Saturday, 9 August 2008

Beijing: the great show begins

The Olympic Games opened last Wednesday with the Women's Association Football tournament.

FIFA, which governs women's football as well as men's, may have hoped to upstage the opening ceremony of the games by putting on the women's Olympic event two days before, but although there were some nail-biting matches—notably the one in which a goal by Canada's Candace Chapman sent her side on the way to a 2-1 win over Argentina—there was little doubt that it was Friday's show which had the edge for spectacle and excitement.

The organisers of London 2012 will have difficulty in matching it, but no doubt they will do their very best. Rehearsals are already taking place for Great Britain's part in the handover ceremony which will take place after the end of the Beijing games, and, as the picture shows, this promises to be something really special.

Then when it comes to the opening ceremony in four years' time we can expect something on the scale of Churchill's funeral or even the Queen's coronation. Plans are still under wraps, but those in the know are fairly certain that the ceremony will feature, among many other colorful symbols of our history, culture and achievements, top personalities from the Women's Institute, the College of Arms and Coronation Street, the massed bands of the Brigade of Guards, the Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London, and, of course, Cliff Richard.

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