on these years. As always, you expect great returns from your great investment.

    Who benefits from Olympics? No double China will attract more attentions from developing countries when they look for business partnerships. it is a living example how a developing country can be successful if they work hard.

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  • 206. At 10:10pm on 25 Aug 2008, stephanie11w wrote:

    From what I read on the internet, most Chinese seemed entertained by the London 8 minutes. The double decker red bus was signature of the city and Beckham was a household name in China. He really is an exceptional player despite all the non-football stuff surrounding him. We Chinese love football, but unfortunately our men's team has been nothing but a disaster and disappointment - surely we appreciate the once young, handsome captain who at one time almost seemed like a tragic hero.

    Best of luck London!

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  • 207. At 10:45pm on 25 Aug 2008, quietfuchsia wrote:

    When David kicked the ball, my Mum asked me whether London was going to hold another football world cup.

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  • 208. At 11:32pm on 25 Aug 2008, bluesteverose wrote:

    Two things I just dig out about spending and revenue.

    China's 2008 fiscal budget surplus is expected to hit more than $300 billion USD. This is about 8 times the overall spending on Olympics.

    The 2008 Olympics is expected to run a surplus.

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  • 209. At 00:07am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    202: "I can think of few countries in the world that would invest untold billions of dollars (or pounds) just for two weeks of an admittedly, very fancy Olympics"

    If they've got the investors and sponsors to back it up, the new airport terminal, stadia, transportation systems and infrastructure can only be beneficial to the city and its people.
    with 1.4 billion populations, I am sure the Olympics legacy won't go to waste.

    The new Wembley stadium alone costs way more than the bird nest, and an EPL football player's weekly salary can feed a whole small poorer village.

    There are always better, and more worthy, ways to spend the money on, but I think as long as it is a good investment and will eventually return its pay back to the people, I don't see why China shouldn't splurge.

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  • 210. At 00:09am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    Having said that, I'm sure London will be able to come out with something different but not less captivating, with smaller budget.

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  • 211. At 00:12am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 198. At 7:22pm on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas

    Yes, England has its own social problems, which country doesn't??

    Very happy that you know "which country doesn't". I wish other people can be as clever as you are. And clean their fingers before they point at others. Don't just ignore their own countries' problems but always critize the problems in China.

    If China is unqualified for holding Olympic game of its problems, then I think UK is unqualified, either, and lots of countries are also unqualified.

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  • 212. At 00:21am on 26 Aug 2008, eyeswiredopen wrote:

    in answer to some of poster163 comments

    All medal winners are tested no exceptions.
    Although there is most likely home town bias when it comes to split decisions, the other team or contestant does have the right of protest as seen when the Italian rhythmic gymnast exercised that right.
    Anyway they were slightly better than their opponensts in diviing and in the mens gymnastics anyway.

    By applying the same logic used in the gymnastics,would'nt Tom Daley as a 14yr old have an advantage over the older Chinese divers.?

    I think the equestrian event should be banned as its a case of cruelty to animals. The dressage is no better than watching circus animal or zoo chimpanzees perform tricks.

    No doubt, people will find LOndon 2012 with a relaxed approach far more enjoyable, but a Heathrow type meltdown, because of poor planning, and below par infrastructure, due to cost saving, could just as well ruin it for a lot of people.

    Eyeswiredopen. NZ

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  • 213. At 00:33am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:


    I don't think there is need to get defensive, and I don't believe anyone thinks China is unqualified for hosting Olympics. It's been a great success and who can deny that?

    but I think people here in the west are less reserved about criticizing their (and others) government openly. China is not North Korea (sorry North Korea!), China is a growing world superpower and you always get intense scrutiny as superpower. The taller the tree, the stronger the wind. Look at the criticism US citizens have to put up with although I don't think many of US citizens are happy about the war.

    so I wouldn't take one or two unreasonable comments online personally if I were you

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  • 214. At 00:35am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 198. At 7:22pm on 25 Aug 2008, asampedas

    But I am sure you know England is as rich in culture and history as China.

    by the way, i think this sentence seems like wild statement from a illiterate.

    Do you how many years of civilization China have? and how many of england?

    When Chinese had novels, Europeans were still monkeys picking fruits in the trees.

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  • 215. At 00:47am on 26 Aug 2008, bluesteverose wrote:


    You may hate the treatment of 2008 torch relay in London, but that statement is a bit too far.

    Long history is not to be bragged about. It shows UK not only catches up with China and developed far ahead in recent centuries. I hope you see China to catch up soon as well.

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  • 216. At 00:55am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    @214 zhangzz,

    I don't think it's wise to compare like that.

    Does 'rich' equate 'length' ?

    England is home to scientists like Newton, without whose laws, the world wouldn't be the world it is today.

    and they were leading industrial revolutions while you were fighting your opium wars.

    What's the use of measuring length of civilization when you are busy fighting CIVIL wars?

    Seriously, you should be focusing on how to progress further than busy getting arrogant and stuck up in glorious past. BOTH Chinese and English had a glorious past.

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  • 217. At 00:59am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 213. At 00:33am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas

    I think people here in the west are less reserved about criticizing their (and others) government openly.

    how do you know Chinese people don't critize the government openly? Just because you don't know Chinese and haven't listent.

    And people even don't understand Chinese, know nothing about Chinese history, and haven't been China before, i know why they make misunderstandings of China, but hope they don't just critize blindly.

    But maybe personally i am sometimes too sensitive about those unkind criticism. Actually most of Chinese are happy to correct from others' criticism. That's why China is getting better in the abusiveness in the past so many years.


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  • 218. At 01:01am on 26 Aug 2008, bluesteverose wrote:

    My impressions and comments:

    1. It is now known to every single person that Olympics will be associated with minority rights. This is not a good news for UK as each ethnic group can now demand full autonomy in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Gibraltar, Wales and Scotland.

    If London does not comply, you will need extra security guards during Torch Relay. And, be careful about the boycott comments. There will be protests during the games that may not get full police permissions. And there will be a lot of negatives around UK's image.

    2. BBC, as well as CNN, demonstrated totally lack of class during the pre-Olympics pro-Dalai Lama reports. Stories were written with all fabrications and zero facts, 8 year old pictures, one sided reports, and total display of sino-phobia were on display. No one now cares if Dalai Lama's initial claim of 50+ death is truth or not. No evidence ever shown. While the Han chinese were killed by the mob. Justice need to be served.

    3. UK's PM, London's mayor. Neither one display any leadership charisma. As an outsider expect UK to do well, this is very disappointing. What happened to the once world super-power?

