Why is someone from England writing for your beloved school newspaper, you ask? Well, I’m a new international student at Trent! If you let me, I’d love to tell you all what it was like being in Great Britain while the whole world was watching. Unfortunately, I don’t live in London. I’m actually from Nottingham (yes, I personally know Robin Hood), which is over two hours away from the Queen’s house. However, I’ve visited my capital many times, so I recognized pretty much every venue televised, from Waterloo to Piccadilly to Scotland Yard. Seeing places you are so familiar with on worldwide television is indescribable; the Olympics are always amazing, but when you see it in your own country, in a city so close to your heart, it makes everything that little bit more special.
Although I didn’t get to see any events in person, many of my friends attended soccer, field hockey and volleyball games. Combined with sport, the world got to see more of what many call the “quirky” British sense of humour. As you’ve probably heard, whether you watched the opening ceremony or not, the “Queen” of England parachuted out of a helicopter into the Olympic stadium with none other than British hero, James Bond. Now would any other monarch do that? I highly doubt it. As the Queen of your country too, I’m sure you found it quite funny to see the lady on all your money jump to her potential death, no?
Furthermore, the whole shebang was directed by none other than Danny Boyle, acclaimed director of award winning films such as Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire. And not to brag, but the Olympic torch was freakin’ amazing. More reasons to fall in love with the Olympic games.The closing ceremony celebrated the best of British music, some of which I’m not entirely sure all of you will be familiar with. Of course, there was the hype surrounding the Spice Girls (by the way, no one in Britain understands why other countries love them so much) and other classic acts such as Annie Lennox, Muse and, er… One Direction. The special virtual appearances from John Lennon, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury were especially cool. Now just try and deny me the fact that some of the best pop culture music produced has been British. Not to discount your music though, Canada; I’d rather listen to Joni Mitchell and Arcade Fire over the USA’s Katy Perry any day.
Other native Britons had a completely opposing opinion about the Olympics. Leading up to the Olympics, throughout the event and even now after it, the primary concern of the average sceptical Londoner is that of our economy. As a country in recession, spending approximately £25 billion (almost 40 billion Canadian dollars) seems ludicrous to most residents, with most of them arguing that we could have used those funds on more pressing issues such as homelessness in the UK and raising minimum wage rates. However, many of them do not understand that much of what we spent on the Olympics will be earned back for our country in the form of tourism.Showing the world the best event London could possibly generate attracts tourists and encourages them to use British airlines, spend their money in British shops and stay in British hotels; surely this means that the Olympics will boost our economy in the long run! However, explaining this to someone who is convinced the Olympics sucked seems to be a lost cause. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Anyone who thinks the Olympics are dumb, in my opinion, is lacking in national pride and love for their country. I’m not someone who watches a lot of sport (excluding soccer – yes, the rumours are true, the British love their football), yet the Olympics is one event that showcases team spirit, national pride, perseverance, and strength, and watching it is something I do every four years. Hearing my national anthem being sung by thousands makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and although Canada only won one gold medal in 2012, I really hope that receiving that one medal made you proud of your country whether you’re a sports fan or not.