Editor's letter
Cool, but also warm

By Liz Terry | Published in Leisure Management 2012 issue 3


The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was both the coolest and the warmest ever. I hope I’m not being partisan in saying it was the most memorable in the history of the Olympics.

Who could forget shire horses, sheep and bee keepers; The Queen and James Bond; Mr Bean and the London Symphony Orchestra (the most tweeted topic during the opening ceremony); ‘doves’ on bicycles and the most beautiful hand-made cauldron? Not to mention a reminder to the world and celebration of the fact that both the industrial revolution and more recently the revolution that is the world wide web both started in Britain.

Cool because it was genuine and deployed much of our best design talent to create something challenging and nuanced but warm in that it showed the world the humour, playfulness, wit and pure bonkersness of the British in a way I think many had not appreciated.

There are still parts of the world which think the UK is a dark place with pea soup fog, men in bowler hats, very bad food and a snooty imperialist attitude as we hang on the vesitages of the ‘Empire’. I had dinner in London recently with a (well-travelled) American friend who was on her first visit to the UK and was truly stunned to find such a beautiful, stately and lively global city, with great food, great service and a thriving arts scene. Grappling with these kinds of preconceptions is essential if our tourism industry is to thrive.

All the leisure industries played their part in creating the London 2012 Olympics, Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad and everything surrounding these events, from the design and construction of the sports facilities to the makers of the cauldron. At the time of writing, although there have been a few inevitable hitches, the overall impression is of events which have been conceived and delivered to the very highest standards.

The BBC has excelled itself, offering 24 channels of HD to carry live feeds of all sports, as well as a great App, reporting across all TV channels and websites and excellent radio coverage to take the story to the world.

All this content has prompted massive social media engagement, with the Olympics being mentioned 10 million times on Twitter on the first day. Individual athletes are also garnering larger followings – cyclist Lizzie Armitstead, for example, gained new followers at a rate of 500 per second after winning silver in the women’s road race, ending up with 25,000 new followers in less than an hour.

The Olympic Games are a showcase for the host nation and we have been well and truly in the spotlight. I had been concerned that we would be left with a headache after the party, but now I believe it will be more of a warm glow from a job well done.

 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Leisure Management
2012 issue 3

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Cool, but also warm

Editor's letter

Cool, but also warm
Liz Terry, Leisure Media

The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was both the coolest and the warmest ever. I hope I’m not being partisan in saying it was the most memorable in the history of the Olympics.

Who could forget shire horses, sheep and bee keepers; The Queen and James Bond; Mr Bean and the London Symphony Orchestra (the most tweeted topic during the opening ceremony); ‘doves’ on bicycles and the most beautiful hand-made cauldron? Not to mention a reminder to the world and celebration of the fact that both the industrial revolution and more recently the revolution that is the world wide web both started in Britain.

Cool because it was genuine and deployed much of our best design talent to create something challenging and nuanced but warm in that it showed the world the humour, playfulness, wit and pure bonkersness of the British in a way I think many had not appreciated.

There are still parts of the world which think the UK is a dark place with pea soup fog, men in bowler hats, very bad food and a snooty imperialist attitude as we hang on the vesitages of the ‘Empire’. I had dinner in London recently with a (well-travelled) American friend who was on her first visit to the UK and was truly stunned to find such a beautiful, stately and lively global city, with great food, great service and a thriving arts scene. Grappling with these kinds of preconceptions is essential if our tourism industry is to thrive.

All the leisure industries played their part in creating the London 2012 Olympics, Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad and everything surrounding these events, from the design and construction of the sports facilities to the makers of the cauldron. At the time of writing, although there have been a few inevitable hitches, the overall impression is of events which have been conceived and delivered to the very highest standards.

The BBC has excelled itself, offering 24 channels of HD to carry live feeds of all sports, as well as a great App, reporting across all TV channels and websites and excellent radio coverage to take the story to the world.

All this content has prompted massive social media engagement, with the Olympics being mentioned 10 million times on Twitter on the first day. Individual athletes are also garnering larger followings – cyclist Lizzie Armitstead, for example, gained new followers at a rate of 500 per second after winning silver in the women’s road race, ending up with 25,000 new followers in less than an hour.

The Olympic Games are a showcase for the host nation and we have been well and truly in the spotlight. I had been concerned that we would be left with a headache after the party, but now I believe it will be more of a warm glow from a job well done.


Originally published in Leisure Management 2012 issue 3

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