    4. Can someone please change the logo of London 2012?

    5. You need a good way to avoid mentioning of XXX Olympics.

    Best of luck!

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  • 219. At 01:02am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    oh, Chinese cannot be show here in this website.

    ta shan zhi shi,
    ke yi gong yu.

    Who knows Chinese must understand : )

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  • 220. At 01:11am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 216. At 00:55am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas

    I don't think it's wise to compare like that.

    Does 'rich' equate 'length' ?

    You are right. Rich is not equal to length.

    But at least Chinese history is much longer.

    Could please tell me how to compare?
    Compare how many kings and dynasties? how many inventions? how many languages? how many books? or what?

    If you think culture cannot campare like this, so why do you say "England is as rich in culture and history as China. " ? My English is not as good as you, but i think this is kind of comparison. :)

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  • 221. At 01:30am on 26 Aug 2008, kangarl wrote:

    I am a Chinese and honestly I am proud of this Olympic Games, esp. the opening ceremony. But my British friends, 4 years ago at the Athens closing ceremony the "Beijing 8 Minutes" was just as horrible and incurred just as bad comments. So don't worry about the London 2012. You have 4 more years to come up with ideas to surprise the world.

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  • 222. At 01:38am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:


    I don't understand the need for the comparison. Both have history important to *them* and both contributed significantly to the world. Who am I to set the measurements?

    They have Romeo and Juliet, you have ???????. You can't really compare them, can you? Why can't I say they are as good? :)

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  • 223. At 01:39am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    *woops, I was typing 'butterfly lovers' in chinese

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  • 224. At 01:43am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    At 00:55am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas

    and they were leading industrial revolutions while you were fighting your opium wars.

    er... not at the same time i'm afraid. industrial revolutions was during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and opium wars were in 1839-1842 and 1856-1860.

    by they way, when you mentioned industrial revolutions and opium wars, yes, if China has fighting with invaders, there are no good things.

    industrial revolutions are for capitalism and for having a better country. british need money to build up their country, so they came to rob money from other countries including China, a long-historical and richest country at that time in the world.

    Even invaded and scourged by european countries,usa and japan for so many years, happy that we still keep our tradtional culture.

    but what about UK, i don't see much you keep all your rich and glorious traditional culture.

    and one more thing which is nothing to do with the culture topic, i still like some parts of UK, and appreciate the education in universities. Hope you don't mistake I hate UK or something.

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  • 225. At 01:43am on 26 Aug 2008, kangarl wrote:

    To both asampedas and zhangzz:
    I can't help noting your debate. On one side, China is the only antique civilization that is still alive today, while the others like Egyptian and Sumerian etc discontinued, and today's western culture is not really heritage of the Greek; China's contribution to human being (paper making, gun powder, compass and removable printing) are just as important developments to Science and Technology, because without which Renaissance or Industry Revolution would be impossible. On the other, like all old civilizations, China also became decadent in the recent 2 centuries. Fortunately it did not discontinue like other but survived. Now I can even see the opportunity of it to revive.

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  • 226. At 01:46am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 222. At 01:38am on 26 Aug 2008, asampedas wrote:

    I don't understand the need for the comparison. Both have history important to *them* and both contributed significantly to the world. Who am I to set the measurements?

    They have Romeo and Juliet, you have ???????. You can't really compare them, can you? Why can't I say they are as good? :)

    OK, haha, then it's my problem with English, because i think the sentence type "as... as..." is kind of comparison.

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  • 227. At 01:51am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 221. At 01:30am on 26 Aug 2008, kangarl wrote:
    I am a Chinese and honestly I am proud of this Olympic Games, esp. the opening ceremony. But my British friends, 4 years ago at the Athens closing ceremony the "Beijing 8 Minutes" was just as horrible and incurred just as bad comments. So don't worry about the London 2012. You have 4 more years to come up with ideas to surprise the world.

    You are right, the the "Beijing 8 Minutes" was boring in the at the Athens closing ceremony, the director Yimo Zhang didn't do it good. Disappointed.

    So that is to say, UK people have got a big hope to do execellent 4 years later? good!

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  • 228. At 02:04am on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 215. At 00:47am on 26 Aug 2008, bluesteverose

    'You may hate the treatment of 2008 torch relay in London, but that statement is a bit too far.'

    Hate? Why do i have to hate this kind of boring thing?

    'Long history is not to be bragged about. It shows UK not only catches up with China and developed far ahead in recent centuries.'

    why UK or usa or japan or other european coutries thoes invaded China before catch up with China so quickly?

    of course, rob or steal to get money is much faster than earning money from working.

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  • 229. At 02:49am on 26 Aug 2008, cherryhill2007 wrote:

    Ur Londoners' performance anxiety really makes me laugh badly. As a Chinese, I must say the British 8 minute segment was ------horrible. But from our experience, it's really too early to say the games in London will be good or not. I remember Chinese 8 minute segment directed by Yimou Zhang was appalling. In an interview, Yimou said he knew that if he messed up the opening ceremony , He would have to flee to an island and never dare to come back. He didn't want be stoned on streets by angry ppl.

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  • 230. At 03:36am on 26 Aug 2008, Makelele6 wrote:

    I hear that 2.5 million was spent on the britians 8 minute segement as to be honest this is a waste of money, couldnt we do sonething we a bit more taste than having a bus turn into a concert! Surely london and GB is more than that.
    Leona Lewis, why was she there? she has no relation to the olympics and probably has never seen one and the rocker looked like he did not know what he was doing!
    Then we had Becks who had the symbol of the games which is a ball??? ( how the olympics games turn into a football?) and then Becks gives a rubbish attempt at trying to kick the ball to the athletes but he reaches a small steward instead, just like his england performance, shocking. Why Would Someone Kick a Ball that represents the Games, Surely you Should keep the Ball not Boot it away??
    Finally i feel disgraced as a Brit to see Boris Johnson being handed the Olympic Flag.

    I hope we do not waste money on the games and also more is done to improve transport and also crime and security for the games and hopefully this is done on time and not late like most stuff in london is.

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  • 231. At 04:47am on 26 Aug 2008, woolloomoolooinoz wrote:

    I hope that in 2012 London will not try to compete with what Beijing has done. Personally there was too much show in the opening and closing ceremonies. All very nice, but how could it be topped. It can't. If money is spent instead elsewhere like on your athletes and expand on the wonderful performances of your athletes in Beijing, in heading to London, then that will be worth it. After all, honestly, the games are about the Athletes and not focusing so much opening and closing ceremonies.

