diamond geezer

 Thursday, May 19, 2011

London 2012  Olympic update
  Torch relay ahoy


In precisely one year's time, on Saturday 19th May 2012, the Olympic torch arrives in the UK. It hits land at Land's End, then spends the next ten weeks meandering around the entire country. It'll smoulder in Swansea, illuminate Ipswich, burn in Belfast, even light up the Isle of Lewis. The torch relay route passes all major centres of population as well as umpteen scenic wonders - it's simultaneously a community celebration and a British Tourist Board wet dream.
[London 2012 torch relay map] [BBC torch timeline/map]

And eventually it'll reach London, the Olympic host city. The following timetable has been announced, listing the boroughs in which the torch will appear each evening. Like so:That's very exciting, if you live in one of the above. Bit of northeast, bit of southeast, bit of southwest, bit of west, bit of north, bit of central. But there appears to be a giant omission from that list, and that's Tower Hamlets. Sorry to go on about my local borough again, but I thought we'd been promised a big role in the Torch Relay as payback for the scrapping of our marathon segment. Instead Westminster now has the end of the marathon and the penultimate night of flame-running. How can this be fair?

Well don't worry, because the locations announced yesterday merely form a list of where the torch will be spending the evening. There are still 70 daytime jaunts to be announced. A whole day from Plymouth to Exeter, a whole day from Cleethorpes to Lincoln - this torch is highly likely to be coming down your way. In particular there are plans to visit every London borough in the week before the Olympics, not just the six where it'll spend the night. The five "Olympic boroughs" will get to see the torch first, on London day one. And yes, Tower Hamlets will be first.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “It’s fantastic that Tower Hamlets’ residents will be the first in the capital to celebrate the arrival of the torch in London. It gives everybody in the borough the chance to get involved in the excitement surrounding London 2012. And it’s a great opportunity for us to highlight the unique character of Tower Hamlets – showcasing the borough to the world.
He does love his international showcasing, does Lutfur. Earlier in the week it was city status, now it's the arrival of the Olympic torch. He'll be down at Tower Bridge when the flame drops in, banging the drum for the borough and beaming broadly. But I fear this won't be the publicity dream for Tower Hamlets that Mayor Rahman is hoping for. After nine weeks of relentless round-Britain relaying, the public will be so torch-drunk that the first appearance of a flame on London soil will most likely have diminished impact. Who cares precisely which London borough receives the torch first when some Shetland sheep watched it jog past six weeks earlier?

And there would appear to be another problem. We're double-booked. Apparently "Tower Hamlets will welcome the Olympic Flame to the capital... on the evening of Friday 20 July 2012". And yet elsewhere on the Olympic site we read that "Guildford will hold an Olympic Torch evening celebration on Friday 20 July." Which is it? Will Surrey's evening celebrations prevail, or will they have to cut festivities short so that the torch can be rushed up the A3 to central London. I suspect Olympic organisers still have a lot more surprises up their sleeve - maybe flying the torch to Tower Bridge via Farnborough, or even sending it by speedboat up the Wey and along the Thames. Watch this space.

Whatever, let's hope that the torch's brief pass through Tower Hamlets is better organised than I remember from 2008. When Beijing's flame swept along Bow Road hidden inside a double decker bus chased by pom-pom girls on a Samsung lorry, that was undoubtedly the least inspirational Olympic event I've ever seen. From Land's End to Stratford, 2012's flame must burn brighter.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream