I am proud that my hometown of London will host the 30th Olympic Games. London will be the only city to have hosted the Olympics three times: 1908, 1948 and now in the 21st century.
We considered going back for the Olympics but instead decided to watch the games from the comfort of our air-conditioned home in coastal Georgia for various reasons: I am not a huge sports fan; the lottery for tickets is massively oversubscribed, so tickets would be extremely expensive on the secondary market; and of course, the English weather. Did you witness the rain and cold during Wimbledon and the queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration? Direct evidence to support my complaints about the British climate. Also, and most importantly, when I visit the U.K., my priority is to see family and friends and not to attend events, however prestigious.
Security concerns are on the minds of my fellow English citizens. The British government is not taking any chances; a warship appeared on the River Thames in central London, and the Ministry of Defence (yes, that is the British spelling for defense) has put surface-to-air missiles on top of a 17-story public-housing apartment block in East London. Even tighter measures are being taken at London’s massively overcrowded airports; the crowds will be subject to lots of surveillance and security precautions.
For me and most Brits, the wonderful news on July 6, 2005, that London had been awarded the 2012 Olympic Games always will be tainted with a memory of fear and sadness. The next day, referred to as 7/7, suicide bombers killed 52 innocent people during the morning rush hour and injured 700 others on London’s public transport system. My husband and I were working in different parts of London that day; thank God we were spared.
On a lighter note, a great deal of speculation has taken place about the opening ceremony Friday, which is supposed to encapsulate the host country’s essence.
Reports are that the opening ceremony will begin with bell ringing and a pastoral vision of a horse ploughing (another British spelling for you) a field, a cricket match on a village green and people dancing around a maypole. Artificial clouds will provide rain in the extremely unlikely event that nature does not oblige. This “farmyard animals and meadows fantasy” apparently will be followed by a performance from Sir Paul McCartney, and British football (soccer) star David Beckham will appear as will his wife Victoria, who will reunite with her fellow former Spice Girls.
In fact, British music is supposed to be such a prominent part of the opening ceremony that a soundtrack is scheduled to go on sale the next day. James Bond and fireworks also are expected to make appearances as rumors become more frenzied as Friday approaches.
Who will I be cheering for? These days, my heart really does belong to both countries, so I don’t mind who wins the medals — as long as they are Olympians from the U.K. or U.S.A.
God bless America and the 30th Olympic Games!
Contact Francis at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.lesleyfrancispr.com.