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  • 232. At 05:27am on 26 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Since now rightfully all future Olympics must be associated with human rights and politics, if we follow the western countries doctrines that is.

    So hopefully all of the UK's dirty little deeds and skeleton's in the closet will come out to haunt it in 2012.

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  • 233. At 05:31am on 26 Aug 2008, BeijingLondon wrote:

    Hi guys,

    Those despising the 8-min show may find it surprising that the 8-min was actually well received in China. The show has been widely commented on millions of Chinese websites, with many commending the show as it's not as costly as the China's saving tax payers money, some praising for its contemporary contents. Believe it or not, Pagy was well recognised and made a huge impression! Even the casual-looking Boris received applaud for his not-so-solemn and easy-going looking.

    And of course there are those who found it hard to understand the message the show tried to put across.

    To me, it's not perfect, but still an effort deserving due respect.

    Linbao Zhang, Beijing

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  • 234. At 06:07am on 26 Aug 2008, leafemma wrote:

    To Zhangzz, as a Chinese, I do not appreciate your debate here. We treasure our long history in our heart but we cannot look down on others' just because they are shorter. We have so many glorious tradition and we should preserve them carefully and display them to the world. (I believe before the opening ceremony, many of the westerners do not even know Chinese invented the paper.) As for the invasion in the past 200 years to China, I don't think westerners get to know that much, and I don't think it necessary to give a historical lesson here. All we could do is to more open to the world with our friendship and capability, to be stronger and hope for more understanding and less distortion from west.
    As for the London 2012, I really look forward to the game even though I do not quite really understand the 8 mins of London. Many may think Boris's style is to bring us more fun in 2012. Apart from fun, I think London has more to share with the world because in the eye of a Chinese, London is more than that. But the only thing I do not appreciate is the logo of 2012.

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  • 235. At 06:31am on 26 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    There's so much hate in the UK.


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  • 236. At 06:48am on 26 Aug 2008, unstoppableme wrote:

    I cannt appreciate the "8 min" at all.
    What it mean? Tall me some.

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  • 237. At 08:33am on 26 Aug 2008, katukov wrote:

    Hi I'm a native Beijinger. Nice to meet you guys here.

    I saw people talking a lot about money we spent. Actually it's not that much. The medias say that China spent 40 billion USD on the Olympics, that's not so correct. Actually that's the number of money spent on infrastructure building in Beijing from 2001 to 2008 and the budget of organizing the games.

    With this 40 billion USD, we built all the stadiums, the world's biggest airport, the biggest train station in Asia, about 200 km subway and several times more highways, the world's biggest park, biggest man made water park, some new electricity and water supply facilities, and various other facilities and buildings, like the new CCTV main building and national theater, etc.

    The income of Beijing city government of the first half of this year is about 15 billion USD, so 40 billion is not a big money for developing the whole city in 7 years. I think London can make more.

    The people performed in the opening and closing ceremonies are mostly volunteers and soldiers, and the performance heavily depends on the facilities of the bird's nest, so they didn't cost so much. The bird's nest cost about 0.4 billion USD, cheaper than a British type 45 destroyer, so not much money as well, and the bird's nest is the most expensive stadium.

    The water tube was built by the money only from the donation of OVERSEA Chinese and people from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. It didn't cost a cent from Chinese tax payers (people in Hong Kong and Macao don't pay tax to central government).

    If you think you are short of money, think about how much your government spent in Iraq.

    Of course, all those things will be much more expensive to be built in Britain. But I believe there are not that much infrastructure need to be built in London.

    It's not about money guys, it's about your enthusiasm and determination.

    I wish London 2012 will be a total success as well.

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  • 238. At 08:51am on 26 Aug 2008, benxiongda wrote:

    #173 Chronise,

    Thanks for your response. First of all, if the 40billion or whatever was spent purely on the 16 days it would be a scandal of proportions not last seen since a stone boat was built in lieu of a navy.
    That the buildings and transport links have been done is a good thing, and well needed.
    Now as far as that industrialists paid for most of the bill, I would be interested to see the accounts for this. I said in my post that a lot of money is circular in nature in a government controlled economy, and you do not know how much of what is officially paid for by 'industrialists' is in fact government money, or what is being sold to the Olympics by whatever supplier is done so on the assumption that the bill is never paid, but maybe said supplier will get some other useful benefit in kind from another government department. Anything is possible.
    But in 2012 this kind of spending is not possible, nor is it wanted. The fiasco of the 'Millenium Dome' is not to be repeated. That Londinium could well do to upgrade its rolling stock and Enlgand abandon the use of the two horse carts wide gauge system is well documented, but something that even an Olympian effort cannot achieve. But some decent venues for people to be able to practice, train and have sporting leisure time in may not be amiss.
    We must not lose track of what this is about: the people and the achievements of humankind. That it is a lot of money to blow on a very short term (sorry guys, how many 'Olympic' venues are still active after 20 or 30 years?) vision.
    I hope that the venues will truly be used for the people, and that after all the dust has settled that we can all go and swim in the Cube (and not suffer some mega disneyland/six flags water resort Fuwa Park) and train and play table tennis in the Pekin Uni Gym, then it is of some benefit. Only time can tell.
    However for the hundreds of millions of Chinese toiling away at the meagre plots of land they own, it is all but images on a television set.

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  • 239. At 09:04am on 26 Aug 2008, Mr2046 wrote:

    I thought the song 'Wo Ai Beijing' was fantastic!

    It was so catchy and uplifting - I've had it on my mind ever since the Closing ceremony.

    It's even my phone's ringtone now, I like it that much.

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  • 240. At 09:04am on 26 Aug 2008, sinophysiker wrote:

    Come on, as one of the Chinese audience, the british bit of the closing is not that bad. at least i get to see jimmy page.

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  • 241. At 10:14am on 26 Aug 2008, AlexaZhou wrote:

    I think people just don't tend to appreciate the things they are familiar with. As Chinese, having been living in London for a year and a half, I would say I found the 8 minutes show by London interesting and intriguing.

    Maybe it's not that fancy, but it reveals the real side of this multicultural city with its signature red double decker, unique bus stop, people from all sorts of background reading a lot of newspapers, it shows the enriched culture and it's real. I'd also say Beckham is a good kick as he's very very popular in China, in Asia in general! He's a symbol of British sports and I could even say a symbol of Britain.

