Excitement mounts as the world awaits the opening of the Games of the XXX Olympiad in London on 27 July 2012. This is the third time the Games will have taken place in London; the first being in 1908 when the White City Stadium was built at short notice to accommodate them.
Originally these Games were to have been held in Rome but, following the eruption of Vesuvius in 1906, funds were diverted for the rebuilding of Naples and so their location was changed to a non-volcanic London.
Forty years later the 1948 Summer Olympics were also held in London. Post-war rationing was still in force although athletes were allowed over twice the calorific intake of an adult in order to give them enough energy to compete. Watch this clip of the stirring opening ceremony which must have raised the spirits of those living through such austere times.
Sixty four years later, the Games are to revisit London. The intervening period has brought about great changes in the way the Games are run and how we view them. Since the Munich massacre in 1972 there has been increased concern the Games could be used to stage political acts of terrorism. Security will be a huge issue for the London 2012.
In the following clip from ‘News at Ten’ Mark Spitz talks about his own experience, as an athlete and potential hostage target, at the Munich Games during the hostage crisis.
Political changes within Europe have also had a big impact on the Games. As the dominance of the Soviet bloc came to an end, so did their former powerful prescence at the Olympics. There would now be new national teams from each of the former Communist states. The following clip also looks at how the Communist regime trained potential athletes through a system of select schools for children showing outstanding abilitiy in sports.
Rapid advances in information technology mean more people can watch the Olympics than ever before. A new satellite was ordered by China Satcom to provide live television coverage for the Bejing Games in 2008.
Growing television audiences provide new markets for branded products. The Olympic brand for London 2012 is being protected by tough legislation to restrict its use to official sponsors who have paid enormous sums for exclusive rights.
The following clip, which looks at how Olympic sponsors tapped into the growing consumer economy of China, explains ‘…..it’s not just the athletes who are taking home the gold’
There are also controversial new rules governing the use of social media during London 2012. This includes banning athletes from posting video clips from the Olympic village or tweeting ‘in the role of a journalist’.
Ticket holders may not broadcast video or sound recordings or post pictures to Facebook from any events they attend. Should the use of social media be policed during the Games and whose interests are being protected? London 2012 may prove interesting for more than displays of athletic prowess alone.
Don’t forget to let us know what you think about any of these issues.
- Official London 2012 Website
- The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG)
- BBC: Sport: Olympics
- BBC News: London 2012: Social media restrictions for Games makers
- The Guardian: Olympics 2012:’ branding’ police to protect sponsors’ exclusive rights