Danny Boyle wants athletes to play a big part in the Opening Ceremony. This has caused controversy according to some news reports and I can see why. And yet it’s a huge privilege to even be there, at this, the world’s most watched event ever – with one third of the planet’s population estimated to be tuning in.
All of the countries of the world are represented – although not all attend if they are competing in the following days immediately after the ceremony. In Sydney, I remember our Canoeists didn’t get to go because they were still at a training camp on the Gold Coast, thousands of miles away.
Then there’s all the standing around – I’d know because I was one of the volunteer ‘field marshalls’ who had to ‘fence’ the athletes in for close to 3 hours, with no toilet trips allowed. So I can see why athletes might be reluctant to get started even earlier when the preceding ‘show’ takes place. That’s a long evening directly before competing.
The good news for the rest of us though, is that on last week’s Olympic Debate on BBC1, Boris Johnson announced that volunteers are being sought now to take part on the night. So if you fancy doing a bit of ‘athlete guarding’, now’s your chance…