    I'm very confident in London 2012 Olympics as I saw the courage and determination in Boris Johnson, actually I found him quite adorable in the show, hes more like a typical English kid or youngster, unbuttoned jacket, hands in pockets, hehe. I felt kinda bad when he was talking to the Mayor of Beijing while walking down the carpet together and got no response, I'm sure like the majority of the older generation in China, the Mayor of Beijing doesn't speak English thus couldn't understand him! Poor Boris :(

    BTW I joined the performance group of Beijing 8 minutes in 2004 Athens Olympics and I'm very proud. We did get a lot of critism but for such a major event, it is very likely you won't meet everyone's need. Especially within such a short time span, covering everything is absolutely impossible.

    I think Brits have such great talents in musicals and this would definitely help the show! If it were me I would definitely add some elements such as circus, magicians, horsing, Shakespear, carnivals, etc.

    I believe London would definitely bring out a fantastic show in 2012, go London go!

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  • 242. At 10:20am on 26 Aug 2008, ckwilliamh wrote:

    I am chinese, born in london, now living in america, and the one thing I noticed about the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing was the lack of individual talents and personalities in the festitivities. Because it is such a grand stage, the focus was on the spectacle and grandeur of the presentation, which could be enjoyed in the stands and on television without commentary or translation.

    During the 8 minute London segment though, the emphasis was on individual performers, who may have needed to be introduced to the audience. The bus, the dancers and skyline, were just too small in scale to be seen.

    I think once the Brits have access to the whole field rather than just the fringes of it, it'll be able to create something much more impressive. What is uniquely British? and at the same time universal?. Good Luck... I'm saving up and hope to be there in 2012. (that is if the dollar doesn't tank any further against the pound)

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  • 243. At 12:05pm on 26 Aug 2008, waterchinko wrote:

    If China has hosted a great Olympivs then let them do it more regularly! I am sure they will rise to it every occassion!

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  • 244. At 12:15pm on 26 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    Hello all, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated.

    There are far too many different topics and issues raised here (and far too many highly dubious historical claims) for me to answer every one of them so I'll just stick to a few general comments.

    First, reading through some of the posts really brings home one of the biggest challenges the western media had in reporting in China: how to objectively criticise elements of what we witnessed without giving offence to our hosts. Even now I'm not prepared to get into a hundred slanging matches with sensitive Chinese posters so I'll just leave it that. Beijing did a great job this month but NOBODY IS PERFECT. A little more humilty and a little sensitivity would help all sides in this debate.

    Second, one of the things I feel British (and other non-Chinese) commentators haven't felt able to say about how London can follow Beijing is this: London's secret weapon is London itself. I realise this is going to get close to doing exactly what I said I didn't want to do above but I am confident London is more suited to throwing a sports-themed party for the world than Beijing. We're a sports mad city, in a sports mad country, that has a long and rich history of staging world-class events. We're world-class in nearly all forms of popular entertainment and can boast of having perhaps the most diverse and vibrant population anywhere. Yes, there are problems here but we don't sweep ours under the carpet. And nobody points them out louder than we do ourselves.

    Beijing's Olympics were superb on lots of different levels. And on many of those levels London won't even try to compete. But I think our Games will be, if not "better", certainly more fun.

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  • 245. At 12:51pm on 26 Aug 2008, zhangzz wrote:

    to 234. At 06:07am on 26 Aug 2008, leafemma

    thanks for reminding me. maybe i did say something about too... but at least it was true. i did not intend to teach here.

    yes, the invasion of the old time was passed. it's waste of time to talk about it to the westerners (becuz they wont feel anything at all) And what we want is not that they feel shame about the things their ancestors do, but to think more of our own country and try to do something for our country.

    at the same time, i wish good luck for british, hope they will make a good performance in 2012 to bring fun to the world.

    personally, i am doing things i think worthy to do to UK, or would rather say, to people in need.(If i am in another country, i will do the same.) I am Christian and member of our philanthropic institution established by Chinese Christian fellowship. I go every Tuesdays and Saturdays with the institution to send the poor people food and clothes.

    Some people think the "one world, one dream" is stupid, but i believe thou it is hard to achieve, everybody likes peace and happiness. Thou just a little of the dream, i am willing to do.

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  • 246. At 1:41pm on 26 Aug 2008, mrsgwennan wrote:

    I'm speaking as a huge Led Zeppelin fan here, so you can imagine my absolute horror to witness an X Factor contestant murder 'Whole Lotta Love'. I appreciate that the organisers chose a Zeppelin song as they are the greatest musical talent this country has ever had - I couldn't agree more. So why, then, did they choose a wannabe pop singer to have the greatest honour of playing alongside Jimmy Page? Does Leona Lewis really think she's earnt that musical status? Robert Plant has been described as the God of Rock, so I imagine he's thrilled to learn that she's singing that to the world. Jimmy Page is getting to be abit of a sellout.

    The after party in London was incredibly bizarre. We were meant to be showcasing the best of british - and who did we choose? McFly, The Feeling etc, Il Divo (and they aren't even british). The whole thing was awkward, boring and cheesy. One thing's for sure - when the Olympics come to London, i'm off. I've truly had enough!!!!!

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  • 247. At 3:12pm on 26 Aug 2008, SilvaLiu wrote:

    Just like No.24 said. I don.t like this song too. Although I'm a chinese. Actually, except one( The chinese name called "????" ) I think many of them are unpleasent. But other parts are great.

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  • 248. At 3:58pm on 26 Aug 2008, RubberNutz wrote:

    I think we'll do alright.
    The marker has been laid down by the Chinese - But remember, If you take away the opening and closing cermonies what are you left with?

    Well organised events - we can do that... and we might actually get some people in the stadiums to watch the events.

    Lots of Records... Down to the athletes mainly, but we can look at the theories behind the large number of records like wider swimming pools and recreate them...

    Naff food - We can definately replicate that.

    Basically The games in London are going to be brilliant, and you never know they might even throw together some decent grub. Mines a chinese.

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  • 249. At 4:24pm on 26 Aug 2008, cmyviews wrote:

    China learned a lot from organising this Olympics, from antheletes, tourists, and foreign journalists. The Games has improved the mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world. Even only from this point of view, it was worth spending that money. Needless to say the much improved underground system, Capital Airport Terminal 3, motorways and many other infrastructures.

    I visit Beijing frequently, I can feel the how much Beijing has improved on its service industry (still a lot of rooms to improve). The Olympic legacy will be invaluable to Beijing and this will be extended to the other parts of China.

