Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics 2012: "The Fans Will See Something Different"

First, the good news.

Someone convinced the North Korean football (soccer here in America) team to come back.

Now the bad news.

Somehow, a North Koran athlete's picture - with a South Korean flag - showed up on a one of those King-Kong-size screens at the football venue. Then the North Korean team walked out.

Can't blame them, in the Lemming's opinion. North and South Korea haven't been on particularly good terms for several decades: and North Korea's leadership has earned a reputation for being sensitive about insufficiently loyal subjects.

Even in a less tense situation, getting the flag wrong wouldn't win friends. Think about it: would a Canadian hockey player appreciate it, if the Olympic stadium megascreen showed his picture - with the United States stars and bars?

Not that Canada and the United States have the sort of relationship that North and South Korea have. Happily: the Lemming lives close to the Canadian border. It's just a couple hundred miles north.

Opening Ceremony - With 1/7 of the World Watching

"London Olympics final countdown begins"
(July 27, 2012 )

"The opening ceremony of the London Olympics is due to take place later after seven years of preparations.

"The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium is expected to be viewed by a global TV audience of a billion people.

"The final day of the torch relay will see the Olympic flame taken along the Thames on royal rowbarge Gloriana - and then used to light the cauldron that will shine during 16 days of sport.

"The Games will see the biggest UK peacetime security operation mounted.

"Organisers have released a video clip giving a sneak preview of Oscar winner Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, featuring groups in colourful stage outfits dancing to Tiger Feet by 1970s rock group Mud and cyclists with wings pedalling along to Come Together by the Beatles...."

From today to August 12, the Lemming is confident that there will be no shortage of 2012 Olympics news. The get-together's official website is, by the way.

By the time you see this post, the opening ceremonies will probably have started: and the Lemming will almost certainly be sleeping. It's a matter of time zones. There's an ocean and about a third of a continent between the Lemming and London: and the Lemming needs sleep.

Oops: North Korean Athletes, South Korean Flag

"South Korean flag flies above North Korean football team at London Olympics" (July 26, 2012)

"GREAT Britain is known as the home of football so it should have been the last place on earth where a gaffe disgraced an Olympic Games....

"...Yet a diplomatic blunder - in which a North Korea player was introduced on the giant screen accompanied by a picture of the South Korean flag - sent the London Games into damage control just 48 hours before the official Opening Ceremony.

"The flag faux pas occurred as North Korea prepared to play Colombia at Glasgow's Hampden Park and it prompted the team to refuse to take the field, delaying the start of the game by more than an hour....

"...With FIFA introducing pre-match procedures to avoid match day disasters 24 hours before kick off, its appointed technical committee in Glasgow seemingly put its trust in Hampden Park's venue manager, Andy Mitchell.

"Ironically Mitchell - a former Scottish Football Association communications director - told The Scotsman on Wednesday 'the fans will see something different' before yesterday's embarrassing flag incident...."

Surely Mitchell didn't have the flag switch in mind when he said "something different."

Again, from

"...A FIFA source last night confirmed big screen graphics and stadium public address systems are in the hands of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) during the Olympic football tournament...."

Then, in their apology, LOCOG called the country "North Korea." That's what folks in the English-speaking world call the Korean Democratic People's Republic. "North Korea" is shorter: but it's not the correct, formal, name of the country in English. On top of the flag foul-up, that error required another apology.

Eventually, LOCOG seems to have apologized without causing a new incident, and the Olympics got going again.

Maybe the flag fuss seems like a lot of protest over a small offense. Maybe not. The Lemming thinks it would have been nice of LOCOG, or whoever was running the show, had paid more attention to details. Like which flag goes with which country.

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