(Note: All links lead to the Tumblrs and images of fans.)
One element of the Olympics most prominent on the minds of fans has been the passage of the Olympic Torch. The Torch passing through one’s town can be a point of personal pride, or even just a reason to party, or make commemorative nail art. There are also several people who have held the torch in their towns — and so have acted as momentary local ambassadors to the world because of this.
The Torch has the ability to bring the less prominent towns United Kingdom to the forefront of the Olympics, as well as have non-athletes interact with the event. Local culture is prominent in this case, from everything to chocolate to oblivious local newspapers.
Plus, seeing the Torch pass through one’s town is a well-attended event because of its historical importance. The United Kingdom’s participation in the Olympics may be highly contested and criticized by some, but the sheer excitement to be indirectly involved in an event at such a grand scale is infectious around the country.
Unfortunately, this is somewhat dampened by celebrities running with the Torch as well. Non-native Will.I.Am ran with the Torch (and misspelled the town he was in! Come ON!), everyone was gearing up for David Tennent to take the Torch (which is a post for another day), but instead got Matt Smith, who ran in a city he wasn’t even from, as did the band Muse. These runners turn the running with the Torch more prominent on the international scale but takes away from the exhibition of the local country’s culture.
Done right, this has potential for bringing attention to the event in a new light, as Will.I.Am tweeted his experience and Matt Smith appeals to Doctor Who fans (the numbers of which are high and ridiculous). However, the former can provide frustration, because should someone really be tweeting when they are holding something with fire at the end of it? And the latter draws in people watching a famous actor who is also notoriously clumsy — why are we trusting these people with the Torch again?
Then there’s that whole thing where the Torch keeps going out, which is just embarrassing for everyone.