    When China becomes more wealthy (there is a big disparity between cities and rural areas, between east coastal areas and northwestern part of China) and people are more confident, if Beijing or Shanghai were given another chance to host Olympics in 30 years, antheletes and locals can have more fun.

    If I were the organisers, I'd prefer a smooth execution rather than a fun Games, given so many possible disruptions (e.g., Tibetan and Xinjiang trouble makers/terrorists).

    If I compare China and some western countries, the attitudes of the youngsters in China are more positive. There are far fewer broken families in China (divorce rate is only a few percent compared with that in the UK.) No matter poor or rich, in cities or in rural areas, almost every Chinese family takes kid's education very seriously. Hence, I believe China as a nation has a bright future. Because a large part of China is still underdeveloped, the potential for China to grow is enormous.

    Finally, I encourage those who criticise China (most of you have never visited China once, I guess!), DO visit China and Tibet (in particular, to learn its dark slave history before 1949).

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  • 250. At 4:59pm on 26 Aug 2008, ORLY2008 wrote:

    after i watched london 8 minutes.
    an image occured in my mind

    cheecheekuku cheecheekuku


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  • 251. At 5:52pm on 26 Aug 2008, ulysses_gzw wrote:

    To Zhangzz,
    You must be Chinese too,but I don't quite appreciate the way you talk to others.

    If you want respect, you must respect others first.
    For sure GB have a great culture and history, it's always been a gift to the world from GB people. Maybe you think Chinese culture is not treated well, Chinese people are not treated well, so you should change that with your action and effort, but not attack others. Being rude won't work.

    Beijing Olympic is not perfect, but the point is we have connected to world by the Olympic games. The cost is huge, but by now I think it's worthy. It's a good investment for China and for Beijing citizens.
    China is not heaven, also not hell.China is just a developing country with lots of good and bad.
    GB's traditional culture is well-known already, so showing a morden part meight be a good idea. I think you don't have spend that money as Beijing because you have shown the world what you are and what you can do (It's like if Beijing to hold olympics again after 20 years, we don't have to spend 20B pounds either). And I'm very certain London 2012 will be a classic.

    Good Luck, London!

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  • 252. At 8:23pm on 26 Aug 2008, onjournalism wrote:

    No offense, Matt does need to improve his writing skills (and perhaps way of thinking?), not going into a long ramble like this, even as a sport journalist.

    Although James Reynolds's articles tend to invite more criticism than sympathy, they provide fertile ground for thoughts.

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  • 253. At 10:44pm on 26 Aug 2008, Matt Slater wrote:

    None taken, onjournalism. You're absolutely right, I was rambling and the ground I've prepared is not nearly fertile enough. The previous 251 posters obviously don't know as much about journalism as you do. And to think, English isn't even your first language. God, that's impressive. Tell me, where can I learn to write (and think) as fluently as you?

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  • 254. At 02:20am on 27 Aug 2008, Stop_it_Aggers wrote:

    Woah - you set the cat among the pigeons there Matt!

    As a Brit - I thought our 8 minutes was OK. I liked the animation, a bit quick to take everything in but things like the World Service time signal represent Britain to the world. Although the average Heat reader probably didn't get the reference.. People like to slag off the BBC, but for many around the world that signal is a symbol that what follows will be fair and unbiased. Given the controversies about judging and doping, there could surely be no better way of starting the Games proper?

    And what is the purpose of that 8 minute slot? To tell people "Oh, by the way, in case you hadn't heard - the next Games is in London?". I think they might be aware of that. :-)

    So it has to be a branding exercise. One that says "Come visit London some time - rather than spending your yen or your euros or your dollars in Paris or Rome". And more specifically - "Come to our Olympics, they'll be great and there's lots of other stuff to do".

    On that level, you have to work your "brand", use your unique selling points, the things that you have that other cities don't - just imagine how hard it must be working for the tourist office in Des Moines or Lens. Lots of cities will claim to be full of happy smily people who love sport and help old ladies across the road - but as far as the world cares, only one has red double deck buses. Just like New York has yellow cabs, and every film in Chicago sets the scene with a shot of their elevated railway. It's about what the rest of the world recognise, not what people at home think. Although I must admit, I didn't see the reference to Tavistock Square at the time, it is a bit chilling now you mention it. Lol'd at the "failed the Transformers audition" though. And how many viewers realised that those cycling commuters had 5 gold medals between them? They could have been just ordinary actors. The topiary was too fiddly as well. That level of detail just doesn't "work", you're restricted to broad brushstrokes.

    Thus the average Sydneysider never sees a kangaroo in their daily life (except perhaps on their plate) - but you couldn't have "introduced" the Sydney Olympics without a kangaroo reference, it's international shorthand for "Aussieness". And those kangaroo space hoppers told the world that after the corporate regimentation of Atlanta, the next Olympics would take itself a bit less seriously, would have a bit more fun. After the government regimentation of Beijing, London can offer the same hope. In our self-deprecating way we said "you might need your umbrella, we know transport is an issue; but our Games will be inclusive, quirky, relaxed, unbiased, individual - and have great guitar riffs". For 8 minutes worth, I don't think that's such a bad message to get across. What else do you want? We don't do soldiers in uniform any better than other countries - and with the British Army in occupation in two IOC countries, any appearance by them would have had all sorts of political ramifications. We don't want to look back too much in any case, at least highlight our capacity to reinvent the past. Some new Minis would have made the point perfectly - smaller than other cars, well engineered beneath the skin, but cute and "fun" as well. I'm surprised the Germans didn't seize the commercial opportunity.

    But I'm surprised not more people have complained what a car crash the Leona Lewis song was. It was obviously put together by people more concerned about symbols (right skin colour, right gender, right home town) than about music. It was just awful, it just didn't work - if nothing else, the mixing was terrible. I've not got a particular problem with Leona herself, her music isn't really my thing but I recognise that she's good at what she does. But that's not 60's rock. And anyone harping on about her origins in X Factor is either a snob or just ignorant of how well she's done since then. Noone goes on about Barrymore or Victoria Wood or Girls Aloud being discovered on talent shows. Now they may not to be your taste, or mine, but you can't deny that they and the people behind them are good at what they do, even if it's not exactly finding a cure for cancer. If you doubt the abilities of that lot - just compare the careers of One True Voice...

