London Olympics XXX prove to be highlight of summer 2012
A double-decker bus with the 2012 Olympic logo circles the field as the flag is passed to London during the closing ceremony of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing, China in 2008.
Used with permission/George Bridges/MCT
The logo of the London Olympics 2012. It is normally bright pink color but can vary.
Used with permission/MCT 2012
As the school year comes to a close, the excitement for summer becomes literally unbearable because students are reminded of all that summer has to offer: swimming, bonfires, and no homework. But the summer of 2012 holds something more special than just beautiful weather and vacations, something that comes only once every four years: the 30th Summer Olympic Games.
This summer’s games will be held in London, England, the third time the city has hosted the modern Olympics. London beat out Paris in the final selection round in 2005, along with Havana, Instanbul, Leipzig, Madrid, Moscow, New York City and Rio de Janeiro.
The location of both the summer and winter Olympics are chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), headquartered in Switzerland. The locations for the Olympics are known years in advance in order for the cities to prepare. Often, venues are all over the country, and in this summer’s case, sites for the events are scattered throughout the United Kingdom.
For the London games, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games is the organization behind the planning and staging of the event. The Olympic Delivery Authority was in charge of building the many venues and infrastructures, including the Olympic Stadium, the Basketball Arena and the Aquatic Centre, all of which are completed and located in the heart of London. The money for all these building endeavors came from the IOC and a number of other London public organizations.
This summer’s opening ceremony is slated to take place July 27, with the closing ceremony on Aug.12. The exciting torch-carrying ceremony, a time-honored tradition for the modern games, will kick off in Greece on May 19, and from there will travel more than 8,000 miles and attend 66 evening celebrations before landing in London in time for the opening ceremony. Queen Elizabeth of England has officially been confirmed as the opener of the games.
While the traditions and excitement building up to the games are thrilling, most agree that the actual events and the athletes competing in those events are what really make the Olympics special.
As of May 11, 181 countries have qualified at least one athlete to attend this year’s games, but 10,500 athletes from 204 countries are expected to participate. There will be a total of 26 different events in 2012, excluding baseball and softball, which were eliminated for the London games, but including the debut of women’s boxing.
Per usual, the United States will be one of the top countries in the world, strong in nearly every event. NBC, the official broadcasting station of the Olympic Games, streams the “major” events in the prime-time television slot at 8 p.m. each night. These events are usually USA’s strongest: track and field, swimming, gymnastics, etc.- the sports that attract the greatest number of viewers, and in which American athletes are always contenders.
London 2012 is no exception. Athletes such as gymnast Nastia Luikin, five-time medalist in Beijing in 2008; and swimmer Michael Phelps, who has 16 medals total, eight of which are gold from Beijing; are expected to return and compete in London. Teams such as both men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball (both beach and indoor) are bound to be strong again in 2012.
However, new athletes emerging into stardom is a given. The majority of the Olympic Trials for the United States, and the world, take place in May and June, so those newcomers may not even be on the radar yet. These potential stars make the Olympics special and unique, and NBC always showcases those human interest stories that cause the entire world to fall in love with certain athletes, especially in less-popular sports and lesser-known countries.
In addition, superb athletes from other nations capture our attention just as much. For example, Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter, captivated entire audiences with his unbelievable speed on the track in Beijing.
Especially since these Olympics are taking place in London, soccer, or “football,” will garner much attention, even from Americans who are generally not interested in the sport as much as Europeans, or the rest of the world, for that matter.
All in all, the London 2012 Olympic Games is sure to be the event of the summer, and perhaps the year. It will mesmerize and unify the world, even if it is just three short weeks.