London 2012: Olympic Opening Ceremony a winner with students

In the build up to and throughout the dramatic lighting of the Olympic flame, students logged on to the TSR London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Forum to discuss their thoughts on the ceremony.

‘I Loved it- It was awesome :D ’  /     ‘Better than I expected. Amazing.’

‘I loved it! Really really enjoyed it! :)

There is no doubt that the ceremony has stimulated worldwide debate not least among students. One discussion-based thread dedicated to the Opening Ceremony attracted over 3000 comments from TSR members in anticipation of the ceremony, reacting to the spectacle in real time, and then reflecting on whether it was a hit or a miss.

  • London 63.04%
  • Beijing 36.96%

Just hours after the climax of the opening ceremony, two student-led polls sprang up asking respondents which opening ceremony was better – London or Beijing, and whether they thought the London 2012 ceremony was good, bad or average. Out of 368 votes cast in just 24 hours since the ceremony started the previous day, students gave the London ceremony the ‘home advantage’.

‘Loved it, I’m feeling extremely patriotic now.’

Posts reviewing the long-awaited and grossly anticipated opening ceremony continued through the early hours of Saturday morning, with early indications showing that the spectacle was an overwhelming success with the vast majority of the 230 votes cast rating it as ‘good’ by the end of the weekend .

  • It was good 77.17%
  • It was average 14.61%
  • It was bad 8.22%

‘The parts before the NHS (countryside, industrial revolution, forging of the rings) were amazing, then the rest was good, minus the texting love story and dizzee rascal part. That whole part had me cringing – especially the “night out with the gurls x”…’

Favourite features of the the ceremony included the portrayal of the industrial revolution, the homage to the NHS, and the Mr. Bean sequence.

‘I loved it. My favourite bit was with the industrial revolution with the chimneys coming out of the ground, and the olympic cauldron. I must say I also liked the way that there was alot of children, and the way respect was paid to things like the NHS. All in all, it was very cool.’

‘We had multiple Mary Poppins’ defeating Voldemort. Enough said.’

‘It was hit and miss at times but overall it was a good show. I particularly enjoyed Bond, Bean and Berners Lee.’

Of course, as one post acknowledged, you can’t please everyone, and even those who enjoyed it found some faults.

‘I thought it was great overall. Some iffy parts such as everything Trevor Nelson said and Paul McCartney singing Hey Jude…again. But you can’t please everybody.’

Students were mainly less impressed by the musical sequence referring to the digital age, in particular the love story.

‘Didn’t like the music jamming midway. It was like some T-mobile flash mob.’

‘Yeah I didn’t really get that. And that whole little love story thing was just a bit cheesy :S’

While some were concerned aspects of the ceremony would be lost in translation, the close cultural references had a positive impact among those less enthused about the Games to begin with, and also inspired a sense of patriotism among student viewers.

‘Loved it. And I was a total Olympic moaner beforehand and thought the opening ceremony would fall flat on its face. I’m actually pleased I was proven wrong!’

‘Most of it was amazing, made me feel kinda proud of being British and I’m a heartless bastard. Paul McCartney milking Jude as always gets a bit tedious. Loved Mr Bean, the Brunel industrialism sequence, the Bond bit was amazing. Great to see Bradley Wiggins start it off

Even though some of the references may have been lost on the home nations of the other Olympic hopefuls, other students felt that even without the context it was a visual feast, and were especially inspired by the illustration of the legacy campaign in the future Olympic hopefuls lighting the flame.

‘…I know it’s been said that many people from other countries might not understand the history, and I admit I did think this when it was happening, but I don’t think you needed to understand the history to appreciate how spectacular it was.’

‘I absolutely was gobsmacked with some parts. The industrial revolution and the forging of the olympic rings was a winner [...] The olympic flame was in my humble opinion the best i’ve seen. Job well done Britain. Wishing all atlethes to be the best they can. greetings from Holland’

‘I thought it was great, and loved the fact that future olympians lit the cauldron. A few people moaned about this on facebook but I think theyre forgetting the motto is ‘inspire a generation’. I think it will always be unfairly compared to Beijing though, it was never going to top that, but I loved it.’

Remarkably some still failed to be won over either preferring the sporting essence of the Games themselves or generally feeling apathetic towards everything about the Olympics.

‘I enjoyed watching the teams walk out and seeing Steve Redgrave with the torch. The rest of it is all just a load of nonsense as far as I’m concerned, like every other opening ceremony.’

‘Caught a bit of it in the pub. Felt nothing more than supreme indifference. How many days until it’s over?’

So, the final verdict? Well, in the spirit of Olympic scoring, students thought the ceremony showed good form but fell foul of a perfect 10 due to a few faults, with one post ultimately awarding it a 7.0.

‘It was ok. Entertaining in many ways, some embarrassing bits thought. I’d give it 7 out of 10.’