Let the Games begin.

The XXX Olympiad (the 3 kisses Olympics?) kicked off with a quirky and risky Opening Ceremonies. Some of it worked and some of it embraced failure like Dr. Frankenstein let loose in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I had the privilege of an inside seat watching NBC put together its broadcast of the festivities at their Saturday Night Live studio in 30 Rock where NBC.com has their nerve centre for the next two weeks. Piero is all set up for any manner of its own spectacular effects and audience thrilling tricks.

The joy of victory, but many failures to be embraced ahead. Also, many dreams will die in the freshly christened stadiums. Athletes who know that another 4 unkind years on their bodies and wallets just won’t be possible if they don’t make it to the podium this time.

While we will applaud the medal winners, and empathise with those who fall short, Stephen Pile reminds us in his piece “The Joy of Epic Failure” (paywalled) that even the most disastrous failures at times like these even have their places in our hearts…

  • “It is a grave misreading of the human predicament to suppose that everything is going to work out well. Happiness lies in not only accepting that things go belly up, but also rejoicing in them when they do.  For years we have been told that success is the thing. But in Britain, for example, it only took John Sergeant to start dancing a few years ago for the whole nation to rise up in his support. The sleeping giant awakes. We rediscover our ancient qualities.  It is not just in Britain that this happens. When Eric ‘the Eel’ Moussambani practically drowned in his Olympic qualifying heat the whole world rose to applaud him. When the Jamaicans entered the Winter Olympics, came last and fell off their bobsleigh, Hollywood was on the phone straight away and made a film about them.  It seems a long time now since I formed the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain back in the simpler days of 1978 with myself, cocooned in administrative chaos, as president. To qualify for membership you just had to be not terribly good at something and attend meetings at which people talked about and gave demonstrations of their main area of expertise. We had some glorious evenings when you heard snatches of heart-warming conversation (“Yes, sheep are difficult” — Not Terribly Good Artist).  Eventually I was thrown out as president and the club voted itself out of existence when it received several thousand applications for membership, some from as far away as Botswana. This can only be read as yet further proof of humanity’s preference for the worst over the best.”