A very different Olympic

Sheep, Shakespeare, Sex Pistols – not your typical Olympics!

Has anyone else noticed that London seems to be hosting an entirely different type of Olympic Games? As the Brits would say, I’ve been gob-smacked numerous times by some of the unexpected trends and events and we’re only a few days into the London 2012 Games.

My top 10 countdown of surprises (so far):

1. Livestock at the Olympics
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t recall as many farm animals participating in previous Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Director Danny Boyle’s over-the-top extravaganza included sheep, 70 of them.


Sheep galore inside the Olympic Stadium


2. Twitter gone wild: Despite any claims you’ve heard about the London Olympics being “the first social media-savvy Games,” think again. It was actually the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. But this time it has spread like wildfire, and the athletes’ tweets are getting really pithy. Here’s a list of Twitter accounts for Canadian Olympians.

3. Poster Boys: Much has been said about Danny Boyle’s imaginative touch to the Opening Ceremony. I think we need to give equal nods to the ad creative departments. Meet Procter and Gamble’s Team Gillette, whose sponsored athletes include one of our faves: Alexandre Despatie.

One half of Team Gillette (Courtesy P&G)


4. Shakespeare and the Sex Pistols: Up until now, cultural icons have been de rigueur for Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Last Friday’s festive event cut a wide swath of British cultural contributions all the way from William Shakespeare to the Sex Pistols.

5. Greening of the Olympics: London is the first Olympic host city to have incorporated sustainability into its planning from the start. Well done.

6. Park your bike at the Palace: Visitors heading to the Olympics will still get to see castles, palaces and other historic sites in and around London. Hampton Court Palace, for instance, on the banks of the River Thames in south-west London, is the venue for road cycling time trial.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace


  Cycling by palaces and historic sites


7. Olympic Soundtrack – available now! Did you know you can already download “Isle of Wonder,” the music to the Opening Ceremony, from iTunes? Whatever happened to “The DVD coming soon?” I had the music in my iPhone the very day of the ceremony. It’s got everything from Arctic Monkeys and A. R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”)  to London Orchestra and U2.

8. Sibling acts: There seems to be more siblings competing at the London Olympics than in previous games. From Canada alone, there are rowers Lauren Wilkinson and brother Michael Wilkinson from Vancouver, Heather and Jim Steacy from Lethbridge, Alberta, are known entities in hammer-throwing, and Heather MacLean and Britanny Maclean from the Toronto area are on the swim team. (Post below if you know of other siblings on the Canadian Olympic Team.)

9. Moms everywhere:  People have Tweeted and Facebook’d photos of the mothers of Olympic athletes arriving in London, many of them thanks to Procter and Gamble’s Thank You Mom campaign. This is the first time an Olympic partner has endeavoured to help all moms of Olympians and Paralympians to travel to London to watch their children compete. The contingent of Canadian moms alone has received $500,000 in total.

Christiane Despatie

Christiane Despatie, mom to diver Alexandre: Thank You Mom campaign


10. Skydiving Monarch: the cinematic touch of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth skydiving was the icing on the cake.

What’s your take on the London Olympics so far?