The world awaits the Olympics to kick off

first_imgThe last few hours before the world’s biggest sporting spectacle begins is always filled with tension and suspense.And as the city of London gives final touches to its seven-year-long preparation before the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night, everyone wishes the Games are peaceful and each of the 304 sporting events is fought in the right spirit.Gone are the days when the extravaganza called Olympic opening ceremony was kept as a secret. It has become almost a tradition now for other countries to spy on the drama that will unfold in those three hours plus.Glitz, glamour, light and sound, all that will go into the opening ceremony being directed by Danny Boyle has already been detailed. But there can still be a huge suspense as what the world will finally see through live TV signals can be different.The weather in London has been pleasant after an incredibly wet summer. The sun has been shining the last few days, which means the locals can wear bare minimum clothes.Four years ago, when Beijing wanted to show the world its sporting might and ability to organise a high voltage opening ceremony, they wanted to fire ‘rockets’ in the air to disperse the clouds!In London, no such thing has been planned and whatever nature decides will be accepted. The big problem for LOCOG, organisers of the London Olympics, is who will light the Olympic flame.Lord Sebastian Coe, head of LOCOG told Mail Today on Thursday who will light the torch is still undecided. From the man on the streets to social media like Twitter, there has been intense speculation.advertisementFive-time Olympic gold medallist rower Steve Redgrave and decathlete Daley Thompson are touted as favourites but Kelly Holmes, winner of the 800m and 1500 m in Athens, 2004, could also got a look in. But don’t be surprised if the organisers decide that more than one top former British athlete gets to do the honours.After the opening ceremony, it will be 15 days of pulsating action where riveting rivalries in track and field and swimming have already attracted attention, aroused interest and instilled desire.Usain Bolt vs Yohan Blake in the 100m and 200m and Michael Phelps vs Ryan Lochte in the swimming pool are events which the world is waiting for. Contests of these nature are played out only once every four years which is what the Olympics is all about.Looking at the global rivalries, the way China has grown as a sporting giant will be watched with interest. In the Beijing Olympics, China topped the medal tally with 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze for an aggregate of 100 medals. The United States of America was second with 36 gold, 38 silver and 36 bronze while Russia were third.As the hosts, Britan will look to enhance its image as a serious sporting superpower. In Beijing , their tally did swell to 19 gold, 15 silver and 15 bronze for an aggregate of 47 medals.It is gold medals which matter the most and Britain will hope that its newest stars like Wimbledon runner-up Andy Murray and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins can fire their chances.Well before then opening ceremony, there have been a few goof-ups. At the women’s football event, a wrong flag of South Korea was shown to the North Koreans causing the match against Colombia to be delayed by an hour.Even though the organisers had to apologise to the North Koreans, it has already left people wondering what more gaffes are in store.For sheer precision and punctuality, what Beijing did as a host city was almost machine like. For London to hold a glitch-free Games will not be asking for too much despite a dip in their economy.The host nation is hoping that the Olympics will boost its economy, but each host has only been counting deficits at the end of the Games.And what about India’s chances at the London Olympics? There is an air of expectancy that this time around India can win more medals than the three at Beijing.In archery, shooting, wrestling, badminton, boxing and even mixed doubles, there are medal chances.Feats of Abhinav Bindra, Ronjan Sodhi, Deepika Kumari, Saina Nehwal, Vijender and the new boxing breed plus the wrestlers raise huge hopes. So does MC Mary Kom who represents India as women’s boxing makes its debut.With adequate government funding and the corporates also chipping in well now, Indian sport should do well. After all, post Beijing, the medal haul at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the Guangzhou Asian Games did show an improvement.advertisementGone are the days when the Indian athletes competed in the Olympics just to mark their presence. The new age heroes believe in themselves and are ready to surprise the world.last_img

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