    Aside from that, I just have this horrible feeling that an opportunity to showcase the best of modern British music is going to be ruined by my dad thinking he's a DJ. Nothing against Led Zep - some great music, a global brand - but Whole Lotta Love is older than even Mark Foster, it's closer in time to the 1928 Amsterdam Games than to 2012. Couldn't we have had something a little more modern? It's too easy for Britain to dwell on that time 30-40 years ago when we completely dominated international music, but we're still not devoid of international stars. OK, Radiohead might not quite set the right tone, but Ash, Feeder or Muse still do it for the Playstation generation.

    The London party was just as bad, I would say that McFly murdered Winner Takes It All, but that would imply some success in their intention - manslaughter perhaps? And hardly a suitable song, along with We Are The Champions ("no time for losers", very Olympic). What was worse was that over on C4 at the time you had Kylie demonstrating how to put on a real show - perhaps the Olympics people should talk to Blink TV?

    And it was just wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong that Phelps was not in Beijing. I'm tempted to get a Mastercard in protest.

    I've not got too much of a problem with Beckham, he's one of the few global superstars we have. How many of the Chinese singers did you recognise? Probably just the one - and Jackie Chan, legend though he is, isn't exactly known for his singing! We're back to those broad brushstrokes again, just getting something that keys in to a global audience's limited knowledge of your country. But surely they could have done something better with the football than just wellying it?

    As for the history/culture thing - it's pretty meaningless, surely both countries are mature enough to enjoy and respect each others histories? Some Chinese might be surprised by some of the sophistication of Celtic cultures, although the Romans did their best to destroy them and even in the West they're not well known. Some of the metalwork contemporary with the Zhou dynasty is exquisite, and of course structures such as Stonehenge speak of a sophisticated culture that was already ancient by the time of the Xia Dynasty. Even away from the obviously "Celtic" areas there's still a Celtic imprint that shows itself in local traditions such as Cumbrian wrestling, while well dressing is thought to be a remnant of Celtic fertility rites. But each country's history deserves better than to be used for point scoring - that's what American history is for. <g>

    People might complain that there's not much culture that's distinctively "English" - but part of the "problem" is that for historical reasons so much English culture has been absorbed by "international culture". For instance, some of our "folk" sports might have remained local curiosities like petanque or hurling, but instead were codified and spread around the world to become the national obsessions of Brazil and India and New Zealand, among others. Our ideas on everything from how to send letters, farm, do science or perform surgery have been widely adopted. Conversely we're more open to influences from outside than many cultures which again hides the bits that are distinctively "English". So the best characteristics of English culture - the openness to new ideas, the creativity, the adaptability - in themselves make "Englishness" a very slippery thing to define.

    Even those business suits that everyone are so worried about, have their origins in the dress code at the court of Charles II. In some ways it would have been nice to have Daniel Craig picking up the flag in Savile Row's finest tailoring. But putting someone in an Olympics ceremony just because they look good is not how it works in a democracy, it's far messier than that. ;-/

    Boris of all British politicans exemplifies the idiosyncracy of Britons, how they will be true to themselves regardless of what other people think. In English being described as "buttoned up" is a criticism, someone who supresses their true identity; you couldn't get further from the concept of "face". Boris' suit was a symbol of how the 2012 Games will be an expression of London and Londoners - if you're worrying about the suits, you're completely missing the point.

    They'll be great Games. I can't wait.

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  • 255. At 05:53am on 27 Aug 2008, serenadieu wrote:

    I have to say all Chinese (including myself) made a similar shower of blames to Zhang Yimou after our 8 min in Athens. We thought it was shameful and disgusting, and wished that we could be not in Beijng in 2008 to escape the farce.

    However, as the world has witnessed, Zhang Yimou and all others did a fantasitc job (I don't like the word exceptional at all).
    Tears were in my eyes when watching the Opening Ceremony. Yes, that is THE CHINA.

    As to 2012...

    I hope I can see something better than the bus and Beckham. As a student of English Literature, maybe I know better that other Chinese that Britain have so many other things to say.

    Just wait for a wonderful 2012.

    JIA YOU!

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  • 256. At 06:55am on 27 Aug 2008, hamlet1668 wrote:

    I would like to congratulate you on UK's 8 minutes short programme during the Beijing 2008 Olympics closing ceremony. Personally I believe that was the most enjoyable part of the broadcast. I only wish that UK would have picked Mick Jagger to perform instead of Leona Lewis and Jimmy Paige. I am a Le Zep fan, but I don't believe "Whole Lotta Love" is appropriate for the occasion even though the lyrics have been censored. Besides, most of the Chinese audiences don't know about Le Zep, but they certainly do know Rolling Stone and Mick Jagger.

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  • 257. At 08:19am on 27 Aug 2008, carriesun82 wrote:

    I'm from China, yep, we did well of 2008 Olympics. Cos' everybody here wanted to enjoy this big Olympics party with ppl across the world. We love to show our smile and also love to see others' smile.

    And now I'm looking forward to the next Olympics in London. I don't think the 8 minutes of London show is not good at all. I like it cos' i think it's different from our culture.

    There is no need to compare 2012 London to 2008 Beijing. I've never been to London before, as I know, London is famous for football, band and gentleman. So, 2012 is a good chance for us to know more about London or the whole Britain. Just show the real London to the world, the foreigners like me will definitely love it then.

    Go London! Go!

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  • 258. At 11:15am on 27 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    This blog has been a good chance to air some views and didn't totally descend into a nasty viscious flaming match, and that's flaming as in users having a bash at each other.

    Can someone inform James Reynolds blog that it's safe to have reactive moderation. Comments can sit their unmoerated for 3 days.... talk about annoying!

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  • 259. At 7:56pm on 27 Aug 2008, wtlhInLondon wrote:

    Some people say how the Chinese government wasted £20bn tax payers money on the games, but actually the Chinese government is sitting on top of $3trillion hard cash at the moment finding places to spend and invest. So I guess the amount of money spent at the games is reasonable.

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  • 260. At 02:54am on 28 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    In response to #238. At 08:51am on 26 Aug 2008, benxiongda wrote: "However for the hundreds of millions of Chinese toiling away at the meagre plots of land they own, it is all but images on a television set."

    You criticise China for poverty but China has taken 600,000,000 people out of poverty in the last 30 years. Yes you read that right, six hundred million. Something no other country could have ever done, not even India one of your ever so cherished democracies, which has about 450 million people in poverty. And these are world bank statistics.

    Not to mention the poverty and deprived people in the UK, with London's East End being one of the most deprived areas of the whole of the UK.

    Why has it taken the London Olympics to come to town before someone actually tries to do anything about this poverty. Total apathy from government officals beforehand but as there's political Olympic brownie points now to be won they're all jumping on the band wagon.

