One of the best closing ceremonies I can remember! The British did a better job than two others that stick in my mind:
* The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, where the Canadians tried so hard to make a little fun of themselves that it felt forced.
* The 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games. Large, mostly shapeless figures moved around the stadium. I do not remember if they were inflated and floated or if they were propelled by people inside. All the music was fairly monotonous European techno-pop.
Last night’s closing ceremony was entertaining but had substance, while showcasing and celebrating popular British culture. Every detail and action seemed to relate to the theme (except maybe that octopus), and you can see this thoughtfulness even more if you consider the opening ceremony too. The more serious historical opening was overseen by Queen Elizabeth and potential future Olympians lit the torch instead of the usual celebrity. The music of the closing ceremony mainly featured current artists and was attended by Prince Harry. Images of London landmarks were sprinkled throughout. The extinguishing of the Olympic cauldron was treated with great respect. The British people seem to take their history and traditions seriously, but still know how to have fun.
This Olympics has given me a new appreciation of the British, which was deepened by NBC’s Saturday evening special feature on Great Britain’s role in World War II. I knew the overall history, but hearing it from the British viewpoint made me realize how much the world owes them for holding off Hitler almost single-handedly until the US entered the war.
I had wanted to go to London for the Games (the last one in an English-speaking country for at least 10 years), but it did not work out. After seeing how well everything was handled, I am even more sorry that I could not make the trip.