MONTREAL, QC – The pace of hockey news has slowed and some fans are getting restless as they look longingly at the date October 11. Not to fret. First, there will be plenty of activity in the lead up to the start of the NHL season with rookie camps and training camps beginning in September. And this summer, sports fans have the 2012 London Olympics to bridge the gap.
The games are just underway and already American Ryan Lochte has a gold swimming medal knocking off teammate Michael Phelps. No podium appearances for the Canadian team yet who are hoping for a 12th place finish in the medal count. That would mean improving on the 18-medals that Canadians picked up in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics.
The Beijing Games were still very much on the minds of Olympic enthusiasts that I spoke to today. They were comparing Friday’s opening ceremonies in London to the breathtaking display of power, light, sound and people we were treated to from Beijing.
Director Danny Boyle guided the London show which was more modest, quirky yet at times a very entertaining look at British society through the years including literature, music and pop culture. One of the more striking sequences featured a rather dark look at England’s industrial past which culminated in the forging of Olympic rings rising out of the smoke, soot and poverty. The choreography of five rings meeting overhead in the center of the stadium was a stunning visual and technical accomplishment.
There was a rather odd tribute to socialized medicine complete with monsters — the musical accompaniment was the star here particularly in the form of Mike Oldfield and tubular bells. Rowan Atkinson lightened the mood as Mr. Bean sat in with the London Symphony Orchestra daydreaming his own version of Chariots of Fire. A comprehensive look at Britain’s contributions to pop music followed with viewers scrambling to add forgotten tunes to their playlists.
Technology is front and center in these Olympics being described at the first Twitter games. During the opening ceremony Boyle gave a tip of the cap to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet. An effective and welcome change from spectators raising colored cards were pixel paddles, an LED-powered tablet, that each of the 70,000 audience members could hold to display video images.
But universally viewers spoke about one moment as their favorite when a fictional character and real-life royalty joined forces for the most memorable moment of the opening ceremonies. Actor Daniel Craig in his role as James Bond along with 86-year-old Queen Elizabeth were fabulous in their segment which included a mock parachute jump from a helicopter hovering over the stadium.
The entrance of the athletes always seems to take forever but it is quickly forgotten when you see the march past of smiling faces from the country you are supporting. Even the long wait between the teams from Canada and the United States was kept interesting by javelin tosser Leryn Franco of Paraguay. Many viewers commented on the inclusion of independent athletes with the unanimous conclusion that they should be representing the country where they are training if not their place of birth.
After the torch lighting and fireworks the evening ended on a bit of a sour note with Paul McCartney singing “Hey Jude.” Apart from the obvious problems with sound mixing, it was the performance of Sir Paul that had me wondering if the Queen would revoke his knightship.
All in all it was an opening ceremony that while not at the same level as Beijing was the perfect way to showcase the British people as hosts to the world’s athletes.
And now on to the Games.
Canadians may feel more at home with winter sports but there will be plenty to cheer for during the Summer Olympics. Oh sure, there are ‘sports’ included that we may question — badminton, ping-pong and croquet come to mind. Okay, they don’t actually have croquet, yet, but truth be told I know that my nephew would love to see it included in the games rather than handball.
But there is rowing, athletics, cycling, swimming and (yes, Stevo) beach volleyball to please sports fans over the next two weeks.
So what’s your opinion of the Summer Olympic Games? Answer the following questions and we will make it worth your time.
- What’s your favorite summer Olympic sport to watch?
- Which sport do you think should be dropped from the summer games?
- Who’s your favorite current summer Olympic athlete?
Your answers will give you a chance to win one of two prepaid VISA cards worth 125$ each from All Habs Hockey Magazine and VISA Canada.
You have three ways to enter:
- Post a comment to this article answering the three questions above.
- Tweet your favorite sport, athlete and dropped sport to @All_Habs using the hashtags #allhabs and #goworld
- Like the All Habs Fan Page on Facebook and share your answer on the page to the three questions above.
Don’t delay – this is your chance to enhance your Olympic viewing enjoyment with All Habs and VISA Canada! This contest is only open until 11:59 PM (EST) on Sunday, August 12, 2012.
Contest is open to legal residents of Canada, 13 years of age and older. Two winners only will be chosen from entries received by All Habs. Prizes must be accepted as awarded; no substitutions.
Also, don’t forget to submit a cheer, in the form of a one-click cheer, post, photo or video to our athletes on the VISA Facebook page.
About the Author (Author Profile)Rick is the Editor-in-Chief, lead contributor, and owner of the All Habs network of websites. His mission is to build a community of Canadiens fans who are informed, engaged and connected. He is the vision behind all four sites within the network - All Habs, Habs Tweetup, We Are Canadiens, and The Montreal Forum - and is responsible for the design and layout of each. In concert with the strong belief that "Habs fans are everywhere!", Rick is pleased that people use All Habs as a conduit to find and connect with other Habs fans worldwide. He is also proud that Habs Tweetups have allowed fans to meet in person and develop long lasting friendships.
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