Officials announce inventive new changes for London 2012, handful still paying attention remain apprehensive
“Currently,” he commented, “a large portion of the globe thinks our culture is all about binge drinking, drugs and not really doing much at all, thanks to international hit shows like ‘Skins’ and ‘Misfits.’ While this may be a central part of our culture, it certainly isn’t all of it. We just want to show the world a more balanced view.”
This statement preceded announcements that Britain has added several unofficial sports to the roster, although they have not gone through the official International Olympic Committee (IOC) screening process. Expect to see showcases of rugby, polo, week-long cricket games and lawn croquet this year. However, due to space constrictions at the current Olympic site and the lack of available lawns, some of these “showcase” sports will have to be held at the United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase in Walt Disney World. Others will be moved to Stonehenge, to fully represent the British people to the world.
This push to improve and showcase British culture is nothing new—these plans follow the addition of British figurehead Simon Cowell as the BBC’s premier commentator. After lukewarm responses to the two mascots Wenlock and Mandeville—two molten steel drops from industrial city and pride of Britain, Bolton—these mascots have been dropped in favor of much more loved national figures Fish and Chip. When questioned, officials cited the aesthetic improvement, wider global recognition and the failure to translate the message of Wenlock and Mandeville (the majority of test audiences not realizing there was anything north of London in England).
There have also been pushes to improve London’s local cuisine for the games. Over 20 new upscale Indian restaurants have been encouraged to open around all Olympic areas. When asked about boosting East London’s already charming pub culture (and traditional English gastronomy), officials declined to comment.
Finally, as a rebuttal to lingering indignation from 2008 that Britain excels only in sports involving sitting down (see sailing, crew, equestrian and Team GB’s 2008 cycling dominance), Team GB has announced an official ban on all athletes sitting down in public (aside from in necessary sports, obviously). A proposal to remove benches from the Olympic Village is currently under review.
These announcements come just after the IOC reported being “happy” with London’s progress towards the games last July and August. In addition, after last year’s diminutive budget increase from 2.4 to 9.2 billion pounds, officials are glad to report the games are to be under budget. Keep watch for further announcements and changes to this year’s proceedings. (Rumor has it Kate Middleton is being brought in to judge the lawn croquet.)