Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Imagine the Olympics bringing peace

Danny Boyle produced a set more akin to Middle Earth than the stage for the opening ceremony of the world’s biggest sporting event. When the lights came up on the London 2012 stage, and the Shire was revealed complete with live animals, only Hobbits and Gandalf were missing. Indeed, one may have wondered if the best kept secret of the ceremony, the person who would light the Olympic cauldron, would indeed walk out of one of Peter Jackson’s movies!


The London 2012 ceremony had many highlights: the Queen’s meeting with James Bond, an amusing cameo by Rowan Atkinson, Mary Poppins (over fifty of them!), and a story of the revolutions that changed Britain (the Industrial, the social revolution of the 1960 onwards, and the digital revolution. Not forgetting the Beatles, of course!)


However, the most talked about event, both before and after the ceremony centred on the lighting of the Olympic torch. In the end it was neither Sir Steve Redgrave, nor David Beckham, nor even Gandalf. Nor was there one torch. Seven young athletes sharing one flame, then divided into seven flames, lit over 200 torches, representing the competing Olympic nations. The petal shaped torches then rose upwards into one giant torch, unifying the flames and the nations of the world. It was an image that will no doubt be repeated in countless corporate presentations for years to come, to show the coming together of the team, of a common vision, of the synergy and sum of many small parts to form one giant, unique whole.


The image though of the unified flame and one Olympic family leaves aside a reality outside of London 2012, a reality where wars are taking place, and where people are being killed. An Olympic family can agree on the rules and boundaries of competition, and can accept defeat as others celebrate victory. It’s a shame then that at least during the one month of the Olympics and Paralympics that the wars of the world do not stop, just as they did during the Olympiads of ancient Greece. To use the one word of John Lennon’s famous song, “Imagine”: Imagine if an Iranian and Israeli athlete could embrace, smile, and exchange a token gift of peace. Imagine the same gesture from a North and South Korean, or any one of the many nations either at war, or filled with mistrust and hatred. Just as Neil Armstrong took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind, so the athletes at these Olympics have a unique opportunity in front of billions of spectators to give one small hug for the Olympics, and one giant embrace for world peace.



July 31, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,


  1. Nice write up mate. I thought the opening ceremony was jaw-droppingly fantastic. I could actually watch it again with glee. Sadly, regarding the human dream of peace – there are too many of us hard-coded for aggression and violence. And the monkey cage is getting smaller. Dark times ahead it seems. But then that’s the trick – finding your own light in the shadows.

    Comment by davidjrodger | August 1, 2012 | Reply

  2. Wonderful words. I watched the opening ceremony and was very proud to be British. James Bond meeting the queen was very amusing. if only all of the worlds leaders could come together as these athletes are doing.

    Comment by iriswrightpoetry | August 1, 2012 | Reply

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