Photos: Ray Ally
I just got back from UK, where it rained everyday and was the wettest April on record. But what was more disappointing was the general atmosphere of doom and gloom about the London Olympics.
I expected to find the city buzzing with excitement and sporting energy. However, most people didn’t seem bothered and lacked any interest. The most important topics were; the rising cost of the games; the impossibility of getting tickets and the worry about transport congestion during the event.
Most newspaper columnists also took negative views on the games. Discussing the ugly (and probably most hated) London 2012 Olympic logo; the mutant mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville and the Orbit Olympic sculpture, which has been likened to tangled piece of scrap metal.
With less than 80 days to go I was saddened by this reserved and slightly cynical British attitude to the event. This is the opposite of what I experience in 2008 before the games in Beijing.
At that time the city was covered with Olympic posters, billboards and advertising promoting the event. Every street hoarding and available wall space was covered with Olympic themed graphics celebrating China and the host city of Beijing.
There was a buzz in the city and everyone was excited about the upcoming event. People felt proud that Beijing was hosting the games and there was an emotional patriotic Chinese mood across the city. After all it was a chance for China to showcase Beijing to the world and show how modern, dynamic and progressive the country was becoming.
London has less to prove as it’s already a world-class city, but it’s people can be cold and cynical. Maybe it’s also to do with the grey, wet weather that has so far put a damper on the event. I hope as the weather heats up the doom clouds will disappear and the Olympic spirit and warmth of Londoners will shine through.
As a big Olympic Games fan and a proud Londoner; I will be flying the Union Jack flag in my little corner of Beijing. My only gloom about the games is that I couldn’t get any tickets. So with the seven hour time difference I’ll be staying up late or getting up early to watch the games on TV in China.