"..a bardy view!"

An Anglo-Aussie Olympic Game Changer……

Olympic cauldronHeatherwick Studio is the company responsible for the torch phenomena at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony.

As the days pass, the technical vision and skill of the display is being increasingly praised and recognised.

From his King's Cross studio in London, Thomas Heatherwick, the designer of the copper cauldron said “We were aware cauldrons had been getting bigger, higher, fatter as each Olympics happened and we felt we shouldn’t try to be even bigger than the last ones.”

The fantastic elegant design has been described as "imaginative and ambitious and the most complicated cauldron ever built."

Yet, credit should also be given to an Australian company called FCT Flames who contributed their knowledge to Heatherwick's concept (see how they did it at the end of this post).

It is a remarkable complex achievement. Each competing nation which marched into the stadium was accompanied by a child carrying a copper petal, inscribed with the country they represented. Each petal was then connected to levered stems of which natural gas was pumped, before being lit by seven young unknown athletes.

Shaped like a ten ringed flower, the stems began to  rise, appearing to float, causing the flower to close, which resulted in a flaming beacon. "There is a precedent set of the 1948 Games" Heatherwick says "when the cauldron was set within the stadium, to one side with the spectators, and with the technology we now have that didn’t exist in 1948 it can be shared with everyone in the Olympic Park with screens. We felt that sharing it with screens reinforced the intimacy within it;  if it had been a huge beacon lifted up in the air it would have had to be bigger, and would have somehow not met the brief that we discussed with Danny Boyle of making something that was rooted in where the people are.”

When the Games end, each copper petal will return to the home of each competing nation.

It's a wonderful gift, for many nations will not return with a medal, but at least they will have this memento of their contribution and participation.

This combination of British-Australian vision and skill has surely set the benchmark for future Olympic Games.

The Chinese are responsible for this shift. They out-did every ceremony gone before 2008, to the extent that it would be impossible to follow on such a grand scale. There had to be something different.

What happened was not regimental precision by thousands of state subjects acting in unison, backed by tons of fireworks and pyrotechnics, but an intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful extravaganza of theatre.

The Chinese did the world a favour. No more will we have to put up with bigger and better mindless and mindblowing displays where money was the key. Britain knew it had to change the ceremony, because the costs involved matching Beijing would have been prohibitive.

They did it, succeeded and have now set a new benchmark. Future hosts are grateful, because they now know that it is not money equivalent to the annual GDP of a nation which matters anymore, but innovation, vision, skill and above all a legacy to inspire.

Great Britain has remoulded the Olympic Games and restored it, rejuvenated it and proved that money alone is not the panacea to convey pride, patriotism and success. That's a salutary lesson that China and her subjects need to learn. The Brazilians now know that they don’t have to do what China did. They now know that they have another way, one which shouts history and national pride, and they are extremely grateful that it was Great Britain which burst the bubble.

Yet what other country had the courage to do it? It was a risk, and risks can only be taken if self-confidence prevails.

Future host nations can look back at the 2012 Olympics and know that it was the game changer.



August 1, 2012 - Posted by | Arts, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, London, Olympic Games, Science, Sport, United Kingdom | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. As always great and fascinating read as never realised any of this due to my particular circumstances.


    Comment by spookmoor | August 2, 2012 | Reply

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