chapter  5
13 Pages

The technicolor Olympics? Race, representation and the 2012 London Games: Daniel Burdsey

WithDANIEL BURDSEY

With the last speeches and fireworks of the closing ceremony signifying the end of the Beijing Olympiad, the focus immediately shifted to the UK as London took up the mantle for the succeeding Games to be held in 2012. On a bright, late summer’s afternoon in London, the handover party was in full swing, centred on the city’s iconic Buckingham Palace and Mall. This was a public party in every sense, with a large crowd of flag-waving Londoners in attendance and millions more people watching the BBC’s live television broadcast of the event. On screen, co-presenters Matt Baker and Claudia Winkleman – two of the corporation’s suitably ‘safe’, white faces of Middle Englishness – eagerly sought out sound-bites from British Olympians and the general public alike, with those appearing on camera offering entirely positive endorsements of the impact the Olympics/ Paralympics might have on the city and its residents.