Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Olympic message

“Who will light the Olympic cauldron?” is a question that draws much speculation every four years. This time in London, people have compiled a list: would it be David Beckham? Daley Thompson? Bradley Wiggins? Tom Daley? The Queen? Prince William? Or even Pippa Middleton?

Finally, at the opening ceremony last night, seven young athletes lit the cauldron. They are “nobody” compared to the all-star guess list. But they represent hope of the future, potentials of something big. This choice reminds us of one of the key virtues of humanity: always look forward with hope. It’s not about what you have done, or what you are doing. It’s what you will do.

204 copper petals slowly rose and came together to form a large cauldron. These flickering flames symbolized 204 participating nations and regions, peacefully united as one. Our world is quite a mess right now. This cauldron lighting was like a fresh breeze, made me feel hopeful that we would witness the best of humanity in the weeks to come. Once again, Thomas Heatherwick managed to wow the world with a great British design. (Last time was of course at the Shanghai Expo.) A model of this cauldron will be added to Heatherwick’s exhibition at the V&A after the opening ceremony. (Should I go see it again?)

The rest of the opening was a big party with an overdose of British music, plus unique British wit and humor. Compared to Beijing, this was not as spectacular. But it felt more relevant. It's an Olympic of the common people, an Olympic of the moment, embracing a society of grassroots in the digital age. It will certainly “inspire a generation.”

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