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  • 261. At 07:17am on 28 Aug 2008, ChineseGill wrote:


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  • 262. At 07:19am on 28 Aug 2008, ChineseGill wrote:


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  • 263. At 08:21am on 28 Aug 2008, GrahamForbes wrote:

    As Beijing returns slowly, but surely, to normality we residents start to debate 2012. Brits have every right to ask “can we beat Beijing’s Olympics?” For sure it will be difficult, but not necessarily impossible. The theme appears, with some justification, The Cool Olympics, back to Carnaby Street and the Swinging 60s. However, there is another aspect that I see little about in the press. The Chinese Government was panned for visa restrictions and ‘draconian’ measure adopted to cut pollution. Will London and the British Government do things any differently? I believe the answer is something like ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’! China is a wonderful place to live provided you have a job and money. But few people come here to seek political and/or economic asylum, there is no welfare safety net and those breaking visa laws are severely punished and returned to their home and no questions asked. London and Britain are a bit different there are millions out there from every continent that will see the London Olympics as an ideal opportunity to get into the country and disappear. Many would be asylum seekers pay vast amounts of money to gangsters to get into Britain, the opportunities that will exist for the price of a few Olympic Tickets, a few nights in a crummy hotel and the airfare are enormous. How will the British government react, I wonder? Maybe massive restrictions on visas? Confirmed, pre-paid hotel rooms? A need to confirm that there is a blood relationship if staying in a private home? All these restrictions were imposed by China and all were criticized by the western media. I believe it will be easier getting into the White House in 2008 than it will be getting into Britain in 2012. But will Britain be panned or praised for its ‘security’ measures?
    Security was always an issue in Beijing, but security is a real problem for London. China has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and has a relatively minor terrorist problem. London on the other hand is a prime target due to its relationship with Washington and its meddling in other countries politics. Freedom of movement in London will be curtailed, I am sure, there will be troops, police and guns on every corner, there is a real possibility of another ‘accident’ with police on high alert and extremely nervous. I will watch with interest how these events are reported and commented upon, but one thing is for sure, Britain will not get the same treatment as China, the Chinese people and our government did from a prejudiced and biased media.

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  • 264. At 00:54am on 29 Aug 2008, media_research wrote:

    Am I the only person who was left rather cold by the London's performance in the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games? I felt that the silly, mundane theatrical performance was uncomfortable to watch. It was quite insensitive to feature a bus split wide open which was reminiscent of the 7/7 attacks in Tavistock Square. Leona Lewis' performance was surprisingly good, but I felt that the whole London segment was two-dimensional and show London to have a stunted cultural and artistic growth instead of having a futuristic outlook. I'm aware that the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) wants to portray a youthful London to attract a younger audience, but I would like to stress that not every British taxpayer is young and so they should consider catering to all tastes - not every Londoner is interested in West End musicals, indie-rock music, remakes of classic British hits and D-list reality show winners. They should also seriously consider the embarrassing 2012 logo which at first sight resemble abstract people doing an obscene act. I'd be very ashamed if we as a developed nation couldn't at least match what a developing nation had done for the Olympics four years previously - since we're a developed nation, the rest of the world wouldn't see it as a financial issue, they would instead see it as a lack of taste and technical ability. The LOCOG should remember that we're hosting the world's greatest sporting event, not an Andrew Lloyd Webber production. I will be 25 in four years. I hope I get my money's worth and feel proud to be a Londoner after watching the games.

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  • 265. At 10:00am on 29 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Come on BBC, you're showing your true biased colours now!

    Where are the front page headline stories about the Australian Sydney 2000 Olympics fake mined Sydney orchestra's performances. Using prerecorded material plus recordings from the Melbourne orchesta.

    Come on BBC, it tooks minutes for you to make the little girl's mined singing headline news around the world. Why is it taking so long for you to write about the fake Sydney orchestras mining performance. Maybe you don't want to tarnish and demoize one of your own.... maybe.

    It took only days for the little girl mining to be release by the CHinese and it has taken eight years for that information to be released by the Australians.

    Come on BBC, now that it's one of your own, let's see how much you will criticise Australia and set out to demonize and patronise the country. Somehow I think the BBC will keep it all very low profile and friendly with Australia's faking, if at all.

    All I can say is thank you Sydney, thank you very much!!!

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  • 266. At 11:29am on 29 Aug 2008, kingjohnchen wrote:

    I enjoyed the Beijing 2008 games - not just the spectacular opening ceremony but more the action on the field, pool and track.

    Besides the Jamaican sprinters (Mr Bolt and co), and Mr Phelps, the one other event that I will always remember from this games would be the Mens 10 m Diving competition on the penultimate day of the games where with just one dive left and the Chinese diver having nearly locked up the gold, that Australian chap delivered a perfect dive to take the gold instead.

    The closing ceremony as a whole was a bit of a let-down. Maybe I was expecting an event similar to the opening ceremony. I wouldn't knock the 8 mins London segment though as there really is not a lot you could do in that time. Having said that, I did comment to a friend that the UK must surely have a whole list of names ahead of David Beckham, Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis to showcase the best of British. After all, Sarah Brightman sang at the opening ceremony. Why couldn't she stay on for the closing ceremony?

    I am looking forward to 2012. One thing for sure - the competition would just be as intense. And that alone would make it worthwhile.

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  • 267. At 1:14pm on 29 Aug 2008, fan4ever27 wrote:

    I am surprised that no one managed to be as negative about the Chinese chosen segments particularly the ones involving singers. Didn't anyone pick up on why the sound quality was perfect and they all looked so smiley including Placido Domingo singing with Chinese folk singer Song Zuying who some raved about and Sarah Brightman singing with Chinese singer Liu Huan, not only they benefited from a better surround sound system (because the Chinese were in charge) but they were LIP-SYNCHING too. If it was a British singer doing it in the London segment we would have all laid into them as we always seem to be able to do best. London had to clearly contend with a sound system confined to the bus area, that is why so many of you were so quick to complain about Leona's performance instead of praising her for being the only one who sang LIVE and still managed to sound great (albeit a bit faint due to the sound system). It wasn't just Lin Miaoke - the little girl who sang at the opening ceremony - who lip-synched her way through, the Chinese did organise breathtaking events as some mentioned but in their efforts to attain perfection they managed to get everyone to lip-synch and look their happiest and best in so doing to the world! I think people should take pride in having a talent such as Leona (whether they think she earned her megastar status or not) for at least we did not dupe people watching. The 8 min segment was good considering the time allowed and the little infrastructure one had to contend with and I am optimistic 2012 will just be great.

