Jack Simpson: Armchair fun at the Olympics



In spite of delays, commercials, talk and interruptions, NBC is credited by some with high ratings for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. And why not, with stars like Queen Elizabeth, James Bond and David Beckham.

"Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle made British viewers proud of their heritage turning from pastures to the Industrial Revolution. He used art and culture to showcase the United Kingdom's contributions to the world.

The Olympics torch traveled 8,000 miles up and down Britain and down the Thames through rain, traffic jams, an influx of tourists and amidst security concerns to welcome guests and athletes from 200 nations to the 2012 Games. When the G4 Security Force feared it had too few employees, the armed forces responded to protect this epic event.

Seems like everyone watching the Opening Ceremony enjoyed Queen Elizabeth and James Bond and their alleged helicopter jump. I don't know about you, but Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) always tears me up with his British tongue-in-cheek humor.

In the opening of the Games, storytelling was everywhere within the theatrical, spectacular event. Drummers, dancers and nurses helped tell the story of Britain's past. The music of Britain, the physical comedy of Mr. Bean, and the history of a great nation were all presented to world viewers. No doubt in anyone's mind that the British people are proud of their heritage.

Contrary to rumors that London was not ready, things did turn out better than expected even with a few unresolved matters, the weather included. People were not all deeply concerned with their safety. Some still found time to attend tattoo parlors for souvenirs such as "London 2012" or "Olympics 2012" inked in easily seen places. Whatever turned them on!

I'm sure people had fun because their excitement was evident. They sought to share it with the world.

Being far removed, Americans were asking one another, "What's going on?" as they watched the Opening Ceremony. It took awhile to get the hang of where Boyle was going with the event.

My spouse and I remembered when the Olympic Games were held in Atlanta in 1996. We watched events and followed the medal counts. The main thing we did to enjoy the Olympics was to buy and trade pins. We traveled about the city and elsewhere meeting interesting people wherever we went. Each of us ended up with quite a pin collection! As of the Opening Ceremony in London, we have not yet collected our first pin for the 2012 events. Perhaps pin trading no longer holds for us the burning desire we had back in 1996. Maybe our aches and pains just keep us closer to home.

Congratulations to all American athletes winning medals in the 2012 Olympic Games. We are proud of your achievements.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.