Travel Magazine

Rings, Torches and (Potential) Celebration: The Olympics Are Coming

By Contemplatingtheclouds @contempclouds

Yes, after much debate, much humming, arguing and hawing they are finally up. The Olympic Rings are sitting aloft in Edinburgh. And they are, well, HUGE! I’d hazard a rough guess at each ring measuring about 2m in diameter, making it a little taller than the Mound’s customary floral display.

Now, in addition to our ‘Big Screen’ (imaginatively named, I think you’ll agree), we have the rings “To get Edinburgh involved in London 2012″. I’d say — at best — the rings are being met with mixed reactions. Goodness knows what it would have been like if the ridiculous idea to attach them to the Castle had gone ahead.

There is a view, I think it’s fair to say, that many people here are not particularly enamoured by the whole notion of the Olympics – or more possibly the fact that we keep being told that ‘everyone will benefit from the games’, something most people are (for good reason) somewhat skeptical of.

Attitude is, then, possibly the biggest hurdle (pun fully intended) that the Olympics face in Edinburgh (and the UK as a whole). I drove sort-of near-by the rings at the weekend (or as close as ******* tram works allow) and the friend I was with had some rather choice words to describe the rings and the Olympics in general. For reasons that I’m sure you can imagine, I’ll refrain from repeating them ad verbatim.

Well, I am excited. Even if not very many others are. Fine I am one of those lucky people who got tickets (which, excitingly, arrived the over day!) in the ballot (that’s for another post) and have something to get excited about, but I haven’t given up hope for a People of GB podium finish. And a sparkly gold one at that.

The Jubilee has shown (if proof were needed) that Britain does ceremony and celebration rather well, and that when the time comes we will celebrate. We might not all be going to London and experiencing it first hand, (but then again with an extra few million people in the capital would you really want to be there?) and whether this fabled country-wide warm, snuggly blanket of ‘benefit’ will in fact become a reality remains to be seen, but once the world is watching, Britain will smile its wry smile and celebrate what is a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you don’t believe me I suggest you watch a bit of Torch Cam - has there yet been a grumpy person by the side of the road?

The Torch (aka the cheese grater) is due to arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow (Wednesday) and whilst I (unfortunately) won’t be able to see it I have faith that Edinburgh will rise to the occasion. It is time to stop moaning about the cost, disruption, implications, ticket-woes, politicians and the somewhat out-sized rings. The world will be watching and Edinburgh needs to remember that our Festivals are the alternative UK destination to the Games this summer. Let’s be welcoming. Let’s be happy. Let’s be cheerful. Let’s smile and stop swearing. And if we really have to moan about costs, disruption, implications, ticket woes and the politicians, well, we have the trams for that, don’t we?

Edinburgh's Olympic Rings


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