I am sorry to see the London Olympics end. It was a jolly old time: lots of surprises, lots of upsets, lots of new friends. Glad about so many things:
· Glad to see Michael Phelps win his eighty-two medals and announce his retirement, which means we don’t have to look at his ugly sub-primate face anymore, except maybe in Subway Sandwich advertisements.
· Glad, in a different way, to see Usain Bolt (from a much smaller country than Michael Phelps) prove once again that he’s the fastest runner in the world, and be smug about it, and we’ll probably see him again in 2016, and he will be at least three times as smug, and probably even faster.
· Glad to see lots of smaller / less populous countries win medals of all kinds: Grenada, Mexico, Tunisia, Ireland, Slovenia. (Grenada, with its one gold medal, has the most gold medals per capita of any country in world. In your face, Michael Phelps!)
(Which reminds me: I truly want to see India win a gold medal one of these days. They’ve never won a gold, in all these years. It will be madness in Chennai and Mumbai when that day comes.)
The London closing ceremony, like the opening ceremony, was controlled chaos, slathered with lots of music. The opening ceremony was meant to be thought about, and talked about. This closing ceremony was just meant to be fun. (There’s a very heavy message in listening to The Who – the members of which are in their sixties at least – sing “My Generation.” It makes me feel strange. Isn’t there a line in there that says “Hope I die before I get old”? Doesn’t Roger Daltrey feel funny when he sings that?)
Also Eric Idle, leading a huge chorus of everything and everyone imaginable (including nuns and Roman soldiers) in “Look On the Bright Side of Life,” from the Python movie “Life of Brian.” This bookended the Rowan Atkinson “Chariots of Fire” number in the opening ceremony, with that kind of deranged I-don’t-care British humor that the world has come to cherish. And it turned into a singalong with the audience!
And then Boris Johnson, the highly peculiar Mayor of London, handed over the Olympic flag to Jacques Rogge, who handed it over to Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Olympics will take place.
(Can you imagine what that opening ceremony will look like? We had glimpses: there was a samba spectacular, and Pele made an appearance! And one of the performers was dressed as the Santeria goddess Yemanja, goddess of the sea!)
See you in Rio, kids!
(If I live that long.)