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  • 268. At 2:42pm on 29 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    in response to #267

    Who are you complaining about and to whom?

    The 8 min London segment was all down to them and China being China would have provided everyone the London team would have asked for, no questioned asked. That the meaning of being a good polite host, something westerner can learn a lot from, rather than criticising everyone else.

    I'm sure there were technical issues and difficulties in the fact that the London performance was from a mobile bus and probably only indirectly wired into the main sound system. You do recall that don't you?

    Please just remember that your warped perception of China is provided by a biased and prejudiced western media, out to demonize China. And anyone of any intelligience knows how manipulative and deceptive the western media can be.

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  • 269. At 5:23pm on 29 Aug 2008, fan4ever27 wrote:

    In response to #268

    I wasn’t trying to project a negative perception about China as a country nor am I being influence by the said "deceptive western media". All I said is the singers in the Chinese segments lip-synched, and that fact is not based on what I heard from "western media" for what I only heard in the media is that Lin Miaoke lip synched (and no one else). Any good lip reader or speech specialist would confirm that. (the only act who may not have mimed are the last young pop duo because they sounded overly rancid) I also said "London had to clearly contend with a sound system confined to the bus area” whether this is by choice or not is irrelevant, I was stating a fact which did not work in Leona’s favour. My criticism of the Chinese segment was only pertinent to the lip synching of the singers (otherwise they have –as I said- ; if I was to pay £100 to watch a concert I’d feel duped if the performers lip-synched.

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  • 270. At 04:38am on 30 Aug 2008, Stop_it_Aggers wrote:

    media_research - with a name like that, what message would you have tried to send in the 8 minutes, and how would you have done it? Bear in mind that you're trying to do something that will appeal to everyone from Pittsburgh steel workers, Frankfurt hausfrauen, and Tokyo salarymen. How many of the Chinese pop stars did you recognise? They had their equivalent of Kylie and Robbie Williams there - but the only one recognised by most Westerners will have been that well known singer Jackie Chan. And I think you're being a bit unfair if not plain snobbish and ignorant describing Leona Lewis as D list - she's one of just two Britons to top the US single charts this century, and even though she's not really my thing, I for one would rather have her than James Blunt..... A $10m record deal in the US separate from her X-Factor deal in itself speaks of someone who is becoming a serious artist with wide international appeal.

    voodohaze - you don't understand anything if you think Britons would avoid making fun of the Australians. Just because we have common heritage, it doesn't mean we always say good things about one another. Hard to think of a Chinese equivalent - maybe Hong Kong before 1997, which saw plenty of criticism of Beijing despite their obvious ethnic links. As it happens there's been lots of coverage in Britain - see Although revelations about something 8 years away are not such big news as revelations in the same week as something happens. That's just human nature, we all suffer from recentism.

    On the technical thing, it's nothing to do with a separate sound system for the bus. What seems to have happened is that the mix for the BBC feed was broken, so in the UK we got a version that just sounded horrible, whereas in other countries it sounded OK. From a technical point of view at least, although I still think whoever got Leona Lewis singing Led Zep has not a musical bone in their body.

    As for Sarah Brightman - even one song at the opening was too much!

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  • 271. At 05:13am on 30 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    in reponse to #270

    I said the BBC hasn't reported on the Australians faking it. The BBC!

    The BBC is so quick to demonize China, response times can be measured in hours and minutes, but is slow, if at all, to write an equivalent story about say for in this instance the australians faking it during their olympics hosting.

    And if it had taken China 8 years to inform the world about the girl miming, trust me the BBC would have been all over it like a nasty rash, headline frontpage news.

    oh, and I am fully aware that britons have a friendly colonial rivalry with australia. I have lived and travelled in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and China. So I'm not being an armchair activist like so many in the west who have never even set foot out of their own country.

    Plus, what were the british doing in the area known as hong kong anyway, it wasn't their land. It was taken at gunpoint by a foreign racist colonial power, thousands of miles away from their homeland.

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  • 272. At 05:34am on 30 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    Oh, and why doesn't the BBC forget about Tibet, it happended over 50 years ago. It's a pet activist subject for the BBC China reporters. The BBC want to report on every single protest, no matter how big or small, even if it's one person.

    Anyone watching tibetan protestors on TV can clearly see how false their protesting is, a badly staged hollywood production, full of faked emotions. And the western media lapping it up like a pack of dogs. All who are convieniently contacted beforehand so they can say "lights, camera, action".

    The West seems to have forgotten that the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to name but a few doesn't rightfully belong to them, historically speaking. Why aren't those coutnries returned back to their indigenous population, I bet they weren't so happy even 50 years after they were invaded from people who's homeland was many many miles away.

    SO one can never start putting timeframes on things, because who decides when something is no longer relevant. Let's forget about the holocaust and the world wars, colonialism and slavery... etc etc etc, who decides?

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  • 273. At 06:37am on 30 Aug 2008, voodohaze wrote:

    And also, the australian's admitting they kept their miming and faking a deep dark secret for 8 years is not old news but new news, as it has only just been admitted to by the australians, making it current news, 8 years in the making.

    But I guess there are no anti-australian bashing journalist in the BBC who will jump on every little opportunity to spread their publicly financed activist views.

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  • 274. At 3:47pm on 01 Sep 2008, diffcar wrote:

    The cost of Beijing game break down as follows.

    Operating cost (including security) 16.2 Billion CNY (1.16 Billion Pounds)

    Construction of the venues 13 Billion CNY (0.93 Billion Pounds)

    Bird net stadium 3.2 Billion CNY(228.5 Million Pounds)
    Water cube 1.2 Billion CNY (85.7 Million Pounds)

    City's infrastructure 180 Billion CNY (12.86 Billion Pounds).
    The figure is based on the infrastructure investment in Beijing for the last five years.

    A 90 Billion CNY for transportation includes the cost of eight new lines of city's subway train network and a new 900,000-square-meter airport terminal
    B 45 Billion CNY for environment management.
    C 30 Billion CNY for ICT infrastructure and education.
    D 15 Billion CNY for energy source and water treatments.

    It is not that expensive if you consider infrastructure investment need to be spend anyway.

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  • 275. At 7:56pm on 24 Sep 2008, Inherent wrote:

    It's easy for the greek minister to say londoners should get more involved for the games to succeed;but when building contracts go out to firm's as far afield as australia to build wembley (what's wrong with british firms)what confidence in the comment "it'll be good for british industry"

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