Having been privileged to experience numerous Olympic Games at first hand, it’s been especially fascinating to watch my hometown move into Games Time for the first time. As always there have been many similarities with other Games: the highly choreographed sequence of events doesn’t vary too much from Games to Games, or the way the media and public reacts. But there have been differences.
In looking at this, I thought I’d take Vancouver 2010 as my point of reference, because there was much more to learn from open, democratic Vancouver than from closed, autocratic Beijing about how the Games would play out with consumers and the media in London.
So, here’s my take on the similarities and differences between Games Time Vancouver and Games Time London.
1. The Weather
We both obsessed about the weather. In Vancouver, it was all about the snow – or rather, the lack of it. And it never came. Whereas in London of course, it was all about the rain, which looks finally and blessedly to have been replaced by sunshine, and lots of it. At least for now…
2. The Scepticism
As in every Olympic host nation, the “Is It Worth It?’ debate raged long and hard in both Canada and the UK, with the naysayers - led by an overly sceptical national media – shouting loudest. And in both markets, the last week pre-Games saw the national mood move into optimism, reflecting - finally – the huge regional positivity surrounding the Torch Relay everywhere it went.
3. The Nerves
Again as in every host nation, the nerves about being able to successfully stage the world’s biggest event in the full glare of the world’s attention were never far away. The final verdict on Vancouver was that it was a great Games. London will be hoping for at least the same – with the help of, in particular, the weather, the transport and the security, as well as the sport.
4. The Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony becomes the focus of debate on ceremony day itself. What’s it going to be like? Are the rumours true? Who will light the cauldron? All these questions and more fuel a massive national debate and – immediately afterwards and into the next day – an ever bigger global debate centred on one, single question: was it any good? (See also The Nerves). As it was in Vancouver, so it will be in London.
5. The Socialympics
After closed Beijing, the impact of social media on the Games became a big issue in Vancouver. In London, with social media having gone mainstream globally, it’s already a huge factor – as we were the first to demonstrate and debate back in February during Social Media Week London.
6. The Home Team
A big difference here. Whereas in the UK we’ve been quietly confident about equalling Beijing’s record haul across a range of sports, in Canada only one medal, and one event, really counted: the ice hockey (a national obsession) and the gold – which Canada memorably won at the last gasp, creating wild, joyous (and not a little relieved) national celebrations.
Let’s hope London has moments like those in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy the Games.
By Tim Crow on July 26th, 2012
Tags: Beijing 2008, Default, London 2012, London 2012 sponsorship, Mobile, Olympic sponsorship, Olympic sponsorship consultants, Olympic Torch Relay, Olympics, Sochi 2014, Social Media, Socialympics, Sponsorship, Synergy, Team GB, Twitter, Vancouver 2010